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Profiles from the Archives: Philip Woollcott

Matthew M. Peek, Military Collection Archivist
Jacob T. Parks

Philip Woollcott was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on February 17, 1894, to Walter and Lulla Woollcott. Walter Woollcott was a merchant, and the family would come to live in their own home in downtown Raleigh by 1910. Phillip had an older sister named Alice. At the outbreak of World War I, Philip Woollcott registered for the federal military draft on June 5, 1917, while he was teaching in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. During the summer of 1917, one of the ROTC’s main training locations was at Fort Oglethorpe; it was responsible for the training of many of the earliest American Army officers who would go on to serve in WWI.

Woollcott enlisted in the Enlisted Reserve Corps (ERC) at Atlanta, Georgia, on August 11, 1917, from which he was assigned to active federal military duty. It appears that Woollcott trained at the Georgia School of Technology Ground School for the U.S. Army Signal Corps’ Air Service during August 1917. By October 1917, Woollcott was in New York before he shipped off to Europe for overseas service in the war. Woollcott served in the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps until his honorable discharge on June 13, 1918.

After the war by 1920, Philip Woollcott was a boarder in a family’s home in Charlotte, N.C., where he worked as a bank clerk. On October 24, 1922, Woollcott was residing in Richmond, Virginia, when he married Corrine Gibbon of Charlotte, N.C. The Woollcott family continued to reside in Richmond by 1930, at which time Philip was still working as a bank executive. Woollcott continued to work in banking up to the point that his family relocated to Bernard, Virginia, around 1935. Philip Woollcott died on July 1, 1971, in Asheville, N.C., and was buried in Calvary Episcopal Church Cemetery in Fletcher, N.C.

To learn more about Philip Woollcott’s WWI service, check out the Philip Woollcott Papers (WWI 72) in the WWI Papers of the Military Collection at the State Archives of N.C. in Raleigh, N.C.

This blog post is part of the State Archives of N.C.’s World War I Social Media Project, an effort to bring original WWI archival materials to the public through the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ (NCDNCR) various social media platforms, in order to increase access to the items during the WWI centennial celebration by the state of N.C..

Between February 2017 and June 2019, the State Archives of N.C. will be posting blog articles, Facebook posts, and Twitter posts, featuring WWI archival materials which are posted on the exact 100th anniversary of their creation during the war. Blog posts will feature interpretations of the content of WWI documents, photographs, diary entries, posters, and other records, including scans of the original archival materials, held by the State Archives of N.C., and will be featured in NCDNCR’s WWI centennial blog.