William Austin Tomes, Jr. Papers
Scope and Content of the Collection
Correspondence, publications, newspaper clippings, and photographs pertaining to William A. Tomes, Jr. who served with the U.S. Army’s 27th Division during World War I. The majority of correspondence is from Tomes to his mother, Julia Hall Tomes MacLeod. Also included is a copy of “Over There with O’Ryan’s Roughness: Reminiscences of a Private 1st Class Who Served in the 27th U.S. Division with the British Forces in Belgium and France” by William F. Clarke (who served with William Tomes, Jr.) and a copy of “Dear Mother: An Affectionate Biography of My Father: William Austin Tomes, Jr. 1894-1975” by Jim Tomes, William’s son.
- Creation: 1892-2009
Materials are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The William Austin Tomes, Jr. Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).
Ownership and Literary Rights
The William Austin Tomes, Jr. Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.
Biography of William Austin Tomes, Jr.
William Austin Tomes, Jr. was born in 1894 to William Austin Tomes, Sr. and Julia Hall Tomes. He had three siblings, Valerie (b. 1890), Yvonne (b.1896), and Malcolm (b. 1913). His parents divorced in 1908, and his mother went on to marry Eben E. “Mac” MacLeod in 1912. William A. Tomes, Jr. attended Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, New York. In 1916, he joined Troop C of the First Calvary of the New York National Guard. The troop was sent to McAllen, TX to protect the border from raids by Mexican revolutionaries. In May 1917, after the declaration of the World War, Tomes’ troop was remobilized into the U.S. Army’s 27th Division through which he became a machine gunman in the 104th Machine Gun Battalion. Tomes returned from the war and married Betty Steel in 1926, with whom he had two sons, James (b.1927) and Bill (b.1929). He worked primarily in clothing and retail, taking positions at Marshall Field & Co. in Chicago, Ham & Son shoe store in Milwaukee, and French, Shriner, and Urner shoe store in Chicago. The family eventually settled in Northbrook, IL. Sadly, Betty Steele died in an automobile accident in 1957, and William Tomes remarried Helen Foote two years later. Helen and William moved to California, where William lived until his death in 1975.
0.8 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
Correspondence, publications, newspaper clippings, and photographs pertaining to William A. Tomes, Jr. who served with the U.S. Army’s 27th Division during World War I.
Collection Stack Location
1 34 5
Gift, James Tomes, 2014.
Elizabeth McKinley, 2014.
- Inventory of the William Austin Tomes, Jr. Papers, 1892-2009
- Elizabeth McKinley
- Language of description
- Script of description