Edmund R. Bower
Correspondence, 1923-1962 (bulk 1943-1945)


Quantity: 1 box (0.50 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Gift of Jane Farrell, Niskayuna, New York, December 2007
Processed By: Nicholas Webb, Student Assistant, State University of New York at Albany, June 2008

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Biographical Note:

Edmund R. “Pop” Bower was born circa 1897. He served in the Navy during World War I. In 1937 he became the 4-H agent for Ulster County, New York, a position he would hold for at least the next 25 years.

Bower’s 4-H program proved popular, and many graduates who had passed the nineteen-year-old age limit for 4-H members wanted to stay involved with the program, so they informally organized themselves as the “Older Group” and kept in touch for social events and during the county and New York State fairs.

During World War II, many members of the Older Group were sent overseas to fight. To improve morale and keep his correspondents informed of happenings in Ulster County, Bowen compiled and distributed a newsletter, “About Us,” in which he wrote about hometown news and the wartime activities of Older Group members.

In 1962, Bower celebrated his 25th year of service as the county 4-H agent. He died in 1987 at the age of 90.

Scope and Content Note:

This collection consists primarily of letters from servicemen received by Edmund R. Bower in response to his “About Us” mailings. Former Ulster County 4-H Club members were stationed all over the globe, from Iceland to the South Pacific, and their letters discuss a variety of issues, including longings for home, details of life in the countries in which they are stationed, and whether they have met any other 4-H members during their travels. Many correspondents write that they hope to farm in Ulster County after returning from the war.

Letters have been organized alphabetically by correspondent’s last name. The collection includes letters in manuscript and typescript formats as well as in the “V-Mail” reduced-size format, which was developed during the war to save cargo space on transport ships. (In the V-Mail process, letters to and from soldiers stationed overseas were photographed onto a microfilm reel which was developed upon reaching its destination.)
The collection also includes copies of letters by Bower containing the “About Us” mailing and a few other personal letters addressed to various servicemen. These items are interfiled with incoming letters.

Excerpts from many of these letters along with reminiscences of Edmund Bower appear in a printed booklet compiled by Bower’s daughter, Jane Ann Farrell, titled The Words of War. (A copy is included in the collection.)

The collection also includes several letters of 1962 which congratulate Bower on his 25th anniversary as the 4-H agent for Ulster County and an invitation to a 1923 Cornell graduation ceremony.

Container List:

Box Folder Description
1 1 Bailey, Edward (1 item)
Barnett, Charles (1 item)
Boice, Lewis (1 item)
Boice, Roger (4 items)
Bull, Stephen (1 item)

2 Churchwell, Horace (3 items – 2 letters, 1 empty envelope)
Cook, Everett (1 item)
Cooper, LeRoy (2 items)

3 DeHoff, Ivan (5 items)

4 DeVoe, Charles (11 items – 10 letters, 1 empty envelope)

5 Duffy, Joe (3 items)
Durling, Douglas (3 items – 2 letters, 1 empty envelope)
Eckert, Edward (1 item)
Eckert, Howard (1 item)
Eckert, Julius (4 items)

6 Elston, W.J. (2 items)
Erickson, Joe (1 item)
Everett, Kenneth (2 items)
Friedberg, Irving (1 item)
Friedman, Edward R. (1 item – 1 empty envelope)
Frost, Vernon (1 item)
Gerdts, William (2 items)

7 Gruner, William (11 items – 10 letters, 1 empty envelope)

8 Hasbrouck, Joseph (8 items)

9 Helmich, John (1 item)
Jacobsen, Arnold (3 items)
Jenkins, DuBois (2 items)
Jones, Wilma (1 item)
Kaznowski, William (3 items)

10 Kelder, Charles

11 Klippel, Charles (1 item)
Koniuk, John (2 items)
Lasher, Clinton (4 items)
Limbacher, Karl (3 items)

12 Maier, Walter (3 items)
Malone, Thomas J. (1 item)
Manning, Orson (2 items)
McCord, Fraley (1 item)
Menk, Emil (3 items)
Meredith, Harold (1 item)
Miller, J. Stanley (2 items)

13 Mitchell, Hayward (10 items)

14 Morehouse, Robert (2 items)
Morehouse, William (3 items)
Munier, Marcel (3 items)
Myer, Warren (3 items)

15 Phillips, Nat (4 items)
Phillips, Rodney (1 item)
Prehn, Walter (4 items)
Quick, Vincent (2 items)

16 Racicot, Robert (1 item)
Rider, Gerald (1 item)
Ronk, Vernon (2 items)
Schaeffner, Charles (2 items)

17 Scholl, Leonhard (9 items)

18 Schreiber, Charles (3 items)
Shader, Charles (2 items)
Shipman, Robert (3 items)
Short, Everett (1 item)
Simpson, Howard (1 item)
Sinagra, Sam (1 item)

19 Snyder, Edward (6 items)
Suomela, Ed (1 item)
Swarthout, Walter (1 item)
Tenbroeck, Calvin (3 items)

20 Tresvik, Victor (1 item)
Upright, William (1 item)
Wegener, Roger (1 item)
Werner, William (1 item)

21 Whitaker, Hugh (8 items)
Unidentified correspondent (1 item)

22 Empty V-Mail Envelopes, Cancelled

23 Edmund R. Bower – 25th Anniversary as Ulster County 4-H Agent – Letters of Congratulation – 1962

24 Cornell University Commencement Invitation – 1923
Handwritten anecdote on three index cards – n.d.

25 Jane Ann Bower Brooke Farrell – The Words of War
Last Updated: May 24, 2021