From the Archives: Mother Lode

By Lauren Brown | Photo by John T. Consoli

Daniel Prescott (1898–1970) was a professor of education, director emeritus of the university’s Institute for Child Study from 1947–60 and a distinguished writer and scholar of child psychology. But before all that, he was a young man away at war who didn’t want his mom to worry.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, we read a series of letters Prescott sent her in 1917, when he was in the American Field Service with the French Army. The letters, which were donated to University Archives, describe battles on the front and the “damnable efficiency of the whole German empire.” But mostly, he reassured her he was eating well, sleeping comfortably, getting the occasional “corking good” bath, improving in health and strength, and safer than in the States.

Yet Prescott couldn’t have been too far from danger. Among the other donated artifacts and papers are a field service medal and a piece of shrapnel that nearly struck him.


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