Friday, April 11, 2014

Digital Collections Now Available

Missouri Over There staff are proud to announce that we have launched our first 17 digital collections! You can find the complete list by clicking on the “Digital Collections” tab at the top of the page. They cover a wide range of perspectives on Missouri during the war. George Vonland was a sergeant in the 35th Division and wrote a detailed diary of his experiences in France. Everett Powers was a physician from Carthage, who cared for influenza patients at Camp Dodge, Iowa. Eleanor McGee worked for the American Red Cross and kept notebooks with the names and addresses of wounded American soldiers. Rudy Garrett was a Signal Officer in the 42nd Division and took over 250 photos of the trenches, bombed out towns, and communication equipment used by the American Expeditionary Force. David Lockmiller collected correspondence from notable figures such as General John J. Pershing and former president William H. Taft, while working on a biography of Enoch Crowder, administrator of the Selective Service Act. The War Posters Collection features patriotic artwork from around the state.

These collections are just a small sample of what will be available when the full site is launched in 2015. To date, Missouri Over There has digitized approximately 6,000 pages of documents related to all aspects of the war effort. We hope users will enjoy exploring these collections and look forward to many more in the future.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Upcoming Conferences

As April begins, Over There project staff is preparing for a busy month.  Along with wrapping up the final stages of grant period, staff will be attending two conferences:  the Society for Military History 2014 Annual Meeting and 46th Annual Dakota Conference.

Society for Military History 2014 Annual Meeting
April 3-6 at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri
Conference Theme:  Transformational Conflicts:  War and Its Legacy through History

Established in 1933 as the American Military History Foundation, the Society for Military History is devoted to encouraging and advancing the study of military history. Its membership includes several of the country’s most prominent scholars of military history.  Interesting session topics include “Supplying Moral:  Three National Perspectives from the World Wars,” “The Intelligence Legacy of World War I,” “Environmental Dimensions of World War I,” and “Memory, Victory, Defeat” and many more.    

Over There staff will have an exhibit booth in Century Ballroom A.  If you are attending the conference, please stop by and see us.  We will be happy to meet with you, discuss the project, and show you the collections that have been placed online. 

46th Annual Dakota Conference
April 25-26 at the Center for Western Studies at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Conference Theme:  The Great War and the Northern Plains

Held every April, the Dakota Conference on history, literature, art, and archeology, examines issues of contemporary significance to the Northern Plains in their historical and cultural contexts.  While the annual conference generally focuses on history specific to the Northern Plains, with the international centennial of World War I approaching, the Center for Western Studies is observing this anniversary by dedicating the 2014 Dakota Conference to the theme of The Great War.  Session titles cover many World War I topics, including: “Harmonies of the Homefront:  Music and Propaganda of World War I”, a presentation by Lora Vogt, curator of education at the National World War I Museum.

Over There project staff will give the dinner address at the conference titled:  “Over There:  Missouri and the Great War (Digitizing Historical Resources)”. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sidney Towner Phelan - Ambulance Driver

Sidney Towner Phelan, n.d.
Sidney Towner Phelan was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on March 3, 1896. When the United States declared war on Germany, Phelan was a sophomore at Washington University. Since it would be many months before the Americans could mobilize their forces, a call went out for young men to become ambulance drivers for the French Army. Phelan answered that call, even though he did not know how to drive. A friend, Rex Brashear, taught him to drive and in May 1917, the group of volunteers found themselves on a French troop ship on their way to France.

The Sidney Towner Phelan Papers, which are located at the Missouri History Museum, have been selected by Over There Project Staff for digitization. The papers consists mainly of letters he wrote to his mother while serving as an ambulance driver in France and a large photo album.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Remembering WWI at the University of Missouri-Columbia

Memorial Student Union
As the University of Missouri-Columbia celebrates its 175th birthday this year, Missouri Over There explored the University's architectural commemorations of World War I.

The outbreak of World War I had dramatic impacts on the University. The number of students enrolled was heavily reduced as students and faculty left for military service or to work in war industries. Fraternity and dormitory buildings were used as barracks for troops during training and instruction. Forty-eight students and MU graduates were recruited for the American Ambulance Field Service in France. Additional University faculty, students, and alumni volunteered to support the war effort on the home front.  In 1918, the combination of the war effort and the flu pandemic caused a suspension of intercollegiate athletics.

By the end of the war, a total of 117 students and alumni from the University had died while in service.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Harold I. Magoun Memoir: "Over There, 1917-1919"

Harold I. Magoun, who attended A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri, wrote a twelve page memoir regarding his time as an ambulance driver in the U.S. Army during World War I. Magoun was part of the Ambulance Service #544 and served as part of a detachment of the French Army in 1918. Magoun received both the Croix de Guerre and a Purple Heart for his actions during the Second Battle of the Marne in July of 1918.

Magoun’s lively and detailed narrative spans the majority of his service and includes stories about his training, traveling across the Atlantic to Europe, daily life on the Western front, and driving an ambulance during the Second Battle of the Marne. Below are excerpts from his memoir, which is scheduled to be digitized in full by Missouri Over There. Enjoy!

Friday, March 7, 2014

An Unknown Soldier

One of the primary goals for Missouri Over There is to be an important resource for genealogists. The completed project will include a database of over 156,000 Missourians who served during World War I. Each service card will have a place for photos and users are encouraged to contribute family items that document their ancestor’s service. Project staff has already located large collections of obituaries for Missouri veterans and these will be included on the cards.

Unfortunately, some of the photos we have found are unidentified, though few can match the humorous description on the back of this one.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Francis Poindexter Collection

Francis Poindexter
Francis Poindexter was born to Harry Timanus and Frances Adele (Kellar) Poindexter on February 26, 1894.  While little is known about the early years Poindexter spent in Kansas City, he created a detailed outline of the time leading up to his experience in the military.  Staff extracted much of the information concerning this period from a completed application for commission.  Along with this application, the Francis Poindexter Collection at the National World War I Museum includes several different two-dimensional artifacts selected for digitization:  letters of reference, school assignments, books, orders, newspaper clippings, and flight logs.