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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 the entire article on the Maryland Humanities web site here:

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