For the past few years, many websites, publications and cultural institutions have been observing the 100th anniversary of the events of World War I. Some of the most notable include the First World War Centenary by the IWM (Imperial War Museums), and the United States World War One Centenary Commission.
But local resources are also available, which educators and librarians can use to highlight New York’s involvement in these events.
Let’s start with New York Heritage, the repository of digital collections. With an advanced search, we can find items that have been categorized within the LCSH of “World War 1914 – 1918.” Start by entering that term in the search box at the top of the page, and then click the option for an advanced search. Now we’re going to restrict this to an exact phrase search within the Subject field:
This takes us to a page with over 300 results. Many of these are from the “Camp Upton Postcards” collection from the Longwood Public Library, which documents the daily lives of the soldiers and civilians serving on Camp Upton, New York.
Onto New York State Historic Newspapers, the repository of digitized newspapers. Clicking on the Search page, I can limit my results to the dates of the war.
If you are just looking for daily life during those times, that may be all you want to search for. But to find articles that specifically mention the war, do a phrase search for “great war.” Since it wasn’t known as World War I until later, you want to search for the name that was in use at that time.
You can further refine the search by selecting counties. Hold down the CTRL button as you select Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, and Orleans – this will get you results from WNYLRC’s region. We now have over 200 results.
For example, we have the Cattaraugus Republican from May 24, 1917, which features an advertisement encouraging people to buy war bonds from the Salamanca Trust Company. You can even export the page as a PNG or PDF file for easy viewing or printing.
If you want to move beyond local resources, there’s even more available. A page of World War I Education Resources has been created by the United States World War One Centennial Commission, the National WWI Museum and Memorial, along with multiple partner organizations. Here you’ll find links to a number of educational materials, which you can filter by grade level and subtopic.
Is your library doing anything to acknowledge World War I? Let us know so we can include you in a future blog article!