Friday, October 24, 2014

World War I Art at the St. Louis Art Museum Part II: Otto Dix

Self- Portrait as a Soldier, 1914
On October 30th and 31st, Project Staff will be giving a Gallery Talk at the St. Louis Art Museum on World War One Art and Artists in the Museum's collection.  One of the artists featured in the talk is Otto Dix, who served as a machine gunner in the German Army during the war. Dix is known for using his art to depict the horrors of the war and as a tool to critique post-war German society.

Dix was born in Untermhaus, Germany, in 1891.  From 1906-1910, he apprenticed with painter Carl Senff. In 1910, he entered the Dresden School of Arts and Crafts. In 1914, when World War One began, he, like many other German youths, enthusiastically joined the Army. Dix served in an Artillery unit on the Western front. In 1915, he was awarded the Iron Cross (second class) and was promoted to Sergeant for his heroism during the Autumn Battle. Over the next few years, Dix fought in numerous battles, including the Battle of the Somme. Needless to say, he experienced the horrors of war first-hand. Dix witnessed traumatic scenes of soldiers being killed and wounded all around him. Like many other German artists who served in the war (Max Beckmann, George Grosz, and  Ernst Ludwig Kirchner), Dix was greatly affected by what he saw.   As a result, by the end of the war, he had become a pacifists, a dramatic change from the nationalistic war supporter he was at the beginning of the war (featured in the Self-Portrait  above).

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dr. Perrin T. Wilson

Dr. Perrin T. Wilson graduated from the Kirksville, Missouri, American School of Osteopathic Medicine in 1918, and served as President of the American Academy of Osteopathy, President of the Massachusetts Osteopathic Society, and President of the American Osteopathic Association in 1933 and 1934. He was a noted educator and prolific writer. Before his career in osteopathy took off, Dr. Wilson served in World War I with Field Hospital 303, and Camp Hospitals 28 and 57.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Harry M. Bouser - U.S. Navy

Harry M. Bouser ca. 1917
Harry M. Bouser, a resident of Carthage, Missouri, was 26 years old when he enlisted in the United States Navy in April of 1917.  Bouser was assigned to the U.S. Transport Service and served on three different transport vessels throughout the war. Bouser was part of the crew of the USS President Lincoln when it was torpedoed in May of 1918 on its journey back to the U.S. from France. Bouser floated on a raft for 18 hours before being rescued.

Project staff recently had the opportunity to review and scan letters, photos and postcards related to Harry Bouser’s service. Below are some of the photos in the collection and an account of the sinking of the USS President Lincoln.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Clarence Monroe Stuver

German Submarines near The Azores, Portugal

During World War I, 14,132 Missourians served in the navy. One of those sailors, Clarence Monroe Stuver, enlisted at Kansas City on October 8, 1917. At 24 years old, Stuver was sent to the Naval Training Station in Great Lakes, Illinois. Trained as a Fireman, he served on the U.S.S. Kearsarge and the U.S.S. Santa Luisa.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Charles S. Stevenson Collection, Part 1

Charles  in Olathe, Kansas
dated October 1917

With a page-count over 500, including correspondence and photographs, the Charles S. Stevenson Collection at the National World War I Museum is difficult to miss.  From training at Camp Funston, Kansas, to service overseas, Charles rarely missed an opportunity to write to his family at home.  Project staff could not pass up the opportunity to digitize this wide-ranging and sometimes humorous collection.  This post, concentrating on his activities while in training stateside, will be the first of two posts concerning the service of Charles S. Stevenson.

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Charles, and his brother Maurice, resided in Kansas City, Missouri, when war was declared.  Maurice, at age 21, was the first Stevenson to sign-up in August 1917.  As second lieutenant, Maurice would later be assigned to 16th Infantry.  One month later, Charles, at 22 years-old, enlisted in Kansas City and became attached to Company A, 314th Engineers at Camp Funston, Kansas.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Memorial Tablet Honor Roll Committee and the Missouri Historical Society Mortality Committee

Ceremony, Memorial Park Cemetery, July 25, 1920
On August 21, 1918, Mayor Henry W. Kiel of St. Louis appointed a committee of women to assist in collecting the biographical and service information of World War I veterans.  Mrs. Ben F. Gray, a member of the Missouri Historical Society, led the Committee, and  the Society's archivist, Nettie Beauregard,  served as the 2nd Vice President.  The Memorial Tablet Honor Roll Committee was composed of members of patriotic historical societies and war relief auxiliaries from St. Louis City and County. The committee was very active and participated in several events to acknowledge those who served in the War.  They arranged a memorial service held on Art Hill in Forest Park; gathered names for a parchment record of servicemen and women who died in the war to be placed in the cornerstone of the monument in Memorial Park Cemetery. Also, they raised money to purchase a Memorial Honor Roll Tablet honoring the deceased servicemen and women.

Program for Memorial Service held June 15,1919, on Art Hill in Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

Friday, September 12, 2014

"We Made the World Safe?" The WWI Memoir of Rudolph Forderhase

Rudolph Forderhase
In We Made the World Safe? Howard County, Missouri, native Rudolph Forderhase recalls his experiences serving with the 89th Division during World War I.  Spanning September 21, 1918, through June 10, 1919, Forderhase describes in vivid detail his experiences during the draft, basic training, service in the 89th Division, and occupation in Europe after the war. The memoir has been chosen for digitization and will be available online this spring.

The Forderhase memoir has been cited in multiple works, including: 11th Month, 11th Day, 11th Hour by Joseph Persico; Military Service, Combat, and American Identity in the Progressive Era by Sebastian Hubert Lukasik; To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918 by Edward G. Lengel; The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I by Thomas Fleming; and The Greatest Day in History: How, on the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day the First World War Finally Came to an End by Nicholas Best.

Several artifacts of Forderhase's are currently on display in the main corridor gallery at the State Historical Society of Missouri - Columbia, including his gas mask, his helmet emblazoned with the 89th Division logo, and his mess kit. The exhibit, entitled Missouri and World War I, examines the Great War's impact on Missourians' daily lives through photographs, correspondence, artifacts, and more, that provide firsthand accounts of Missourian experiences, both on the home front and abroad.

The most riveting and frequently cited portion of the Forderhase memoir provides an account of the action during the Meuse Argonne Offensive and the events occurring on Armistice Day. We have included an excerpt below.