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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Carl and Laura White papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1918-1993
Extent: 5.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0904
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Letters to Iowa resident Lorinda Birgen from Carl White who served in the U.S. Army in France during and after World War I.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 1349) were donated by Pearl White in 2013.

Preferred Citation: Carl and Laura White papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

The Carl and Lorinda White papers date from 1918 to 1993 and measure 5 linear inches. The bulk of the collection focuses on the years 1918 to 1919, when Carl White served in the army.

The majority of the General series consists of letters Carl White wrote to Laura Birgen during his army service, dating from June 1918 to July of 1919. He wrote frequently, whether in basic training or in France following the armistice. In his letters, he describes army life and outlines his hopes for his and Birgen’s future together. Although none of Birgen's letters are in the collection, White's letters often refer to or respond to events or anecdotes she shared with him.

The collection also includes family obituaries and newspaper clippings relating to both the Birgen and White families, prayer cards from northern Iowa churches, as well as a small collection of postcards, mostly from France. Shelved in the map case are two army newspapers: The Battery Buzzer (September 10, 1918), a newspaper published by soldiers in the United States; and The Gangplank News (April 12, 1919), a newspaper published by a United States embarkation camp in France.

The Artifacts series consists of a pair of uniform shorts; an army mess kit, which contains a tin plate, skillet, canteen, knife, fork, and spoon; a canvas bag marked Carl A. White; and a framed family portrait.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Prayer cards - 1940s
  • New Hampton High School commencement ceremony invitation - 1917
  • Family obituaries, newspaper clippings - 1947-1989
  • Correspondence: Carl White to Lorinda Birgen (2 folders) - 1918
  • Correspondence: Carl White to Lorinda Birgen (4 folders) - 1919
  • Correspondence: Martina Birgen to Carl White - 1919
  • Army newspapers - 1918-1919
    Shelved in map case
  • Army pamphlets & guides - 1918-1919
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars: World War I commemorative issue - 1993
  • Postcards - 1918-1919
  • Photographs - 1918-1919
  • Series 2: ARTIFACTS
  • Box 2:
  • Army mess kit
  • Army uniform shorts
  • Canvas bag, marked "Carl A. White"
  • Framed family portrait

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.