Manuscript Group 332
0.5 cubic feet
The letters of Private Aaron R. Gould, a Nez Perce Indian, were purchased from rare book dealer Charles Apfelbaum of Valley Stream, New York, in January 1993. They were processed by Judith Nielsen in February 1993.
Aaron R. Gould was a Nez Perce Indian from Lapwai, Idaho. From his induction into the army in 1940 until April of 1944 he was attached to Company M, 4th Infantry; during this time he was stationed at Ft. Wright, Spokane, Washington, and from 1941-March 1944 at Fort Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska. When he was transferred to Camp Carson, Colorado, he was part of A.T. Company "Timberwolves", 414 Infantry. As a soldier in the European theater he was in the anti-tank field artillery. He was killed in action on December 9, 1944.
This record group consists of 23 letters, some typed, others handwritten, which Private Gould sent to his father, Owen J. Gould, in which he mentions family and friends, military camp activities, and his own feelings about the war. It is evident from reading the letters that some of them are missing.
In the first letter he says "I'm beginning to realize a lot of things since I came into this man's army. I guess a person goes through a lot of things in life." The sixth letter dated December l, 1941, he answers his father's question of why he wanted to enlist. He gives several reasons: he wanted to beat the draft; he hated the environment in Lapwai--not enough social life; jobs were scarce; the gang had joined and he wanted to go along; he wanted to do his part for the USA; then says the main reason was that his father had been in the army in the previous war.
In July 1944 he was granted a furlough and returned to Lapwai for a few days. In his letter of July 20 he mentions his visit and how hard it was to leave his fiancee. He also writes of the trouble he had with bus transportation getting back to Colorado, stating he got back late, but no one had said anything to him about it yet.
One of his last letters, dated November 23, 1944, was written on Thanksgiving, and he mentions his unit had procured a goose and potatoes for dinner, but the goose was so tough he fractured his jaw and one of the other men ruined his upper false teeth.
There are two other items in this collection, a letter from the Army effects bureau sending Aaron's property to his father, and a printed broadside Nez Perce County Honor Roll, World War II, which lists Gould along with other county residents who died in the war.
The letters were arranged chronologically and placed in two folders. An asterisk (*) following the entry in the following list indicates a typed letter.
Box Folder Description
1 1 1940. November 7. Ft. Wright, Spokane, Washington 2 1941. January 24. Fort Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska* 3 1941. April 4. Fort Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska* 4 1941. July 9. Fort Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska 5 1941. October 19. Fort Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska* 6 1941. December 1. Fort Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska 7 1942. May 6. APO Seattle 8 1942. July 12. APO Seattle 9 1942. August 13. APO Seattle (Anchorage, Alaska pencilled on back of envelope 10 1942. December 1914. APO Seattle* 11 1943. March 10. APO Seattle 2 12 1944. April 4. Camp Carson, Colorado 13 1944. June 15. Camp Carson, Colorado 14 1944. June 26. Camp Carson, Colorado 15 1944. July 20. Camp Carson, Colorado 16 1944. August 5. Camp Carson, Colorado 17 1944. August 18. APO New York 18 1944. October 7. Somewhere in France 19 1944. November 1. Somewhere in Holland 20 1944. November 2. Somewhere in Holland 21 1944. November 23. Somewhere in Germany (Moresenet, pencilled on back of envelope) 22 1944. November 28. Somewhere in Germany 23 1944. November 30. Somewhere in Germany
3 24 1945. April 19. Letter from Army Effects Bureau 25 1945. Broadside: Nez Perce County Honor Roll, World War II.