Reel 08: 1919-1923

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A number of letters in 1919 suggest the form Mrs. Straight's announced gift to Cornell University might take. On January first an Ithacan proposed "a splendid building dedicated to the memory of Major Straight and thoroughly equipped for the enjoyable employment of the leisure time of all Cornell students." Jeremiah W. Jenks suggested founding a chair at the University in Far Eastern studies, Neil Gray and Jacob Gould Schurman discussed scholarships, and Olaf M. Brauner, on the last of October, suggested fellowships, an art gallery, or a college of fine arts. Letters from Jo Davidson in the fall of 1919 discuss a plan to beautify the cemetery at Suresnes, but the project was later abandoned for lack of official approval. An undated critique of an article written about Straight by J. O. P. Bland is filmed at the end of 1919, along with another recollection by an Oswego friend. Many letters enclose contributions to a proposed memorial volume. An E. V. Morgan letter of 7 April 1920 encloses his memoir and another by Maurice Casenave, and he refers to copies of Straight's letters he had had typed, with certain deletions. A letter dated April thirteenth was written by a medium, and enclosed messages believed to have come from Willard Straight. A letter enclosed under the date of 14 May 1920 lists Straight's dispatches to the State Department that might contain biographical material. Letters in early 1921 concern a showing of Straight's drawings and paintings in March, and there are a few notes from William Gibbs McAdoo and James E. Eraser in regard to a statue to Alexander Hamilton that Mrs. Straight had commissioned. The Figure was placed outside the United States Treasury in Washington anonymously, though two letters from Arthur H. Vandenberg in July urged that Mrs. Straight be identified as the donor. A letter from China on 22 November 1921 and another in January comment on changes in Peking since 1912. The Willard Straight Post of the American Legion issued a statement on 21 September 1921 opposing preferential treatment of veterans in the New York State Civil Service. Early in 1922 the Post sought essays on its members' war experiences as advice to young men in the future. Some of these essays are filed at the end of 1922. Many writers in 1922 respond to the announced plan to erect Willard Straight Hall, a student union building, at Cornell. Livingston Farrand, president of the university, wrote on 5 July 1922 to discuss plans for the use and management of the building.


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