East Hampton in World War I

Item of the Week From the East Hampton Library Long Island Collection

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Armistice Day, which evolved into Veterans Day. Armistice Day remembered the anniversary of the peace treaty with Germany that ended World War I on Nov. 11, 1918. It’s hard to think of a more appropriate item for this week than John Calvin Hadder’s compilation on East Hampton in World War I.

J. Calvin Hadder, as he was known, was born in Berlin, Md. He lived from 1895 to 1964 and came to East Hampton in 1916 with the railroad as a clerk and operator. He served as a radio instructor for the Navy in Cambridge, Mass., during World War I after completing training in New York, Pelham Bay in the Bronx, and Hoboken, N.J.

With his wife, Ethel Lillian Gates Hadder, he conducted interviews with other veterans and members of the community to create this volume, which he published on Nov. 3, 1921, soon after the war. In it, Hadder attempted to list all of the town’s veterans, recording even those who served with the Red Cross or local Coast Guard stations. He also wrote a comprehensive history of the town’s experiences during the war, including such details as inventories of the number of bandages wrapped by volunteers here.

The volume begins with an honor roll recognizing those who served, and continues with biographies of veterans like Robert Hudson and Clifford Edwards. These profiles include women and some summer residents, like Everit Herter and Arthur Turnbull Hill. Often, letters from commanding officers or direct quotes from the veterans themselves are included. Not everyone who served has a biography, but the comprehensive look this history brings to the town’s experiences during the war is very helpful.

Hadder’s work was given to the East Hampton Town clerk’s office, which lent the volume to the Long Island Collection for digitization, allowing us to make it searchable by keyword online. The image here is the manuscript’s cover page. The entire 185-page volume is viewable online, by way of the East Hampton Library’s Digital Long Island Collection.

Andrea Meyer is a librarian and archivist in the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection.