A Look Back at World War I on Ohio Memory

Dated May 6, 1918, this photograph shows men from Battery C of the 324th Field Artillery, 83rd Infantry Division, at Camp Sherman. Via Ohio Memory.

Sunday, November 11, is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the “War to End All Wars.” Approximately 40 million people, both military and civilian, were killed in the war, with many millions more left injured and maimed. Ohio sent more than 200,000 men and women to participate in the conflict and approximately 6,500 of them were lost.

Front of a postcard from Dana Daniels to his mother, Vina, ca. 1917. Courtesy of the Union County Historical Society via Ohio Memory.

Since its inception, the Ohio Memory blog has brought you a number of posts focusing on World War I, and we’ve increased that number significantly as we’ve observed the centennial of the war this year. We’ve learned about the contributions of Ohioans: women like Ouida Okey, the “Girl Marine,” and Mary Gladwin and her tireless work for the Red Cross, men like Dalton Smith Hayes, grandson of Rutherford B. Hayes; and the children who witnessed World War I and supported the war effort at home.

We saw the launch of the “Little Stories of the Great War” grant project in 2015; funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), this project constructed a statewide digital collection of World War I materials from organizations across the state which you can now view in Ohio Memory.

Letter written from Ralph Roesch to his sister Pearl on November 10, 1918. One day before the armistice, he speculates that the time for celebration of the “real thing”(the end of the war) is not far off. Courtesy of the Sandusky Library via Ohio Memory.

We learned a bit more about Camp Sherman’s history and the library services provided to the soldiers stationed there. We even saw the stories of the dogs that were put into use as sentries, scouts, or medical assistants. We saw propaganda posters and pictures and letters that we could read more easily, thanks to the transcription efforts of volunteers. 

On Sunday, November 11, at 11:11 a.m., bells will toll around the world, marking the centennial of the armistice and the official end of the war.  Let’s all share a moment of silence in honor of those who sacrificed their time, their effort and, for too many, their lives in this devastating war. And, though the veterans of World War I are no longer with us, thank a veteran for his or her service. We are united by a love of country and pride in what we’re able to accomplish together, and our brave service members play a huge role in making those accomplishments possible. 

Thank you to Shannon Kupfer, Digital Initiatives Librarian at the State Library of Ohio, for this week’s post!

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