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Jack Malcolm Brown was born in Ontario in 1895. His only sibling, Olga Brown was born in 1903, and the two of them were orphaned when Olga was about one year old. The two children were then split up, with Jack going to live with a family in Lyndhurst, Ontario, and Olga going to live with her aunt in Frankville, Ontario. When Jack was eighteen he moved west to Saskatchewan to homestead. He worked as a teamster and enlisted at Prince Albert in December 1915. Brown served overseas in France and returned to Canada in 1919. The collection consists of over fifty letters written by him to his sister between 1914 and 1918.

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