Overview of the archive: the archive covers the experience during and after World War I of PFC. Samuel Bloom (1895-1976). It includes Samuel Bloom’s diary in the months before the war, and either diaries or the draft of a book recounting his war experience; weekly letters home (often of 8 or 10 pages) to his parents in New York; letters from the family to him (usually written by his brother Hyman) recounting family and current political events in New York; letters to him from friends, both in the army and back home; army documents; material on the Army School Detachment at the University of Montpellier in spring 1919 (including seven issues of the newspaper, theSoldier-Student); soldiers' guides for leave in Paris and elsewhere, and other guidebooks; and a group of postcards.
Biographical note: Samuel Bloom, born in the Ukraine in 1895, emigrated with his family to New York in early childhood. In October 1917, shortly after graduating from City College, as he was starting a teaching career as a high school substitute, he was drafted in the US Army, serving as a private (later private first class and company signaller) in Company L, 325th Infantry Battalion. In April 1918, he went with his company to France (by way of England), training with the English behind the Somme front (during the later part of the German spring offensive), then going to signal school, before rejoining his company for the AEF counter-offensive on the Lorraine front in July 1918. After weeks in a defensive sector, in trenches under shelling, he participated in the St. Mihiel offensive (September 12-14, 1918) followed by open warfare in theMeuse-Argonne offensive (from September 26, 1918), through Cornay (October 6), Fleville (October 11), and the Aire River, till he was wounded by shrapnel in the left hand on October 16, and sent back to a field hospital; his company continued fighting through November 1, when, out of an initial strength of 1000 men, the company had 137 men left, including only four officers (1 major and three captains). Bloom spent some time in a convalescent camp, and with casual companies, but in February 1919 he was transferred to the American School Detachment at the University of Montpellier, where he received a diploma for courses in French literature and international law, before returning to the U.S. for demobilization in July 1919. His war experience reinforced him in radical social views and may have hindered his career teaching civics, history, and at one time math, in New York high schools. He published a textbook Economic Citizenship(College Entrance Publishing, 1935), and also taught night school to immigrants. He died on Long Island in 1976.
Provenance: Donated in 2004 by his sons, Dr. Robert A. Bloom of New York City, NY, and Mr. Jack Bloom of New Rochelle, NY.
Restrictions: Much of the manuscript material is on highly acid paper; it has been transferred to mylar sleeves, and has suffered little damage so far, but requires limited, careful handling, until it can be copied or digitized.
Prepared by: Patrick Scott, July 2004.