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RG5342.AM:  Harry Collins Abernethy, 1874-1934

Papers:  1881-c.1934

Johnson County, Neb.; Ord, Valley County, Neb.; France; California:  Piano technician, artist, musician, photographer, writer

Size:  0.5 cu.ft.; 1 box


Harry C. Abernethy was born May 25, 1874, on a farm near Wilbur, Nebraska, the son Josephine and George Abernethy. Harry had one sister, Laura, and three brothers, Will, G.E., and Jason. At the age of 5 he moved with his family to Johnson County, Nebraska. After living here for 22 years, he and his family moved to Ord, Nebraska. In 1917 he enlisted in the Army and served 13 months, mostly in France in the American Signal Corps, where he was a photographer. In 1927 he moved with his sister to California, returning to Nebraska in 1933. He died March 28, 1934, in Lincoln, Nebraska.


The collection is arranged in four series: 1) Correspondence 1917-1919; 2) Personal Daybook, 1917-1918; 3) Biographical materials; and 4) Miscellaneous.

The majority of the collection is composed of letters (Series 1) Harry wrote to his brothers Jason and G.E. while he was serving in France during World War I. The letters were supplemented by his personal daybook (Series 2) written at the same time. Topics include military life (food, YMCA entertainment, traveling, his job, and opinions on the war, etc.); the terrain, flora, and fauna, roads, trains, and farming techniques of England and France; and personal expenses, weather, and family. The biographical materials of Series 3 include military papers and an obituary/memorial book written by his sister Laura. Series 4, Miscellaneous contains photocopies of Abernethy/Anderson family history, Valley County, Nebraska, history and three books owned by Harry Abernethy.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1917-1919

Box 1


  1. Correspondence, August 1917-March 30, 1918

  2. Correspondence, April 15, 1918-August 18, 1918

  3. Correspondence, September 18, 1918-February 11, 1919, plus undated letter

Series 2 – Personal Daybook, 1917-1918

  1. Personal Daybook, 1917-1918

Series 3 – Biographical Materials

  1. Military papers

  2. Obituary

Series 4 – Miscellaneous

  1. Family history, Anderson/Abernethy

  2. French postcards

  3. Book on French Facts

  4. Children’s book



Abernethy family

Abernethy, Harry Collins, 1874-1934

Anderson family

Military life

Soldiers — Nebraska

Valley County (Neb.) — History

World War, 1914-1918


MJR/kfk   06-12-2003

01-05-2010   Revised TMM