Scope and content note

The Tyler Papers document an American pilot's daily life overseas during World War I. The collection contains a diary kept by Tyler during his time in France from October 1917 to September 1918, two weeks before his death, as well as his letters August 1917-June 1918. These are typescripts, most likely typed by a family member, perhaps his mother. Also included are selections from Tyler's diary and letters--both working and final versions--which were edited and arranged by his mother for Tyler's nephews. The final diary/letters folder also contains a small tribute to Tyler written by Frederick C. Ferry, who was the former Dean of Williams College.

The collection also holds correspondence with Tyler's mother. Most of these letters are dated after his death and were written by people offering their condolences. Many of the earlier letters are also dated before Mrs. Tyler was officially told of her son's death. At the time, she was told he was "missing in action". The letters then deal with facts/events related to Tyler's death, such as his funeral and tombstone.

"Military documents/letters" includes certificates and promotions awarded to Tyler, special orders, a flying logbook kept in French, and two French identification cards. "College documents/letters" contains letters of recommendation, commemorations, and college newspaper mentions/tributes from Williams, MIT and Harvard. There is no mention of student life in any of the documents.

Photographs/postcards comprise portrait photographs and snapshots as well as collected postcards. Included are several photographs of Tyler, a shot of the monument erected to commemorate Tyler sponsored by Williams' Psi Upsilon fraternity, and small photos showing possible friends. The postcards show places in France which Tyler most likely visited, including the communes of Clermont Ferrand, Chateaudun, and Pontlevoy.

The transcript of the memorial service for Tyler, held on March 2nd, 1919, includes prayers by Rev. Richard Roberts and a eulogy written by Frederick C. Ferry.

Box 2 contains a variety of oversized material: diplomas, certificates, photographs, and a map of Metz, France. Also included here is a scrapbook made after Tyler's death, most likely by a close relative. In it are newspaper clippings that mention Tyler's last mission and other clippings that detail Mrs. Tyler's decision to create the Tyler Scholarship, as well as many photos of Tyler, most depicting him alongside fellow soldiers in France.

Panoramic photographs of the Class of 1915, and Tyler's 1916 Training Regiment in Plattsburgh, New York, are housed with other panoramic images.

John C. Tyler Papers, 1910-1955 (bulk 1916-1919)


Biographical sketch

Contents list