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John "Elmer" Martin Collection

Identifier: 2015.05

Scope and Contents

The John "Elmer" Martin Collection consists of eleven letters to the Martin Family in Oklahoma during World War I. Ten are from Elmer, and one is from his friend Herbert A. Norris. The collection also consists of transcriptions of the letters, with archivist’s edits, created by the collection’s donor, Mr. Bob Martin, Elmer’s nephew. The collection is arranged with the letters in chronological order, starting in 1917 and ending in 1919, with the donor’s transcriptions at the end. The letters from Elmer, mostly addressed to his brother Roy, mention what life is like at training camp, and later what life is like in France during the war. He inquires about life at home on his father’s farm in Mounds, Oklahoma. He also checks if the money he is sending back home is being used to pay for his insurance policy. He mentions visiting French locals, singing songs with them, learning French, and teaching the locals English, amongst other activities. His letters home during the month of November 1918, focus on the news that the war might be ending soon, and subsequently that it has ended and he should be coming home soon. There is mention of him being sick at one time, and the final letter from Herbert mentions Elmer’s death from illness.


  • 1917-2010, inclusive
  • Majority of material found within 1917-1919,


Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection are protected by applicable copyright laws.

Biographical / Historical

John "Elmer" Martin was born to Wesley R. Martin, a farmer, and Mary A. Martin circa 1897. He attended both Oklahoma A&M-Stillwater, now known as Oklahoma State University, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he studied medicine. In the fall of 1917, Elmer enlisted in the United States Medical Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces. He received training at Fort Slocum, New York, and at Camp Greenleaf in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, where he met his military friend, Private First Class Herbert A. Norris. John E. Martin was then stationed in France until he died of illness on 12 December 1918. His was buried at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in Lorraine, France.


John "Elmer" Martin Collection, collection 2015.05, Velma K. Waters Library Special Collections, Texas A&M University-Commerce.


0.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Physical Facet

Some of the envelopes are very worn and torn. Some are only held together by one strip of material. The collection, overall, is very aged and brown. The letters have minimal wear and tear, but are often times stained.

John "Elmer" Martin Collection
Natalie R. Bonner
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, Waters Library, Texas A&M University-Commerce Repository