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The Herschfield Family Letters

Identifier: RH-A-4120


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1912-1919


Biographical / Historical

The Herschfields were residents of Kalamazoo from 1905 until at least the 1940 Census. The letters and postcards were all written by family members and by a David Herschfield, who was born August 12th 1898 and died in April 29th 1968, had spent time with the American Expeditionary Force from 1918-1919 during WWI. The American Expeditionary Force (or The AEF) was a formation of the United States Army which helped allied forces in the final 2 years of WWI, the AEF saw combat on every front during the war.

The Herschfield family was composed of 5 family members: Aaron (Father), Sadie (Mother), David (Son), Harriet and Edith (Siblings). David would write letters and send postcards to his family mainly his mother and father telling them that he was safe and in good health and he would share what he could about what he did in between correspondences (Since sending information about where he was/is doing could have be intercepted by enemy forces). In return, David’s family, mainly his mother and father would write letters to him and they mainly consisted of how the family was doing, hoping he was safe, and what had happened in between correspondences.

The Herschfield family had also owned and operated a family store in Kalamazoo which was located on South Burdick Street. The shop (according to a newspaper article) was one of the most attractive in the city. It had three stories and a basement was strictly fire-proof. Each floor was devoted to men’s and children clothing departments.


2 boxes

Language of Materials


Physical Description

The collection amounts to about 0.75 feet and is composed of letters and postcards written by the Herschfield family. The date of the material ranges from 1912 to 1919. The letters range in size from 6” x 9” and 8” x 11” and the letters are not in the best condition, some of the envelopes are torn and discolored, the letters themselves only have slight tearing but they are discolored. The postcards are 3” x 5½ and they are mostly in good condition with no tearing but there is discoloration. There is also a small collection of photographs that are not named but could be of David Herschfield when he served with the American Expeditionary Force during WWI. Originally the collection came in a box with no particular order and were later organized into categories that were similar and then placed into archive safe folders. The photos were placed into protective sleeves.


The collection was donated by Lori Milroy whose father-in-law lived in the Herschfield home on 141 S. Prospect St. and found the material. After determining that these were not family letters, Ms. Milroy decided to send them to the Archives.

The Herschfield Family Letters Finding Aid
Ian Daly
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
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Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490