The observance of Armistice Day began officially on May 13, 1938, through an act of legislation. The holiday was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day'” (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a). It was to be celebrated on November 11th in honor of the ending of World War I by the signing of the armistice, or a temporary cessation of hostilities, that went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. Under the 83rd Congress on June 1, 1954, Public Law 380 was passed changing the name of this holiday to Veterans Day to honor American veterans of all wars. This change was in part due to the United States having been through two more wars, World War II and the Korean War.
This year to celebrate the service of veterans, we have selected a collection of glass negative portraiture of Lieutenant Edward Rawson Guyer from our Hostetler Studio Collection. The glass negatives were created at the photography studio of J. B. Hostetler which was located on Brady Street.
Edward R. Guyer was born to Edward Hanes and Constance Kimball Guyer on March 21, 1891, in Rock Island, Illinois. He attended Rock Island Public Schools and Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Cornell University in Ithica, New York in 1915 with a mechanical engineering degree. During three of his college years, he played on Cornell’s football team. In his senior year, the team won the eastern collegiate championship.
Edward, or “Ted”, continued to participate in team athletics after he returned home. He played for the Rock Island Independents football team which was in its “formative years.” He was well known for his prowess on the football field, but he hung up his helmet at the end of the 1916 season.
He began his career as an apprentice at a refinery plant in York, Pennsylvania. He progressed in his career by taking positions at Deere & Company and the Moline Plow Company as an assistant mechanical engineer. Before the United States entry into World War I, he was working on building projects on the Rock Island Arsenal.
He was sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland and then transferred to the French arsenals. The newspaper articles display the glimpses of news families would receive about the young men and women serving during World War I.
After his return, Edward married Marjorie Fish of Minnesota. The couple had three children, one son and two daughters Edward R Guyer, Jr. born December 12, 1918 in Minnesota passed away at the age of 6 due to bronchial pneumonia on December 9, 1925. Their daughters, Marjorie Rawson and Eden Constance, or “Edwine,” were born after the death of their son.
He became the superintendent of the Rock Island Stove Company. In 1927, he moved on to join the Cribben and Sexton Company in Chicago as their first vice president and director. He was an active member and leader in associations relating to this field.
Edward’s life was cut short by a tragic fell on a marble staircase when leaving a meeting at 10:30 in the evening with friends and business associates. “He pitched head first down five stairsteps and incurred a fracture of the skull” from which he never gained consciousness.
He was a well-respected man who still had close ties to their friends from and to the community of Rock Island.
Ancestry.com. Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
The first act that passed Armistice day- (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a)
The act that changed it to Veterans Day (Public Law 380)
(posted by Kathryn)