The Stars and Stripes: The American Soldiers' Newspaper of World War I, 1918-1919 presents a full scan of each issue of the military newspaper that began publication on February 8, 1918, and was published every Friday for 17 months. The eight-page weekly featured war news as well as news from home, sports news, poetry, and cartoons. Extremely popular among enlisted men, who reveled in its often-irreverent articles on military regulations and daily routines, the paper began with an initial printing of 1,000 copies; within a year its circulation had increased to 500,000.
The Stars and Stripes had the appearance of a typical hometown newspaper. Established by experienced journalists who had worked for some of the nation's leading newspapers before the war, the paper relied on enlisted men as writers, editors, and managers and carried stories of primary interest to servicemen of the American Expeditionary Force — the soldiers on the frontlines in France.
The Stars and Stripes documents the experience of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. Although the paper carried stories of battles and campaigns, articles had to be submitted to military headquarters before they could be published in the paper. Examining news articles reveals what members of the American Expeditionary Force actually read about military battles and campaigns in the last year of "The Great War." The Stars and Stripes reveals the interests and concerns of American soldiers during wartime and how servicemen responded to news from the home front. It provides insight into activities that occupied soldiers' time abroad. Evidence of American attitudes, such as racism, is also apparent in the paper.
The collection may be viewed by columns, full page, or as a text transcription. The transcription is scanned, however, and the narrative is sometimes difficult to decipher.