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Beginning in 1903, the U.S. Army utilized the M1903 Springfield as its standard service rifle. By the end of the war, over one million were in use, with another 1.5 million M1917 Enfields produced to keep up with the number of Americans in uniform. While the exact wartime use of this rifle is unknown, it was collected by August Mencken, Jr. (1889-1967), a civil engineer, model maker, author, and firearms enthusiast. The lesser-known younger brother of famed author H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), August was working as a civil engineer for the Claiborne, Johnston & Company firm when the war broke out. Reporting to a draft call on July 20, 1917, August was initially certified by the draft board to serve in the military, but did not ultimately serve in that capacity. Turning back to his civilian work, he spent the majority of the war supervising the construction of Camp Meade, one of the country’s key eastern army cantonments, which processed more than 400,000 troops. August may have acquired this rifle during his time there.




Wood, steel, leather, brass

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Bequest of August Mencken, Jr.

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Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


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