Finding Edward: Discovering the Character and Fate of a World War I Veteran

The Tanner letters project started simply enough: As library student employees at Sonoma State University, we were given the task of documenting World War I letters that were gifted to the library by Sonoma County historian and local newspaper columnist Gaye LeBaron. The letters, documenting the wartime experience of Santa Rosa, California, soldier Edward Tanner and his sister Eliza, a nurse, were given to LeBaron in 1984 by a woman who had the Tanner name, but had no relation to the letters’ scribes. Prior to that, the stack of correspondence had been kept by an editor of a Napa newspaper. How the editor obtained them remains a mystery.