The Guy Despard Goff Collection consist of three bound volumes of typescript copies of correspondence, telegrams, and letters of congratulations related to Goff’s military and political career during and following World War I.
Volume I consist of typescripts of personal letters written by Goff to his wife, Anne Baker Goff, between January and July 1919, when he was serving in France on the legal staff of American General John J. Pershing. The letters are apparently edited versions of the original letters with personal items having been eliminated. The correspondence discusses Goff’s professional activities and daily life during the period of the Paris peace conference and the early months of the military occupation of defeated Germany. Goff provides an insider’s behind-the-scene view of the various and complex military and political events during the time when peace was being reestablished in post-World War I Europe with particular understanding of these events from the American perspective. The letters provide glimpses of important figures such as Pershing, Woodrow Wilson, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau and such issues as the peace treaty negotiations, the League of Nations, the perceived threat of the spread of Bolshevism, and other political and social matters of the time.
Volume II (and Volume III, which is a duplicate of Volume II) consists of typescript copies of telegrams and letters of congratulations received by Goff following his election to the United States Senate from West Virginia in 1924. Congratulations are primarily from individuals in West Virginia but also include business and political figures from other parts of the country. An alphabetical listing of correspondents with page references is found in the front the volumes.
The three volumes are arranged in chronological order.
At some unknown date prior to this, the collection had been donated to the museum, though the name of the donor is unknown. It is possible that the volumes in the collection were originally in the possession of Goff’s daughter, Louise Goff Reece (Mrs. B. Carroll Reece) and may have been included in the materials she donated to the university in the 1960s.
Method of Acquisition
The material found in the Guy Despard Goff Collection was transferred from the Reece Museum to the Archives of Appalachia on November 10, 1998.
Papers related to Guy Despard Goff may also be found at the West Virginia and Regional History Collection, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
The collection was processed by Ned Irwin and opened for research in April 2007. Additional material was processed into the collection in April 2008.