The Nathaniel Pettit Joy Collection (1913-1919 [Bulk: 1918-1919], undated) consists primarily of letters he and his wife Mary received from two New Jersey soldiers and two New Jersey sailors written to Nathaniel Pettit Joy and his wife Mary of Groveville, New Jersey. The soldiers, Raymond "Bud" Danley and William "Bill" Inman were privates in the Headquarters Company of the 309th Infantry Infantry, 78th Division of the American Expeditionary Force; they wrote from England, France and Fort Dix (New Jersey); the sailors were A. C. Griffiths sailor aboard the battleship USS ARIZONA in 1918-1919; and Cousin Edwin, who served aboard the USS SIBONEY, a hospital ship, 1918-1919; the collection also includes several miscellaneous items, including French postcards, photographs of unidentified soldiers and sailors, and a letter written from a Cpl. Walter P. Rogers, who was a guard at a Russian prisoner of war camp in Chemnitz, Germany early in 1919.
Nathaniel Pettit Joy (born 1874) and his wife Mary were living in Groveville, Mercer County, New Jersey, during World War I and they received numerous letters from friends and a cousin from New Jersey who were soldiers or sailors serving in the war. Joy was a storekeeper and some of the correspondents were former employees of his.
Nathaniel Pettit Joy was born in 1874. According to the 1910 census, he was a weaver in a cotton mill, but he was working as a storekeeper by 1918. Military records show that Joy registered for the draft in 1918, at the age of 44. However, Joy never enlisted in the military. It is unknown if this is due to his age or the conclusion of the war. At the time of World War I, Joy was married and living in Groveville, New Jersey. Of the men who wrote to the Pettit Joys, three were former employees, and one was a cousin of Joy's wife, Mary.
Private Raymond "Bud" Danley served with the Signal Corps in the Headquarters Company, 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Division, American Expeditionary Force. According to his draft registration card, he lived in Groveville, New Jersey and was employed as a clerk at the time of World War I. Danley served in France throughout the war. He was wounded by a German shell and recuperated in a Paris hospital. Danley ultimately recovered from his injury and returned to active duty.
Private William "Bill" Inman also served in the Headquarters Company of the 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Division, American Expeditionary Force. His letters suggest that he enlisted with Private Danley. Inman was stationed in Fort Dix, New Jersey until his outfit shipped to France in August of 1918. In November 1918, Inman saw action in France. By December of the same year, he was working in an Army post office in France. In one of his last letters to Pettit Joy, he noted that he would be retuning to the United States soon.
A.C. "Griff" Griffiths was a sailor onboard the USS ARIZONA in 1918.The USS ARIZONA was used as a gunnery training ship. During World War I, it guarded American coastline from Virginia to New York. Following the armistice, the ARIZONA escorted President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference. Griffiths was onboard the ship during this time, and he wrote to the Pettit Joys about this experience.
A sailor known only as "Cousin Edwin" wrote to Mary Pettit Joy from aboard the USS SIBONEY. The SIBONEY was a troop transport ship that was requisitioned from the Ward Line and Cuba Mail Steamship Company. Edwin discusses the severity of the flu aboard ship and funerals at sea; he also records rescuing seamen from torpedoed ships.
Cpl. Walter P. Rogers wrote a very interesting letter to Mary Pettit Joy concerning his postwar assignment as a guard at a Russian prisoner of war camp, in Chemnitz, Germany, including his lengthy railroad trip from France, Luxembourg, and Germany; and containing his observations of life in occupied Cologne and Chemnitz in 1919.
Collection of WWI correspondence (1918-1919, undated) from four New Jersey soldiers and sailors written to Nathaniel Pettit Joy or his wife, Mary, of Groveville, New Jersey. Private Raymond "Bud Danley, a member of the Signal Corps in the 309th Infantry, 78th Division, wrote from England and France. Private William "Bill Inman, also with the 309th Infantry, 78th Division, wrote from Fort Dix in New Jersey and France. A.C. "Griff" Griffiths, a sailor onboard the USS Arizona, wrote to Mary Joy in 1918. A cousin identified only as "Edwin" wrote to Mary Joy from aboard the USS Siboney in 1918 and 1919. Also included are French postcards and a letter written to Danley from a soldier who is a guard at a Russian prisoner of war camp in Germany.
Purchased with Sara Batten Endowment funds from Dave Stewart of Between the Covers Rare Books in Gloucester City, N.J.
Arrangement, description, inventory & finding aid by Leigh Smith, 4/23/2012; revised by Jonathan Dembo, 10/15/2012; encoded by Jonathan Dembo, 11/26/2012
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.