July 10, 1918 – Full diary entry:
“Must make out new allotment. Will try to allot $20.00. Rain.”
I’ve mentioned previously that I recently received a copy of Pershing’s Crusaders: The American Soldier in World War I by Richard S. Faulkner. I can’t say enough about this book and really wish I had read it before I started this project. It is incredibly helpful and has added a great deal of clarity to many of Robert’s diary entries. Here’s a short discussion of allotments from this book (emphasis added):
The government was also determined to ensure that its soldiers would live up to their responsibilities at home while in the service. As with the insurance, the government would subsidize payments to a soldier’s family, but the military required the man himself to allot at least half of his monthly pay to maintain his dependents. If a soldier had a wife (or divorced wife receiving alimony) with no children, the government would match the soldier’s mandatory allotment with an additional $15 per month. If a soldier had a wife and one child, the government paid the family $25 per month. A wife with two children received $32.50 per month. Families with more than two children received $32.50 plus $5 per month for each additional child.
Robert hasn’t written about how much he was being paid, but Professor Faulkner can fill in the gaps in this area as well:
For enlisted men on their first enlistment (which included the vast majority of the war’s soldiers) a private was paid $30 per month; a private first class $33; a mechanic or corporal $36; a horseshoer, cook, or line sergeant $38; a band or color sergeant $44; and sergeant majors and first sergeants made $51.
So Robert’s planned $20 allotment was above the mandatory amount and Elinore, presumably, would receive Robert’s $20 and an additional $15 for that month (and $10 more after the birth of their child).
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.