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Clyde Cory Collection

Identifier: RH-A-3869

Scope and Contents

Letters written by Clyde Vern Cory to his wife, Molly, and his family while he was serving in World War I, November 21,1917- April 21, 1919. The letters reveal that he did not face combat, but was part of a military band that played often for newly recruited soldiers and nurses in hospitals and town squares. However, it is not clear what instrument Clyde played. Clyde spent the majority of his time enlisted training in Camp Custer, Battle Creek, MI, and Camp Mills, Long Island, NY. He served mostly in France in the areas of Mont-le-Vignoble, Domfront, and Cosne (Cours-sur-Loire).

Clyde wrote to Molly almost daily while he was serving. In each letter he discusses the weather, his location, movement, and schedule (which were sometimes censored), food he has eaten, which was usually good and well supplied. He also discusses his daily activities, mostly rehearsals and concerts, letters he has received from Molly and other members of the family. A handful of letters include sketches of soldiers, buildings, fields, and his habitat (tent, barracks, bunk, etc). Clyde also discusses several quarantines he is placed in, including nurses dying from pneumonia, soldiers with mumps, lice (cooties), and Spanish influenza, presumably. He also discusses differences he notices between Americans and the French, including their habits, their buildings, and agricultural techniques.

Clyde also consistently writes about his love and loyalty to his wife. He affectionately calls her Molly, Sweetheart, Dearest little wife, or Chubby. He promises his fidelity, despite attractive and nice French girls around him and his comrades. He does worry about her straying, but insists that he does not blame her for it. He is thankful to have her waiting for him, cannot wait to return to her, reminisces over good memories, hopes for the future, and sends lots of hugs and kisses in every letter.


  • Creation: 1917-1919


Clyde Vern Cory

Clyde Vern Cory was born on December 26, 1889 in Georgetown, Ottawa, Michigan. His father, Colman Cory, was born April of 1860, and his mother, Mary Hughes Cory, was born March of 1866, both in Michigan. The family lived on a farm in Georgetown, and later moved to Hudsonville by 1930.

Clyde married Marguerite (Molly) Bernice Bosworth on June 20, 1917 in Georgetown, Ottawa, Michigan. Molly was born June 24, 1893 in Ottawa County. Clyde worked as a farm salesman until he enlisted in the armed forces only months after their wedding on November 21, 1917. He was released on April 21, 1919.

After the war, Clyde worked as a bookkeeper at a hardware shop. The family lived on East Maine Street in Hudsonville, Ottawa, Michigan. The couple had four children, Thomas born 1920, Gene and Lollabella born 1922, and Eileen born 1924.

Molly died on April 6, 1960 and is buried at the Georgetown Township Cemetery. Clyde died on February 20, 1976 and is buried next to Molly.

Fort Custer Training Center

Fort Custer Training Center, often known simply as Fort Custer, is a federally owned and state-operated Michigan Army National Guard training facility, but is also used by other branches of the armed forces and armed forces from Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. It is one of the most heavily used Midwest training facilities, and is used mainly for company level small arms and maintenance training. Camp Custer was built in 1917 for military training during World War I. The facility trained or demobilized more than 100,000 troops during World War I. In the years following World War I, the camp was used to train the Officer Reserve Corps and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Camp Albert L. Mills (Camp Mills)

Camp Albert L. Mills (Camp Mills) was a military installation on Long Island, New York. It was located about ten miles from the eastern boundary of New York City on the Hempstead Plains within what is now the village of Garden City. Camp Mills was one of three camps under control of the New York Port of Embarkation with a capacity for 40,000 transient troops. The facility was one of several military establishments built during World War I in the Mineola, New York area that included the Aviation General Supply Depot and Concentration Camp; Hazelhurst Field (later Roosevelt Field) and Mitchel Field.


Mont-le-Vignoble is a French commune located in the department of Meurthe-et-Moselle in the region Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne-Ardenne in northeastern France. Domfront is a former commune in the Orne department in northwestern France. Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire is a commune in the Nièvre department in central France.


1 boxes

Language of Materials



This collection contains letters of correspondence from Clyde Cory to his family and wife while serving in World War I from February 1917 to July 1919.

Physical Description

This collection contains 1.0 cubic feet of letters, mostly from Clyde to his wife, Molly, along with a few flyers and a booklet of drawings done by Clyde.

Most letters are readable and are in good condition, but some are a little faded, stained, or torn in some places. Some letters are also censored with a black pen or blue crayon to hide the location or date of the letter.


Information found on Clyde and his family were gathered from census, marriage, death, and enlistment records. Information found on the regions where he served where found through basic Wikipedia searches.


They were purchased with funds from the Starring Endowment.

Clyde Cory Collection Finding Aid
Abbey Buckham
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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