Letters From the Front: The Hofer Brothers


Carl Frederick Hofer (Right), Lexington Kentucky



This weeks Friday Find comes from the Connecticut State Library, State Archives and Museum of Connecticut History collections. The Archives has a large collection of letters that were sent home from the World War One front. One of these collections is the Hofer brothers. The Hofer (Carl and Herbert) Collection, 1917-1918(RG 069:032) is a great example of the correspondence between the soldiers fighting and their families back home. Sent from the front to their mother and father back home in New Britain Connecticut these letters tell the story of the life of these two brothers during their time in the war. Although, separated the two brothers, Carl and Herbert both wrote to each other.


A letter sent from Carl at Camp Devens to his father. In this letter he apologies for not writing as much, but there was not much activity to report. At the end of the letter there is mention of gas attack training.

Herbert Hofer was drafted in early July 1918 and was sent to South Carolina where he would train for the next month. In August of 1918 he was sent down to the Navy Yard in Pensacola Florida where he got a job in the hangers working with the airplanes. His letter collection includes daily activity at the base that in tails his work and the people he meets. Although, he mainly writes to his mother and father there are letters addressed to his brother Carl.

Carl Frederick Hofer was stationed at Camp Devens Massachusetts part of the 301st Machine Gun Battalion witch was a part of the 151st Infantry Brigade. Carl had much success in his military career that started on September 20th 1917 when he was drafted. For his efforts on the front he was awarded the rank of 2nd Lieutenant on August 31, 1918, and sent to Camp Taylor Kentucky for the remainder of the war. In his letters to his mother and father he describes how he leads his men and the daily routine of the camp.


A letter sent home from Herbert to his father. In this letter Herbert describes a storm that has hit the Naval Base his is stationed at and having to move every thing inside. Due to the constant rain he can not stay dry. He also talks about the base also getting the flu, and it moving up to his home town in New Britain. Herbert talks about his schooling to advance in pay grade, but does not know what to do with his money.

We will be posting the rest of these letters and in the process of digitizing more of this collection as well as others. If interested in these types of collections The Connecticut State Library has several other ones that are available to look at.