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Robert E. Pellissier was born in 1882 in a small town in the Jura Mountains of eastern France. He moved to the United States in 1896 and enrolled at Bridgewater State Normal School in 1899. While enrolled in the four-year program at Bridgewater he was involved in many student activities and organizations, including the early formative years of the Kappa Delta Phi fraternity that originated at Bridgewater in 1900. After graduating in 1903, Pellissier would go on to earn advanced degrees, including a Ph.D., from Harvard University.

Pellissier was a professor at Stanford University when World War I began in 1914. He left his position to return to his native France, whose citizenship he never renounced, to help in the war effort. Severely wounded in January 1915, he entered the Saint Cyr Military Academy in France and achieved the rank of Sergeant before being killed by German machine gun fire at the Battle of the Somme on August 29, 1916. He was the first Bridgewater graduate to lose his life in World War I.

The collection is broken down into two series. The first series focuses on Bridgewater State Normal School students and alumni who raised money to purchase an ambulance to send to the French front during WWI in memory of Robert Pellissier. The second series focuses on Pellissier’s student days at Bridgewater and his relationships with other students, particularly William Vinal.



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