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15, May 2015

WWI Artifacts and Memories: An Artist Overseas

Often when learning about World War I the focus is on the men in the trenches. Visions of going “over the top” and charging headlong into no man’s land and certain doom are evoked. Though this was a common experience for many of soldiers who served during the First World War, it was far from the only experience. Read more »

7, May 2015

World War I Artifacts and Memories: Sinking of the Lusitania

May 7, 2015, marks 100 years since the sinking of the RMS Lusitania by German submarine U-20. A British passenger ship on its way from New York to Liverpool, England, the Lusitania was running a risk traveling through waters that were at the time declared a war zone by Germany. The sinking of the Lusitania was a watershed moment in the conflict, serving as a galvanizing force in the United States that eventually led to their declaration of war against Germany less than a year later. Read more »

9, April 2015

World War I Artifacts and Memories: St. Charles Car Company

Following the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914, industries across the United States recognized opportunity and began to shift their focus to building war materials for the belligerent nations. The St. Louis region was no exception, and from 1914 to 1918 an industrial boom ensued. One of the many companies in the area to benefit from government contracts was the St. Charles Car Company. Read more »

27, March 2015

WWI Artifacts and Memories: Fritz Von Versen’s Letters from the German Front

At the outbreak of World War I, Missouri and St. Louis had a substantial population claiming German origins or heritage. The percentage of Missouri’s population that was first-generation German was 11.2, the largest immigrant group in the state, and 20% of St. Louis’s population was either born in Germany or claimed both parents were born in Germany. Read more »

13, March 2015

WWI Artifacts and Memories—Gas Warfare

The First World War debuted ruinous tools of warfare that wreaked havoc on the warring armies. Among these were the machine gun, the armored tank, aircraft, and chemical warfare. All of these technologies had seen limited service around the world in the years prior, but until World War I they had not been utilized to such a devastating degree. Read more »

23, February 2015

WWI Artifacts and Memories—From the Mexican Border to Northern France

For many Missourians military service did not start with World War I. Rather, it began on the Mexican border after the Mexican Revolution in 1910. American soldiers stationed on the Mexican border would clash with Mexican rebels over several years, culminating in the 1916 Punitive Expedition, during which General John J. Pershing pursued Pancho Villa into Mexico. The events on the Mexican border resulted in the mobilization of National Guard regiments across the country, including the Missouri National Guard. Read more »

12, February 2015

WWI Artifacts and Memories: Service Flags

The First World War saw the largest mobilization of United States armed forces since the Civil War. Soldiers, sailors, and marines were drawn from the National Guard, volunteers, and conscription. By the war's end the armed forces had swelled to a staggering three million personnel. Patriotic fervor also swelled, and a desire to outwardly display support of the military led to the creation of the service flag, also known as a “son in service flag” or “blue star flag,” which is still used today. Read more »

6, February 2015

WWI Artifacts and Memories—Over There: Missouri and the Great War

Since 2012 the Missouri History Museum has hosted associate historian Rochelle Caruthers at the Museum’s Library and Research Center. As a part of the Over There: Missouri and the Great War digitization project team, Rochelle has surveyed, scanned, and transcribed selected World War I collections at MHM and in the greater St. Louis region. Rochelle has counterparts across the state who have scanned and transcribed thousands of pages since the beginning of the project. Read more »

13, December 2014

WWI Artifacts and Memories: Forty and Eight

At the end of World War I in November 1918, U.S. military men and women began their return home. The shared experiences and bonds formed in military service gave rise to veterans’ organizations on a local and national scale. The American Legion and the World War Veterans were both founded in 1919. In 1921 the Disabled American Veterans of the World War was formed to provide care for the more than 200,000 injured Americans returning from war, in addition to job-finding services and vocational training. Read more »

10, November 2014

Wartime Sweethearts

In September 1917, plumber Frank Clinton Mitchell found himself at Camp Pike, an army training camp in Little Rock, Arkansas. Working a construction job in support of the war, he was not only separated from his native St. Louis, but also from his sweetheart, Edna Kessler. Read more »