You may recall around this time last year we announced our recent receipt of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In that blog post, you learned about our plans to convene an advisory board to guide the project, develop a pilot digital collection of World War I materials, and create a free, online union bibliography listing World War I holdings around the state of Ohio. As of May 1, we have now concluded this phase of the project, and are excited to share the results with you!
Through Ohio Memory, users can now view over 250 historical items in a digital collection available at http://www.ohiomemory.org/cdm/wwi. Explore this collection to discover materials held by the Ohio History Connection, including correspondence, photographs, propaganda items and more collected by Wendell Paddock of the Ohio State University, a horticulture professor who kept in close contact with his students as they became involved in the war effort following graduation.
Much of the material from Paddock’s collection documents the home front experience–including the Anti-Militarist movement, U.S. Food Administration releases on agriculture and domestic food production, newsletters from OSU’s Agricultural College Extension Service, community sings, and more. But the items also share a sample of the battlefront experience, both in the words of individual soldiers and through the eyes of the military.
You can also learn about the unique experience of the citizens of North Canton through digitized materials from the North Canton Heritage Society. Known until 1918 as New Berlin, the village changed its name during the war due in large part to customer pressure on the nationally-known Hoover Suction Sweeper Company that was based in the town. Photographs document the village both before and after the name change, while records share the ongoing local debate about whether the village should indeed drop any German associations from its name.
Are you looking to get even more in-depth with research collections related to the war? Audiences of any level can access the newly-created online union bibliography, located at https://ohiomemory.ohiohistory.org/wwibib, which identifies materials of interest held around the state. Browse by region, topic or format, or perform a keyword search to begin finding relevant materials! Each collection record is linked with the organization where it is held, so you can make a trip (near or far) to start your research in person.
The ultimate goal of this project was to prepare for a larger and more state-wide commemoration effort of Ohio’s role in the war, so we hope you’ll start exploring, but check back as new materials are added to the website and new collections are listed on the union bibliography!
Thanks to Lily Birkhimer, Digital Projects Coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!