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To Lieutenant Colonel Edwin F. Harding
June 22, 1935 [Chicago, Illinois]
I have just read your letter of June 20th, and am answering it immediately as partial expression of my appreciation for the trouble you have taken and for the value of your criticisms and suggestions about the GUARDSMAN. Much that you said I already had debated in my own mind, particularly regarding some of the typographical matters, which I had previously discussed with the supposed expert on that subject from the Kable publishing company. Am going to “turn the hose” on him again with your letter as added evidence as to the correctness of my view.1
I rather think you were doing a subtle compliment in praising the unsigned articles, guessed I had probably done them, which I had. The trouble has been I had to whack them out in about a half hour each with almost no time for reference or care in preparation. Incidentally, however, these do not interest the bulk of our readers who are enlisted men. The officers like them, but the men don’t care much about them—only the illustrations save them. And in most instances the articles are written because I happen to have the illustrations— usually free cuts. The Leavenworth article was purely a filler because I knew I could get the cuts for nothing. I happened to see the description in a book I was reading on Mexico.
I was interested in what you said about the Personalities Here and There. This is the most valuable item in the magazine toward building up subscriptions and interest among the enlisted men. The letters from these men have also had tremendous value in getting the men interested, however foolish some of the letters may seem.
The Regimental Notes, of course, represent our big problem. I think we have improved them in quality about fifty per cent—but that’s not saying very much for them. But they are vital to the magazine, as we depend absolutely on the subscriptions of the enlisted personnel. Whenever the notes of the unit are missing, there is a storm of protest, which tells the story. We are under fire continuously for cutting out portions of the notes submitted and I assure you the parts we cut out are uniformly terrific, nevertheless a protest. Anything that we print which is reasonably presentable, that has to do or has been written by an enlisted man goes over big. My problem is to locate men who either have had unusual experiences or have some ability in writing.
I am immensely grateful to you for the trouble you have taken and your letter will really be most helpful. . .2
With warm regards,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Illinois National Guard, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Marshall had written to Harding on June 13 requesting his “frank opinion” on how the Illinois Guardsman compared with the magazines of the California, New York, and Pennsylvania National Guards. Harding replied on June 20 that Illinois was superior to the first but inferior to the latter two “in certain respects, mostly typographical.”
2. The one-third of the letter omitted concerned a mutual friend, Marshall’s family vacationing at Fire Island, and Harding’s family.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 469-470.