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Sgt. Jay H. Crawford World War I Diary (SC-225)

Identifier: SC-225

Scope and Contents

The diary, kept by Sergeant Jay H. Crawford, details a World War I soldier’s experience in 1918. It starts in Houston in May 1918, describing Crawford’s journey to the east coast, and later to France. The diary discusses his experiences in France, including describing airplanes and dogfights in May and June, and describing the aftermath of the Battle of Verdun. The diary consists of multiple longer passages, with dates referenced in narrative form. The last events discussed appear to date to October of 1918.


  • Creation: 1918 May-Oct


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Jay H. Crawford was born January 19, 1892, in Rush Hill, Audrain County, Missouri, though the family later moved to Camden, Ray County, Missouri. His father, Mark Crawford, was a physician, and his mother's name was Calla.

Crawford enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 1917. On May 16, 1918, Crawford departed for France aboard the U.S.S. Mt. Vernon as a member of the 108th Sanitary Train, in the 33rd Division of the United States National Guard. According to the passenger list for the Mt. Vernon, Crawford’s organization was Camp Infirmary #8. His duties in World War I included caring for the sick and dying. Crawford appears on the passenger list for the troop transport ship U.S.S. America on May 16, 1919. He was discharged June 9, 1919, with the rank of Sergeant.

After the war, Crawford married and had two daughters: Mary Virginia Crawford McCauley (1921-2003) and Catherine Anne Crawford Spruill (1927-1999). Places he lived included El Dorado, Kansas (1920 and 1925); Ardmore, Oklahoma (1930); and Coffeyville, Kansas (1942). He died September 7, 1968, in Coffeyville, and was buried in Fairview Cemetery there.

Tom McClusky, whose name appears on the diary’s last page, was a member of the Band of the 362nd Infantry. McClusky appears on the passenger list of the U.S.S. Edward Luckenback sailing from St. Nazaire, France, on April 2, 1919. His connection to Crawford is unknown.


0.1 linear feet

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged in chronological order.

Custodial History

In a March 2009, Richard Seifried described his acquisition of the diary this way: "An acquaintance that we knew died just a few months ago. He...had no family. The owners of his house had the young man that does our repair work clean out the basement. He came away with four boxes of books of all types. He offered to sell them to us. I purchased three. One was the army book." At the time, Seifried lived in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, which is approximately 150 miles east of Coffeyville, Kansas. He did not share the name of the acquaintance or the geographic location where the diary was found.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University Libraries, by Richard Seifried in April 2009 (accession 09-20).

Existence and Location of Copies

The diary is available online in the CORE Scholar Digital Repository at

Processing Information

The diary is written primarily in pencil. Though Crawford’s name is written on the cover, the inscription “Tom McClusky. Band. 362 Inf.” appears on the diary’s last page.

Richard and Jean Seifried transcribed the diary, and included a copy of their transcription with the diary. Parentheses were used to enclose transcriber’s notes, but are also sometimes a transcription of the diary author’s original parenthetical commentary.

Guide to the Sgt. Jay H. Crawford World War I Diary (SC-225)
Initial processing and finding aid by archives staff. Finding aid revised according to DACS standards by Megan O’Connor and Allison Gibbs, April 2021.
2021 July 22
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA