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Joseph F. Ware Collection, 1900-1971 (Ms2010-022)

 Digital Record
Identifier: Ms2010-022


  • 1900 - 1971


Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Biographical Information

Joseph Fulton Ware served as Commandant to the VPI Corps of Cadets and professor of Military Science and Tactics from 1911 to 1914. Ware was First Lieutenant of the 16th U. S. Infantry and was assigned the State Militia rank of Colonel. Ware was nicknamed "Bald Knob" in reference to his lack of hair. Joseph Ware was born December 22, 1880 in Fort Monroe, Virginia from an Army family. He enrolled at Virginia Tech as a cadet and graduated in 1903. While a student at Virginia Tech, Ware excelled in sports and academics. He played both baseball and football and was an All-Southern end for the Gridmen. He was a cadet Lieutenant in the Artillery Battery, assistant manager of The Bugle, vice-president of the Athletic Association, and Captain of the baseball team and was voted "Best All-Around Cadet."

After his tenure at VPI, Ware received a Second Lieutenant of Infantry commission in the Regular United States Army and served in the Philippines, Alaska, and Europe during World War I. In World War I, Ware served in three divisions: the 4th, 80th, and 83rd; two corps: the 3rd and the 9th; and two armies: the 1st and the 2nd. Ware received the position of Chief Signal Officer and the rank of Major. Ware was a part of the major American movements in France: Soissons, Chateau Thierry, St. Mihiel, the Argonne, and the push of the 2nd before Armistice Day. He received injuries from gas and shrapnel from fighting in the trenches and was recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross from the United States government. The French Ordre de 'lEtoile Noire awarded Ware the Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre.

Ware married Susana "Susie" Howe Robinson on October 29, 1914, at the Blacksburg Presbyterian Church in Blacksburg, Virginia. Susie gave birth to their son, Joseph Fulton Ware, Jr., in 1917. Joseph Ware, Jr. also attended Virginia Tech and received one of the first mechanical engineering degrees with an aeronautical option offered by Virginia Tech in 1937. Joseph Ware, Jr. subsequently received a master's degree from Cal Tech and spent his career as a flight test engineer at Lockheed Corporation. Virginia Tech has an engineering lab named after him, the "Joseph Fulton Ware, Jr. Advanced Engineering Lab."

Source 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.

Temple, Harry Downing, and Floyd Richard Vranian. The Bugle's Echo: A Chronology of Cadet Life at the Military College at Blacksburg, Virginia, the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. [Blacksburg, Va.]: Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Alumni, 1996.

Language of Materials


Acquisition Information

The Joseph F. Ware Collection was purchased by Special Collections in November 2009.

Alternative Form Available

Digital copy of a photograph of Joseph F. Ware


The collection contains 102 letters from Joseph F. Ware to his wife, Susie, in Blacksburg, Virginia, while he was serving overseas during and after World War I. The other significant portion of this collection contains nearly 200 photographs.


The collection contains correspondence, photographs, and ephemera. The majority of the letters are from Joseph Ware, but the collection includes a few other letters from extended family and friends.

Joseph Ware wrote many letters while he was in military service to his wife, Susie, back home in Blacksburg, Virginia. These letters were written while Ware was stationed in Panama, New York, France, and Germany, and detail the challenges of military life. The European letters were written during WWI and include descriptions of Ware's time in the trenches and his responsibilities as Chief Signal Officer. A significant portion of the letters denote family events and relationships.

In addition to letters, the collection also contains approximately 200 photographs of the Ware family and friends. Other materials include miscellaneous photographs, cards, receipts, and memorabilia.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the Joseph F. Ware Collection commenced in March, 2010 and was completed in May, 2010.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US