DISPATCH: February 27, 2018

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February 27, 2018

Waldo Peirce Goes to War is a remarkable new WWI Blog about an American artist

Waldo Peirce

French woman Corine Reis has an incredible passion for the American volunteers who came and served in France before America joined the war. She maintains several pages, including this very detailed Tumblr blog.  The introduction to Corine’s Tumblr page dedicated to American artist Waldo Peirce goes like this:

"November 1915, World War 1 is savagely ripping Europe apart. Waldo Peirce, fresh Harvard graduate, impossibly handsome and talented artist, decides to leave his privileged life to join the American Field Service in France. He finds himself catapulted to the front of the bloodiest war zone ever, rescuing and transporting the wounded to safety, through treacherous battle grounds, in primitive ambulances. His heroism and bravery won him the French Croix de Guerre awarded by the French government to war heroes. The carnage and devastation he saw did not destroy his beautiful mind, because through it all, he kept on painting. "I must paint paint" as he wrote from the front to his mom in 1916 "I'm a painter from the top of my head to the soles of my feet --I know it-- I get a nervous thrill just to take my palette in my hands..." And it's how Waldo never lost his way. 100 years later, almost to the day, here are photographs with short captions of the war he saw."

Corine Reis

Corine Reis (right)  took some time to answer a few question about her blog for us. Read her responses about how she came to know about  Waldo Peirce in the first place (a family tie), and the challenges of doing research to "present these young American volunteers, and then the American soldiers, in the human context of this war."

World War I: African-American soldiers battled more than enemy forces

As African American History Month for 2018 wraps up on Wednesday, our web site features a number of articles chronicling the experiences, memories, and legacies of African Americans in U.S. military service during the Great War.

Lincoln poster

The Library of Congress exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I explores the role of  the over 350,000 African-Americans served overseas for the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) during the war and ways in which the international conflict contributed to a growing racial consciousness among black veterans.


No African American troops experienced as much combat as those assigned to the French military, and none with more distinction than the famous soldiers of the 369th Infantry Regiment, who earned the nickname 'Hell Fighters of Harlem' from their German enemies. Author Stephen Harris writes extensively on the Army.mil web site about how the soldiers of the 369th proved their mettle and patriotism in combat.



African American WWI reenactor Algernon Ward’s recent “Storer College Students in World War I” lecture aimed to tie the events of a century ago to current events today. Storer College, the famed school for the formerly enslaved that operated from 1867 through 1955, supplied a disproportionate number of the African-Americans who fought for the U.S. in WWI, nicknamed the “Ebony Doughboys.” Ward noted that in recent years he’s seeing growing interest in African American involvement in The Great War. “Our participation in WWI battle re-enactments and our appearances at museums, parades, schools, libraries and historical sites have kept us busy,” he said. Read more about Ward’s “mission to tell the story of the contributions of African Americans” in America’s major conflicts of the 20th century. 

Medicine In World War I web site now live

Medicine in WWI

A century ago, American medicine went to war. It was a huge challenge.  Over a few months, an entire system of battlefield health care was organized.  Doctors, nurses, corpsmen, and many others were recruited and trained. People and equipment were transported to Europe by sea, through submarine-infested waters. Yet, it all worked--and our new Medicine In World War I web site tells the story of how the United States met this challenge. Curated by long-time military medicine experts George Thompson, Charles W. Van Way, III, and W. Sanders Marble, the site gives broad and detailed information on how the war changed military medicine, and military medicine affected the war. Check out the impressive new web site here, then check in later this week with the WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast to hear an interview with the curators.

In Her Words: Women's Duty and Service in World War I examines the motivation & conflicts of U.S. women's WWI service


The exhibition In Her Words: Women’s Duty and Service in World War I at the National Postal Museum, follows the experience of four American women in the U.S. war effort through their own letters, journals and records. The exhibition project intended to delve into individuals’ records to gain understanding of women’s experiences from the war. By searching the extensive collection of the Women’s Memorial Foundation, as well as the Smithsonian's holdings, the curators discovered many fascinating letters and stories. Read our intern Betsy Sheppard's exploration of the exhibition here, then check out this article from the Smithsonian Insider here.

"They were all heroes as soon as they put themselves in harms way."

Mark Wilkins

Our friend Mark Wilkins is a historian, writer, museum professional, and master model-maker. He is serving as historical consultant and producer of aerial effects for an upcoming feature documentary on the Lafayette Escadrille. Mark recently created a story for AIR & SPACE Magazine, entitled "The Dark Side of Glory: An early glimpse of PTSD". The article found remarkable evidence of PTSD in the letters of World War I aces. He talked to us about the piece, about what he discovered, and his upcoming book on the subject of PTSD in World War I.

United Kingdom's 14-18 NOW agency announces 2018 commemoration events

14-18-NOW logo

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission's partner arts organization in the UK, the famed 14-18 NOW, has announced the details of their final season of extraordinary arts experiences. These public art pieces are aimed at connecting people with the First World War. The slate of events includes new films by Peter Jackson and Danny Boyle, a Dazzle Ship in New York City Harbor, and much much more. 14-18 NOW is a five-year program of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War.  Read more about how 14-18 NOW is working with arts and heritage partners all across the UK, as they commission new artworks from leading contemporary artists, musicians, designers and performers, inspired by the period 1914-18.

World War I Centennial 2018 Silver Dollar continues on sale until December 2018


Sales of the limited edition World War I American Veterans Centennial Medals ended at the U.S. Mint last week, but sales of the Mint's collectible 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar continue to December of 2018. This commemorative coin was authorized by Congress as a tribute to the American men and women who served during the war. Sales from the coin help support our centennial programs -- so the coin is a tangible way for people across the country to directly participate in America's World War I Centennial. Click here to find our more about and purchase the 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar.

WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

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The WW1 Centennial News Podcast is about WW1 THEN: 100 years ago this week, and it's about WW1 NOW: News and updates about the centennial and the commemoration.  

Available on our web site, iTunes, Google Play, and TuneIn.

doughboys in gas masks

Episode #60

The Government's Expanding Power | @10:30

America Emerges: 1st Division learns tough lessons - Edward Lengel | @08:55

War in the Sky: First US planes get shipped to France | @13:15

GWP Blog: Wrapup on Tuscania  - Mike Shuster | @15:30

A Century in the Making: A busy week for the memorial project | @20:15

Remembering Veterans: the 370th Infantry Regiment - Colonel Eugene Scott | @24:00

Education: Poppy Program in middle school - Taylor Gibbs & Lyvia bartoli | @31:35

Speaking WW1: Camouflage | @36:55

WW1 War Tech: Depth Charge | @39:00

WWrite Blog: This Colored Man Is No Slacker | @41:00

Buzz: The flu then, the flu now - Katherine Akey | @42:05

Wwrite Blog Post This Week

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Brest Litovsk - Eastern Europe's Forgotten Father

In his lifetime, the world-famous Polish ballerina, Vaslav Nijinsky, might have also claimed Russian, German, or Ukrainian nationality had he danced a few more steps to the right, or to the left. The future of Nijinsky's Europe–and his identity–was decided on March 3, 1918, in the town of Brest-Litovsk. This Saturday, March 3, 2018, marks the centennial of this event, an event veteran author, Adrian Bonenberger, calls "the moment" when "the old world falls apart, and creates space for the new to arise." 

In this week's WWrite post, Bonenberger gives us a rich overview of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty's implications for the former Soviet bloc countries, in Eastern Europe for yesterday and today. Not to miss!

Doughboy MIA for week of February 26


A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Monday's MIA this week is Ensign John B. Ahern, US Navy. Assigned to the USS Ticonderoga, Ensign Ahern was among the 112 sailors and US Army artillerymen replacements who went down on their way to France when the ship was torpedoed the morning of September 30th, 1918. Part of a 6-ship convoy element, the Ticonderoga developed engine trouble on the night of the 29th, fell further and further behind the rest of the convoy, and found itself all but isolated as the sun rose on the 30th. Just as the last of the main element of the convoy slipped from sight, a German U-boat surfaced and began to engage the ship with her deck guns around 5:35 am, setting the Ticonderoga afire and killing 50% of the ships compliment right off. What remained of the men aboard tried to arrest the flames and partially succeeded, but the cost in life was heavy. Nevertheless, by 8:00 am it was all over and just a handful of survivors in the few undamaged lifeboats watched the 6,000 ton ship slide stern first under the waves. Ensign John B. Ahern was not among them.

Can you spare just ten dollars? Giving 'Ten For Them' to Doughboy MIA will help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Metal sign collection

SPECIAL OFFER: Now you can get the entire collection for only $35 (less than $10 each)

We created a series of wonderful turn-of-the-century 8" X 12" metal replica signs that capture the era of "The War That Changed The World" in an unusual and light humored way. It includes:

  • In 1917 it was proven that Angels do exist (about nurses)
  • It took courage to face one - it took even more to operate one (about tanks)
  • The Enemy was trying to kill them - and they swear the cooks were too! (about chow)
  • and one of the favorites: They flew on a wing and a prayer - because they flew without parachutes (about pilots)

Take a look at the collection by clicking here or on the image! 

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.

Take advantage of the
Matching Donation by the
Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Double Your Donation - Soldiers

Annie Frasier Norton

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org

Annie Frasier Norton


Submitted by: T.J. Cullinane {community historian}



Annie Frasier Norton born in 1893. Annie Norton served in World War 1 with the United States Navy. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1918.

“We Conquer by Degrees”

A young New Hampshire woman who died in service remains a beloved community icon.

Yeoman (F) Second Class Annie Fraser Norton, (April 10, 1893 - October 10, 1918), is remembered in New Hampshire as the first woman from the Granite State to give her life for her country, which may not be entirely true. Be that as it may, she was without a doubt a breaker of glass ceilings and remains to this day a beloved icon in the in the town of Derry’s pantheon of heroes. The unseemly debate surrounding her demise is centered on the military status of the Army nurses that perished before her. They are currently seen as military contractors and thus, rightly or wrongly, not eligible for the accolades reserved for those who died as sworn members of the armed forces.

This controversy should in no way distract from the enormous contribution Annie and her fellow “Yeomanettes” made to the ultimate victory of the United States and the Allies during the First World War. As we examine Annie’s upbringing, it would seem that service to a greater good was somewhat of a tradition in the Frasier family.

Read Annie Frasier Norton's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.