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The Gwenn Clifford Smith collection of World War I artifacts, 1917-1961

Identifier: 21-02-007-02

Scope and Content:

The Gwenn Clifford Smith collection consists of correspondence, death certificates, enlistment record/honorable discharge record, a pay record book, a radio logbook, medals, silk scarf, a garrison cover hat, and photograph regarding Albert Clifford and his involvement in the 109th Field Artillery Unit during World War I.


  • 1918-[1961]


Open for Research.

Biographical Sketch:

Albert Morgan Clifford was born in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania to Albert H. and Elizabeth Morgan Clifford on March 29th, 1897. He attended local schools and found work as a machinist before joining the Army. When he was twenty years old, he enlisted into the military in Wilkes-Barre, PA on May 1st, 1917. The same year, Clifford was appointed a non-commissioned officer in the Army, becoming a Corporal on November 1st, 1917. Clifford served in the 109th Field Artillery unit, 28th Division, in both France and Belgium. Clifford had blue eyes, brown hair and stood approximately 66 inches tall. During his service, Albert Clifford wrote correspondence to his girlfriend Elvira Powell, whom he would later marry. A.M. Clifford was also in charge of keeping track of radio logs throughout his time in France, as can be observed in the following radio log pages found within the collection. Despite the radio log being in his possession, there are distinct handwritings, signatures, initials and reports, indicating that there were multiple people in possession of the radio log at various times. On Clifford’s enlistment record, it states that amongst this veteran’s battles, engagements, skirmishes or expeditions, A.M.C. was present during the Fismes-Vesle engagement from August 8th, 1918 to August 11th, 1918, followed by Oise-Aisne from August 18th, 1918 to September 9th, 1918. Following that was the Meuse-Argonne Sector which occurred from the 22nd of September, 1918 to the 26th of September, 1918. The Meuse-Argonne Sector would continue into November of 1918. Albert was honorably discharged from the Army on May 19th, 1919 at Camp Dix, New Jersey, where he would then return to his home state of Pennsylvania after his years of travelling abroad. His character at time of discharge has been annotated as being, “Excellent”. Vira (Elvira) and Albert married not long after his return, and Albert found himself working again for the federal government, this time as a postal carrier which he did until his death in 1961, at the young age of 64 due to a carcinoma of his right lung. Albert lived at 94 Staub Road, Trucksville PA at the time of his death. Unfortunately, there is not much information available at this time regarding Elvira Powell or her life.

Albert and Elvira would give birth to one daughter, Gwenn C. Smith (Clifford) on March 21st, 1929. She was born in Wilkes-Barre, PA and was raised in Trucksville, PA. She attended the local schools, and graduated from Wilkes College with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce & Finance. Gwenn ultimately lived a free and diverse life, one filled of extroversion and delight. At the age of eight, Gwenn began singing in church, operettas, weddings, and other events through her early years in public school and college. She would go on to have her own radio program through her senior year of high school at Kingston Township High School, and became a soloist with the State Chorus of Pennsylvania. Throughout her time at Wilkes College, she was a Campus Queen. Following college, Gwenn moved to New York City to further her studies of voice by learning under a well-versed singer who had studied in Italy. Her mentor’s name was Madame Giovanna Viola. Gwenn dreamt of singing with the Metropolitan Opera Company, but unfortunately would never be able to and only would sing at “off-broadway” opera companies and some other functions that required singers. In her mid-twenties, Gwenn Smith was a “Miss Subway”, and eventually married a fashion photographer by the name of Paul Guzzone. In 1961, Gwenn divorced Guzzone and her father, Albert Clifford, passed away. Gwenn studied acting and was featured in singing commercials and TV programs such as General Hospital, One Life to Live, and The Defenders. Two years after her first divorce, she married Dr. Walton J. Smith. Gwenn quit her singing/acting career, and spent the 1960’s through 1970’s working for tax lawyers, Vicks, Oil of Olay, Mascoma Home Health Agency and also volunteered her spare time working with the Well Child Clinic. In 1969, Gwenn and Dr. Smith moved to Wilton, Connecticut, and then to Grafton, New Hampshire in 1976 where Gwenn’s husband established a new research laboratory. In 1985, they moved again to Lebanon, New Hampshire where Gwenn continued working with tax associates. Dr. Smith died of Alzheimer’s in 1997. Gwenn continued to pursue her passion for tax work and gardening. She passed away on March 24th, 2020 in Lebanon, NH.


2 boxes (1 long grey photograph box and 1 small tan object box. ) ; 3.165 linear feet

Language of Materials



The Gwenn Clifford Smith collection was accessioned on November 18, 2020. The collection was donated by Jeanne Emerson Young, the executor of Gwenn Clifford-Smith’s estate. Gwenn Clifford Smith died in March 2020. Additional materials were mailed to the Archives by Jeanne Emerson Young on February 4th, 2021.


The Gwenn Clifford Smith collection was transferred to Wilkes University Archives on November 18, 2020 by Smith’s executor, Jeanne Emerson Young.


Conditions of items will vary.

Copyright Status:

Items are in the public domain.


Materials from within the collection.

Processed By:

Processed, transcribed and digitized by :Logan Yeakel, Archives intern, supervised by Suzanna Calev, Archivist, in Spring 2021.

French radio logbook entries translated by Megan Tindell, graduate research work-study, in Spring-Summer 2021, supervised by Suzanna Calev, Archivist, in Spring-Summer 2021.

Series Description

The Gwenn Clifford Smith collection of World War I artifacts is arranged into three series: Papers, 1918-1919, Photograph, 1918, and Objects, 1918-1919.

Series I: Papers, 1917 - [1961]

There are several paper documents involved in the collection, consisting of a radio log recording the final times of the first world war, death certificate, enlistment record/honorable discharge, a letter from Albert to Elvira, two postcards, and a pay record book for Albert Clifford in the military. There is also “An Appreciation from Simon Long’s Sons, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.” Historical Account Pocketbook which gives a small insight into historical battles and military units of the first world war. The death certificate has a written clerical error in which the death date is written as 02-21-1916 but the actual death date is 02-21-1961.

Series II: Photograph, January 10th, 1918

The photograph consists of the 109th Field Artillery Unit taken on January 10, 1918 which features Albert Clifford in the bottom row.

Series III: Objects, Oct 30th, 1918 - 1919

The objects series consist of a silk “Going away” handkerchief sent from Clifford to Elvira. There is a garrison cover (hat) from the Veterans of Foreign Wars group of which Clifford was a member. There is also a group of ribbons and medals both from the military and also from the VFW that were awarded to Albert Clifford.
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Wilkes University Archives Repository

84 W South St.
Wilkes-Barre PA 18701 US
570-408-7823 (Fax)