DEL MAR — Del Mar local James Larrimore has released a book filled with World War I letters between a war correspondent and his beloved daughter.
The collection of letters, written during the time the U.S. entered WWI, shows an intimate look at life during the war and the loving relationship between a father and his daughter.
“In their Own Words,” the book features letters between Don Martin, the author’s grandfather and a war correspondent for the New York Herald in 1918, and his 11-year-old daughter Dorothy, Larrimore’s mother.
Martin was a widower, so Dorothy lived with his mother in Silver Creek, New York, while Martin lived in New York City to work on the paper. Around 1918, Martin’s work took him to France where he documented his experiences with his daughter in great detail.
“I recognized that having this rather extensive set of hundred-year-old letters was quite unusual,” Larrimore said. “Don Martin, her father and my grandfather, was a very well-known journalist at the time, but, because he died of Spanish influenza in France, his name sort of disappeared into history.”
The book also includes diary entries and other writings by Martin that documented the day-to-day triumphs and struggles of being a war correspondent during such a crucial time in history.
Larrimore told The Coast News that he’s received an extremely positive response about the book. One high school history teacher in the community even said she plans to use it in one of her classes as one of the resources that will teach students about WWI.
“This is a very interesting book in terms of understanding the life of the American war journalist in France during that time, what they were doing day by day and how they lived out there,” Larrimore said. “It was a difficult job during the war and not to mention facing heavy censorship from the government consistently.”
Martin gave detailed accounts in his letter of the battles he was near, his travels associated with visiting the troops and more, all while reporting consistently for the Herald. He later died in Paris in 1918 from pneumonia and Spanish influenza.
“In Their Own Words: Writings of war correspondent Don Martin and his 11-year-old daughter Dorothy. An intimate view of WWI” is available on Amazon and at the Del Mar Library.
Larrimore and his family moved to Del Mar in 1969. This is his first published work.