Wednesday Sept. 6 -16
Dear sister Selma:
As I wanted to write a few words to several of you I am trying to make several copies at the same time, so I hope you will be able to read them.
I am again out at Juilly. I wanted to come out here where it is possible to get lots of sleep and good things to eat and rest up some, for a few days ago I joined the ambulance corps of Morgan and Harjes, which is stationed near the front. Morgan and Harjes is the name of the Paris branch of J.P. Morgan & Co. of New York. They have an ambulance section of about (20) twenty cars (mostly Packards) which has been doing very good work and are very well thought of. As far as I know, none of their men have ever been wounded and many of them have recieved [sic] the French war cross for good work done. I thought some of going into the field service with the American Ambulance, who have six sections of twenty ambulances each, but the men are not as well taken care of as in the Harjes Corps, where they are able to give individual attention to their men. The food and sleeping quarters of men in the field in the American Ambulance is sometimes poor, while Mr. Harjes goes to special measures to make good arrangements for his men.
I have met Mr. Harjes and he is a very nice man. He is the head of the Paris Bank. The other day I was in an embarrassing situation. I was all out of money except for an American cent I had in my pocket. I had a draft for 100 francs ($17.00) which I was refused payment on by the Credit Lyonais, a big bank of France. This draft was on the Credit Lyonais but they said they could not pay on it because it figured in a black list due to some dealings with a German bank, but they would take it up with the minister of war and would notify me in a few days. I needed the money soon, so I called on Mr. Harjes, and he immediately had me indorse [sic] the draft and ordered his bank to pay me on it.
Also the men in Harjes section are furnished all equipment free and, I think, when one gets ready to go back to the States, that Harjes will furnish transportation.
I think Harjes section is stationed near Verdun, but it is a safe enough distance behind the lines. When I get out there I am going to try to do some writing for a few papers and then pick up a little money.
I go back to Paris on Monday the 10th and soon after that I expect I will go out to the front. I hope you all will not worry in the least about me for I feel as safe where I go here as any place in The States.
My address from now on will be Morgan and Harjes, Paris. Of course anything going to American Ambulance will be forwarded to me. I will write you all again from Paris before I leave.
I might say that another reason I would like to be with Morgan & Harjes is that, I think, if a person did good work with them now, there would be a good chance of getting a permanent job with them after the war.
I am sending these lines to you via some friends who are leaving for The States and trust they reach you O.K.
(End of general letter)
When I get out to the front I am going to try to write a letter for Skandinavew [sic] every week and I’ll try to make them regular. Of course I’ll have to write them as personal letters to either you or Louis. If it is not too much trouble you might save a copy of the thing for me.
As it is dinner time (7 P.M.) I will close with love to all and trusting you do not worry in the least about me, I am,
8 P.M. After dinner. Dear Selma:
I just re-read your last letter to me and again notice its prevailing tenor, that of worry lest something happen to me. Of course I appreciate your thinking of me and having my welfare in mind so much, but if you worry too much about me, I’ll have a tendency to feel that I am not doing exactly the right thing. Nevertheless, I think it is a good work, for it is a form of service to those who really need the help. Therefore I hope your fears and worries will entirely disappear in the knowledge of the fact that I am trying to perform a good service.
Sunday I went to the American Church in Paris and took part in Communion. In connection with the offering an odd thing happened. When I went into church it was raining slightly, and looked rather badly. I had two francs and an American cent in my pocket. I offered the two francs (about 40 cents) and then realized I would have to walk back to the Ambulance, probably in the rain, because I had no carfare. To my surprise on going out of the church the sun was shining brightly and no sign of rain, so I had a pleasant little walk back to the Ambulance. The next day I got my draft cashed and again had funds at my disposal.
As the boys are all outside, I’ll go out and join them and perhaps take a walk around a pleasant little lake we have here. At 8:30 there’s to be a little movie show for the wounded soldiers.
With best love,
I am, Your brother
Title: Letter 9, Luther Nelson to Sister Selma
Date: 1916 September 6
Collection: RG1/051, Luther Nelson Collection, 1916-1918
Repository: Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs
Creator: Nelson, Luther
Publisher: Digitized by AFS staff in 2016.
Rights Statement: This item cannot be reproduced outside the guidelines of United States Fair Use (17 U.S.C., Section 107) without advance permission of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs. In the event that this letter becomes a source for publication, a credit line indicating the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs is required.
Digital ID: 1_051_9