Friday, August 29, 2014

R. Ritchie Robertson

R. Ritchie Robertson is widely regarded as one of the most important figures in Springfield’s musical history. As director of the local Boy Scout Band, he was prominently featured in a large reunion of the 35th Division in Springfield on September 29 and 30, 1928. Held on the tenth anniversary of the Meuse-Argonne offensive, the largest American operation of the war, the guest of honor was General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Black Archives of Mid-America

East side of the Horace M. Peterson III Building
The Black Archives of Mid-America, Inc. was founded May 8, 1974, by Horace M. Peterson III and was originally located at 1821 Paseo Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri, in an old Y.M.C.A. building. The purpose and mission of the Black Archives of Mid-America “is to collect, preserve and make available to the public materials documenting the social, economic, political and cultural histories of persons of African American descent in the central United States, with particular emphasis in the Kansas City, Missouri region. Black Archives of Mid-America is an educational resource and provides access to its collections for research, exhibition and publication to honor our community heritage and to catalyze public awareness.”

Friday, August 15, 2014

The WWI Diary of Captain Levi H. Fuson of Base Hospital 21

In 1915, Levi H. Fuson was one of 29 to graduate from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Of the 29 graduates, 24 went on to serve in World War I as commissioned medical officers. Fuson was the only member of his class to serve with Base Hospital 21.  The Base Hospital was founded and staffed by Washington University,  and was one of six base hospitals that were selected for mobilization by the U.S. Government to support the British troops. Fuson's papers, which detail his experiences while serving with Base Hospital 21, have been recently digitized by project staff.  The papers, which are located at the Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University Medical School, include a diary, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other documentation. The highlight of the papers is Fuson's  167 page diary.  In addition to writing about his observations and experiences in the diary, Fuson detailed the personal stories and injuries of the soldiers he treated.   Below is an excerpt from the Diary dated June 28, 1917, in which he described the events of a typical day in the hospital. Interspersed in this diary entry is valuable information about the life of a soldier on the battlefield.

Friday, August 8, 2014

German Propaganda Leaflets

Leaflets of German propaganda were distributed to American troops through air drops as a form of psychological warfare during World War I. Aerial leaflets were used on a large scale by all forces during the war - by the end of the war, British military intelligence had distributed approximately 26 million of them, and the U.S. Air Service 3 million.

These two German leaflets were picked up by American soldier George Archer, who mailed them to Catherine Luckett of St. Louis, Missouri. The collection, which also contains French currency and a welcome letter from King George V of England to American troops, is available at the State Historical Society of Missouri.

Friday, August 1, 2014

35th Division Signal Corps Photos

Project Staff recently scanned a collection of Signal Corps photographs of the 35th Division from the Springfield-Greene County Library. The images include both infantry and artillery units from the 35th Division. The 35th Division was composed entirely of units from the Missouri and Kansas National Guard. They trained in Camp Doniphan, Oklahoma, and were sent to France in the spring of 1918. The division was first assigned to a relatively quiet sector in the Vosges Mountains and was held in reserve during the St. Mihiel Offensive before joining the Meuse-Argonne Offensive on September 26, 1918. The 35th Division fought for five days in the Argonne Forest before being relieved by the 1st Division and transferred to the Verdun Sector.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Students Army Training Corps

A private collector recently shared photos of the Students Army Training Corps at Southwest Missouri State Teachers College (known today as Missouri State University) in Springfield.  Approximately 600 colleges, universities, and technical schools nationwide participated in the program.  Students voluntarily enlisted in the army and lived on campus under ordinary military discipline and were equal in rank to an army private.  Cadets took regular college classes in addition to 11 hours per week of military training.  As the army was rapidly modernizing during this period, science courses and technical skills were especially emphasized.  Based on their performance, cadets could be enrolled in an officers or non-commissioned officers school.  The average cadet spent three months in the program before being transferred to an army unit, although this time often varied based on individual skills and military necessity.  A total of 21 colleges and universities in Missouri participated in the program.    

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bates County Historical Society and Museum

Project staff recently visited the Bates County Historical Society and Museum, located in Butler, Missouri, for digitization of their World War I Collection. Built in 1915, as the County Poor Farm, the Museum houses main exhibits that cover a range of topics from science-fiction author, Robert Heinlein to the Osage Indians, the Battle of Island Mound, Order #11, and the wars of the twentieth century.  The Museum holds a handful of records and photographs focusing on County residents who served in World War I.  Included are James P. Arnold and John Jurgen Dykman.