Friday, December 19, 2014

WWI Trench Warfare Exhibit

Project staff recently had the opportunity to assemble a World War I exhibit at The Library Center, in Springfield, Missouri. The exhibit contains artifacts from a local collector, Ron Leverenz, representing the different items an American soldier would have used in the trenches during the war. Among the items in the display are mortar shells, an MK4 Flare Gun, a Signal Corps Field Telegraph, a trench periscope, wire cutters, a gas mask and alarm, and a pair of officer's boots that were made in St. Louis. Check out some of the images below!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Doughboys on the Great War


One of the most persistent stereotypes of World War I is that its veterans were a “lost generation.” First used by Gertrude Stein and popularized by authors like Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, the phrase described writers who were disillusioned by the war and used their fiction to question the traditional values of society. Edward A. Gutierrez forcefully challenges how widespread these ideas were in his new book, Doughboys on the Great War: How American Soldiers Viewed Their Military Experience. Based on 30,847 surveys completed by American soldiers shortly after their discharge, the book clearly reveals “lost generation” attitudes were not universal.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Rustemeyer Family Papers

C4017

The Rustemeyer Family Papers from the State Historical Society of Missouri are among the collections chosen for digitization this year. The papers contain correspondence written to Bernard Rustemeyer and his family by friends and family in Germany after his immigration to Osage County, Missouri in 1882. The letters, originally written in German, have been transcribed and translated into English by Raymond Backes. 

These letters kept Rustemeyer up to date on the lives of friends and family from his hometown of Körbecke, Germany. The collection consists of five letters from former neighbors Henry, Joseph, and Heinrich Alteköster, and twelve letters from Rustemeyer’s cousin August Stöckebrand. The most prominent themes in the letters are the living conditions in post-war Germany. This includes the poverty, famine, and the influence of America and France on the lives of Germans civilians. These topics are particularly interesting as they are coming from a German point of view.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Dr. Edwin Ernst -- Base Hospital 21 Radiologist


Captain Edwin Ernst conducting an X-ray at Base Hospital 21, in Rouen, France, ca. 1917

Recently, project staff digitized WWI Era X-rays at the St. Louis Science Center. The X-rays are a part of the Dr. Edwin Ernst Collection. Ernst, a St. Louis native, was a Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during WWI. He served in Rouen, France with Base Hospital 21, which was staffed by Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Ernst was one of many St. Louis doctors who left their private practices to support the war effort.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mary Paxton Keeley's YMCA Diary

C0848 - Keeley at YMCA Canteen
Independence, Missouri born Mary Paxton Keeley was the first female graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She was active as a journalist, teacher, playwright, poet, fiction writer, photographer, and pioneer in the field of journalism. During her lifetime Keeley befriended many celebrated Missourians, including Bess and Harry Truman, Orrick Johns, Homer Croy, Charles G. Ross, Tom McAfee, and Rose Wilder Lane.

Between 1918 and 1919, Keeley served with the YMCA in France during World War I.  As a canteen worker, she distributed food, drinks, books and periodicals to soldiers to help maintain morale. The Mary Paxton Keeley Collection from the State Historical Society of Missouri, contains the diary Keeley kept during her time in France. Filled with wit, the 100 page diary provides a first hand account of Keeley's experiences as a YMCA canteen worker and will be digitized by Over There staff this year.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day: John L. Barkley Radio Interview

John L. Barkley in WWI Uniform
On November 11, 1918 the Allied Nations and Germany agreed to an armistice that brought a cessation of hostilities on the Western Front. World War I was finally at an end. After four years of fighting and millions of casualties the world celebrated the peace, and "Armistice Day" was born.

Thirty years later, after Armistice Day was officially declared a legal holiday, veteran John L. Barkley gave a radio interview on station K.C.K.N regarding the importance of celebrating the historic day.

Friday, November 7, 2014

James R. Davis

National World War I Museum

James R. Davis lived in Marshall, Missouri when he was inducted into the army on April 1, 1918. He was trained as a medical officer at Fort Riley, Kansas and served overseas from October 12, 1918 to August 1, 1919 with the 816th Pioneer Infantry. Arriving in France near the end of the war, Davis missed almost all of the fighting but he wrote vividly of its aftermath.