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Category Archives: Harley-Davidson: William Harley

RR Autograph Auctions Harley-Davidson: William Harley Letters

RR Autograph Auctions Harley-Davidson: William Harley

In-depth collection of 13 signed letters from William S. Harley, chief-engineer and co-founder of Harley-Davidson, and his sister, Katherine H. Daily, and various individuals involved with the case, all concerning the honorable discharge and welfare of their brother, Joseph W. Harley, from the U. S. Coast Artillery Coast, dated from January of 1933 through November of 1935. Featuring two TLSs signed by Daily, the first, dated January 8, 1933, containing the most detailed account of the Harley’s plea for an honorable discharge, in part: “Application is hereby made for the correction of records and for an honorable discharge of my brother Joseph W. Harley, of 69th Co. U. S. Coast Artillery Corps. He enlisted in said organization June 5, 1902 and left the service November 10, 1903…During this service he was stationed at the Philippine Islands, Negros Island, for a period of about two years and six months, during this period he was with an engineering detachment and they were lost for about ten months. The hardships endured during this period made him a nervous wreck. He seffered [sic] with mountain fever and amoebic dysentery. He was also wounded in the right leg and was hospitalized at Escalante P. I.” The letter goes on to describe his honorable discharge, only to return “a nervous wreck,” talking “continually about his experience in the Islands.” Joseph disappeared shortly after, reenlisting in the military. His condition worsened, leading him to desert the U. S. Coast Artillery. The Harley siblings would receive a letter from their brother, who was being treated at a hospital in Virginia for typhoid fever, asking for money to come home. Under the attention of various doctors, it was concluded that “his breakdown was caused by the strain and hardships endured while he served in the Philippine Islands.” Daily concludes the letter by requesting the honorable discharge, citing that Joseph “was not the type of man that would voluntarily desert from any contract or service, if his mental condition had not been impaired.”

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