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George J. Stadelmaier diary

Ms. Coll. 1061

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Stadelmaier, George J., (George Joseph), 1891-1980
George J. Stadelmaier diary
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 1061
1 volume
Diary of George J. Stadelmaier, an American soldier who served in France during World War I. The diary spans from May 1918 to June 1919 during Stadelmaier's service in the 319th Infantry Signal Platoon in the 80th Division at France.
Cite as:
George J. Stadelmaier Diary, 1918-1919, Ms. Coll. 1061, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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George Joseph Stadelmaier was born in 1891 and lived in Natrona, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He entered the United States Army during World War I on 18 September 1917 and served in the 319th Infantry Signal Platoon in the 80th Division also known as the Blue Ridge Division. He was stationed at Camp Lee, Virginia (now named Fort Lee) until May 1918 when he was transfered to serve in France. Stadelmaier achieved the rank of Corporal and was discharged on 17 June 1919. After the war Stadelmaier married Bertilla G. Brucker and lived in Harrison, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania with their three sons, William J., Robert G., and James E. Stadelmaier. He died in Allegheny County in 1980.

Scope and Contents

A pocket-sized, top-bound ruled volume containing the diary of Corporal George J. Stadelmaier spanning from May 1918 to June 1919 during World War I. The sporadic entries are brief and follow Stadelmaier's army service from Camp Lee, Virginia to France. He records his journey aboard a ship from the Chesapeake Bay to Saint-Nazaire, France noting the weather, other ships in sight, submarine attacks, and the arrival of U.S. destroyers. Once in France Stadelmaier records being issued a steel helmet and gas mask, the number of miles hiked to battle locations, and military inspections, including one by General Pershing. Stadelmaier participated in activities at Artois, St. Michiel, and Meuse-Argonne. He discusses opening a signal office where he was in charge of twenty-two signalmen. He relays the brutality of being at the front line with British soldiers in the trenches for the first time, and seeing fellow soldiers killed beside him. He talks of his visit to the Red Cross station run by Canada that was bombed by German forces. In November 1918 at the end of the war Stadelmaier mentions French refugees returning after being held by German forces. In December he recorded there were memorials for fallen comrades and celebrations coinciding with President Wilson's arrival in Paris. In February 1919 Stadelmaier attends the Third Corps School at Clamecy, France for four weeks. During the four-week class attendance there is a break in diary entries. Beginning from the back cover of the volume are daily notes from the class in a dense, printed hand. The course concerned fuse bombs, artillery, army units, tactical uses of weapons, and targets. Stadelmaier's notes include detailed diagrams with labels of bombs--distinguishing French and American-- and fuses. There are also lists of signal codes, Morse code, and airplane signals. The diary resumes and follows the remainder of his service in France including a description of Lourdes, his return trip to the United States, and his discharge. The diary contains other lists including a list of the signalmen and their addresses, a detailed list of statistical facts regarding the war, for instance, total armed forces, number of rifles, deaths from disease, etc. Additionally there are two poems attributed to Private Gordon H. Holmes. One clipping is laid in the volume.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  April 2015

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Donna Brandolisio

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Source of Acquisition

Sold by Juunkratt (eBay), 2015.

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Controlled Access Headings

  • Diagrams
  • Diaries
  • Manuscripts, American--20th century
  • Notebooks
  • American diaries--20th century--Specimens
  • American diaries--Male authors--20th century
  • World War, 1914-1918
  • World War, 1914-1918--France
  • World War, 1914-1918--Personal narratives, American

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Collection Inventory


George J. Stadelmaier diary, 1918-1919.