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A Guide to World War I Materials

Compiled by Kenneth Drexler, Digital Reference Specialist

I want you for the U.S. Army nearest recruiting station / James Montgomery Flagg
I want you for the U.S. Army nearest recruiting station.
James Montgomery Flagg.
1 print (poster) : lithograph, color.
Prints and Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:
LC-USZC4-3859

The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of material related to World War I, including photographs, documents, newspapers, films, sheet music, and sound recordings. This guide compiles links to World War I resources throughout the Library of Congress Web site. In addition, this guide provides links to external Web sites focusing on World War I and a bibliography containing selections for both general and younger readers.

Library of Congress Web Site | External Web Sites | Selected Bibliography

Digital Collections

American Leaders Speak: Recordings from World War I and the 1920 Election

The Nation's Forum Collection from the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division consists of fifty-nine sound recordings of speeches by American leaders at the turn of the century. The speeches focus on issues and events surrounding the First World War and the subsequent presidential election of 1920.

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936 - 1940

These life histories were written by staff of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers' Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936-1940. Search on the phrase "World War I" in order to locate life histories that mention World War I.

The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

The Songs of America presentation allows you to explore American history as documented in the work of some of our country's greatest composers, poets, scholars, and performers. This presentation contains sheet music and audio recordings of popular music related to World War I.

This presentation also contains two articles concerning World War I and music:

Military Battles and Campaigns

This collection contains maps showing campaigns of major military conflicts including troop movements, defensive structures and groundworks, roads to and from sites of military engagements, campsites, and local buildings, topography and vegetation, including over twenty military maps from World War I.

Newspaper Pictorials: World War I Rotogravures, 1914-1919

This online collection is drawn from three primary sources: The War of the Nations: Portfolio in Rotogravure Etchings, a volume published by the New York Times shortly after the armistice that compiled selected images from their "Mid-Week Pictorial" supplements of 1914-19; Sunday rotogravure sections from the New York Times for 1914-19; and Sunday rotogravure sections from the New York Tribune for 1916-19.

Posters: World War I Posters

This collection makes available online approximately 1,900 posters created between 1914 and 1920. Most relate directly to the war, but some German posters date from the post-war period and illustrate events such as the rise of Bolshevism and Communism, the 1919 General Assembly election and various plebiscites.

The Stars and Stripes: The American Soldiers' Newspaper of World War I, 1918-1919

This collection presents the complete seventy-one-week run of the World War I edition of the newspaper The Stars and Stripes. Published in France by the United States Army from February 8, 1918, to June 13, 1919, the eight-page weekly featured news, poetry, cartoons, and sports coverage, with a staff that included journalists Alexander Woollcott, Harold Wallace Ross and Grantland Rice. Written by and for the American soldiers at the war front, the paper offers a unique perspective from which to examine the wartime experience.

Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film

This collection features 104 films that record events in Theodore Roosevelt's life from the Spanish-American War in 1898 to his death in 1919. Contains films of Roosevelt performing various public functions in support of the war effort during World War I. Also, includes a film of Roosevelt's sons' regiments in France during the war.

Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years

This collection contains Woodrow Wilson's speech notes, in shorthand, for his Fourteen Points address. Wilson frequently used shorthand to record his first thoughts on topics. Here in 1918 he outlined his famous Fourteen Points, the terms which he believed should be used as the basis for the peace treaty settling World War I.

World War I Sheet Music

From 1914 through 1920 the Library of Congress acquired over 14,000 pieces of sheet music relating to what ultimately became known as the First World War, with the greatest number coming from the years of the United States' active involvement (1917-1918) and the immediate postwar period.  America's entry into the war came at a time when popular songwriting and the music publishing industry, centered in New York's Tin Pan Alley, was at its height and a new musical form known as "jazz" was emerging.

America's Library

This site is designed for elementary and middle school students.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

Chronicling America

This site allows you to search and view millions of historic American newspaper pages from 1836-1922. Search this collection to find newspaper articles about World War I.

A selection of articles on World War I includes:

In addition, the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room has created a series of topics guides to the newspapers included in Chronicling America, including a number of guides related to World War I.

Exhibitions

American Treasures of the Library of Congress - World War I

This exhibition highlights material available at the Library of Congress related to
World War I, including photographs, posters, newspapers, and original documents.

From the Home Front and the Front Lines

This exhibition consists of original materials and oral histories drawn from the Veterans History Project collections at the Library of Congress, including World War I.

Main Reading Room

World War I: An Annotated Bibliography of Books in the Main Reading Room Reference Collection and World War I Military Newspapers in the General and Microform Collections

Manuscript Division

Finding Aids

Search online finding aids using the phrase World War, 1914-1918 to find manuscript collections that contain World War I-related materials.

Highlights from the Manuscript Division include:

Prints and Photographs Division

World War I in Pictures: An Overview of Prints & Photographs Division Collections

The Library of Congress Prints & Photograph Division (P&P) has more than 76,000 pictures relating to World War I, in a wide array of formats, including photographic prints and negatives, cartoons, ephemera, posters and drawings.

Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)

Search PPOC using the phrase World War 1914-1918 to find additional images from World War I such as photographs, prints, cartoons and posters.

The Teachers Page

American Memory Timeline: U.S. Participation in the Great War (World War One)

Contains a short essay on U.S. involvement in World War I and links to related documents found within American Memory.

On the Homefront: America During World War I and World War II

This activity showcases a sampling of American Memory resources that illustrate homefront contributions during World War I and World War II.

World War I: What Are We Fighting For Over There?

A lesson plan designed for grades 10 through 12, in which students create World War I era newspapers with different perspectives on American involvement in the war.

Today in History

June 28, 1914

Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sofia were assassinated in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, setting off a chain of events that would culminate in a world war by August.

May 7, 1915

On May 7, 1915, a German submarine sank the British ocean liner Lusitania, drowning 1,198 civilians.

April 6, 1917

The United States formally declared war against Germany and entered the conflict in Europe on April 6, 1917.

September 12, 1918

On September 12, 1918, the American Expeditionary Forces under commander in chief General John J. Pershing launched their first major offensive in Europe as an independent army.

November 11, 1918

The Allied powers signed a cease-fire agreement with Germany at Rethondes, France on November 11, 1918, bringing World War I to a close.

July 28, 1932

On July 28, 1932, the protesters known as the "Bonus Army" gathered in the nation's capital to demand immediate payment of benefits for their military service during World War I.

July 15, 1948

John J. Pershing, military commander whose brilliant career earned him the title General of the Armies of the United States, died on July 15, 1948. General Pershing was the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces to Europe in World War I.

Veterans History Project

Veterans History Project Home Page

The Veterans History Project collects and preserves stories of wartime service from World War I to the present. This site provides information about how to participate in the project, a database of participating veterans, and digitized materials from the collection. Search the Veterans History Project's database to view over 100 digital collections from World War I veterans.

Webcasts

The Bonus Army: An American Epic

Paul Dickson and Thomas Allen presented a talk about their book, the compelling story of World War I veterans whose demands for better treatment became the Bonus Army March.

Harlem's Rattlers & the Great War

Jeffrey T. Sammons and John H. Morrow discussed their book "Harlem Rattlers and the Great War: The Undaunted 369th Regiment and the African-American Quest for Equality".

The Long Black Freedom Struggle: African American Soldiers in WWI & Korea

Adriane Lentz-Smith of Duke University and David Cline of Virginia Tech discuss the forgotten history of African-American participation in WWI and Korea, followed by a discussion facilitated by Robert Patrick, director of the Veterans History Project.

Navigating the Blood-Dimmed Tides: Was U.S. Military Intervention in the First World War Worth the Cost?

Bradford Lee performs a Clausewitzian critical analysis of how the U.S. waged war and negotiated peace from 1917 to 1919, and whether the value of victory was worth the costs of achieving it.

The Politics of Catastrophe & the Declaration of World War I

As members of Congress gathered in April 1917 to decide whether to declare war on Germany, some legislators arrived with battle scars. For Civil War veterans, the memory of that catastrophic war would inform their understanding of a new conflict. Historian Mary Dudziak revealed what it would take to generate sufficient support to enter a faraway war: a politics of catastrophe.

'Remember Belgium' -- Poetry as Propaganda During the First World War

Kluge Fellow Geert Buelens address the use of poetry as propaganda, using WWI poems about Belgium by poets such as e.e. cummings, Witter Bynner, Ford Madox Ford and prominent Russian, Italian and Scandinavian poets.

World War I Symposium

Gerard Toal (Virginia Tech), Paul Miller (McDaniel College) and retired US Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein discuss the territorial and ethnic conflicts that led to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, and how Europe's great powers over-reacted, leading to "the Great War." The speakers then show how the First World War has affected the subsequent history of Europe, through the Second World War, through the Cold War, down to the present. Other presenters included Andras Simonyi, Erdal Trhulj and Jadranka Negodic.

World Digital Libarry

The World Digital Library (WDL) is a project of the Library of Congress, carried out with the support of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations from around the world. The WDL contains hundreds of items related to World War I, including maps, posters, photographs, and books.

External Web Sites

1914-1918 Online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War External Link

This site is a virtual reference work on the First World War. The multi-perspective, open-access knowledge base is the result of an international collaborative project involving more than 1,000 authors, editors, and partners from over fifty countries.

Europeana 1914-1918 External Link

This site is a pan-European collection of original First World War source material, including letters, diaries, photographs, films, postcards, and official documents.

The Great War and the Shaping of the Twentieth Century External Link

This PBS site on World War I contains a timeline, glossary, maps, educational resources, and commentary from historians.

Military Resources: World War I External Link

A compilation of resources on World War I from the National Archives and Records Administration, including links to external sites.

Online Bookshelves: World War I External Link

The U.S. Army Center of Military History provides the full-text of online books related to American involvement in World War I.

Wars and Conflicts: World War One External Link

This BBC site contains a wide variety of material on World War I, including a timeline, essays, films, audio, and photographs.

World War One External Link

The British Library’s site offers curated access to nearly 500 historical items related to World War I. Collection items are complemented by over 50 newly commissioned articles from leading experts, short films and interviews with academics and authors, and a dedicated teachers’ area.

World War I Document Archive External Link

An archive of primary source documents from World War I compiled by volunteers of the World War I Military History discussion group.

Selected Bibliography

Capozzola, Christopher. Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. [Catalog Record]

Clark, Christopher M. The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. New York: Harper, 2013. [Catalog Record]

Doenecke, Justus D. Nothing Less Than War: A New History of America's Entry into World War I. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2011. [Catalog Record]

Eisenhower, John S.D., and Joanne Thompson Eisenhower. Yanks: The Epic Story of the American Army in World War I. New York: Free Press, 2001. [Catalog Record]

Gilbert, Martin. The First World War: A Complete History. New York: H. Holt, 1994. [Catalog Record]

Hastings, Max. Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. [Catalog Record]

Keegan, John. The First World War. New York: A. Knopf; Distributed by Random House, 1999. [Catalog Record]

MacMillan, Margaret. Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World. New York: Random House, 2002. [Catalog Record]

Reynolds, Francis J. The Story of the Great War. 16 vols. New York: P. F. Collier and Son, 1916-20. [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Storey, William Kelleher. The First World War: A Concise Global History. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009. [Catalog Record]

Strachan, Hew. The First World War. New York: Viking, 2004. [Catalog Record]

Tucker, Spencer C., ed. World War I: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection. 2nd ed. 5 vols. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2014. [Catalog Record]

Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim. The Guns of August. New York: Macmillan, 1962. [Catalog Record]

United States, Department of the Army, Office of Military History. United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919. 17 vols. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1948. [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Winter, Jay, ed. The Cambridge History of the First World War. 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. [Catalog Record]

Younger Readers

Adams, Simon. World War I. Rev. ed. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2004. [Catalog Record]

Barber, Nicola. World War I. Chicago: Heinemann Library, 2012. [Catalog Record]

Clare, John D., ed. First World War. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1995. [Catalog Record]

Dolan, Edward F. America in World War I. Brookfield, Conn.: Millbrook Press, 1996. [Catalog Record]

Freedman, Russell. The War to End All Wars: World War I. Boston: Clarion Books, 2010. [Catalog Record]

George, Enzo. World War I. New York: Cavendish Square Publishing, 2015. [Catalog Record]

Kent, Zachary. World War I: The War to End Wars. Hillside, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, 1994. [Catalog Record]

Pratt, Mary K. World War I. Minneapolis: ABDO Publishing Company, 2014. [Catalog Record]

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  May 3, 2016
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