Letter from Daniel Ellsberg to Mr. and Mrs. Louis Charsky, January 11, 1955

This is a letter written by Daniel Ellsberg on Jan. 11, 1955, to his aunt and uncle, Louis and Frances Charsky. At the time of this letter, Ellsberg has just finished Basic School and is fully enthralled with the Marine Corps. He describes his love of the field problems he has studied and his passion that his friends back at Harvard do not understand. I chose this document because it gives great insight to Ellsberg’s military background and personal values. The letter shows his interest in positions of authority, responsibility, and importance, while also demonstrating his love for complex and demanding challenges. Even to this day, Ellsberg looks back on his time in the Marines with great pride, referencing his command of a rifle company, which was quite unusual for someone of his rank. 

Peter Jones