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World War I Centennial News


Hopkins and the Great War

By Phoebe Evans Letocha and Jenny Kinniff
via Maryland Humanities

Chemistry professors recruited to do research in chemical warfare. Surgeons developing revolutionary new techniques to deal with gruesome war injuries. Nurses stepping into unprecedented new leadership roles at home and on the warfront. Student soldiers living in engineering classrooms converted to barracks. All these things and more were experienced by the Johns Hopkins community during World War One.Johns Hopkins 1Student soldiers living in engineering classrooms converted to barracks at Johns Hopkins University during WW1.

This fall, Johns Hopkins University launched Hopkins and the Great War, its first multi-campus collaborative exhibit. The exhibit opened in September 2016 in three locations: The Milton S. Eisenhower Library on the Homewood campus, the School of Nursing Anne M. Pinkard Building, and the William H. Welch Medical Library. Drawing on the rich archival collections at the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives and the Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives, these exhibits explore World War I’s impact on different members of the Hopkins community: the students, faculty, and female patrons of the undergraduate Homewood campus, and the doctors, nurses, students, and faculty of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the schools of Nursing, Medicine and Public Health.

Our exhibit curators included archivists at both the Medical and University Archives as well as a historian of medicine. In addition to the physical exhibits, a digital exhibit is available with enhanced content, including links to the full text of publications and diaries featured in the exhibit.

Each physical exhibit location hosted an exhibit opening. On September 14 at the Eisenhower Library, Dr. Alice Kelly, Harmsworth Junior Research Fellow in the History of America and the First World War at Oxford University’s Rothermere American Institute and Corpus Christi College, presented “Ellen N. La Motte: A Hopkins Nurse in the Backwash of War.” Kelly’s talk explored La Motte’s startlingly graphic 1916 memoir and newly discovered correspondence now part of the Chesney Medical Archives’ La Motte Collection in the broader context of World War One literature and the wartime avant-garde.

Read more: Johns Hopkins and the Great War

Four Questions for Phoebe Lickwar

"A space of commemoration that is appropriate to the magnitude of loss"

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Phoebe Lickwar is a member of the design team for the new National World War One Memorial in Washington DC. She is a noted Landscape Architect, and will be handling landscape design elements of the site.

Tell us about your background, and about your current role with the WW1 Memorial design team.

Phoebe Lickwar 350 Phoebe LickwarI grew up in Washington D.C. After graduating from the National Cathedral School, I headed north to attend Harvard, where I earned my undergraduate degree in Visual and Environmental Studies / Fine Arts and my graduate degree in Education. I worked as a fine arts photographer and taught at the Art Institute of Boston for six years before I finally discovered the profession of landscape architecture. I enrolled in the Rhode Island School of Design’s Master of Landscape Architecture program and the rest is history.

Upon graduation, I was hired by Peter Walker and Partners, where I worked on large complex public projects such as the National September 11 Memorial in New York. I eventually left PWP to accept a professorship at the University of Arkansas and to start my own practice, Forge Landscape Architecture.

I am co-designer of the WW1 Memorial, with Joe Weishaar, and the landscape architect on the project. We are working collaboratively with sculptor Sabin Howard and architect of record GWWO. The design team has a tremendously positive energy and I am really enjoying the collaborative spirit of our work.

We each bring something different and equally important to the table. I bring my expertise in designing and realizing projects of this scope and scale and my experience working with multiple stakeholders and varied consultants on landscape architecture projects in the public realm.

Read more: Four Questions for Phoebe Lickwar

Hundreds of missing WW1 memorials to be assembled into a national register & map

Memorial Hunters Club challenges public to find local WW1 Memorials

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

There is currently no complete U.S. register of World War One memorials.Florida

The Memorial Hunters Club launches this week from the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program and is intended to crowd-source a complete register of US WW1 memorials.

The initiative invites veterans groups, schools, scouts, 4H members, DAR chapters, civic organizations and interested individuals to locate, document, research and register local memorials not currently in the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission’s database found at

The resulting map, images, information and raw data will be put into the public domain and will be made available to any school, university, organization or anyone who wishes to expand on or publish the results.

As a reward for finding one of these fading cultural treasures (not currently recorded on the national map), the Memorial Hunter or Team will be recognized on the map and database as the source of that find, either by name, nickname or team name.

It is a little like Pokemon Go® in that the memorials will be found in public places, parks, public building, schools and churches. Once a Memorial Hunter has located a memorial, they can use their smart phone to look it up on the map at and if it is not posted they can claim it by taking pictures, marking the map location, researching the history and uploading the find on the Memorial Hunters Club web site.

Read more: Memorial Hunters Club challenges public to find and register local WWI Memorials


#COUNTDOWNTOVETERANSDAY update for October 31, 2016

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

The #CountdownToVeteransDay 2016 campaign marches on! Your teamwork has made this effort a remarkable achievement!

On Facebook, we have been able to gather 1,540 #CountdownToVeteransDay postings, bringing us some 1,510,445 Audience Impressions.

On Twitter, our collective efforts have yielded some 1,955 Posts by 404 Partner Users, earning a total Audience of 3,864,255 Impressions.

Combined -- the #CountdownToVeteransDay campaign has, to date, generated an total audience of about 5,374,700 people!

We thank you for helping us to make people more aware of our veterans, and our military members!

For more information, and for opportunities to honor America's Veterans, go to the Countdown to Veterans Day page.







Your teamwork has made this effort a remarkable achievement!

Epic, 'harrowing' painting of war travels to PAFA for exhibit

By Stephan Salisbury
Via The Philadelphia Inquirer

Gassed being hung 500John Singer Sargent’s “Gassed” is hung after its journey from London to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.John Singer Sargent's monumental painting of soldiers in the aftermath of a World War One gas attack - simply titled Gassed - arrived Friday at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, a somber harbinger of a major exhibition.

The journey was no mean feat.

More than 20 feet long in its original frame, Gassed arrived encased in a huge, sturdy wood crate, "Fragile" stamped on the side.

Normally, the painting hangs in London's Imperial War Museums. But in connection with PAFA's enormous exhibition, "World War I and American Art," opening on Nov. 4 and running through April 9, Gassed has made an arduous trip to the United States.

It is only the second time the painting has been on U.S. soil since Sargent completed it in 1919. (The first visit was in 1999, when it traveled to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for a major Sargent retrospective.)

Read more: Epic, 'harrowing' painting of war travels to PAFA for exhibit

"1916: Total War" Symposium at National WW1 Museum & Memorial in Kansas City

By Joshua Venuti
Staff Writer

2016 Museum SymposiumThe National World War One Museum and Memorial in Kansas City will be hosting a World War One symposium on November 4th and 5th. The symposium is entitled “1916 | Total War” it explores the year of 1916 a year that had an immense impact on the war.

The symposium begins on Friday, November 4th, from 8:30am to 5:00pm, and there will be a cocktail dinner at 6:30pm. The symposium will continue on Saturday, November 5th, from 8:30am to 1:00pm. For those who wish to check in early, an early check in will be available on Thursday, November 3rd, at the museum from 3pm to 5pm and at the nearby Marriott from 6pm to 8pm.

The symposium will include presentations by accomplished members of the academic world and those who are involved in projects to commemorate the war’s centennial. The list of presenters include John Curatola (Professor of Military History at the US Army Command and General Staff College), Michael Kazin (Professor of History at Georgetown University), Lee Pollock (Executive Director at The Churchill Centre), Robert Delesandro (Deputy Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission and Chairman of The US World War I Centennial Commission), and more.

Read more: 2016 World War One Symposium Nov 4-5 in Kansas City, MO

Remembering, Honoring First Americans to Fight, Die in World War One

MOTT HAVEN, Bronx, NY−Artist Sabin Howard says his Bruckner Boulevard studio in Mott Haven is the perfect place for him to work with his mind and his hands.

Sabin video in BronxSabin Howard interviewed in his Bronx studio by News12.Sabin is part of a team selected by the United States World War One Centennial Commission to create a giant memorial in Washington, D.C.

"The whole story here is about a soldier that went through World War I, and it's not historically truthful, but it's emotionally truthful," Howard says. "It's a visual narrative, so what I've done is I've created a wall."

A 75-foot wall to be made of Bronze. It tells the story of a man who leaves his family, goes to war and returns home wounded to his wife and daughter.

"As you walk along this're going to see this story unfold," Howard says.

Howard says the memorial project is the first he's done for public display. It's also going to be one of the longest figurative compositions in the world.

The Centennial Commission says it is "impressed with Sabin's incredible work" on the project.

The rest of his work in a 33-year art career has been for private collectors.

Read more: Best of the Bronx: Artist Sabin Howard

Four Questions for Ryan Hegg

"Show our current−and next−generation of veterans that their service will be always valued"

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Ryan Hegg is the Director of the 2016 New York City Veterans Day Parade.

You have a great Veterans Day Parade coming up! Tell us about the many participants. What will we see there?

2016 NY Parade Logo Vets DayWe're expecting 30-40,000 participants, in nearly 300 units, and close to 200 floats and vehicles of all kinds (not including 2-300 motorcycles!). The Parade goes up historic Fifth Avenue, following the same route as many of the original homecoming parades for units returning home from World War One. It will be broadcast live on PIX11 and other stations on the Tribune network, as well as on AFN around the world and online at

This parade is unique in that much of it is 'by veterans, for veterans'. Can you tell us about that aspect?

Our parade is a great collaboration between veterans and non-veterans. The older veterans who revived the Parade after it fell on hard times in the 1980s made it a point to actively include civilians in the organization and leadership of the Parade. After all, why should veterans have to throw their own Parade? The approach continues today, as post-9/11 veterans and their friends and supporters join the effort.

Read more: Four Questions for Ryan Hegg

How did participation in the First World War shape modern America?

By Melvin Small
via the LAWFARE blog

A review of Michael S. Neiberg's The Path to War: How the First World War Changed America (Oxford University Press 2016).

Michael S. Neiberg’s The Path to War: How the First World War Changed America seeks not only to tell the story of how Americans reacted to World War I but also to emphasize the significance of that “largely forgotten” war (p.7) in the shaping of modern America. The Path to WarNeiberg is the distinguished and prolific author of more conventional accounts of the outbreak of the Great War, its military history, and the ending of World War II, among other books. He concentrates on the various American publics’ opinions as he moves through the key events that determined their three-year shift from rooting for the British and French in 1914 to supporting President Woodrow Wilson’s call for war in the spring of 1917. Presidential decision-making—the subject of most books on American entry into the war—here takes a back seat to the positions promoted by citizens of all political views, ethnicities, and stations in life, as seen in magazines, cartoons, speeches, newspapers, and letters.

Read more: How Did Participation in the First World War Help Shape Modern America?

Fighting for Democracy in World War I—Overseas and Over Here

By Maurice Jackson
via History Now

Detail from a World War 1 recruiting poster, ca. 1918. (Gilder Lehrman Collection) The United States invaded Haiti, its southern neighbor, in 1915—effectively making it a US protectorate—citing concern over the influence of Germany and France, the financial and political instability of the country, and the “safety” of the newly opened Panama Canal. Yet as war loomed over Europe the US did not declare war with Germany right away, first breaking diplomatic relations on February 3, 1917. On April 2, 1917, President Wilson went before a joint session of Congress to request that war be declared. The Senate voted on April 4 and the House on April 6 to support his appeal.

War plans had been in the making, and “more than a month before the United States declared war, the First Separate Battalion (Colored) of the Washington, D.C., National Guard was mustered into federal service.” The regiment had at first been assigned to guard the buildings of the Federal Enclave, including the “White House, the Capitol, and other federal buildings, and facilities such as bridges and water supply, against possible enemy sabotage.”

Read more: Fighting for Democracy in World War 1—Overseas and Over Here


#COUNTDOWNTOVETERANSDAY update for October 24, 2016

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Thank you so much for helping us to make this Countdown To Veterans Day awareness campaign a success!

On Facebook, we have been able to gather 1,450 #CountdownToVeteransDay postings, bringing us some 941,000 Audience Impressions.

On Twitter, our collective efforts have yielded some 1,711 Posts by 332 Partner Users, earning a total Audience of 3,069,100 Impressions.

Combined -- the #CountdownToVeteransDay campaign has, to date, generated an total audience of about 4,010,100 people!

Thank you for helping us to tell people about our Veterans, their roles, their contributions, and their needs!

For more information, and for opportunities to honor America's Veterans, go to the Countdown to Veterans Day page.



Four Questions for sculptor Sabin Howard

"This Memorial must incite a conversation about the history of this country and the history of the world."

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Sabin Howard is the sculptor half of the partnership that is developing the design for the National World War One Memorial to be built in Washington, D.C.

The design-concept for the new National World War One Memorial in DC calls for a remarkable bas relief wall of sculpture that you are working on. Tell us about the wall, and your efforts to bring it to life.

Sabin HowardSabin HowardThe new National World War One Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, D.C. has, as part of its design concept, a 75-foot long bronze bas-relief sculpture, to honor the 4.7 million Americans who served in WW1, including the 116,000 who lost their lives. As sculptor for the project, I am responsible for creating an appropriate work of art for the wall. This wall is, in many ways, a visual centerpiece for the Memorial, and offers a creative canvas for us to tell the WW1 story.

Details are still very much open, as the review and approval process is still underway, and that regulatory process determines the final outcome. I can say, for the current version that I hope to present for review, I would like to create an allegorical version of the emotional journey that these war veterans experienced.

Since the wall is so long, I can see the possibilities of telling this story through different chapters, or acts, showing the call to arms, the battle, and the aftermath and loss. A recurring figure would be shown leaving his family, joining the battle, and returning home – or perhaps not returning. Figures depicting those who served would represent a spectrum of different American participants, including men and women of different ages, races, and wartime responsibilities.

Read more: Four Questions for sculptor Sabin Howard

Imperishable Inheritance: Sermon at the Memorial Service for Norman Prince and the Lafayette Escadrille

By Rear Admiral Margaret Grun Kibben, CHC, USN
Chief of Navy Chaplains

(Note: Rear Admiral Kibben delivered the Sermon at the Centennial Memorial Service for Norman Prince and the Lafayette Escadrille on Friday, October 14, 2016, at the Washington National Cathedral. The following is the text of the sermon.)

Imperishable Inheritance

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 ESV
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
1 Peter 1:3-12 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ...
John 6:37-40
Jesus said “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”

Kibben 1Rear Admiral Margaret Grun Kibben, CHC, USN, Chief of Navy ChaplainsA very good afternoon to all of you: members of the Prince family, representatives from the World War One Centennial Commission, and nos amis français. You have traveled from all corners of the world to give honor and tribute to Lieutenant Norman Prince, to share with his family the heritage from which they are privileged to have come, but perhaps most important, to remember all those who gave their lives in the war to end all wars, in sacrifice for the greater good. In this we are all inheritors, in as much as it is the legacy that they left which allows us the freedom to gather, which has preserved our countries’ liberty, and which has ensured that we maintain the privilege to worship freely the One who sustains us in the face of adversity and who remains with us throughout the ages.

In his 1896 Memorial Sermon, the Reverend Dr. John W. Sayers, Chaplain, Dept. of Pennsylvania, Grand Army of the Republic, shared this sentiment:

“Human life is of short duration. Of all our years but few may be devoted to the accomplishment of great purposes. ...

It is, therefore, not so much what men may accomplish in this life as it is what their work may do for the world after they are dead. ...

the good lives always to a noble purpose and keeps the world slowly moving toward the right.”

It would be 20 years later, when the few, whom we honor today, demonstrated their devotion to the accomplishment of great and noble purposes. The Great War which began as a local disturbance eventually spread into a worldwide struggle. And as war in Europe raged, it intensified through the use of dangerous new weapons which took over fields of livelihood and tranquility and turned them into desolate, trenched moonscapes littered with corpses and wreckage. But as horrified as Americans were with the ravages of war, they remained neutral, isolating themselves from any involvement.

Read more: Imperishable Inheritance: Sermon at the Memorial Service for Norman Prince and the Lafayette...

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