Friday, January 23, 2015

Richard Pickett

Project staff recently reviewed documents from Richard Pickett, a veteran of Company B, 130th Machine Gun Battalion, 35th Division. Shared with the project by a descendant, the documents chronicle Pickett’s long service with the Missouri National Guard.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Otto P. Higgins Collection

Missouri draft men being assigned to a regiment
As soon as the American Government called for able bodied men to join the military, American correspondents were recruited to report news from the front. The Otto P. Higgins collection from the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, gives us a glimpse into the life of newspaper correspondents working in France during World War I. Otto Higgins did not spend a minute in the United States military, but he spent the entire span of the war in training camps and overseas with the army as a staff correspondent for the Kansas City Star. Higgins spent his time with the army and wrote about soldiers from the Mid-West, especially Missouri and Kansas. He began his service with the old Third Regiment, and was with regiments at Camp Nichols, Fort Riley, Camp Funston, Camp Doniphan, Fort Leavenworth, Fort Sheridan, and finally to France.

Friday, January 9, 2015

WWI Artifacts and Memories: The 805th Pioneer Infantry Bearcats

Last year, project staff digitized portions of the Missouri History Museum's World War I collection.  The collection consists of over 6,000 pages related to military and civilian participation in World War I by individuals and groups from St. Louis and Missouri.  One of the military units whose documents are included in the collection is the 805th Pioneer Infantry Regiment, an African American unit.  In addition to their unit history and several rosters, there is a bulletin that gives the recap and box score from a baseball game between the 805th and 803rd Pioneer Infantry regiments from May 19, 1919. The 805th won 7–0.

Recently,  Patrick Allie, WWI Exhibit Curator, Missouri History Museum, discovered that several of the members of the 805th baseball team played for the Negro Leagues after the war.  To learn more about these players, check out Patrick's blog,  WWI Artifacts and Memories: The 805th Pioneer Infantry Bearcats.

Friday, January 2, 2015

George T. Desloge Reminiscences, 1880-1935

Captain George T. Desloge,  a native of St. Louis, MO, was born November 5, 1880 into a very prominent family. He served in the Missouri National Guard and was a veteran of both the Spanish American War and World War I.  In Reminiscences of George T. Desloge, a two volume book that spans most of his life, Desloge described his experiences as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army during World War I.  Recently, project staff digitized volume II.  This volume provides very detailed information on Desloge’s  experiences as an Instructor at two Officer Training Camps, a Judge Advocate and Company Commander.  The details that Desloge provides on the day-to-day life of soldiers, the internal conflicts and politics are invaluable. However, what makes the book unique are the details that he provides on his experiences as a Commander of Company B, 810th Pioneer Infantry (colored).  He provides a window into the lives of African American soldiers as they prepared for the War in Europe.

Below are a few excerpts from volume II.   The entire volume will be available on our website later this year.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Enoch Crowder

SHS C1046
In 1917, Edinburg, Missouri native Major General Enoch Crowder led the drafting and directing of the Selective Service Act. He was responsible for the registration, classification, and induction of American men who were 18–30 years of age during World War I.

Among the collections chosen for digitization this year is a selection of correspondence from the State Historical Society of Missouri's Enoch Crowder Papers.  Ranging from January 1917 to November 1918, the 500 pages from this collection chosen for digitization consist of Crowder's family, personal, and military correspondence.

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.