Held byThe Filson Historical Society
Creator: Clara Gibson
Title: Papers, 1890, 1908-1919
Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.
Size of Collection: 0.66 cubic feet
Location Number: Mss./A/G448
Scope and Content Note
The Clara Gibson papers consist of records of interest retained by Clara Gibson. These records document the activities and social life of a young Louisville, Kentucky woman during high school and through World War I.
The Clara Gibson papers contain several items of incoming correspondence, primarily from soldiers serving in the United States Army during World War I. Gibson’s primary correspondents were Sergeant A. C. “Cliff” Carbery and Corporal Richard B. “Dick” Harris, but there are also letters from Edison Eubank, Bob Luell, Charles E. Walker, Homer O. Stuart, Jimmy Wray, Charles Carlson, William F. Ricketts, and various individuals identified only by first name. Several of these men pursued romantic relationships with Gibson before enlisting or while serving in the military. The correspondence includes letters from Camp Sherman, Ohio, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and France. Postcards, some color, showing New York, Washington D.C., France, and romantic scenes of soldiers and civilian women are included in the correspondence from Carbery and Harris.
Gibson attended Louisville Girls High School, and her papers include report cards, lists of textbooks, commencement invitations, Louisville Railway tickets, her class schedules, supplementary reading lists, theater programs (including sheet music to “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines” for the play of the same name) for Macauley’s Theatre, and the High School Record for December 1918 and January 1919. A small number of items related to productions put on by the Louisville Boy’s School at Macauley’s Theatre are also included.
Through her correspondence with soldiers and her own activities Gibson collected one folder of military related papers. These include furlough slips, booklets of patriotic songs, advertisements for war bonds, rules regarding mail and Christmas packages for soldiers, reprints of speeches by prominent politicians regarding World War I, volunteer and community service badges, a program to the 334 th Regimental Minstrel Show, advice on gardening and saving coal, a blank furlough slip for Camp Zachary Taylor (with locations of Soldiers’ Club and Club for Colored Soldiers on the opposite side), eight colored magazine illustrations of “A Day in the Life of a Soldier” originally painted by Sidney H. Riesenberg (source unknown), and Gibson’s registration card for the Woman’s Committee-Council of National Defense.
Two printed booklets in the collection include a souvenir copy of the song “My Old Kentucky Home” by Stephen C. Foster and a copy of Sayings by Luke McLuke. This last is a collection of short, humorous jokes and anecdotes.
News clippings are chiefly composed of fashion columns and advice (particularly “My Style Diary,” a recurring column which Gibson pasted into a book), World War I, and local and high school theater.
Finally, a miscellaneous folder contains a 1918 French calendar with color illustrations of young women and fairies, fashion illustrations and advertisements (some color), a Butterick brand pattern for a kimono, an invitation to the 1918 Optimist’s Club Dinner addressed to Clara’s father, William C. Gibson, and a memorial to the 15 September 1889 death of five Louisville Fire Department fire fighters.
A small number of artifacts were separated to the Filson’s Museum.
Some photos were also separated to the Filson’s Photograph Collection.
Clara Gibson was born circa 1900 to William C. Gibson and Lizzie M. (possibly Lilly May) Gibson. She resided at 349 N. 26 th Street, Louisville, Kentucky, and attended the Louisville Girls High School where she was active in theater. Gibson was a Red Cross volunteer during World War I, likely a nurse, at Camp Zachary Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. She corresponded with several soldiers in the United States Army, collected Macauley’s Theatre ephemera, and died of Spanish influenza in late February or early March of 1919. She was preceded in death by two sisters, names unknown. Her brother, Anderson Alter Gibson, survived to adulthood.
Folder 1: Personal Correspondence from A. C. “Cliff” Carbery, 1918-1919
Folder 2: Personal Correspondence from Richard B. Harris, 1918-1919
Folder 3: Personal Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1918-1919
Folder 4: Louisville Girls High School Papers, 1915-1919
Folder 5: Military Papers, 1916-1918
Folder 6: Poetry and Humor Papers, 1890, 1916
Folder 7: Newspaper Clippings, 1913-1919
Folder 8: Miscellaneous, 1908-1919
Camp Sherman (Ohio)
Camp Zachary Taylor (Ky.)
Carbery, A. C.
Clothing and dress – Kentucky – Louisville
Commencement ceremonies – Kentucky – Louisville
Courtship – Kentucky
Education – Kentucky
Education, Secondary – Kentucky – Louisville
Fashion – Kentucky – Louisville
Fort Sill (Ok.)
Foster, Stephen Collins, 1826-1864
Harris, Richard B.
High school girls – Kentucky – Louisville
Influenza Epidemic, 1918-1919 – Kentucky – Louisville
Kentucky – Social life and customs
Louisville Girls High School, 1856-1950
Love-letters – Kentucky – Louisville
Macauley’s Theatre (Louisville, Ky.)
Military education – Kentucky
Military education – Ohio
Military education – Oklahoma
Military training camps – Kentucky – Louisville
Military training camps – Ohio
Military training camps – Oklahoma
Patriotism – Kentucky – Louisville
Railroad accidents – France
Segregation – Kentucky – Louisville
Speeches, addresses, etc.
State songs – Kentucky
Theater – Kentucky – Louisville
Theater programs – Kentucky – Louisville
Transportation – Tickets – Kentucky – Louisville
United States. Army. American Expeditionary Forces
United States. Army. Infantry Regiment 333rd.
United States. Army. Machine Gun Battalion, 327th. Company C
United States. Army – Barracks and quarters
United States. Army – Machine gun drill and tactics
United States. Army – Military life
Volunteers – Kentucky – Louisville
Wit and humor
Women – Education – Kentucky – Louisville
Women volunteers – Kentucky – Louisville
World War, 1914-1918
World War, 1914-1918 – War work – Kentucky – Louisville – Red Cross
World War, 1914-1918 – Social aspects – United States
World War, 1914-1918 – Songs and music