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.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Wagner Electric Manufacturing Company: From Electric Motors and Equipment to the Depth Bomb

During World War One, many Missouri companies supported the war effort by manufacturing weapons. One such company was Wagner Electric Manufacturing Company. Located in Wellston, Missouri, near St. Louis, Wagner was established in 1891 by H.A. Wagner and Ferdinand Schwedtmann. Prior to the War, Wagner manufactured electric motors and equipment. Before the United States' entered the War, Wagner supported the Allies by creating war materials for Britain and Russia. Once the United States entered the war, Wagner was one of the first companies to receive United States Government contracts for weapons. The booklet, War Activities Wagner Electric Manufacturing Company St. Louis, provides a very detailed description of these weapons. This booklet, as well as Wagner's large photograph collection, is located at the Missouri History Museum. Selected images from the photograph collection have been digitized by Over There project staff and will be available on our website next year.

Below is a sampling of the digitized images.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Mother Goose in War Time

The original pages of Mother Goose in Wartime, a book of war-themed versions of traditional nursery rhymes held by the State Historical Society of Missouri, will be digitized by project staff later this year. 

The 24 page book was written by George Nardin and illustrated by Columbia, Missouri, artist Gladys Wheat and a group of University of Missouri art students. It was published by the Department of Patriotic Education Woman's Committee National Council of Defense, Missouri Division. In January of 1918, "thousands of this little booklet had been sold" for 10 cents a copy.

Nardin and Wheat’s  book showcases the use of visual propaganda in the conservation effort, as well as the major role women and children played in the success of this venture.

Along with conserving food, American children knitted hats and mittens for soldiers, collected fruit pits and walnuts for gas masks, and joined youth organizations such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Woodrow Wilson called on children involved in youth organizations to help collect money for war bonds and stamps in order to raise money for the war effort. Additionally, curriculum in schools was altered to target the patriotic development of children. 

Gladys Wheat was born June 29, 1889, in Lee’s Summit, a town outside of Kansas City, Missouri.  In 1917, she became the first female faculty member of the University of Missouri's Fine Art department.  She is best known for her prints depicting scenes around the University of Missouri’s campus. Both a student and a teacher at the University, she lived in Columbia, Missouri, until her death in 1976. 

The pages are currently on exhibit near the east entrance of the State Historical Society of Missouri - Columbia. The exhibit, entitled Mother Goose in Wartime:  An Illustrated Call for Conservation on the Home Front during WWI will be on display throughout summer 2014.


Kennedy, David. (2004) Over Here: The First World War and American Society. Oxford University Press.

McDermott, T.P. (2000) "USA's Boy Scouts and World War I." Sossi Journal. Retreived from:

Nardin, George; Wheat, Gladys. (1918) Mother Goose in War Time. Department of Patriotic Education, Woman's Committee, National Council of Defence, Missouri Division. Jefferson City, MO.

The Missouri School Journal. January 1918. Volume 35 (1). 

Monday, June 30, 2014

George H. Rehn Collection

The George H. Rehn Collection from the National World War I Museum is among the collections selected for digitization this year. George Rehn was part of the 63rd Guard Unit, 13th Marine Regiment. Rehn enlisted in the Marines in St. Louis on August 17, 1918. He trained in Quantico, Virginia and served in France from November 1918 to July 1919 as part of Company B, 9th SEP Battalion.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Leslie R. Millsap

Project staff recently scanned a scrapbook compiled by Leslie R. Millsap, a soldier from Mount Vernon, who served in the 129th Machine Gun Battalion. It includes photo postcards and a wide variety of miscellaneous newspaper clippings.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Clyde C. Chilson Collection

Photograph of Clyde Chilson and family
One collection undergoing digitization by project staff revolves around the military service of Clyde C. Chilson. Chilson, a resident of Kansas City, was inducted into service on March 21, 1916, at the age of 24.

As a corporal in Battery B, 129th Field Artillery, Chilson served as gas N.C.O. With chemicals being a prominent weapon of World War I, some noncommissioned officers spent hours training in the proper use of gas masks and recognition of chemical attacks.

While attempting to protect his company from the toxic fumes released during an enemy bombardment in early October 1918 at Charpentry, France, Chilson failed to protect himself from the quickly dispersing gas. He died several days later from pneumonia at Base Hospital No. 14, on October 16, 1918.