A Little Birdie Told Me

Collections Spotlight

Arthur Standing was a conscientious objector and did not fight during World War I. Instead, he participated in alternate service with the American Friends Service Committee. In this role, he rebuilt homes in France after the Armistice.

Arthur came from a close-knit Quaker family of nine in Earlham, Iowa. Their love for each other is clearly visible in their sheer volume of correspondence. Over the 15 month period of Arthur’s service, the family sent 268 letters!

Arthur’s younger sister, Elsie, sent him a particularly sweet letter in August 1919. She mostly just told her brother about her daily activities: “I should be hunting the egges [sic] and feeding the chickens.”

However, she made this letter special by including beautiful watercolors of birds and flowers. While we do not have Arthur’s response to her letter, we can easily imagine his joy on receiving a little piece of artwork from a loved one at home.

Explore the rest of Arthur Standing’s collection on the Online Collections Database, which includes hundreds of photographs, letters and documents.