It is pouring rain outside here in Brooklyn. I have spent the last hour researching in Ancestry the details of a New York doughboy. It’s the perfect research endeavor for a winter night.
I don’t want to give the biographical specifics here, but I will say that he was born in Yonkers in 1886 and went on to serve in the Quartermaster Corps during the Great War. He was in St. Nazaire when the Armistice came in November 1918. This is for a project I am working on with others in which we are making a 15-20 minute documentary to be shown this spring, summer and fall at our college and at Governors Island. Our protagonist went on to become active in New York politics, and an ally of Al Smith. He had five sons who all served in the Second World War after him. Our doughboy was apparently a formidable presence, and the family patriarch until his death in the mid-1960s. It’s really a fascinating story, and a uniquely American one.
We have our first film shoot with his grandchildren this coming Saturday. As this moves along in the coming months I will divulge more.
(image/detail from The American Legion Monthly, November 1936)