Frank F. Newth Papers, 1914-1979 (bulk 1914-1919)
Frank “Nick” Newth was born in Lynn, Mass., on Oct. 9, 1895, the son of shoe cutter Charles H. Newth and his wife Mary Hobart Brackett. A talented baseball player in high school, Newth used his sport connections to become a manager, and eventually owner, of a billiard parlor. On October 5, 1917, however, he was drafted for service in the First World War an deployed to France with the Quartermaster Corps in January 1918. Unusually, for most of his service, Newth was posted in northwestern France (Abbeville, Amiens, Rouen) as a disbursement officer for American troops serving with the British Expeditionary Force an then disbursing to the wounded in base hospitals. He was promoted to Corporal in May 1918, and ended his overseas service in May 1919 as a Sergeant working with the Quartermaster’s financial unit. After returning home, Newth married his longtime sweetheart Letitia “Letty” Crane, with whom he raised a family of four. He worked as proprietor of the New Buick Billiard Hall until 1928, when he opened a successful business selling rubber tires in southern New England. Newth died on May 29, 1979, and is buried in the Forest Chapel Cemetery in Barrington, R.I. The Newth collection consists of many dozens of letters written between Frank Newth and his fiancee Letty and other members of his family back home in Lynn, Mass., while hs served with the Quartermaster Corps in the First World War. Although his letters are subject to the censorship typical of that war, Newth was an excellent and observant writer and because often served near the front, but in a support role, he had time and energy to write. His affection for Letty (and hers for him) come through in every letter, but Newth also discusses his duties in the service, recreation and travel, and the sights and people of France. The collection also includes a fine letter describing the relief after the Armistice went into effect; a brief, but outstanding typed diary kept during the early months of his overseas service; and a small handful of pamphlets, keepsakes, and official papers.