Joseph Henry Barrier Papers

1912-1970 [bulk 1917-1919]. 1 box (13 folders), ca. 85 items. MSS. COLL. #59

NOTE:  The numbers cited in parentheses, e.g. 1:5, refer the researcher to the Series#:Folder# in which that name/topic will be found.


This collection consists primarily of military records, photographs, postcards, and printed materials relating to Joseph Henry Barrier’s service in World War I as captain of Truck Company No. 3 in the First Corps Artillery Park. Originally from Yazoo City, Mississippi, he moved to Greensboro around 1925 to work for Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company and eventually served as its vice president. Researchers interested in Greensboro servicemen or the First Corps Artillery Park during World War I may find this collection useful.

Arrangement: This collection is organized in four series and arranged within series by document type and/or subject. The series are: Military Records, 1918-1970; Miscellaneous, ca. 1918-1950s; Photographs & Souvenirs, ca. 1919; and Printed Materials, 1912-1946.

Provenance: This collection was donated by Mrs. Joseph Henry Barrier and assigned the accession numbers 1972.100.29-37, 1977.11, and 1977.80.2-9.

Processing: This collection was organized and the finding aid was prepared by intern Justin Evangelisto in August 2022.


Joseph Henry Barrier (1890-1970) was born in Yazoo County, Mississippi, to Cady Wood and Forester Barrier. He graduated from Mississippi A&M (later Mississippi State University) in 1911 with a bachelor’s in civil and mining engineering, and then he worked as an engineer on canal and bridge construction in Mississippi. After the army drafted him on October 8, 1917, he spent three months in officers’ training at Camp Leon Springs, Texas, and was commissioned captain. He served for two months as an instructor in firing data and panoramic sketching until the First Corps Artillery Park was organized at Camp Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina.

Barrier was called into active service on November 27, 1917, and became captain of Truck Company No. 3 in the First Corps Artillery Park. He boarded the SS Great Northern and served overseas from May 22, 1918, to August 3, 1919. While in France, he trained at a motor school. He fought with the First Corps Artillery Park in the Champagne-Marne Defensive, Aisne-Marne Offensive, Oise-Aisne Offensive, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Following the armistice, he remained in Europe for eight months as part of the occupying forces before receiving an honorable discharge on August 22, 1919, at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

After the war, Barrier was hired by the Transcontinental Oil Company as a field engineer and worked in Tampico, Mexico, for eight months in 1921. He then became a mortgage loan inspector for Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company and was gradually promoted to greater responsibilities within the company, eventually becoming vice president around 1945 and retiring in 1955. By 1925 he had moved to Greensboro, where he married Annie Milton Norman in 1954. He was a member of West Market Street United Methodist Church, the Shrine Club, the Elk Club, Greensboro Country Club, Camp Bryan Hunting Club, the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Freemasons (32nd degree).

Biographical Sources: The sources used to compile this biographical note include materials in this collection,, the Greensboro city directories, the obituary of Joseph Henry Barrier (Greensboro Daily News, July 22, 1970), and the article entitled “Estate of Greensboro Executive gets a value of almost $1 million” (Greensboro Daily News, August 5, 1970).


The types of materials in this collection include military records, maps, photographs, postcards, and assorted printed materials. Nearly all items date from Barrier’s military service. The military records contain both personal information about him and information relating to his unit. While some photographs portray his company, the collection includes many postcard and photo books that he acquired while in France and Germany. The printed materials primarily address military topics and were either issued to him by the military or obtained by him while in Europe. Researchers interested in Greensboro servicemen or the First Corps Artillery Park, particularly the truck companies, may find this collection useful.


1. Military Records.  2 folders (14 items).  1918-1970.

This series contains items relating to Barrier’s personal military record and the First Corps Artillery Park as a whole. The former include a detailed notebook with drawings he made while at motor school, a certificate from motor school, special orders that mention him, his discharge papers, and a military record from Camp Shelby (1:2). Also included are a certificate from President Wilson confirming his promotion to captain and a letter from President Nixon commending him for his service (1:2). Records relating to the First Corps Artillery Park consist of a roster and a schedule of instruction for field artillery officers (1:1).

2. Miscellaneous.  2 folders (4 items).  ca. 1918-1950s.

Of particular note in this series is a blank piece of letterhead from Barrier’s time as vice president of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company (2:1). The other folder holds an envelope containing maps of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and the offensive on St. Mihiel salient with an associated report by General Pershing (2:2).

3. Photographs & Souvenirs.  5 folders (ca. 33 items).  1910s.

The most noteworthy items in this series are a portrait of Barrier in his military uniform, a photograph of Barrier and other soldiers marching in Newport News, Virginia, and photographic postcards of the soldiers of Company C (including Barrier; 3:1). The rest of the series consists of souvenir postcard and photo books from France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany (3:2-5). Some present tourist views, particularly of locations in the Rhine River Valley, while others show the damage from German bombardments.

4. Printed Materials.  4 folders (ca. 33 items).  1912-1946.

The majority of this series consists of military manuals covering subjects such as fortifications, gas defense, topography, sketching methods, and the construction of trenches (4:3). The booklets include a German guide to Pfaffendorf on the Rhine, where Barrier was stationed during the occupation; General Pershing’s Story (1919); and Description of the American Bridge Head (4:1). The pamphlets include Brief History of the First Corps Artillery Park, 1918-1919; Inter-Allied Games; a guide to the village La Turbie; and a brochure for the American Officers’ Club at Château de Valençay (4:4). The only item dating after World War I is a booklet on mensuration (measuring for maps; 4:4).


11Military Records-- First Corps Artillery Park (1918-1919)
2-- Personal (1918-1970)
21Miscellaneous-- Letterhead (ca. 1950)
2-- Maps (ca. 1918-1919)
31Photographs & Souvenirs-- First Corps Artillery Park (ca. 1919)
2-- Postcards -- France, Belgium & Luxembourg (1910s)
3Photographs & Souvenirs-- Postcards -- Rhine River Valley (1910s)
4-- Postcards -- Somme (ca. 1918)
5-- Souvenir Photo Books -- Rhine River Valley (ca. 1919)
41Printed Materials-- Booklets (1919)
2-- Language Guides (ca. 1917)
3-- Military Manuals (1912-1919)
4-- Pamphlets (ca. 1919-1946)