October is Family History Month!
George Catlett Marshall, Jr. was born on December 31, 1880 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He was the fourth child of George C. Marshall, Sr. and Laura Bradford Marshall. (Their third born had died as an infant.) His siblings were Stuart Bradford (b. 1875) and Marie Louise (b.1876).
For researchers interested in the genealogy of Marshall and his family the Marshall Foundation Archive has several collections, including those of George Catlett Marshall and Katherine Tupper Marshall. Researchers may also be interested in the archival holdings of Marshall’s siblings, Stuart B. Marshall (the family historian) and Marie Marshall Singer. An online family tree may be found on Ancestry.com.
Information about George C. Marshall’s own thoughts on his family may also be found in Forrest Pogue’s book Interviews and Reminiscences. During the interviews with Pogue, Marshall remembered his childhood warmly and expressed deep affection for his parents. George Sr. was an active church and community member with a love of history. He would tell George, Jr. stories while fishing, or read books aloud to the family in the evenings. He instilled in George a love of the past, and of reading.
Marshall told interviewer Forrest Pogue that his mother was “not only a woman of character and determination, but of great understanding….She was both gentle and firm, very understanding, and had a keen but quiet sense of humor, which made her my confidant in practically all my boyish escapades and difficulties.” His mother died in 1928.
The George C. Marshall Museum Collection does not have many objects from Marshall’s childhood, but there are several items which belonged to his mother. In 1963, Marshall Foundation Librarian Eugenia Lejeune traveled to Pennsylvania to meet with Robert Smith, Executor of the Estate of Marie Marshall Singer, George’s older sister. Lejeune accepted a trunk filled with the items of Laura Bradford Marshall, their mother. The trunk contained Laura’s dresses, mourning clothing (George, Sr. died in 1909), accessories such as a 25th wedding anniversary silver hand mirror, veils, shawls, and Laura’s family silver. The trunk also contained the ornate christening gowns of Stuart, Marie, and George, George’s baby cap, and one small boot. It is when pairing historical objects with the personal narration of Marshall’s life that one can begin to imagine his childhood and the values that shaped him.