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Too Near Where History Is Being Made: Henry Howard Houston II in a Time of War

Center for Digital Scholarship

This digital gallery was created by the Center for Digital Scholarship.

This gallery follows the life of Henry Howard Houston II, a young Philadelphian who fought and died in World War I.

The day he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Henry joined the Pennsylvania National Guard to serve at the U.S.-Mexican border during the U.S. punitive expedition against Pancho Villa in 1916.

After leaving the border, he joined the Ambulance Corps in France. When the United States officially joined the war, Henry returned to America and trained with the U.S. Army. He returned to France as an aerial observation officer. He died in France in 1918.

The gallery is divided into four sections. The first uses a map to join together letters and pictures from Henry's journey around the country and to France. The second highlights photographs from the collection. Many of these show the devastation of war. The final sections surface themes and topics that are found in Henry's letters. These sections provide an entry into the world in which Henry lived and the issues that were important to him.