Stansilaus Edward Basinski was one of the many law students, both past and present, who kept in touch with Wigmore from their stations around the world. Basinski himself was stationed in Châlus, a small, historic town in the southwest of France, where he served as a first private with the army. He and many of the others found the war to be both a curse and a blessing: it disrupted their education, sent them far from home, and demanded lots of hard work—and yet many expressed an eagerness to receive a commission and serve overseas. As Basinski writes, nearly illegibly, on the back of this postcard, “It’s a great adventure for us boys if we do return.”
However, this particular postcard was not only a means of dropping a line, but also a means of encouraging the sale of war bonds, or “Liberty Bonds,” as they were known during the Great War. War bonds were used as a means to fund military expenses; essentially, private citizens would lend their money to the effort through the purchase of bonds, the amount of which was to be returned at a later date with interest. The government strongly pushed this program, enlisting the help of celebrities like Charlie Chaplin to promote bond sale, and even encouraging people to take out loans to buy more of them. Here, bonds are requested to replenish a staggering amount of explosives, which, according to the postcard, were launched almost constantly upon the “Huns,” a common propaganda reference to the Germans.
While it is uncertain if any bonds were bought in response to this postcard, it can be happily confirmed that Basinski did, indeed, return home. He also returned to his legal studies, and is listed among the graduates of the Northwestern University School of Law class of 1921.
This item is generously on loan from the Northwestern University Archives.
Transcription of the Postcard from S. E. Basinski to Wigmore
1st Pvt. S. E. Basinski
I am doing well here in Franse The climate is similar to that in San Francisco. It’s a great adventure for us boys if we do return. Yours very truly,