D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives

Robert J. Godbey Collection

Summary Information

UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives
Robert J. Godbey Collection
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1918-1919
Date [inclusive]
6.2 Linear feet  ; 6 boxes [One oversize]
Physical Description
Journals, scrapbooks, and memorabilia. Journal pages have been scanned and are available online.
Location Note
Boxes 1 to 5 located in Special Collections row 7, section 5 Box 6 located in Special Collections row 12, section 3

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Robert J. Godbey Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville

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Scope and Contents

Contains five typed personal journals [Vol. 1 is missing] of Robert J. Godbey (1894-1980), an army field clerk with the Statistical Office, Base Headquarters, Base Sec. No. 1, covering his experiences in France during World War I. Each journal is typed and bound in a ledger book. Gold embossed title on front covers reads “The Experiences of Robert J. Godbey, Army Field Clerk, as a Member of the American Expeditionary Forces from February 18, 1918 to August 12, 1919,” followed by the respective volume number. Some pages appear to have the watermark of the U.S. Army. Highly detailed narrative describes his experiences living in France as a clerk for the U.S. Army, based in Saint-Nazaire, with a primary focus on sightseeing trips. Narrative includes frequent references to Y.M.C.A. Interwoven with the text are carefully arranged images and various types of ephemera (letters, tickets, photographs, programs, etc.), which have been glued in place.

The collection also includes two scrapbooks. The first includes WWI memorabilia, aviation, and miscellaneous. items, c. 1909 to 1919. The second has newspaper clippings from 1942 to 1946 covering World War II and its aftermath.

Lastly, there is a bound edition of Stars and Stripes, from 8 February 1918 to 13 June 1919.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives

Ramsey Library, CPO # 1500
One University Heights
Asheville, North Carolina, 28804-8504


Any display, publication, or public use must credit the D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.


Robert J. Godbey

Processing Information

Originally processed by Special Collections staff, 2003 , 2005 , 2006 ; Scott Mckenzie. Revised finding aid text by Midori Green, visting NEH Scholar, University of Minnesota, November, 2016

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Collection Inventory

Box 1 

Personal journal, Vol. 2 (173 pages) 

Begins with continuation from pervious volume regarding an illness 

Permission to visit La Baule on July 14, 1918 

Leave and permission to visit Nice, Monte Carlo, Marseille, returning by Lyon, Paris, Blois, and Tours beginning October 6, 1918 

Narrative and images covering this trip 

Personal journal, Vol. 3 (182 pages) 

Continuation of trip in previous volume 

Return to Saint-Nazaire, focus on work life 

Request to visit Pontchateau, dated 18 January 1919 

Visit to Pontchateau 

Return to Saint-Nazaire, eviction and move to new living quarters 

Leave of Absence request, dated 17 March 1919 

Panthéon de la Guerre 

Paris, Reims, Chalons-Sur-Marne, Verdun 

Box 2 

Personal journal, Vol. 4 (145 pages) 

Continuation of trip in previous volume 

Verdun,including images of war destruction 


Images of trenches, bones, skulls, weapons 

Pagny-sur-Meuse, Toul, Nancy, Rimaucourt, Paris 

Return to Saint-Nazaire 


Document dated 17 April 1919 listing men entitled to wear War Service Chevrons 

Document dated 3 May 1919 giving orders for travel to S.O.S. Swimming Tournament 

Paris, Nice, Villefranche, Grasse 

Description and photographs of swimming tournament 

Document dated 29 May 1919 giving orders to travel to Paris to take part in the A.E.F. Swimming meet 

Personal journal, Vol. 5 (165 pages) 

Continuation of trip to South of France 

Gorges Du Loup, Nice, Cannes 

Return to Saint-Nazaire via Paris 


AFC Godbey Identity Card (with photograph) 

“Program of the Motor Races and Athletic Events at St. Nazaire and La Baule, May 30th, 31st, and June 1st, 1919 by AEF, Base Section No. 1” 

Description of races 


Request for permission to visit Pornichet and la Baule, dated 22 June 1919 

Request for permission to visit Pornichet, dated 6 July 1919 

Narrative about return to United States 

Discharge papers and related documents 

Voyage to Brest on the Artemis, and sightseeing in Brest 

Argument between personnel over whether officers allowed to bring their dogs with them on ship back to the U.S. 

Voyage by ship back to U.S. on the Northern Pacific (N.P.) He wanted to go back on the Levi, on which he arrived, but was unable to 

New York City, including typed train schedules 

Concluding remarks and end of narrative 

Box 3 

Personal journal. Vol. 6 (184 pages) 

Miscellaneous items. Includes typed list of U.S. Army Post Offices; French francs; booklet titled “America’s Way to the War in France –A Great French Railroad: Chemin De Fer De Paris A Orleans;” Pikes Peak Auto Highway souvenir ticket; photograph of a soldier; section titled “A Collection of A. E. F. Poetry” followed by typed pages of poetry; postcards and photographs (most likely souvenir reprints) mainly focusing on buildings destroyed in the war, military life, and aircraft. 

Folder: “Daily Reminder” daily journal with dates preprinted in English. Handwritten entries February 10 – December 31, 1918 

Folder: Daily journal or “Agenda” preprinted with dates in French. Handwritten entries January 1 – July 17, 1919 

Box 4 

Scrapbook of WWI memorabilia, aviation, and misc. items, c. 1909-1919. Includes various loose items: telegram date July 8, 1916 from Cadillac regarding car purchase, a bank check from the 19th century; photograph of woman; and copies of the newspaper Commercial Appeal dated January 29, 1937; February 2, 1937; July 5, 1913 

Box 5 

Scrapbook of WWII memorabilia and newspaper clippings, 1942-1946 

Box 6 [Oversize] 

"Complete file of, the Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the American Expeditionary Forces, printed in France, February 8th 1918 to June 13th 1919"