Draft registrations: Famous music men (1917-1918)

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Louis Armstrong

Though the recorder misspelled his name at the top of his record, Louis Armstrong’s registration card showed that he was employed as a musician by the age of 18, and lived at home with his mom in New Orleans.

Duke Ellington

Born Edward Kennedy Ellington, Duke was 19 when he signed up for the draft, lived with his mother, and worked as a messenger for the Chief of Staff of the War Department in Washington DC.

Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin’s draft card noted that he was a Russian-born 29-year-old music composer who worked for himself in NYC, and financially supported his mother.

Cole Porter

According to his draft registration card, Cole Porter was a single 25-year-old student who worked at Carnegie Hall — and claimed an exemption from the draft due to having flat feet.


All of these draft registration cards from World War I (WWI) provided by the US National Archives, Southeast Region

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