War Diaries

Cover Image:
War Diaries
Frontispiece and first page of pocket diary of Lieutenant Colonel Calvin N. Otis, 1862 - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:
c. 1860 - 1920

Historical Context

Americans played significant roles in multiple wars throughout history. The Civil War, which took place on American soil, occurred from 1861 to 1865 and was known to have the highest death toll rate of all wars Americans took part in, with approximately 620,000 - 750,000 as the final count. World Wars I and II did not take place on American soil, but the United States still participated in each. World War I occurred from 1914 - 1918, but Americans did not get involved until 1917 and drafted almost three million men into the war and joined the Allied powers. World War II took place between 1939 - 1945, with Americans joining in 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. All three wars had a major impact on American society.

Scope of Collection

This collection contains images of diaries belonging to American men who served in various wars, including the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. These first person accounts offer a bevy of insights into the thoughts, actions and beliefs of the men who served.