Guide to the Shanahan Family Letters, 1917-1922

Collection number: NS 305
Size: (1 file) (0.01 cu.ft.)

About the Shanahans

The Shanahan family of Somersworth, New Hampshire consisted of Philip Shanahan and his wife Catherine Ward (both immigrated from Ireland), their children which included siblings Nellie H. Shanahan, William H. Shanahan, and Anna Francis Shanahan. Nellie married Phillip Dooley; their daughter was Helen Ward Dooley.

William H. Shanahan (New Hampshire 27th Oct. 1885-11 June 1958) was the 13th child of Philip and Catherine Shanahan. He joined the medical detachment of the 64th Artillery of the Army's Coast Artillery Corps as a 1st lieutenant. After receiving training sailed from New York City 14th July 1918 and was in England by 7th August and France by 27th August. The company saw no direct action as a result of Armistice, and was back in New York City by the end of February 1919. William was promoted to the rank of captain before leaving the military to live and work in Portland, Maine.

Anna "Annie" Francis Shanahan (New Hampshire 1886-?) moved to Portland ME by 1910. She joined the US Army as a nurse, training in Camp Taylor Kentucky by May 1918 before leaving from New York City that July. She served in the Base Hospital 115 at the Hotel Ruhl in Vichy, France from early August 1918 to February 1919 when the unit was transferred to Germany. After the end of the war she remained in the military and was at Fort Bayard Texas in 1922. A fuller history of Base Hospital 115 can be found in "A History of U.S.A. Base Hospital no. 115, A.P.O. 781, AEF" available through HathiTrust's digital library.

Nellie H. Dooley (7 October 1877-31 October 1977) was an elder sister who unlike William and Annie was born in Ireland and immigrated with their family. She worked in the Somersworth textile mills, while her husband Phillip Dooley (1873 Ireland -1958 New Hampshire) worked in a shoe factory. Their daughter Helen Ward Dooley (1903-?) graduated the University of New Hampshire in 1925 with a B.A. before moving to Massachusetts.

About the Shanahan Letters

The letters are mostly from William Shanahan and his sister Annie to their sister Nellie at home in Somersworth. They describe training, medical problems encountered, fellow service members, the 1918 influenza, the French and German countryside, and the war, as well as keeping up on family news.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Shanahan Family Letters, 1917-1922, MS 305, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Purchase, 2020

Collection Arrangement

Chronological by writer.