Diary of Allen Jones, February 17 - March 4, 1936


Diary of Allen Jones, February 17 - March 4, 1936


The first diary of Allen Jones, class of 1938, which covers February 17th to March 4th of his sophomore year, 1936. Jones talks about his day to day life in school, athletics, his classes, and activities with friends. He also discusses some of the tough decisions he faces, regarding if he wants to continue attending the Citadel and his participation in football and boxing.





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Charleston (S.C.)


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February 17 - March 4
Book 1
Year 1936
Jones, A.
The Citadel

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Feb. 29 - Tom Foster’s son

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Monday, February 17 - My desire to keep a diary was awakened again tonight while reading from Streachey’s Queen Victoria. I don’t know yet how I will do with it, whether I’ll make entries regularly, or just every so often, say, three or four times a week.

Over the weekend-end I did little but read Of Time and The River. I enjoyed the first volume of Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel so much last year that I felt like I was missing a lot not to continue. Wolfe writes so different from anything I’ve ever read but I guess I’d save my comments ‘till I’ve finished this volume.

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A couple of classes this morning, then after dinner Ritter quizzed us on the elemental functions of calculus - it wasn’t so tough. We’ve really not gotten underway yet.

Boxing will be over in five days. In a way I'm glad, in a way sorry. I’ve been trained down to the last pound ever since last August, and I’m just worn out. But I’m learning a lot out there. Steve is a swell coach - gave me the devil about my fight with Raby Friday on the U. of South Carolina card. Said I was punching too wild, too hard, not using my head - all of which is only too true! Anyway I took four laps with Deas, worked several

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rounds on the bag, then went upstairs for a few shots at the basket and a little tomfoolery with Julius Evans, Kilgore, etc. The team left for Newberry this morning. 

I should be studying for our English quizz [sic] tomorrow. A month’s reading to do in one night! It’s most eleven now; I’ll have to hide in the press for I’m really just getting started!

Had a ripping time in Long’s room during release from quarters playing baseball! Quite a game! Horner, Long, Wilson, White, and Gibson; a broom for a bat, the radiator for the first base, the shaving pan for a ball, and plenty of the 

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“old pepper”! Great sport!

Oakey and I shared his apple - now he’s sleep and I’ve got to work. And the warning steel just sounded too! AJ

P.S. - Letter from Father enclosing papers from the Bureau of Navigation which I filled out and returned to them. AJ

P.P.S - Order read out in mess hall at dinner restricts this barracks ”until further order”! A cracker went off in Padgett-Thomas during study period tonight - no formation.


Tuesday, February 18 - Oakey just read over my first days‘ entry  

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and complimented me on my writing, saying it was “very good reading” ... makes me feel pretty good...

Got up feeling pretty lousy this morning. I had studied till a quarter to one for the English test which we had this afternoon. Thank God I studied - it sure helped me!

I jotted down a little this morning during Math class and also after dinner while the Lieutenant was running over the English questions - Here it is:

“Analytical papers returned just now; I made a B-, which was far above what I expected...

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then, as I was writing this, our calculus papers were returned - the test on which I thought I did so well... What did I make? C+! That leaves me with a B for the first month, a low B... That, with my chemistry grade, sort of hurts my chances of making stars... Boy, that C+ hurts - I’m hot all over, this woolen shirt seems literally to suffocate me….  Father and Mother are both so anxious for me to make good grades... but; since that hospital report, I don’t seem to care…. 

“There’s a lot of hard feeling between the Infantry and the Artillery about that fire-cracker

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last night. The Infantry boys claim they won’t be restricted, that an artilleryman over in that barracks for the Shako meeting set off the explosion with a cigarette for a time fuze [sic].... I can see their view concerning restrictions: there is lots of difference between a single fire-cracker ‘s being set off and thirteen trash cans’ being tossed overboard! If the infantry is given leave, Lord help the artillery! Nothing would surprise me this week-end!

I should hear from Father today or tomorrow about changing schools… I wonder what he’ll say - I know he’s wondering why I’m dissatisfied…. Boy, I went 

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stale on this place when I had that bad cold a week ago…. Rain, rain, and more rain; water sloshing through my shoes…. socks drying, shoes soaked…. “Change of Quarters, ‘E’ Company” ... Oh, Lord …. more rain, more sloshing ... fever, chills, handkerchief musterole…. Boxing and my legs feel weak as the devil ... weak…. Then the last straw: “Jones, A. - Coming to the hospital unnecessarily, 3 demerits, 3 confinements” …. I hate to leave Steve; Gressette I won’t miss a bit…. Which brings up spring practice ... I’m worn out, overtrained, trained down, in fact, to the last pound ever since August …. well, one more month and spring 

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will come …. plenty of rest….”

Continuing the diary from English class: 

“This business of keeping a diary is lots of fun. I wonder if my intent will continue to be as strong as it is now. I’m inclined to like this method of keeping the record going: this writing of notes to recall everything, especially when I’m in a hurry. 

“Just finished a short English quizz [sic]. I think I missed only one of the twenty “spot” questions - the date of the Peasants Revolt. My studying after “lights out” last night did me 

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plenty of good!

“Imagine my surprise this morning when I found four letters in my box! One from Lucy, one from Betsy, one from Father, and one from Ashby up at P.C. - Lucy told me to quit “beefing” about changing schools ... said I’d laugh about it 10 years from now ... I guess so! …. Betsy’s had her eye operated on, and, not being able to write, hadn’t answered my special delivery... Of course Pop’s letter was welcome! A $1000 check! He had nothing to say about my changing schools; he’ll wait and talk it over with Mother when she gets back 

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from Asheville….

Villaret caught me dreaming in class…. my mind was a thousand miles away... I couldn’t help but remember those days back in the fourth grade…. Miss Howard telling my mother that I could learn if I wanted to but that I dreamt too much….”

In this “notes in class” I’ve recorded most of the day. Worked out over at the gym rather listlessly until I got in the ring with Red Walsh, Steve’s 135 pound professional. Boy, he’s good! Smacked me plenty during the two rounds with that left of his and bloodied my nose…..

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After loafing around for the first period, I managed to settle down and study a little German. But that is all. There’s the steel! 


Wednesday, February 19 - During the first period this morning, our new German teacher gave us a test which, everyone agreed, was a snap. Tovell is new, inexperienced, but I like him better than Major Dufour.

He let us leave as soon as we finished, so I went up to the library. There’s a book there I’ve got to read: When Boys Go Off to School. I’ve read snatches from it the last two times I’ve been up there;

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it seems to be pretty good. From the library down to Chemistry class…. but I’ll let the notes I made in Math class tell about that!

“Why don’t I study once in a while? Twice today I’ve gone down when tests were sprung on us. I can’t exactly say “sprung”, however, because I half-heartedly expected both of them. That Chemistry was really nauseating ... two questions, and I didn’t even scratch ... it’s the second time this month too that I have taken quizzes in there like that and done nothing…. What a grade I’ll have! Boy, I was really sick ... disgusted ... mad ... disappointed with myself…. I hate Byrd’s guts,

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but I have to respect him for his method of teaching …. he is gradually beating me down, beating me into submission, like one would beat a stubborn dog that keeps coming back ... keeps coming back ... maybe I’ll learn someday to come into his class prepared... 

“Then here in math class, Ritter made us write a few rules for differentiation. Again I went down ... got one out of three ... sure looks like I’m working for those gold stars! ... I tried to sell mine this morning to Wyly for $1.00..

During a vacant period just before dinner today, I wrote Father - his birthday is Saturday,

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And of all the stupid things! I wished him a happy birthday, told him about “going-ons” around school, then forgot to thank him for the check he sent me in his last letter! Thank goodness I remembered before I mailed the letter and added a little post script.

Ended the boxing season this afternoon with mixed feelings of quiet contentment and disappointment. In a way I expected to do better than I did this first year, then again I feel proud of myself for progressing so far. Anyway, after taking the track four or five times with Britt, I got in the ring and went three rounds with 

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Townsend. He hit me a lot but was pulling his punches - said he didn’t feel so good when he went in…. And was I tired when I finished! I’ve rarely been so worn out - all I could do was hold my gloves in front of my face and let him pound away! ... I can see that I’m overtrained; I’ve tried to take it easy, but my body just refuses to put on weight. 

Dropped into C.M. Brooks’ room after supper; he was packing up to leave, to quit school. I really didn’t blame him. His father personally asked the Commandant for leave for “Brugy” - it was 

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refused. “Go see the surgeon,” the “Dougle” said. And so Brooks decided to leave. But this school’s got him - stopped by later tonight; his clothes back in his press, he’s staying!

Loafed away another E.S.P., reading the newspaper, Liberty, and Of Time and The River. Now, less than five minutes before Tattoo, I’m finishing the day’s entry. I’ve got to write Betsy, and I’ve got to study for that military quizz[sic] tomorrow. Think I’ll write her during this late-lights period and study in the press. Maretts’ radio is just finishing up “Goodnight, Sweetheart” - Oh, Boy! Well,

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so I had to rush up to Carr’s room for one. Double-timed to Villaret’s class where he was giving a quizz [sic]. His attitude when I came in was very unbecoming, I thought ... instead of finding out where I’d been, he had to pipe up: “Well, what’s your name?” (year & a half at the Citadel & he doesn’t know my name!). “Had to make out a report for the company, sir.” ... no answer, he didn’t say a thing, just kept on handing out papers. I don’t like his attitude; he’s too overbearing, fanatically military …. but so life goes... I did O.K. on the test, however, considering 

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that I studied only half an hour - and that after “lights light,” last night, blanketed up in the press.”

German class, then I came back to barracks to sleep, something which I have been waiting to do all year! I managed to doze off for a while in that hour before supper.

Did I go wrong after supper! I smoked a cigar! I felt a little reckless, boxing season having just ended, so I indulged. No really bad after effects, though I did feel a little “woozy” in the head afterwards!

Wrote Aunt Gussie telling her how sorry I was that I couldn’t 

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come to supper. I spent more than two hours after that composing one of the two themes that are due at the end of this month - at the end of this week: ”Parkman’s Analysis of Indian Character.” From “taps” to “lights-out” studying for Physics test and writing my diary.


Friday, February 21 - With a nice big yawn which brought tears to my eyes I begin another days’ entry. Three times since I started I’ve yawned! But I have a right to be sleepy, all the right in the world to lie down and rest - From twelve-fifteen till two o’clock I read Wordsworth and 

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De Quincy, that is, of course, last night. I had tried to sleep while Dick studied in the press for a chemistry test; but I didn’t succeed at all - I must have been still under the influence of an hour’s sleep in the afternoon and two cups of tea for supper. 

Anyway I did well, I think, on the English quizz [sic]. Returned to the room for an hour, then marched over to Bond Hall for a Physics test. One problem I believe I missed - the others I got O.K. - I hope!

We’ve had nasty weather all day - rain at breakfast, rain at dinner, rain at supper... 

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honestly, the weather in Charleston since Christmas has been lousy ... worse than anywhere I’ve ever been …. cold, rain, cold again, more rain…. 

My shako came this morning and also my high school record certificate which I must send to Newton to be filled out and forwarded to the Naval Academy. I just happened to think: “Mr. Campbell will be quite surprised when he sees those yearly grades - 72 and 73!

I was free all afternoon, so I played a little “baseball” in Long’s room. You learn new tricks every day with that

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pan - drops, upshoots, curves, every thing ... even a fast ball that comes in there like a bullet! In an improvised pair of storm shoes, my football shoes, I went after the laundry.

Feeling more let-down, more “don’t-give-a-damn,” more reckless, I smoked another cigar with Oakey. Inhaled a few times, which really made me feel bad! I lay down shortly before supper, stumbled over to the mess hall in the rain - the food in my stomach, the hot toast, the sweet, warm tea made me feel great again. My stomach has become my chief source 

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of pleasure within the last year - I get a fierce joy from eating. I recall the swell meals up at camp during the summer, the delicious food at Verna’s Christmas; it must have been good, I gained five pounds!

The Infantry has gone on leave tonight. This barracks is completely dominated, completely subdued; “call to quarters” exists, and it’s most as quiet as on week nights. The trouble I predicted a few days ago hasn’t materialized, nor does it look like anything will occur this week-end that will mar the peace of 300 boys, 300 young 

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men confined to this jail, deprived of all leave privileges, and taking it on the chin like a bunch of “punch-drunk”!

I’ve done nothing since supper except continue my reading of Of Time and the River. With nothing to do this week-end I’ll probably finish it. Nine o’clock ... “taps” will be at eleven tonight ... think I’ll try to write a couple of letters to Jane and Lucy.


Sunday, February 23 - Well, at last it’s happened! I missed a day's entry! But I have a good excuse - at least it sounds good 

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enough for me. They gave us leave after two boys confessed! Jack Muldrow and Bob Dukes. 

I'll begin by going over Saturday’s events - Father’s birthday, and also George Washington’s Birthday. The day, being a holiday, there were no classes, no inspection. But I cleaned up the room just the same upon my return from breakfast - it’s bad starting the day with your room torn all up!

After writing to Mr. Campbell in Newton asking him to fill out the blank for the Naval Academy I loafed away the remainder of the morning, attempting a little 

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English parallel, continuing Of Time and the River - I ended up by dropping off to sleep on Oakey’s bed while he wrote up long-overdue Physics experiments. Shortly after dinner I returned to bed to sleep - Oakey followed my example. 

The bugle woke us. I was positive it was for supper, but, somewhere back in my head, I had an idea that “first call” had been blown. “Aren’t you going to supper, Oakey?” ….. “Supper!,” he answered, “It’s only five o’clock! And so it was! We dressed hurriedly and drove down to the formation where they announced that we would 

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be given leave. Oh, boy, were the “kaydets” glad! You should have heard them yell!

With lots of money in my wallet, I decided to take off for town. A cold shower, a cold shave, failed to dampen my spirits, and a bunch of those famed E” Company Sophomores got going about six thirty. There were six of us - White, Brooks, H.P., Marett, Horner, Wilson, and myself. 

We ate at the G & S. A swell dinner it was too. My first away from school in a long time. Every thing down to pie and coffee, all for fifty cents!

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We decided to risk a show afterwards, although we had been warned against crowded places when we left school. Captain Blood, it was, and a very good show too. A nut sundae in Gainey’s, then back to school for a “bull” session in Marett’s room before bed.

That end’s Washington’s Birthday. This morning being Sunday we marched over to the gym for church. Summerall again gave his customary introduction, and again my mind wandered during the sermon - I heard very little of it. After church - 

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let’s see - Oh, yes! Tried to get someone to play tennis, but, unsuccessful, I loafed around and was engaged in a runaway chess game with Wilson when the call for dinner came. 

The afternoon was worthless, almost, to me. Cleaned the windows while Oakey refolded the shirts in the press - his pal School is O.D. and says he’ll give us 3 merits apiece for a perfect room. Read more of Eugene’s life - he’s in Europe now. 

Incidentally, the ash can business has come to light. Yesterday the “Dougle” said that if two boys confessed, the 

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barracks would be given leave. Well, the guilty ones got hold of that and drew straws to see who would go before the Cadet Committee - Mudrow and Dukes lost. Then last night Kendal voluntarily confessed. Immediately after church this morning the whole group was brought before the Committee - they had “scouted” the meeting where the straws had been drawn. White was in it much to my surprise - the boys will probably get 3 months plus tours, how many I don’t know.

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Went to Bible class after supper - that ends the day for I began writing this just a few minutes after my return. I have a theme to write now and another one to copy. And so goodbye.


Monday, February 24 - I’ve felt positively lousy ever since dinner - headache. And on a day like this too; I could swear spring was here for good: sunshine, warmth, and a gentle breeze from the river, Oh, Boy!

Well, I spent practically all of the first period this morning cleaning up for Scholl’s 

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inspection - swept the floor again, dusted, cleaned spots that were on floor, straightened my press, washed the basin. He gave us two merits apiece, Chemistry class, then English, then a vacant period during which I ate an orange and continued Of Time and The River.

Drill - Kendrick, who has just been busted from regimental adjutant for having liquor in another cadet’s car, marches No. 1 in the squad beside me, I feel sorry for him, and in a way I admire him for reading out his own special order in the mess hall - he shook like a leaf, his voice trembled, almost 

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broke, but he read it. Restriction and tours until he graduates - the three months that should have been the most happy for him! Drill wasn’t so bad although during calisthenics Mr. Eicholz jumped all over my cap!

After lunch I went to the Q.M. to see about buying a pair of shoes - I can get them Friday. On the way back to barracks Coach (“Bull”) stopped me to see if I were coming out this afternoon. Then he asked me what position I thought I should play; I hemmed and hawed and told him it was all up to him. “Well, it’s between 

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The back fied [sic] and end,” he said. “Your weight will go against you in the line.” “I know it, Coach. I don’t think I’m rangy enough to play end.” “What position in the backfield do you want to play?” “I thought I would just work along at all of them, Coach. I can learn the signals.” “That’s a good idea, Jones. You were the only one last year who knew the assignments from every position. I can use a good man anywhere.”

So ended the interview - not in the exact words, of course, but I have given the 

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general run of the thing. Over to Bond Hall for Math, then back and over for football practice. Gressette himself was there and fixed me up with a uniform. 

I took it fairly easy during practice because of my headache, The “bull” showed me the steps from fullback, and I worked on them with Bramam and Gibson. Coach worked the passers throwing to the halfbacks in the flat, so I got a good workout catching the old ball on the dead run. A little signal drill, a little hitting of the dummies, & 

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then in. I ate very little supper.

I’ve spent most of this evening lying on the mattress on the floor. Oakey and I really had the system - when Kendrick, the O.D., and when Groves came around, he [Oakey] jumped up, tossed the blanket onto the press, I followed with the pillow, then the two of us shoved the mattress back in place! All in just about five seconds! Of course the rush didn’t do my headache any good, but it saved me a “four and five.”

I forgot to mention my day’s mail, which consisted of a letter from Ann Foley at 

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Newcomb. She’s ready for Mardi Gras, and wants me to bring Oakey to Columbus. “Give the boy my love,” she says.

There being little more to be said, I shall close this entry, the first of the second week in the life of this diary.


Tuesday, February 25 - Not much to talk about today, cleaned up the room very industriously this  morning and both of us were commended for our presses! What do you know about that!

Another nice warm day which put most everyone 

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in a good humor; I hope it stays this way …. warm sunshine, the breeze from the river. In the air is the very promise of spring; I haven’t it in me to gripe and growl about changing schools while we’re having such weather. Here’s hoping it lasts!

Physics class, math class, then back to barracks for military class. We began Seacoast today under Captain Patrick. He is one fine fellow - not like some other officers, notably Villaret and Dingerman, he’s free from being obsessed by “customs and courtesies of the service.” Oakey says he’s as “white” as they make ‘em.

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From my first impression I would agree whole-heartedly with him and not ask any questions. I’m glad that we have him. 

We began work under another new teacher today also. I believe his name’s Wilson. Anyway the name is of little importance. He teaches us German, seems well-educated, intelligent. Incidentally, he speaks German most of the time we’re in class. My impression of him is more of a passive nature than that of Captain Patrick. Wilson seems more capable, more poised, than the average teacher. He assumed control of the class 

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just as if he had been teaching us all year - rearranged the seats, and started right in to work; no “monkey-business,” no “let’s-get-acquainted” party. I like him.

A letter came this morning from Ed Parks. I had given up hope - almost given up hope - of hearing from him. I was glad, in fact very glad to get his letter. He is one fine boy. Although not studious, inclined to loaf, he is a “rock” on the football field and in the ring. I remember the day he let Lempesis hit him time 

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after time on that stubby head of his. What is more, though, Parks is as sincere as they come. But to mention his letter: he’s going to school, a junior college, and working on the side soliciting ads for a printing company. Says he didn’t appreciate the Citadel until he got away from it! After going to summer school at the university, he’s coming back here next fall, I hope so.

While I’m on the subject of returning to school, I change my mind about this place at least a dozen times a day. I want to come 

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back to play football and box; then the thought of academics comes up - what can I take down here? Physics? Chemistry? English? I think of what I’ll have to show for a social life in Charleston when I graduate, and I decide definitely not to come back. But the thought of football, of boxing, and of not being able to take the military life, makes me dubious. I guess when September comes again, I’ll be right here. Even as I write my mind is asking: But what of that Mechanical Engineering Degree? Well, no use to worry now; I have six months 

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before a final decision must be made.

Trotted out to football practice, then trotted right back in for shoulder pads, “Where’re your shoulder pads, Jones “....” I haven’t got any yet, Coach,” “Well, go put some on. We’ve got to get down to work.” I returned in time to get in a few cracks at the dummy. Ran signals, experimented with a new shift from huddle, then in. Boxing mess broken up - had to eat on the football table. No more milk, no more toast!

There’s the steel for 

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lights. I’ll have to close. 


Wednesday, February 26 - Lets see, I am at a loss. What did I do this morning? Oh, yes! After cleaning up the room, I rounded up half a dozen ice cream cups - nothing like preparedness. Like I was telling Oakey, the motto of the Boy Scouts is: “Be Prepared”

We had a ready battle last night; it was great fun! “C.M.” started the fireworks by calling Oakey into the gallery, then cutting loose at him with a cup of water! We had four cups in our room ourselves, so we struck back. I caught 

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White in his door - he didn’t have a chance! Then, hiding behind the post, I caught him again as he tried to walk into the room after throwing at me. About that time Wyly started down to the guard room with the Charge of Quarters reports, and Oakey let him have it! Boy, he really soaked him! Deas was out of his room, so I faked at White and cut loose at him. The cup of water went wide, smacking him down in front of Kendricks door. He came checking out and broke up the party by threatening to report every one 

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of us. Gosh, but it was fun!

But back to this morning. German class was interrupted by General Summerall’s entrance. He stayed a while, but the presence of such a personage didn’t even phase Major Wilson! He didn’t seem bothered at all. Incidentally, my grade for the first month was 86. In Chemistry class the threatened test failed to materialize. Byrd is really smart! Gives us a test when we don’t expect one, and omits it when we’ve been warned to be prepared!

During a vacant period I got a much-needed haircut.

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My mail consisted of an advertisement from Marion Institute. Back to Bond Hall, and I spent the Physics period reading Of Time and the River. In barracks again I shaved, then joined in a bull session with Marshall and Horton, plus, of course, Oakey.

Customary math class after lunch. During  the vacant four o’clock period, I took a physics quizz [sic], given by Razor to enable us to bring up our grades. It was a snap.

And so over to football practice. Passed a little with Eppes who is out for track. He surprised me - he can really sling a 

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football! Then hit the sled a little and over to the tackling dummy. I must be a “rock” - I hit the dummy, something broke, and down came the apparatus: a pulley, part of four - by: four and the rope! What a man!

After warming up running a few plays, we had a half-hour’s scrimmage. I remained on defense and didn’t do so hot except for two good tackles: I caught Keith head on once, and Gibson later the same way. Otherwise I was knocked off my feet as if I were tissue paper. Coach put me on 

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offense for a little while I was playing left-half incidentally. On the first play, I carried the ball - there being no hole, I dove over the end, hitting flush on my shoulder. Gosh, I really hurt it. Right now it hurts painfully to move it in an upward direction. Back to the scrimmage - I carried the ball again, and for some reason or other, I didn’t think! Instead of going off tackle, I swung around end! Didn’t even notice my mistake until Coach said: “That’s enough, Jones; come, here, [illegible], Credie - I want some one who can pick his holes. Get over on the defense, Jones.”

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It was a bad mistake and I have only myself to blame. However, I’m not worrying - I have plenty of time to learn that position. After supper, I walked over to the hospital and got some liniment for my shoulder. 

A letter to Parks, a bit of studying for the Calculus quizz [sic] tomorrow, and I’m calling it a day. 


Thursday, February 27 - Lord, I’ve felt lousy all day - that scrimmage yesterday got me. My shoulder is still very sore, my arms ache, my legs ache, and, strange to say, my stomach is sore too. I thought 

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that surely after a season of boxing, the “old gut” would be in good condition. And so I’ve been under the weather ever since I got up - not particularly sour on the world - but just uninterested with life, walking about, studying, and doing every thing mechanically. 

Our math class was changed again from Friday afternoon to the first period this morning. During the following vacant period, I took Raly (the elder) on in a game of chess and soundly trounced him, if I might use those words. Over to the academic building again for 

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another of those uninteresting chemistry labs - rain ... it’s been raining most of the day and makes me recall that we went to chemistry lab last week in the rain.

Practical instruction was started for us during drill period on Seacoast Artillery: I marched a section over to the artillery garage where we learned a little about the B’ sighting instrument: a telescope which is kept sighted on the target and from which the azimuth is read. Back to barracks in the rain.

What has made me 

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lose all interest in life lately? Why don’t I study? Why can’t I study? Calculus test this afternoon for which I didn’t even study. . . which I didn’t even care if I passed. . . . I’ll be lucky to get any thing on it. There’s something radically wrong with me. . . . Maybe I can just say it’s one of my moody spells; I can’t forget what I read in Readers Digest: that every one has a cycle of emotions - for a while he will be happy, in love with life, carfree. . . . then the cycle will turn, and he will become despondent, irritable, 

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interested in nothing. That must be my trouble.

All day long my thoughts are filled with the idea of changing schools, of football - is it worth the trouble, the grind the hard knocks? Is there any real difference between this school and Auburn? Are the boys who leave the Citadel and then wish they were back really sincere in saying so? My mind is in a constant turmoil; I just don’t know what to think.

Last night Oakey and I had a nice talk about football. He’s set against this 

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Inhuman policy of Gressette’s - of practicing when you’re hurt - That’s what happened to Yeager. I don’t think Oakey will ever forget what the Bull told Phil: “Your shoulders hurt, eh? Well block with your head!”

I myself am fast becoming fed up with his idea of courage, of guts, of the “old chitlins.” Maybe if I rest a year, I will come back with a better attitude towards the game. Take this afternoon: I went over to the gym and told Coach I thought I shouldn’t practice, that my arm was hurt. His reply was typical: “You 

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can run can’t you?” There wasn’t much I could say to that. Finally he left it up to me. I told him I thought it best that I get it baked at the hospital, and left.

Nothing of importance has occured [sic] since then. I went to the hospital as I planned. Supper, then a little reading to finish Of Time and The River. It was a good book, in spots too vulgar, too satirical, but it had its good spots. Marshall told me today that he (Wolfe) was a sensualist - he is, but he writes very realistic. More true to life, I think, than 

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perhaps any other author I have ever read. There are four volumes of the series yet to be published which I must read. 

I haven’t studied a bit tonight. It’s now ten-thirty. I just have no ambition. My mind keeps wandering: What school shall I go to next year? Georgia? Auburn? Tech? What business shall I go in? Be a lawyer? An engineer? My decision as to what school I go to next year will probably be decided by that. Guess I’m just cut out for an engineer.

Two letters this morning: one from mother, one 

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from Cecilia Travis in Savannah. I was awfully glad to hear from mother as she’s sent only post cards since going on the trip. Father, she said, was sick but went to bed and threw off the cold in a couple of days. Cecilia’s graduated from high school - with the midyear class. Rena’s on the way to New York and  the “100th Day” at the Point. I wonder if I should invite Cecilia up to a dance here?

Oakey’s beefing about chemistry, it’s getting late, and I want him to work on my lame shoulders, so I’d 

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better close.


Saturday, February 29 - Oakey just asked me - rather, emphatically requested me - to leave this diary to him in my will. I may do that; but like I told him, “after my wife, you’re first!”

Which thought sets me to musing as to the use of a diary: should it be written for just anyone to read, or should it include those things which you would rather not have someone else to read? There’s a lot of difference in the two types. Personally, I would like to have a record of every thing 

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I did, every thing I felt, every thing I thought, a record to keep forever. I would treasure such a diary always. 

Yesterday, to be more exact, I forgot all about making the days entry; I was absorbed in Forgive Us Our Trespasses, a fine novel written by the author of Magnificent Obsession, Lloyd Douglas.

But for a short summary of Friday: English class (1st period) was interrupted by General Summerall’s entrance and further interrupted when he sent Kilgore over to the Commandant for having his sleeves rolled up. It was 

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quite embarrassing: The general, in his sonorous voice, addressed Lieutenant Sanders stating how deeply mortified he was, how the disipline [sic] of this military college had to be upheld; and in conclusion, he ordered Kilgore to report as he was to the Commandant. Boy, was Kilgore taken down! I pity him!

During the immediately following vacant period I dropped over to the hospital to have my shoulder baked; back to barracks, then to the library where I took out two books: When Boys Go Off to School by Archibald Rutledge, and Forgive Us Our 

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Trespasses. During the ensuing Physics class, I feinted, or faked (whichever you prefer) paying attention. Instead I began Rutledge’s book.

It’s short, so I finished it during the afternoon. Oh, yes, I almost forgot! Oakey and I got excited and went down town to have our pictures made for the annual; just a flying visit it was - we went from the studios to Gaineys for a “Big Boy” milkshake, then up to Condon’s to see about my shoes. Back to school with Tommy Symmes for supper. 

I read continuously from seven till twelve, time being 

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taken out for confinement formations. I also found time, strange to say, to mix it up with White, Meng, and a few others in water battles; of course I can’t forget the “five and ten” Lieutenant Graves is giving me for visiting in Deas’ room while serving! Incidentally, I had a water bomb in my hand at the time he caught me, but luckily he mistook it for a cup of ice cream! To make the night complete, Seay (O.D.) reamed me for meeting the 11:00 P.M. formatain less tie. 

Today, Saturday, Dick and I cleaned up the room as usual.

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I suspect, however, that he put in quite a bit of extra work after I left for class. Though Long was pulled six times, the old “rock” and I were each commended twice! Shumate couldn’t find a thing wrong any where!

After a dreary Physics lab and a drearier Chemistry coaching class, I returned to barracks to begin another book: Larry. Gosh, I’ve never read any thing like it before; Larry was a student at Lafayette College for two years - a leader,  in fact, in every thing: Y.M.C.A., the church, debating, athletics.

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During the summer after his sophomore year, while in Arizona, he was dragged by a frightened horse, thrown against a stump, and instantly killed. 

The book itself reveals his ideals, his philosophy of life. It is simply a collection of themes written by him, and of letters to his family and his girl; but it is a wonderful book

After sewing a bit this afternoon, I took a shower, then my reading of Larry, finishing it tonight. He has inspired me to lead a better life, to have the courage of 

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my convictions. He has set a wonderful example: a leader, an athlete, a scholar, and what is most important, a gentleman. I shall try to remember him - I hope someday to obtain a copy of Larry for myself. 

Why is it that when I read something like Larry, my life seems so shallow? I am fast becoming convinced that I have no depth of feeling. . . . maybe I should say that a different way: I have never been very emotional. I am young yet, comparatively young; maybe the years will bring to me more appreciation, more love, of others.

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I’ve done nothing tonight since finishing Larry - Oakey is interested in him too, so I’m going to keep the book as long as I can. I can’t help but copy Larry’s  telegram into this diary. It’s, .... well, read it:

Mr. Thomas J. Foster
174 Prospect Street
Ridgewood, New Jersey

“Loads of happiness and success to the very finest dad that a fellow could have. My most - used criterion for self-criticism is: ‘would that make me just a bit more worthy of my dad!’ You see how you have permanently 

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ruined me! But no matter how many things people say of me, good or bad, the thing that makes me swell most with pride is to be called:

‘Tom Foster’s son’”

That’s all.

Sunday, March 1 - I realized at breakfast this morning with a sudden shock that it was spring! Not actually, of course - spring isn’t supposed to start according to the weather man until the 21st. But to me, the month of March, being one of the spring months, begins similtaneously [sic] 

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with the beginning of spring. I want to see some Crocus flowers; I remember in East Orange when Mother used to show me the little Crocus flowers in our yard which were the first signs of a coming spring.

The weather’s been fine all day. After writing a letter to Fred Miller, I went out and played tennis with Ed Horton until almost time for dinner. I got sunburned too! My sensitive skin burns awfully easy, and that two hours exposure this morning left a decided tinge on my face and shoulders. I think I can develop 

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into a fair grade tennis player. Of course today was the first time I’ve swung a racket since camp last summer; I made lots of mistakes which can be easily eliminated with a little practice. At the same time I’ve improved a lot - my arm is stronger, I play closer to the net, my volleying is far better. I can pick ‘em up out of the dirt, too, and my drive is not so bad. My back hand’s lousy. 

Oakey flew off the handle when I tried to get him up for dinner. That’s one time he hates to be disturbed - when he’s 

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sleeping! You can tear the barracks down any other time, but you’d better steer clear if he’s trying to sleep. I was glad when he apologized after-wards; Noland with a mouth organ on one side and Marett with a flute on the other sort of cut his temper short! I don’t blame him!

After lunch I read Forgive Us Our Trespasses for a short while, then slept till five. A long hot shower made me feel better - I always feel terrible after sleeping in the afternoon! There’s a bad taste in my mouth and my head feels just a trifle achy (”achy” is 

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not in the dictionary - I looked it up. I must have invented a new word!).

After supper retreat, then to Bible Study class. We are studying the life of Christ under Rev. Thomas. He brought each of us a “Gospel of St. Mark”; I think I shall read it. In fact, I am planning to read it within the next few days. It’s small, maybe I can read it in class during dull moments. 

Studied a little Chemistry tonight and started my English theme which was due two weeks ago! Talk of your water bombs, I really had one tonight!

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I filled a shoe box full to the top with water - then when White, who has been trying to call me out of my room for some time, stepped out of Long’s room, I let him have it! Boy, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it! The box hit the door over his head, wetting him completely, soaking him most thoroughly, and spilling water all over Long’s room! Gosh, he’ll really be out for blood tomorrow!

This water-fighting business is typically “Sophomorish.” I guess I am a true sophomore. I know I should act more my 

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age, but it’s loads of fun. Maybe if I get a nice report for throwing water sometime, I’ll quit. It’s great while it lasts! I’ll never be a sophomore again either! Why do people want you to grow up so fast! Just think of it - never again! When I’m about sixty years old, I’ll take a deep drag on my cigar and start off: “Now when I was a sophomore in college, things were different….”

I’ve been thinking about football today. Is it worth the twisted knees, the sprained shoulders, the hard work? One 

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minute I’ll say “no”, then the next I have changed my mind. It’s the love of combat that you get - the competition of two groups of men - that makes you hate to give up the game. There’s nothing quite like football. Boxing is an individual sport; basketball just doesn’t have the appeal of football. Anyone with a skill can play it. This matter of football will play a big part in my decision as to whether I shall come back here next year or not. Well, spring practice will tell. 

I’m trying to get everything 

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into this diary - not so much what I do, but what I think. There is a secret fear in the back of my head that I am going to grow tired of keeping this thing and just drop it like I have dropped so many other things during my life. I sure hope I don’t. I would like to keep it until I am twenty-five or thirty at least. These next few years will be the most important of my life - I want a record of them to keep always.

Two letters today: an advertisement of an Annapolis 

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preparatory school, and an acknowledgement of the receipt of my grades from the Citadel by the Naval Academy. 


March 2, Monday (written Tuesday morning) - No time to make my entry last night after writing a seven page letter to May Mundy! The eleven o’clock steel blew just as I was finishing it.

My mind is a bit hazy; I can’t remember exactly what I did yesterday. I do know that I went to Chemistry class at nine, to English class at ten. [Illegible] for drill during 

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the following vacant period, then loafed around doing nothing. Drill wasn’t so hard as we practiced for parade - band playing, everyone in step for a change; it was just like a real one. 

After dinner Math class then football practice. I took it sort of easy. I don’t want to get another hard lick on the shoulder until it gets well. We didn’t do much out there - practiced our passes, dummy, scrimmaged the plays, and came in. They had a bit of light tackling, but I laid out of that.

Letter from May Mundy 

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with a newspaper enclosed - she’s editor of it. She had lots to say, including the fact that it’s Leap Year - that if a girl proposes and the boy doesn’t accept, he has to give her a present worth at least $50.00 

Well, I just couldn’t let that go by, so I wrote her last night. “I would love to see the look on your face,” I said, “when I accepted! And if I’m left at the altar, the breach of promise snit will ruin you - your father will have to mortgage the bank. . . . . . With your literary ability you shouldn’t have any trouble getting a job 

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and sending me the rest of the way through school!”

I did some serious thinking about football yesterday. I came very near convincing myself that I should go to Auburn, rest a year, then go out for football again. When I analize [sic] myself, I see that I have no special talents - I’m not a specially good blocker, I’m no great ball carrier, and I’m a lousy defensive man. Maybe with a year of rest I can put on weight and play some with the “Tigers.” If I ever have to choose between football and boxing, I think I’ll 

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take boxing…..

Tuesday, March 3 - The hour less of sleep that I’ve been getting since we went back on the old schedule Monday is getting me. I felt lousy when I got up this morning - didn't hear the first bugle at all, - I barely heard the second; then almost dozed off. Guess I’ll just have to stop using “late-lights.” I’ll see how I feel tomorrow morning. 

Somebody put a cup of water in my bed last night; all the evidence pointed towards White. I slipped out on the gallery just a little while after 

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“lights out,” and as he came along the gallery, I threw a nice box H20 at him. But no luck! He saw me throw through the corner of his eye and ducked. The box, hitting, made an awful racket - we both beat a hasty retreat!!

I wrote my diary for yesterday during the vacant first period this morning. I forgot to mention that I had gotten the proofs of the pictures I had made for the annual. Neither of them was so bad, but then I didn’t fall in love with my picture - maybe the real development 

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will be better. 

Physics Math, and Military classes passed uneventfully. I did not scratch when it comes to getting letters. During drill we went over again to the artillery garage; it was great sport tracking the launch sent over from Fort Moultrie to cruise down the river. We had a regular position - finding system for going there for a while. 

During English class after lunch I managed to read six chapters from the Gospel of St. Mark. Over to Bond Hall for a short talk in German by the new Danish glee club instructor 

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we have here. Gosh, that German is all Greek to me when someone starts speaking it! I began thinking how lost I would be if I went over there this summer - it would be funny!

Before football practice I weighed 160 pounds with my shoes on. Thats a big gain over the 153 I weighed when I fought Raby several weeks ago. I didn’t work so very hard at practice. We had a lot of passing, and I missed a lot of balls that I should have had. When I have to reach for the ball, my shoulder hurts, I automatically tighten up, and I 

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very glorious though; and you can’t help but start the day with a light heart.

German class passed so quickly that the bell rang before everyone started “watching the clock.” The reason was only too obvious: we spent the period copying German songs which we are to sing tomorrow! It’s funny how time flies when you’re interested in something, when you don’t have to work, and how time drags when you’re studying, when you’re discouraged. 

Chemistry class immediately followed, then we went up to Physics class where several sections 

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were grouped together to witness demonstrations by Colonel Smith and Captain Razor: demonstrations such as the freezing of water while it was boiling, the passage of a wire through a piece of ice without cutting the block to pieces, the freezing of mercury with carbon dioxide “snow.”

Back to barracks where I wrote a long letter to Mother. I had several things on my mind; namely, my Easter vacation and my changing of schools. Father, I think, pulled a fast one on me: when I first wrote him about changing schools, he answered saying he would talk it over with 

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Mother - no word on that subject since then. He’s letting me make not only the first move, but the first two moves! I think he wants to see if I’m really serious.

Letters this morning from Charlotte and Ann Brown. Charlotte, it seems, answered my letter of January (6th, 7th, 8th?) - I never got it. I’ve always been afraid of losing a letter in the mails; now it’s happened. I hope she doesn’t feel bad about it. Ann is out of bed after having the “flu” and is “Sorry I haven’t written sooner but have been having so much fun, just couldn’t find time.” I’m afraid she and I were just never made to get 

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along with each other.

After lunch, Math class. Just as I was about to doze off, Ritter popped a short, fifteen minute quizz [sic]. Was I embarrassed! I “haven’t scratched yet” as the saying goes! After the period was over, he offered several of us jobs on the N.Y.A., correcting freshman trigonometry papers at thirty cents an hour.  There was only one hitch - your parents had to sign before a notary public a sheet saying that you would be unable to remain in school unless given aid by the government. I could never get Father to do that! 

The same old routine 

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at practice this afternoon - Gressette has gone to the Southern Conference meeting in Raleigh, so “Rock” Norman handled the backs in our passing and running practice.  A short signal drill, then a ten minute scrimmage. Smith put me in at end for a few minutes, but I didn’t do anything  - still favoring my shoulder.

I read the paper the first hour tonight. A letter to Cecilia and the beginning of one to Charlotte; I’ll finish it in the morning. And so ends the first volume of my diary. Here’s hoping for many more! 


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Jones, Allen, “Diary of Allen Jones, February 17 - March 4, 1936,” The Citadel Archives Digital Collections, accessed July 21, 2024, https://citadeldigitalarchives.omeka.net/items/show/1280.