Published: Sept. 1, 2014

ruins and soldiers in wartime

It was early winter when Capt. Francis Wolle (MEngl’16) entered the shattered city of Verdun with his men. Armistice had been declared in November, effectively ending World War I — far too late for Verdun and its outskirts, the scene of prolonged carnage in 1916. Riding in a Ford truck, Wolle’s group surveyed the aftermath for 20 days.

“Words cannot give the impression of these ruins,” he wrote to his mother in a Feb. 2 letter from Verdun.

Wolle’s wartime letters, plus photos and other WWI artifacts, such as law professor and football coach Fred Folsom’s (Law1899) gas mask, were displayed in a Norlin Library Special Collections exhibition, A Century on: Remembering the Great War. It closed Sept. 12, but visitors can view Wolle’s letters by request.

After the war, Wolle returned to CU, where he taught, helped found the University Theatre and met his wife, Muriel Sibell Wolle (MA&S’30). He retired in the late 1950s and, at age 84, was ordained an Episcopal priest. He died in 1979.

Photography by Sgt. C.E. Dunn, Francis Wolle Papers. MS 66. Special Collections Dept., University Libraries, University of Colorado Boulder.