This collection mainly contains the correspondence of Sgt. Joseph P. Feltes, Co. L, 342nd Inf., U.S. Army, while serving in France during and immediately following World War I. Writing between Oct. 1918 and June 1919, to his wife, Mary, in Rochelle, Ill., Feltes describes army life, French food and culture, and the European countryside and weather. Many of the letters are written from Le Mans, France, but several are simply marked "somewhere in France." The collection also contains two Apr. 1918 letters to Feltes, who was training at Camp Grant, Ill., from a friend already serving in France. These letters warn Feltes of what to expect, including rain, rats, the confusing French currency, and language barriers with French women.
The collection was bought by the Rare Book and Special Collections Library in 1997, and transferred to the Survey in 2004.