James S. Waters World War I scrapbook, 1917-1919 (MS 693)
James S. Waters was born in Galveston, TX on September 15, 1894. He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rice Institute in 1917. As a student, he was captain of the track team and president of the engineering society. He was also one of the leaders of the 1917 raid on Texas A&M to recover the kidnapped "Sammy" mascot. During World War I he served in the Corps of Engineers, commanding a combat platoon in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne campaigns, earning three combat stars and the rank of First Lieutenant. He began teaching at Rice in 1919 as an instructor in mechanical engineering. In 1921 he began teaching in electrical engineering and was the first instructor to hold the title. He was chairman of the Electrical Engineering Department for many years and served several years as the faculty representative on the Southwest Conference Committee.
He served as a Major in the Training and Operations Division of Air Staff during World War II and rose to the rank of Colonel and the command of the 4th AAF Base Unit in New York. After the war ended, Waters returned to Rice until his retirement in 1964. He died in December 1964.
This scrapbook was created by James S. Waters’ wife Pauline Lackner Waters to document his time in service, both in training and on the battlefield. It includes memorabilia such as Waters’ Officer’s Record Book, Battle Insignia, Overseas Service Chevrons, documents recording his vaccination, and receipts from purchases made at the Ordnance Store. Many of the pages contain photos showing Waters’ training at Camp Bullis in Texas, his time abroad in France and Germany, and--rarely--his time on leave. The majority of the scrapbook is taken up by newspaper clippings containing news of either the 90th division (of which James Waters was a part), or broader news about World War I as it developed during Waters’ time serving. Mrs. Waters also included newspaper clippings that explain the battle insignias of many different divisions--the 90th division prominently displayed alongside Waters’ own insignia, as well as several of the telegrams that Waters sent her, letters of permission and commendation sent to Waters by authority figures, and the Christmas letter that Waters sent home to his family in 1918.