The following examples demonstrate how a single archival document can be used to create innovative and fascinating research projects in multiple disciplines.
About the Collection: The Samuel Leyens Switzer Collection contains the correspondence, publications, photographs, maps, and memorability of Samuel Switzer, a college student who left school to serve as a soldier in World War I. Because Samuel was in college when he went to war, students tend to engage on a more personal level with this collection. We selected the following document from this collection to use in a variety of example research projects.
About the Selected Document:On December 24th, 1918 Samuel wrote a letter to his mother about how he and his fellow soldiers were celebrating the Christmas holiday in France during World World I. Samuel was Jewish, but his division and the locals they were staying with observed Christmas or "X-Mas" as he refers to it.
In the letter, Sam provides detailed information about how he and his fellow soldiers celebrated Christmas in an Old Opera House after spending months on the front lines of the war. Sam describes how they chopped down a tree and strung it with tinsel and "strange" holiday decorations including Zeppelins and U-Boats. Sam also tells his mother that they will receive small gifts from the YMCA, but expresses his frustration that he and his fellow soldiers have not received more support during the war and are "strapped" for money and provisions.