Monday, May 28, 2012

A Postcard for Memorial Day

Ninety-five years ago young men all across America were being mobilized to go to a far off war in Europe. The postcard above depicts some of these men at a YMCA library and mail station at Camp Dix, New Jersey. The caption on the back reads: "On the left are bundles of civilian clothing to be sent home by the new soldiers. On the right are soldiers sending home letters and purchasing postcards at the Y.M.C.A. Also library well stocked with good books." A postcard that combines the topics of mail, postcards, and a library - a nice find for a collector of postal librariana. A major appeal of the postcard, of course, is the soldiers themselves. A large number of library postcards show only relatively sterile buildings. I'm particularly interested in library postcards that show people using libraries. A surprising percentage of military library postcards do this. Although the American Library Association played a major role in providing libraries for service men in World War I, the YMCA, a much larger organization, also played a significant role in this area. Though there was some rivalry between the two organizations, ALA and the YMCA collaborated to a significant degree in providing reading matter for our troops in WWI. ALA maintained a full fledged camp library at Camp Dix during WWI (see postcard below).  In 1939 Camp Dix became Fort Dix and a permanent Army post. On a personal aside, my father went through Fort Dix on his way to Europe during World War II.

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