Henry Armistead Whitaker papers,1916-1936

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/901d2

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Whitaker, Henry Armistead, 1889-1937.
Title: Henry Armistead Whitaker papers,1916-1936
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 482
Extent: 0.25 linear foot (1 box)
Abstract:Papers of New York accountant and World War I soldier Henry Armistead Whitaker including correspondence, poems, notes, a piece of music written by Whitaker, photographs, and other miscellaneous items.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Gift of Dorothy Rand Whitaker, 1966.

Custodial History

Dorothy Rand Whitaker was the wife of Henry Armistead Whitaker.


[after identification of item(s)], Henry Armistead Whitaker papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired as part of the Rose Library's holdings in the history of World War I.


Processed by Mary R. Davis, May 23, 1966.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Henry Armistead Whitaker (January 21, 1889-May 27, 1937) was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of John Albert and Blanche Fitzhugh Whitaker and died in the Veteran's Hospital, Northport, Long Island, New York. Henry attended New York University and studied accounting but did not get his CPA until after his marriage, which occurred on September 3, 1917 to Dorothy Rand, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Rand, at Hulett's Landing, Lake George, New York. Henry volunteered for the Service, but was turned down on account of being underweight; however, in August, 1918 he entered Detention Camp Battalion, Company 20, Camp Greenleaf, Chickamauga Park, Georgia. The last of that month he moved to another part of the same camp into Company 9, Replacement Group, and on November 25, to Company 3, 1st Training Battalion still in the Replacement Group, where he remained for the rest of his army service. He was apparently connected with training personnel and handling supplies for the Medical Department. He returned to Camp Upton (New York) December 30, 1918 to await his wife's arrival. After the war he worked as an accountant for various firms in New York, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. He developed a brain tumor for which he had several operations. At the request of his doctor, he wrote (with his left hand, also at the doctor's request) letters, nature notes, and poems. After his death, his widow gave his brain to the doctors who wished to determine the effects the X-rays had.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists mainly of letters from Henry Armistead Whitaker to Dorothy Rand Whitaker during his service in the United States Army during World War I. The letters are articulate, detailed and highly descriptive accounts of every phase of his army experience. In general he approved of the treatment he received, liked his superior officers, and enjoyed the companionship of his comrades. He frequently describes various routines, such as medical examinations, schedules for cooks, handling of supplies, diagrams of the medical corps personnel with their duties, programs of celebrations, five lists of duties in performance of various tasks such as cleaning, inventorying and preparing records. He frequently includes sketches, such as one of the "cute little Sibley one-piece, stoves." He describes the effects of the flu epidemic and his own stay in the hospital. He also describes the treatment of a "conscientious objector" and an experience he had in explaining to several Russians the "incident of the Bolsheviks hauling down the flag from the American embassy." In spite of his lack of serious complaints he was overjoyed at the prospect of peace and return to civilian life. The collection also contains two manuscript copies of a piece of music, "A Christmas Lullaby," composed by Whitaker with a copyright registration card for "one copy of the Musical Composition"; 10 poems written (at an unknown date) to Natalie, an early sweetheart; typewritten transcripts of a foreword; poems and notes written to "the Doctor," 46 pages; 2 large envelopes containing more poems, photographs, sketches, a wedding invitation, and a biographical sketch of Henry Whitaker, 14 pieces.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by record type.

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Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 Correspondence: 1916 Summer-December 16, 1916
1 2 Correspondence: 1917 January 7-August 1917
1 3 Correspondence: 1918 August 6-September 30, 1918
1 4 Correspondence: 1918 October 1-October 31, 1918
1 5 Correspondence: 1918 November 4-November 29, 1918
1 6 Correspondence: 1918 December 1-December 30, 1918
1 7 Music: "A Christmas Lullaby," hand and typewritten copies, copyright registration
1 8 Poems: "Letters to Natalie" by Harry Whitaker
1 9 Poems: Typescript copies of poems and "a preface"
1 10 Historical Background: Photos, copies of poems