Several themes are found throughout this collection. Descriptions of France and the customs of the French run throughout John’s letters to Lillian. In her letters to John, Lillian speaks of the Spanish Influenza and its effects on both herself and the rest of their community. She also writes often of her deceased sister, Kate, and the children she left behind. Both John and Lillian express their love for each other in almost every letter and look forward to the life they will have when John returns from France. They also express how proud they are that John was able to be sent overseas, rather than waiting out the war in the United States. Many aspects of war, both on the home front and abroad, are expressed in the collection: homesickness, loneliness, boredom, descriptions of other cultures, and censorship.
While most of this collection is correspondence, there are also postcards, photos, and newspaper clippings. The collection is arranged into three series, correspondence of Mr. John Gibbs to Mrs. John Gibbs, correspondence of Mrs. John Gibbs to Mr. John Gibbs, and other correspondence and supplementary materials. Each series is arranged chronologically.
John L. Gibbs (1891 February 27 - 1973 January 28) was a Lieutenant in the Engineer Corps during World War I, during which he kept up daily correspondence with his wife, Lillian Dell Corker Gibbs (1897 September 2 - 1984 July 19). During the war, John was stationed in France. His primary job was to oversee construction projects run by Allied troops. Lillian, who remained in Texas for the duration of the war, resided in Burnet, Texas with her sister, Liza Mary Corker Smith (1890 March 15 - 1959 February 28), and Liza’s husband, Willis Henry Smith (1886 December 19 - 1971 January 21). During the first few months after John’s departure, she assisted in caring for the children of her recently departed sister, Catherine "Kate" Corker Gillum (1892 February 6 – 1918 June 25). When the children moved back to Taylor, Texas with their father, Ira Lawson "Jack" Gillum (1892 January 28 - 1985 March), Lillian made occasional visits. She also spent her time volunteering for the Red Cross making garments for refugees.
The Cornelius Bradford Marsh Jr. Collection, collection 2013.05-a, James G. Gee Library Special Collections, Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Part of the Special Collections, Gee Library, Texas A&M University-Commerce Repository
Please cite as: The John and Lillian Gibbs Collection, collection 2013.05-b, James G. Gee Library Special Collections, Texas A&M University-Commerce. http://archives.tamuc.edu/repositories/2/resources/71 Accessed September 20, 2017.
Special Collections Department
James G. Gee Library Texas A&M University-Commerce