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World War I Centennial News


WW1 Commission promotes 100 Cities / 100 Memorials at Legion Convention

By Theresa Sims
Director of Veterans and Military Partnerships, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

American Legion convention booth team 400The World War 1 Centennial Commission both team: (L to R) Susan Mennenga (Pritzker Museum and Military Library Founding Sponsor); Jeremy Bowles, Josef Otmar (volunteer re-enactors); Terry Whittles (Royal British Legion), David Wayne Shuey (volunteer re-enactor); and Theresa Sims (WW1CC). Many of us are still in the afterglow from the American Legion 98th Annual Convention in Cincinnati! Special thank you to our host and World War One Centennial commemorative partner for a truly exciting experience.

In support of the American Legion Centennial’s commemoration activities, the Legion endorsed the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials initiative through executive resolution earlier this summer. As a supporting organization, the American Legion joins, the WW1CC, PMML, who are awarding $200,000 in matching grants to help rescue and restore WWI memorials throughout the nation. The Legion is eager to participate and identify their local posts’ histories and WW1 origins.

Read more: American Legion 98th Annual Convention report

How America waged war with food and graphic design

By Cliff Kuang

Historians and TV pundits alike have a ready answer as to what made the Greatest Generation great: It was a sense of shared plight and sacrifice, which the nation mobilized to wage war and then built its modern economy.

Women of France posterBut a great sense of that sense of common purpose came about because of one thing everyone needed, equally: food. Whether it was what people ate, how they ate, or when, the government, during both World Wars, actively sought to get people to act a certain way with patriotic posters that shouted grand messages.

Graphic designer Cory Bernat has assembled over 100 of those posters, gathered from the National Agricultural Library, into a fascinating online exhibit. Bernat's meaty annotations illustrate how food posters from each decade, from 1900 to 1950, took up slightly different goals.

Read more: How America Waged War With Food and Graphic Design in WW1

DNA evidence leads to arrest in 1983 slaying of WWI veteran

via the Associated Press, September 8, 2016

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Newly tested DNA evidence from the home of a 92-year-old World War I veteran strangled in 1983 has led to murder charges against a woman who was a teenager when the crime was committed, prosecutors said.

"Mr. Schreiber survived WWI, but he did not survive those who during the night of June 23, 1983, invaded his home and took his life."

Saundra Adams, 50, was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder in the slaying of Edmund Schreiber, who authorities said was strangled with several of his own neckties during a break-in at his home in Buffalo. Schreiber was wounded during WWI and had been awarded a Purple Heart medal, authorities said.

Read more: DNA evidence leads to arrest in 1983 slaying of WWI veteran

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

Explore the pivotal year of 1916, where global sociopolitical tensions created by World War I continued escalation and irrevocably changed the economic, military, and cultural landscape of the world.

Two years into the World War, both Allied and Central Powers suffered devastating military and civilian losses. Confronting the reality of total war and grimly determined to see it through, 1916 was the year of great battles. 2016 Museum SymposiumNations no longer sought to prevail by brilliant strategic assaults, resorting to bloody battles of attrition on the Western Front at Verdun and the Somme and on the Eastern Front in the Brusilov Offensive.

Great Britain and France redrew the map of the Middle East despite suffering repeated defeats there. In the North Sea, for the first and only time in the war, the British and German battle fleets clashed.

Throughout the year the warring nations kept a wary eye on the United States, where pacifism competed with preparedness and President Wilson won another term because “he kept us out of war.”

Read more: 2016 World War One Symposium in Kansas City, MO

Submission deadline extended for $200,000 matching grant giveaway rescuing ailing WW1 memorials

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

The 100 Cities / 100 Memorial matching grant challenge has been received with genuine excitement by Veterans Service Organizations, civic groups and many others who have contacted us with great enthusiasm for participating in the program.100C 100M Logo small

Along with the outpouring of interest has come a very consistent concern about the short time available for participants to identify, plan, organize and submit projects for matching grant consideration. The consistent request for more time to ID and prep project submissions makes tremendous sense to the program sponsors, the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library.

In response the program is happy to announce that it is extending the submission deadline from November 11, 2016, until June 15, 2017 (midnight EDT).

The new schedule is based on participant feedback. In this way, participants will have enough time to search out their local WWI memorials, identify who is responsible for the memorial, get permission from the local controlling authority to do the project, make an assessment and plan for a restoration, then submit their concept and plan for a matching grant consideration.

100 Cities / 100 Memorials will announce the selected matching grants by Veterans Day 2017 (11/11/2017), giving the program selectees one year to complete their restorations before the restoration completion deadline still scheduled on the centennial anniversary of Armistice day 11/11/2018..

What is your career background? 

Five Questions for Dale Archer

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

What is your role with the new National World War I Memorial project?

I serve as the Project Manager for Memorial Development. That means I coordinate the many moving parts of the core Pershing Park Team that oversees the Memorial project as well as the Design Team with support from the Public Affairs and Fundraising Teams. I also manage daily/weekly communication and collaboration of activities for everyone involved, such as WWICC commissioners, staff, volunteers, contractors, and special advisors.

What is the status of the project right now?
The WWICC has envisioned the development of the WWI Memorial in three phases through 2019. The first phase from 2015 through 2016 has included the design competition, conceptual design, fundraising for the Memorial, and regulatory agency reviews. We are currently approaching the end of that first phase this fall. The second phase from 2017 through 2018 will include achieving regulatory agency approvals of the final design, contracting a construction management firm to oversee Memorial construction, and then general construction administration including groundbreaking and construction of the Memorial. This second phase commemorates when the U.S. officially entered WWI in 1917. The final phase from 2018 to 2019 will include construction administration with dedication of the Memorial and the transition back to the National Park Service, which owns Pershing Park. I get more excited every day to see this Memorial being developed and constructed during the Centennial. I think that combined focus and process makes it a unique project, which will truly incite a national conversation around WWI.

Read more: Five Questions for Dale Archer

Chairman Robert J. Dalessandro interviewed by


Dalessandro HISTORYNETRetired U.S. Army Colonel Robert J. Dalessandro has a personal stake in his role as director of the World War I Centennial Commission.Established by Congress in 2013, the World War I Centennial Commission is charged with planning, developing and executing programs to commemorate the centennial of World War I. Chairing the commission is historian, author, battlefield tour leader and retired U.S. Army Colonel Robert J. Dalessandro. Following in the footsteps of his grandfathers, who served in World War I, Dalessandro was commissioned in the U.S. Army after graduating from the Virginia Military Institute. He has since held a range of staff and leadership positions in the military and government. Dalessandro is a former director of the U.S. Army Center of Military History and remains deputy secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission.

What are the origins of the World War I Centennial Commission?

The commission was created by an act of Congress. It is unusual in that it’s bipartisan and a congressional commission, not a presidential one. There were appointments to the commission by the president, by the majority and minority leaders of both the House and Senate, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, and by the National World War I Museum in Kansas City.

What is its mission?

Our number one mission to educate the American people about the nation’s participation in World War I. We do that through a variety of “sub missions,” one of which is to coordinate events nationwide. We set up a vigorous series of programs throughout the United States, and we make recommendations to the president and Congress on which events they should attend. Another of our missions is to revitalize Washington, D.C.’s Pershing Park and make it a National World War I Memorial in conjunction with the national memorial in Kansas City.

Read more: Chairman Robert J. Dalessandro interviewed by

A quick guide on researching United States WW1 military genealogy

By Janice Brown
via the Cow New Hampshire Blog

NYPL WW1 TroopsMembers of the 369th Infantry serving in the trenches in France during World War One, 1918Researching the WW1 military involvement of your ancestor in the United States has unique challenges. A 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) destroyed about 16-18 million official military personnel files (OMPF). The official National Archives web site states that 80% of the records showing personnel discharged November 1, 1912 to January 1, 1960 were destroyed, and no duplicate copies of these records were ever maintained.

I recently purchased a series of WW1 newspaper pages showing faces of men who had been killed in action, or died of disease, or airplane accidents. I wanted to share these photographs and to add information on their life. Who were they? Who did they leave behind for family? What role did they have in their branch of the service? Where specifically did they die, and in what manner? Where are they buried?

Researching these WWI heroes was not easy, I admit. Persistence is your greatest tool. I will share with you where I looked for their records. Caveat: be aware that some of these records are at paid sites, though the majority are absolutely free. I would be remiss if I did not mention that interviewing your own family, even extended cousins, is of utmost importance as you may find a great deal of information within your personal circle.

Read more: A Quick Guide on Researching United States WWI Military Genealogy

Hobart statue commemorates WW1 soldiers

By Nancy Coltun Webster
via the Chicago Post-Tribune, September 2, 2016

hobartHobart Parks Dept. Superintendent John MitchellHobart Park Superintendent John Mitchell took a step closer to the "Spirit of the American Doughboy" monument and put his finger on the Vietnam plaque near the name of Donald E. Erwin, and said "a cousin on my mom's side."

For as long as most of Hobart residents can remember, the "Doughboy" has kept watch on the city from his pedestal at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue, 7th Street and Main Street. A grim reminder of war, he stands with a rifle in his left hand and a grenade ready to toss with his left. Plaques memorialize those who gave their lives in the two world wars, Korea, Vietnam and the Global War on Terrorism.

The pressed copper statue was originally dedicated at 11 a.m. on the nation's seventh Armistice Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 1925, reported the Nov. 13, 1925, Hobart Gazette provided by Rita McBride of the Hobart Historical Society. According to The Gazette, the dedication was "witnessed by one of the largest crowds ever assembled in our city." Two American Legion Post 54 members on horseback followed by the school band and 1,000 schoolchildren marched to the intersection as the event got underway.

The 1925 Armistice Day was a significant celebration in Lake County. The time of day was important, because that was reported to be the time the last shot of World War I was fired.

Read more: Hobart statue commemorates WWI soldiers

World War I drama coming to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Dawn PatrolDawn Patrol features WW1 reenactors and aircraftCommemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I as one of the nation's premier historical aviation events brings the excitement and adrenaline of early air power to Ohio, Oct. 1-2 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

The World War I Dawn Patrol Rendezvous will feature vintage reproduction full-scale and 7/8-scale aircraft, such as the Nieuport, SE-5 and Fokker Dr. I triplane. Pilots will perform precision flying in the skies above the museum and participate in a mock shoot down of an enemy aircraft, with aircraft launching from and landing on the field behind the museum.

The event will also include period reenactors in a war encampment setting; era automobiles on display and participating in a parade, flying exhibitions by WWI radio-controlled aircraft; guest speakers and a collector’s show for WWI items.

Additional popular hands-on activities include Buckeye Gamers in Flight's WWI giant board game, "Wings of Glory," which provides participants with a better understanding of the war in Europe and the number of countries involved, and Aces Over Wright Field’s aircraft computer simulators for those who want the experience of flying a WWI aircraft.

Read more: World War I drama coming to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Five Questions for Keith Colley, proprietor of the Mobile WWI Museum

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

Mobile WW1 Museum logo
Mobile WW1 Museum 5Portions of the Mobile WW1 Museum displays
The Mobile WWI Museum is an amazing program. Can you tell us about what it is?

The Museum is a collection of authentic artifacts (there are two that are exact Replicas and are posted as such) from World War 1. We have a great pictorial representation throughout the 12 booths of history, including multi-media.

How did it get started?

I suppose the story behind the Mobile Museum would be incomplete if I didn’t back up and share where it all started. The journey actually began 10 years ago on Dec 26th 2004 when I was at my parent’s home in Oklahoma for Christmas not knowing what was happening on the other side of the world.

When I got back to Dallas I turned on my TV to see a huge wave of water wiping away a part of the world most of us have never been. I was in shock to see that thousands had died and at this point thousands were still missing because of a Tsunami, again something many of us were not familiar with.

Feeling led to go help, after gathering up supplies mostly medical, with the help of so many Texans and Oklahomans, I ended up in Sri Lanka offering help where needed expecting to help clean up or even maybe help rebuild. Only to get there to find out there was nothing like that to do so I was asked to meet with survivors and do grief support. (Who knew my education would come in to play here?) The death toll in Sri Lanka alone was over 30,000, plus one and a half million people were displaced so grief support couldn’t be any more appropriate!!!

I could tell you so many stories of survival, but all I can say is that it changed my life! My mom asked me if I would journal while there so I did and I’m am so glad I did. (This comes into play in my life later)

Read more: Five Questions for Keith Colley, proprietor of the Mobile WWI Museum

WW1 education and commemoration efforts reach from France to California

By  Marissa Cruz

Vincent Bervas, professor of History and French and president of the Association of History Teachers and Geography for the Aisne territory in France, hosts a teaching program for young people. The focus is on educating students about World War I and includes a variety of unique activities.

Bervas with CommandantVincent Bervas (left) discusses aspects of his students' project at Belleau Wood with General Robert B. Neller, 37th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.Bervas is a resident of Château-Thierry, a city rich with history tied to the Great War. The city was on the front lines of the war and was the scene of significant events. Bervas serves as a member on the Centennial Château-Thierry committee, and is actively engaged in sharing the history of the region with young people.

The students are youth who face certain difficulties and otherwise would not have the opportunity to participate in the unique programming Bervas hosts.

“The centenary of the Great War is a great opportunity for them to better know their region and its history,” explained Bervas. “It is also an opportunity to create beautiful projects with them.”

In 2013, he created a project, depths of field, focused on the photography technique of the same name. The students were able to develop a show in which they read letters, documents and also extracts from the Company K battalion, for example. To prepare for this show, the students visited many historical places. This project also included a plenoptics photography project where students took photos at Belleau Wood and Fort Condé.

Students have also produced a final show that took place in the battlefield at the Caverne du Dragon followed by a presentation at school attended by key representatives from the French Centennial Commission. These hands-on lessons offer an opportunity to actively engage in the history in the young people’s own backyards.

Read more: WW1 Education and Commemoration efforts reach from France to California

World War I: Bad Romance — Gibson’s Chilling Personification of War

By Katherine Blood
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

The Weaker Sex by Charles Dana Gibson"The Weaker Sex" by Charles Dana GibsonIllustrator Charles Dana Gibson was already a celebrity when tapped in April 1917 to lead the federal government’s Division of Pictorial Publicity — an arm of Woodrow Wilson’s Committee on Public Information. He was enlisted by Committee head George Creel, who believed that visual art could provide a unique service in winning the hearts and minds of the American public. And not just any art — nothing less than the best art by the best artists was sought to bolster recruitment, fundraising, service by women and civilians and troop support in myriad forms including contributions for camp libraries. When Gibson famously urged fellow artists to “Draw ‘till it hurts!” in support of America’s war effort, he was addressing such luminaries as James Montgomery Flagg, Howard Chandler Christy and Edward Penfield, to name just a few of the division’s more than 300 participants.

Among Gibson’s most enduring creations was the iconic Gibson Girl, who began appearing in the 1890s. She embodied the “New Woman” who was active and independent, intelligent and beautiful. But a very different kind of Gibson woman commanded my attention when I had the chance to co-curate the exhibition “World War I: American Artists View the Great War” with my colleague Sara W. Duke. In a vivid satire called “And the Fool, He Called Her His Lady Fair,” Gibson presents war as a woman who is an unsettling hybrid of menace and allure, the seeming antithesis of the fresh, youthful and wholesome Gibson Girl ideal.

Read more: World War I: Bad Romance — Gibson’s Chilling Personification of War

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