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Mahlon W. Davis Collection



Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Box 1

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Mahlon W. Davis Collection, 1915 | Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs

By Cherie Acierno

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Collection Overview

Title: Mahlon W. Davis Collection, 1915Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

ID: RG1/010

Creator: Davis, Mahlon W. (Mahlon Wentworth) (b. ca. 1890)

Extent: 0.18 Cubic Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The bound photographic album is arranged in Davis’s original order, which may be topical and/or chronological.  The diary is chronological.  The other documents are housed in one folder within the same box as the photographic album and diary.

Languages: English, French


Mahlon Wentworth Davis served as an ambulance driver with the American Field Service (AFS) during World War I.  The Mahlon W. Davis Collection consists of Davis’s 1915 field diary, his French travel passport, a menu from a celebratory dinner, and one photographic album assembled by Davis which documents his service with AFS.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Mahlon W. Davis Collection consists of one photographic album assembled by Davis containing  around 260 photographic prints of varying sizes which document his service with the American Field Service (AFS) Section Sanitaire [Etats-] Unis (SSU) 2 in 1915. Images include wartime landscapes, interior views (sleeping quarters and bombed buildings), and some images of fellow AFS drivers, French soldiers, and civilians.  About half of the prints have captions.


The collection also includes a diary by Davis, containing daily entries documenting his AFS service from March 6to July 16, 1915. The handwritten diary entries begin on page 42; Davis apparently sent the earlier entries home (dating from January 12, 1915), and these pages are not part of the collection. The diary gives a very detailed accounting of his activities with AFS unit SSU 2, including information about the health of his fellow drivers, ambulance repairs and upkeep, bombardments, the weather, and unit inspections. The diary includes several newspaper clippings showing trenches, and prisoners of war held by Germans, a conversation with a German prisoner, and the activities (including sounds) and aftermath of battles. In addition to the handwritten diary is a typewritten transcription of the March 16 to May 16 entries. The typed pages are not exact transcriptions; in some cases the wording is different and in other places content details from the original diary are missing. The typed and handwritten pages are collected together in a leather looseleaf binder, with the typed transcriptions appearing first. The final two pages in the diary contain notes made at a later date by an unknown person logging the names of people mentioned in the diary.


The collection also includes his French travel passport (with a portrait of Davis affixed) and a menu from a celebratory dinner for an unspecified event.

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: 1 box

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research. Digital copies of the diary can be accessed through the online finding aid. Researchers must consult the digital copy first; permission to access the original is required in advance. Cotton gloves are required for the handling of all photographic material.

Use Restrictions: Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the AFS Archives. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions.

Acquisition Method: The collection was donated to the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs by Mahlon Davis at an unknown date.

Appraisal Information: No items were deaccessioned, separated, or removed from the collection.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], [Date]; Mahlon W. Davis Collection; Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs, New York, NY.

Processing Information: This collection was partially processed by AFS Archives staff at an unknown date and again by Cherie Acierno in 2011. Preliminary finding aid written by Cherie Acierno in March 2011 and encoded in EAD in April 2011 under the scope of the 2010-2011 Basic Processing grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Digitized diaries added and finding aid updated by Shirra Rockwood in September 2016.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],

Box 1Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Bound Item 1: Diary, 1915Add to your cart.
Bound Item 2: Photographic Album, 1915Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Menu and Travel Passport, UndatedAdd to your cart.

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