2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI. Here at Rare Books & Special Collections (RBSC), we have a number of items and collections related to the war, and thought we would observe the war’s centennial by highlighting a few for you in a series of blog posts.
RBSC holds the papers of many WWI soldiers, offering glimpses into the experience of those who were on the front, as well as their loved ones back home. Among these are the papers of Jack Stickney, one of the first Canadians sent overseas to fight in the war. This fonds contains material from Jack’s life leading up to the war – when he moved from the United States to Canada – through his time overseas, as well as correspondence and other documents produced after his death. Jack died in action in December 1915.
Much of the material is personal in nature. Reading these original letters, looking through his wartime diary, holding his dog tags and the telegram sent to his mother informing her of the death of her son – these all provide insights into the war experience that you can’t get from a history book.
Here are a few highlights from the collection.
A letter to Jack’s sister, dated April 28, 1915, written while he was in a trench (left), and a typed copy of this letter made later by Jack’s family (right). Click on the image to open up a full size version that you can read:
The telegram sent to Jack’s mother, informing her that her son had been killed:
If you would like to get to know this soldier a little better, visit RBSC and take a look through his papers for yourself. A full inventory of the Jack Stickney fonds is available online at http://rbscarchives.library.ubc.ca/index.php/jack-stickney-fonds.