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Letters from the Front

chandlerThe Summit Herald of August 23, 1918 published excerpts of letters from Summit boys serving overseas. Sgt. Eugene Burner of the 107th Infantry said that the food was filling, but not as good as at home, and that they ate mostly stew, canned corned beef, bread, and hard tack (jokingly called "dog biscuits"). Since arriving in France, they occasionally bought wine. Lt. Roy Underwood described his Fourth of July in France. He and another American Lieutenant, a liaison officer to the French military, were honored by the inhabitants of a local village. The mayor and other town officials led a procession which included the schoolmaster and his 40 students, dressed in white and carrying flowers. Sgt. Mayer Raskin wrote from "Somewhere in France" that being overseas had taught him the meaning of the true war spirit. All of the day-to-day work work in France was done by women, children, and old men, as all the young men were in uniform. Cecil Garis of the Signal Corps had the honor of hearing a speech given by General Pershing (he could not repeat the details) and felt that they had "Fritz on the run". Cpl. Nicholas Kenny of the 9th Infantry was wounded three times at the front lines. He kept going after the first two injuries, but a leg wound stopped him, and he spent three hours in a shell crater until he was rescued by an American officer escorting German prisoners. The prisoners were ordered to carry Kenny, which they did very carefully.

In order to help the war food supply, the Board of Health decided to allow the keeping of pigs in Summit, provided that the owners obtained licenses, and kept the sties clean. The Food Conservation Committee shared a wheat-saving recipe for rye bread. The Lyric Theatre announced a three-day showing of the photoplay, "To Hell with the Kaiser".

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The Man in Green Pajamas

franklin2The Summit Herald of August 16, 1929 reported that Stanley Van Cise, age 13, won the Union County Boys' tennis singles competition. Van Cise, a member of the Summit Tennis Club, did not lose any sets in the matches which he played over a two-day span at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth.

Summit residents were startled to see a young man walking around the business district wearing a pair of vivid green pajamas. John Hall had been a center on the High School's undefeated 1928 football team. He visited McElgunn's clothing shop, and learned from the owner that he had fine pajamas in stock which were not selling. Mr. McElgunn offered Mr. Hall a free pair of pajamas if he would advertise them by wearing them in public. Mr. Hall accepted the challenge, and attracted quite a lot of attention as he strolled around town, chatted with friends, and stopped into an ice cream shop for a coca-cola.

"The Woman Citizen" column by Anne Gilson urged women to read about the proposed Smoot-Hawley tariff legislation. She suggested that women should not evaluate the tariff based on how it would affect manufacturers or importers, but how it would affect their own household budgets.

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Summit Woman Survives Yacht Tragedy

dollardayThe Summit Herald of August 9, 1932 reported that James Downes, history teacher at Summit High School, spoke to the Rotary Club about current history. Part of his talk concerned the role of Hitler in German politics. It would be "no good" for world affairs if the Fascist gained complete control, but Mr. Downes felt that Hitler had reached the limit of his power, and was losing ground.

Mr. W. Chauncy Coles of Woodland Avenue received a letter from Mallorca with startling news about his daughter, Miss Mary Coles. Miss Coles, an artist with a studio in Paris, was one of four guests invited for a day's sailing on a yacht belonging to William Brewster of Boston. The others were an English girl (an art student) and two American men. Mr. Brewster sailed the boat to the far side of Pollensa Bay, where the group spent the day painting and swimming. They headed back by moonlight, but about 8:30 a sudden thunderstorm struck, and the waves capsized the boat. They had been clinging to the overturned boat for hours when a second storm struck around midnight. Brewster collapsed, apparently from a heart attack. The men held his head above water for several hours.

Later, when the storm was gone and the boat had drifted within 3/4 of a mile from land, the women decided to swim for shore. The men remained behind, being reluctant to leave until they were certain that Brewster was dead, and they lashed his body to the boat. Miss Coles made her way to a ledge at the base of a cliff; the English girl landed on a rocky shore in the pitch dark. Both were exhausted by their ordeal, but uninjured. The two men made it to shore by morning, found the English girl, and with some help from a local monastery, got Miss Coles off the cliff. The local doctor concluded that Brewster had died of drowning. The authorities concluded that everyone had done their best in the circumstances, and the heroism of the two women was much admired.

The Library has a searchable database of local historical newspapers. Search or browse at: