Brenneman: Papers of Paul Brenneman, 1883-1982

Call Number: MG-485

1 box     13 folders    .25 cubic ft.

Repository: (Lancaster, Pa.)

Shelving Location: Archives South, Side 11

Description:  This collection contains genealogy and family records of the Brenneman and Freitag families. Much of the collection consists of World War I military documents of Paul Brenneman (d.1982) of Lancaster, including correspondence while he prisoner of war, order for his discharge from service and receipt of a Purple Heart. The most significant items are his journals which record his military service and his account of the battle in which he was taken prisoner of war.

Creators: Brenneman, Paul; Brenneman, Thomas.

Conditions for Access: No restrictions.

Conditions Governing Reproductions: Collection may not be photocopied. Please contact Research Staff or Archives Staff with questions.

Language: English, German

Source of Acquisition: Gift of Martin Copeland, September 2008.



Folder 1 Family records

Business card for Charlie Brenneman’s radio cleaning service. No date.

Genealogy of Catherine Marie Brenneman. Prepared 14 August 1966.

Letters between brothers in the Freitag family; one is Ludwig Freitag. They are checking up on each and sending their love. Written in German. 1883


Folder 2 Trade card, Meal Ticket, Insurance Policy

Trade card of J. Leny at Bar Restaurant Des Voyageurs in Bordeaux, France. No date.

Meal ticket of Sgt. Paul Brenneman. No date.

Insurance document for Paul Brenneman from the Treasury Department in the amount of $2,000. Date of insurance effective is 10 December 1917. It was countersigned in Washington, D.C. on 15 January 1920.


Folder 3 Correspondence

Postcard from Paul Brenneman to his Aunt Lillian sent from Giessen prisoner of war camp in Germany to Lancaster. 24 September 1918.

Document regarding Paul Brenneman which is written in German.

Letter from the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Prisoners of the American Red Cross to Sgt. Paul Brenneman. It is a notice that they have received and are working on his request. 26 September 1918.

Letter from the Bureau of Prisoners’ Relief of the American Red Cross to Thomas Brenneman regarding the transfer of his brother, Sgt. Paul Brenneman, from the POW camp of Saarbrucken to the camp of Giessen, Hessen, Germany. 22 October 1918.

Letter from the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of the American Red Cross to Sgt. Paul Brenneman. The letter states that the department received a letter from the general Headquarters confirming his rank of Sergeant in the U.S. Army. 22 October 1918.

Letter from the American Red Cross to Mr. [Thomas] Brenneman extending congratulations for Sgt. Brenneman’s safe return from a German prison camp. 7 November 1918.

Letter to Thomas Brenneman from the Adjutant General of the War Department explaining that his brother, Sgt. Paul Brenneman, has been transferred from the German prison camp at Karlsruhe to the camp at Villingen, Germany. 12 November 1918.

Letter to Thomas Brenneman from the Bureau of Prisoners’ Relief of the American Red Cross explaining that his brother, Sgt. Paul Brenneman, has been transferred from the prison camp of Giessen to the prison camp of Rastatt. 4 December 1918.

Letter to Sgt. Paul Brenneman and fellow soldiers from Commander in Chief John J. Pershing. The letter thanks and congratulates him and his fellow soldiers for their duty and success in the war. 28 February 1919.


Folder 4 Passes for Good Conduct, YMCA Pass, Leave Pass

Three passes for good conduct and attention to duty issued to Paul Brenneman. They are dated 13 April [1919], 21 April 1919 and 27 April 1919.

A pass for the Liberty Hut YMCA at Union Station Plaza in Washington, D.C. for a bed and bath issued to Paul Brenneman. 24 September 1919.

A [leave] pass for Sgt. Paul Brenneman stationed at Camp Dix, NJ to visit Lancaster from noon on 1 August 1919 until noon on 4 August 1919. Issued on 1 August 1919.


Folder 5 Discharge Order, Request Letter

Order for the discharge of Sgt. Paul Brenneman from R. W. Greene of the Headquarters Eastern Department. 17 July 1920.

Letter to Sgt. Paul Brenneman from Major General C. P. Summerall requesting that each member of the 1st Division at Camp Dix, NJ write of the death or wounding of any man in the division that they had witnessed. 1 October 1920.


Folder 6 Golde Clothes Shop, “My Experiences as a Soldier in France”

Letter from Golde Clothes Shop to Paul Brenneman thanking him for the business he provides and a request for Paul to distribute their business cards to friends. No date.

On reverse: Chronology of events regarding active duty, prisoner of war and discharge, perhaps to file for disability or pension.

“My Experiences as a Soldier in France,” written by Paul Brenneman, describing the battle on 19 July 1918 in which he was wounded and taken prisoner of war. No date.


Folder 7 Letter from Louis Offenbacher to Mrs. Freitag requesting that Mrs. Freitag send a letter to his friend Paul Brenneman. The letter is to include Louis’s picture and best wishes to his friend in the camp. In return he would like Paul to write back and send him American money as a souvenir. Holiday greeting exchanged at the end. No date.


Folder 8 Ticket, Letter about Adjusted Compensation

A ticket issued to Paul Brenneman. 19 August 1924.

Small letter in postcard form from Robert C. Davis (Major General, Adjutant General, United States Army) to Paul Brenneman regarding his application for adjusted compensation. Application number included. 18 August 1924.


Folder 9 “Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States” membership card issued to Paul Brenneman. 21 August 1974.


Folder 10 Funeral service pamphlet for Paul Brenneman. 21 January 1982.


Folder 11 Purple Heart Notification, Nametag/decoration, Newspaper Articles

Military order of the Purple Heart issued to Paul Brenneman. (card form) 1975.

A copy of a letter to Paul Brenneman from the Adjutant General stating that he shall receive a Purple Heart for the wounds he received in the war. 27 June 1932.

A nametag and uniform decoration belonging to Paul Brenneman. No dates.

Three newspaper articles concerning the award of a Purple Heart to Paul Brenneman and fellow soldier, A. D. Cogley. No dates. (photocopies)


Folder 12 Envelopes

Five empty envelopes addressed to Paul Brenneman. Four of the envelopes are from 1918 and the other one is from 1919.


Folder 13 Journals

Four notebooks containing journal entries of Paul Brenneman. The large black notebook is dated 1938 and contains prices for items that he bought in the front pages followed by a memoir of his life in the army. The other small black notebook in three pieces contains the addresses of his friends from 1917. The final two notebooks are blue and tell of his army experience and the challenges he faced as a soldier in 1917.