doughboys with mules African American Soldiers 1 pilots in dress uniforms African American Officers Riveters The pilots gas masks Mule Rearing

World War I Centennial News


Postal Museum CollageClockwise from top left: The National Postal Museum building in Washington, DC;the "My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I" exhibit; items from the exhibit.

Special Research Prize for World War I Exhibit at National Postal Museum 

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

Lynn Heidelbaugh, Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, has been awarded a 2018 Smithsonian Institution Secretary’s Research Prize in recognition of scholarship for the exhibition “My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I.” This is an exhibit that the the World War I Centennial Commission has written about previously since it's early concept & planning stage.

LynnHeidelbaugh 1Lynn HeidelbaughA committee representing research areas across the spectrum of Smithsonian scholarship recommended the finalists based on their work following a period of peer review. These pan-Institutional prizes recognize excellence in recent research in articles, books, and exhibits by the Smithsonian Institution’s employees. Heidelbaugh was one of seven recipients and “My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I” is the only exhibition bestowed the Secretary’s Research Prize in 2018.

“My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I” explores the history of America’s role in the war through personal correspondence to and from the frontlines and home front. Visitors to the exhibition consider the censorship rules, social expectations, and material culture that shaped wartime mail. Few other forms of communication were readily available at the time, making letter writing a lifeline for maintaining relationships and sharing experiences.

The selection of letters presented illuminates emotions and thoughts engendered by the international conflict that brought America onto the world stage; raised complex questions about gender, race and ethnic relations; and ushered in the modern era.

Read more: Special Research Prize for WWI Exhibit at National Postal Museum

NYC Parks rededication ceremony for restored Highbridge WWI Memorial, at Macombs Dam Park 

By Kevin Fitzpatrick
Staff Writer

New York City has 16 Doughboy sculptures but one has been hidden in storage for more than 40 years, after being severely damaged by vandals. Today the 1923 memorial to men who served from the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx has been restored by the New York City Parks Department and will be rededicated at ceremonies at its new home in Macombs Dam Park, across the street from Yankee Stadium.

Unknown 42Doughboy statue returns to park in the Bronx.Details for the ceremony are: Friday, September 28, 2018, 11:00 a.m., East 161st Street and Jerome Avenue, Bronx NY 10451.

World War One reenactors will be the honor guard, musicians, and living history component of the event. Attending will be elected officials, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, United War Veterans Council, the WWI Centennial Committee for New York City, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, descendants of servicemen lost in the war, and area residents.

A team of researchers from The East Coast Doughboys wrote the biographies of the 21 men who will have their names once more returned to the memorial, following the disappearance of the bronze plaque in the 1970s.

Consigned for more than two decades to Parks’ monument storage, the Highbridge Doughboy once stood proudly at a small park triangle at Ogden and University Avenues in the University Heights or Highbridge section of the Bronx. It was erected to honor the 21 local servicemen who died while serving their country in World War I.

Read more: NYC Parks rededication ceremony for the Restored Highbridge WWI Memorial, at Macombs Dam Park

Ostendorf collage(Left) From the afternoon of Saturday July 23, 1921 until 10 a.m. the next day, thousands of residents filed by the closed casket of Henry Ostendorf that was guarded by soldiers, sailors and Marines at the Madison County Courthouse. He was the first soldier from Madison County to die in World War I. (Photo courtesy of the Madison County Historical Society.) Right: The mystery statue at Ostendorf 's grave site.

World War I Mystery at Maryville, IL Cemetery 

By Madison Menz
Staff Writer

In the small town of Maryville, Illinois, a part of Madison County, with a population of less than 8,000 lies the remarkable story of one First World War veteran and a mysterious statue representing his bravery and sacrifice he made. Why is the figure mysterious?

Well, it all starts at the Buck Road Cemetery where a Private Henry N. Ostendorf of the 33rd Illinois Division is buried. Private Henry N. Ostendorf was born in 1894 in Madison County and died at the young age of 24 in France on August 7, 1918, after being struck in the head by a piece of shrapnel.

Ostendorf was the first from Madison County to perish in the Great War, buried initially along the Somme River though exhumed three years later to be returned and given a proper funeral which occurred on July 24th, 1921.

Shortly after Ostendorf was buried at the Buck Road Cemetery a statue of the brave private emerged overnight, no one knows who commissioned the statue or placed the figure there. It has been a mystery for the town that not even the Madison County Historical Society can figure out.

Read more: World War I Mystery at Maryville Cemetery

IMG 2739Overview of Ceremony at St. Mihiel American Cemetery.

WWI Centennial Commissioners Participate in Centennial Events for St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives Honoring those who fought in two of the largest battles in U.S. military history

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

This week is the 100th Anniversary of two of the largest battles ever in U.S. military history, the St. Mihiel Offensive, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, of World War I. 

Ceremonies in France marked the occasion, and six Commissioners from the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission (WW1CC) were able to attend and participate. 

The St. MIhiel battle was fought from 12–15 September 1918, involving some 550,000 troops from the the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) and 110,000 French troops, all under the command of General John J. Pershing of the United States against German positions at the St. Mihiel salient. The battle was a success for the Americans, but they lost some 4,500 people killed, and 5,500 wounded.

The Meuse Argonne Offensive remains the largest single battle in U.S. military history. It involved 1,200,000 American troops, over a thousand aircraft, and nearly 400 tanks. The fighting lasted for 47 days, and would eventually lead to the end of the war. However, this success came at enormous human cost. Some 26,277 Americans were killed, making it the most lethal battle in U.S. history, as well.

Read more: Commissioners Participate in Centennial Events for St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

International Report: Dr. Monique Seefried, WW1 Centennial Commissioner 
ww1 Centennial News Podcast Logo

In September 14th's WW1 Centennial News Podcast, Episode 89, Host Theo Mayer spoke with Dr. Monique Seefried about the Commission's participation in upcoming commemoration events in France. The following is a transcript of the interview: 

Theo Mayer: Part of our team is heading to France to participate in the commemoration events over there and leading those efforts is US World War I Centennial Commissioner Dr. Monique Seefried, who's joining us this week for our International Report. Bonjour Monique.monique seefriedDr. Monique Seefried is an accomplished educator, fluent speaker of four languages, and a US World War I Centennial Commissioner

Monique: Thank you so much for this introduction. 

Theo: So, you're back in France now this week to represent the commission at more events. What's the lineup? 

Monique: It's going to be a series of wonderful commemorations. This weekend we are first having a celebration in the town of Fismes, which is where the 28th division from Pennsylvania distinguished itself and a bridge was built after World War I to honor them. Now 100 years later, the city of Fismes has had a wonderful sculptor erect a very modern memorial to commemorate this Centennial. The next day I will be in Vauxaillon, where there is an all-weekend commemoration about the Soldiers of All Colors fight for peace and we will have the 370th regiment from Illinois with schools from Chicago and they will participate in concert and various events. Then, the following weekend will be the commemoration of the Battle of Saint Mihiel, with a parade from the city of Thiaucourt to the cemetery and the next day the commemoration of the Battle of Meuse-Argonne. For 24 hours, the names of the soldiers will be read one after the next and after the ceremony that starts at four PM on Sunday, the candles will be placed on the graves and the reading of the names will continue through the night.

Theo: Well, I understand that it's going to be a sea of candles, that it's quite touching. 

Read more: Podcast Article- International Report with Commissioner Seefried

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast 

WW1 Then: September Roundtable 

ww1 Centennial News Podcast LogoIn September 14th's WW1 Centennial News Podcast, Episode 89, host Theo Mayer and regular contributors Mike Shuster and Dr. Ed Lengel discussed the Saint Mihiel Offensive, a huge moment for America and one of the decisive Allied blows against Germany. The following is a transcript of the podcast:  

Theo Mayer: This week, 100 years ago, the big focus is on a transformative battle, especially for General John J. Pershing and his newly minted US First Army and the fledgling US Army Air Service, led by a guy named Billy Mitchell. And a new tank corp led by none other than George Patton. The story plays out near a town called Saint Mihiel, where Germany has long held a major salient.

yung Patton A young Colonel George Patton poses with a tank, 1918. Patton established himself as a top-flight tank commander during the U.S. attack on the Saint Mihiel Salient. Now, in military terms, a salient is a sort of triangular bulge that has been pushed deep into enemy territory. Germany captured the salient in the first three months of the war and has held it since October 1914. With that as a set up, let's jump into our centennial time machine and travel to the mid-days of September 1918. We're gonna open our exploration of the western front and the Battle at Saint Mihiel by turning to Mike Schuster, former NPR correspondent and the curator for the Great War Project blog.

Mike: Thank you, Theo. The headlines read, Huge American Presence on the Attack, German Morale Worse by the Day, A Sense of Looming Defeat, and this is special to the Great War Project.

The battle for the Saint Mihiel salient begins in earnest in mid-September a century ago. It is fierce and there is a great American presence in the effort to drive the Germans out of the bulge in their line in northern France. Historian Martin Gilbert reports, "When the battle began on September 12th, more than 200,000 American troops supported by 48,000 French moved forward in pouring rain along the 12 mile front." Then this startling fact: "During the advance the American gunners fired 100000 rounds of phosgene gas shells. According to historian Gilbert, 9000 Germans are incapacitated in this gas attack and 50 Germans are killed.

Read more: Podcast Article - Saint Mihiel

dOlive compositeCharles d'Olive (left )shot down a total of five planes during World War I and received a Distinguished Service Cross for his efforts. Nearly a century after her ace fighter pilot father shot down his first German plane, 73-year-old daughter Susan d’Olive Mozena (right, with her son John) flew onboard a B-52 with members of the 93rd Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base.

Daughter of WWI American fighter ace flies a century after her father's first kill 

By Nick Wooten
via the Shreveport Times newspaper web site

Nearly a century after her ace fighter pilot father shot down his first German plane, 73-year-old Susan d’Olive Mozena flew onboard a B-52 with members of the 93rd Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base.

The flight, meant to honor the 100th anniversary of World War I, took place Friday and went smoothly, said d'Olive Mozena and members of the crew after the plane landed.

"It was just beautiful," d'Olive Mozena said. "I had the best seat in the house. I was in the instructor pilot seat right behind the pilot and the co-pilot. I could see everything."

d'Olive Mozena's father was former 1st Lt. Charles d'Olive. d'Olive was one in a group of American Army pilots who were first trained to fly SPAD S.XIII — a French biplane fighter aircraft — during World War I. d'Olive recorded the 93rd Pursuit Squadron's first ever aerial kill when he shot down a German Fokker D.VII fighter on Sept. 12, 1918.

Read more: Daughter of WWI American fighter ace flies a century after her father's first kill

resized 250499 1a france 0924 91 25151 t1000Men in WWI-era military uniforms take part in a remembrance ceremony at Meuse-Argonne cemetery in northeastern France. As ceremonies are held around the world to mark the 100th anniversary of the war’s end, two Arkansas-based U.S. Army Reserve officers have been sent to France for centennial events.

Reserve officers from Arkansas hail vets of WWI 

By Alex Gladden
via the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper web site

It's been 100 years since World War I.

In France, volunteers read the names of soldiers aloud and placed candles by their graves Sunday, honoring the 26,000 Americans who died in the Muese-Argonne offensive, which helped bring an end to the war. Despite the rain and strong winds, the people gathered for the ceremony in the Muese-Argonne cemetery, the largest American cemetery in Europe.

The celebration is one of many events around the world commemorating World War I.

The U.S. sent two Army Reserve officers, both based in Arkansas, to World War I centennial events in France.

The officers, Col. Daniel Hershkowitz and Command Sgt. Maj. James Hopkins, left for Verdun, France, on Sept. 18 and will return Tuesday. They are members of the 90th Sustainment Brigade, which was founded during World War I as the 90th Infantry Division, and are representing their group at the ceremonies.

"The big thing is to never forget some of these historic battles that took place in the name of freedom," Hershkowitz said.

Both U.S. Sen. John Boozman's maternal and paternal grandfathers fought in the war, as did his great uncle. His maternal grandfather was gassed and later died of complications from exposure.

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies located in the Arkansas Studies Institute recorded 71,862 Arkansas soldiers who served in the war; of those, 2,183 died. But as an indirect result of war, approximately 7,000 Arkansans died of the flu in 1918.

"It really is something that had an impact on Arkansas," Boozman said.

Read more: Reserve officers from Arkansas hail vets of WWI

Camp Doughboy brings World War I history alive on Governors Island 

By Anthony C. Hayes
via the Baltimore Post-Examiner web site

New York — It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon on beautiful Governors Island. Couples stroll hand-in-hand around the promenade, stopping now and again to savor the view. Cyclists slowly bike the pathways, while giggling children run to avoid the grasp of their parents’ outstretched arms. It is odd to think, as you look around, that a such a serene and joyful place, just off the southern tip of Manhattan, could have been ground zero for America’s entry into World War I.

Gov Island WWI event 062 e1537526173879 217x300The only known gas mask for a horse in America was on display at Camp Doughboy. (Photo by Anthony C. Hayes)But an official history of the island records that, in 1917, “In the first act of the war by U.S. armed services, the 22nd Infantry Regiment stationed on Governors Island seized all German-owned cruise ships and ship terminals in the Hudson River in Manhattan and Hoboken. Within weeks, the ships would be used to transport most of the two million American soldiers to France to fight in the war.”

Amongst the two million “doughboys” who sailed for France from the terminals near Governors Island was the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, Gen. John J. Pershing, and his trusted aide, Lieut. George S. Patton.

The doughboys would return to New York, once the war was over, to the cheers of an enormous tickertape parade. And life in the United States as a result of the war would never be quite the same.

Recalling life as it was actually lived and breathed during the WWI-era, military and civilian reenactors gathered on Governors Island last weekend for the third annual Camp Doughboy World War I History Weekend. The intriguing experience – which drew some 8,500 visitors to the bustling encampment – was held on the island’s Parade Ground – some five hundred yards east of historic Fort Jay.

The event was free and open to the public.

“We’re standing here, where Gen. Leonard Wood once was. And Pershing left from Governors Island, so this is the perfect place to hold this event,” said historian Kevin Fitzpatrick. “The National Parks Service has been a great partner. They appreciate the island’s patronage and the way we are using this space. We had 5,000 visitors on Saturday and another 3,500 today (Sunday.) This is the last event we are doing this season, but we’ll be back next year. And of course, we will be participating in the big parade in New York on November 11. We’ll have 100 in uniform for that event.”

Read more: Camp Doughboy brings World War I history alive on Governors Island

alice paulSuffragette Alice Paul

Alice Paul and the Suffrage Movement during World War I

By Miranda Halpin
Staff Writer

Born into a Quaker family in 1895, Alice Paul was empowered with her beliefs that men and women were equal counterparts. After graduation with a degree in biology she traveled to England to help push the fight for women’s rights. While participating in the British suffrage movement she was able to meet her partner-in-crime, Lucy Burns. Together, the two would travel back to the United States with the goal of bringing both suffrage and equal rights to the United States.

"He kept us out of war? He kept us out of suffrage!"

suffrage bannerWomen's Suffrage bannerAfter returning from England, Paul joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1912, there she obtained her first leadership role as the head of the District of Columbia chapter. The NAWSA did not want to petition for a national congressional movement, instead they focused on state-based amendments to the voting protocol, because of this Paul parted ways from the NAWSA after only one year. Paul believed it was better to achieve the movements goal via a congressional amendment. Paul and Burns, who shared the same congressional amendment aspirations, then founded the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage; later on the group would be renamed to the National Women’s Party (NWP).

Equipping their learnt skills from England, the group was quick to enable militant tactics, such as hunger strikes, parades, pickets, and protests. Paul began speaking out about her tactics in newspapers as she was deemed the “inventor of the hunger strike”.[1] The first large NWP event came roughly a year later on March 3, 1913, the day before President Wilson’s inauguration. Congress, in order to protect the protesters, enacted a closure of the street from 3-5 o’clock to prevent injuries; much to the surprise of the NWP the action passed 199 to 51. The NWP lead over five-thousand women’s suffragettes down Pennsylvania Avenue. As they walked, thousands of male onlookers attacked them. Over 100 women had to be hospitalized due to the injuries sustained while marching.[2]

As the NAWSA frowned upon the militant tactics being used, they continued to attempt to disassociate themselves for Paul and Burns. At one point during the NWP’s protests the NAWSA even said they wished not to be associated with the NWP as they were acting like Britain.

"Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?"

A deterrent for some, the NWP saw this as a new found reason to continue their fight for women’s suffrage. While people such as President Wilson and other members of congress viewed suffrage as an issue for a later date, the NWP made it their top priority to ensure that women’s votes became a main priority[3].

In May of 1913, the United States Commission of Women's Suffrage held a vote, this is the first favorable vote for suffrage in 23 years. From there the NWP began petitioning around the country in order to gain signatures for votes. As the NWP continued to lobby and hold speaking events, President Wilson detained a former British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who was in the United States to speak on the suffrage movement, on the “moral grounds” she was pro suffrage. Three days after continuous appeals, President Wilson would reluctantly allow her to enter the United States for her speaking tours.

Read more: Alice Paul and the Suffrage Movement during World War I

Artist Michael Wilson opens new "One Man, One War, One Hundred Years" WWI Art Exhibition

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

InFlandersFieldsIn Flanders Fields, 30 x 24 inches, oil on linen.Michael Wilson is a visual artist, and a military veteran, who has created a remarkable new WWI-themed art exhibit that we previously wrote about, which will be showing at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, Iowa from September 15 – December 30, 2018. This work is endorsed as an official project of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, and the Iowa WWI Centennial Committee.

One Man, One War, One Hundred Years commemorates the 100th anniversary of the World War One armistice through the service of one – the artist’s Great Uncle Herbert Thordsen.

In 2012 Wilson’s cousin discovered a small leather datebook in which their great uncle logged dates and descriptions of his experiences serving in World War One. Knowing the centenary was approaching Wilson decided to build an exhibition around his great uncle.

“His entries were short but reading his words was like finally getting to have an adult a conversation with him about the war. The datebook entries were his side of the conversation and our discussions took place somewhere between the lines.”

Among the entries Thordsen records that he: “left New York the 3rd of May on the Carpathia”.

An online search reminded Wilson that the RMS Carpathia was the ship that rescued Titanic survivors. Wilson even found the ship’s roster for May 3, 1918 with his great uncle’s name on it.

Wilson used a World War One re-enactor to model as his great uncle and sometimes used himself (as a child in his Cub Scout uniform) to represent innocence. A mixed-media piece includes an authentic 1917 New York Times front page calling the nation to arms and another painting is based on the World War One poem In Flanders Fields by Lt. Col. John McCrae. Poppy imagery is used throughout the exhibition.

The exhibition includes 12 paintings but Wilson counts them as 11 paintings plus one. For Wilson the number 11 represents the Armistice’s 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. The “plus one” painting is a historical genre piece that moves the viewer forward alluding to World War Two.

Read more: Artist Michael Wilson opens new "One Man, One War, One Hundred Years" WWI Art Exhibition

PosterNew “Diggers and Doughboys” Special Exhibition at National WWI Museum and Memorial

By Mike Vietti
Director of Marketing, Communications and Guest Services, National World War I Museum and Memorial

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Australian and American troops fought side-by-side for the first time in July 1918 during World War I. Since then, the Diggers (Australians) and Doughboys (Americans) supported each other in every major military conflict, including World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Diggers and Doughboys: The Art of Allies 100 Years On features incredible artwork from the Australian War Memorial Collection illustrating the unique comradeship between the two countries.

“The relationship between the militaries of Australia and the U.S. stands as one of the most consistent and supportive alliances in the histories of both nations,” said National WWI Museum and Memorial Senior Curator Doran Cart. “This diverse collection portrays a century of military collaboration between these two nations through deeply engaging and impressive artworks from World War I through the modern era.”

On July 4, 1918, Australian and U.S. soldiers fought side-by-side for the first time at Hamel, France in a battle in which the American Expeditionary Forces fought under Australian command. The following day, Lt. General Sir John Monash, Commander of the Australian Corps, noted that this served as “an historic event of such significance that it will live forever in the annals of our respective Nations.”

The Diggers and Doughboys became fast comrades not only because their campaign hats and swagger were similar, but also from their shared democratic outlook on military rules, regulations and officers.

Read more: New “Diggers and Doughboys” Special Exhibition at National WWI Museum and Memorial

Four Questions for Sean Michael Dargan

"Today’s geopolitical world has been shaped by no single factor more than the First World War."

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

Sean Michael Dargan is a professional singer, songwriter, guitar player, and highland bagpiper, who lives in Madison Wisconsin. He has a deep interest in military history, and even was the piper for a British army reenacting group that portrayed WWI BEF units. Sean contacted us with an incredible story -- He and a group of his professional musician/professional artist/professional historian friends got together, and decided to mark the centennial of WWI, and the war's impact and relevance, in their own way. As a result, they created a remarkable series of multimedia shows that will take place in Madison this fall.They include art exhibits, concerts, film screenings, all culminating in a show entitled THE GREATEST WAR which will take place on Nov 11th. A video teaser for the upcoming series of events & shows can be found here: We asked Sean a few questions about this remarkable event.

WOW! Tell us about what you're doing in Madison?

sean michael darganSean Michael DarganWe are organizing a program of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. The series includes music, film, and art. The culmination of these events is a multi-media production titled “The Greatest War: World War One, Wisconsin, and why it still matters.”

It is a live rock 'n' roll history show that combines music (both original songs and period traditionals) with images (photos, film, art), plus live readings of contemporary letters, diaries, articles, and speeches. The historical focus is WWI from Wisconsin's point of view, so we are using as much written and visual material of and by Wisconsinites as possible.

The show is Sunday 11 November 2018 at the historical Barrymore Theatre in Madison. (

Tell us how your group got involved?

Ken Fitzsimmons (Artistic Director), John Wedge (Education & Outreach), and Sean Michael Dargan (Marketing & Music) are all long-time movers and shakers in the Madison music scene, each leading their own successful rock bands. They are also good friends who share a deep love of history, particularly the complicated events of that unfolded after 1914.

Read more: Four Questions for Sean Michael Dargan

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