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Captain William Herman Wilhelm Journal 1898-1902

Identifier: SC MS 0194

Scope and Contents

This diary or journal measures 18 cm x 21 cm x 1.5 cm, marbled paper over board bound in thin brown leather on spine and corners. The leather is badly worn, On the cover is a soiled white paper blank label bound in red ink. Inside this cover is attached a yellow paper label printed in black ink: William Mann Company Blank Book Makers, Stationers, Printers and Lithographers. 529 Market St. Philadelphia. There are blue lined pages numbered by hand 1-101 on which the text of the journal is copied but beyond page 101 the remaining pages are totally blank. The ink used for the transcription is black color with red marginalia notes.


  • Creation: 1898-1902


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Biographical / Historical

William Herman Wilhelm (1867-1901) entered Lehigh as a student in 1883 as a member of the Class of 1887. He was born in Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, the son of James Henry and Martha Weaver Wilhelm. He was educated at Ulrich’s Preparatory School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He entered Lehigh, where he became a charter member of Psi Upsilon fraternity. A vacancy occurred in the U.S. Military Academy for the District where he resided. He competed for the position and was a successful contestant and entered West Point June 1884 as the youngest cadet in his class. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1888 and served in the 10th Infantry in the West and Southwest until 1897. When war was declared against Spain, he became aide-de-camp to Brigadier-General Simon Snyder and accompanied him with the Army of Occupation to Cuba. Following the Spanish-American War (1896-1898), the United States acquired the Philippines. In 1899 Wilhelm was promoted to Captain with orders to proceed to the Philippines and was assigned to the 21st Regiment of Infantry as Captain in Company B. The Filipinos waged a war of resistance against American occupation. At the battle of San Mateo Wilhelm displayed much bravery and received the “brevet of major for gallant and meritorious services.” Also he was recommended for the Medal of Honor for bravery in action. When the Filipino leader was captured the resistance died down. The conflict ended with a Peace Proclamation on July 4, 1902. This war is now known as the Philippine-American War (1899-1902). According to his cousin, Ethan Allan Weaver, who copied Captain Wilhelm’ journal, Wilhelm was mortally wounded in action against the Filipino insurgents in the foothills six miles from Lipa, Batangas Province, Philippines on June 10, 1901. Captain Wilhelm died June 12, 1901 at Lipa. His body was returned to Mauch Chunk via Manila for burial and presumably his journal accompanied his body on the return to Mauch Chunk where it came into the possession of his cousin, Ethan Allan Weaver.


1 volume ; 18 cm x 21 cm

Language of Materials



This personal journal is an interesting read about battlefield observations of a little known war recently named the Philippine American War which was a result of the better known conflict the Spanish American War. The author of this diary was briefly a student at Lehigh University but graduated from West Point and served with distinction in the U.S. Infantry. He lost his life on the frontlines in the Philippine American War.


The material in the diary begins November 28th, 1898 when Wilhelm leaves Knoxville, Tennessee by train for Savannah, Georgia to board his transport ship the “Manitoba” bound for Cuba. His notes during his time in Cuba with General Snyder are written in Spanish. Upon his arrival in New York, April 5, 1899 he returns to the use of English for the remainder of his diary which ends June 7, 1901 a few days before he is mortally wounded according to the transcriber. There follows some additional notes transcribed of papers found in the original diary regarding military matters such as a recommendation by Wilhelm of bravery and leadership of one of his command. The dates of these papers begin with September 1900 to April 1901. The sequence of these transcribed papers is not totally chronological as the very last date noted is in February 1901.

Related Materials

Graff, Henry F. ed. 1969. “American imperialism and the Philippine insurrection 1902;” Boston: Little, Brown.

Linn, Brian McAllister. 2000. “The Philippine War, 1899-1902.” Lawrence: University Press of Kansas

Ramsey, Robert D. 2007. “A masterpiece of counterguerrilla warfare: J. Franklin Bell in the Philippines, 1901-1902.” Fort Leavenworth: Combat Studies Institute Press.

Physical Description

1 notebook, 18 cm x 21 cm x 1.5 cm

Finding Aid of the Captain William Herman Wilhelm Journal 1898-1902
Eleanor Nothelfer.
April 24, 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English, Spanish

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)