Blogs Category: World War I

World War I: The Battle of Belleau Wood

This is a guest post by Ryan Reft, a historian in the Manuscript Division. “The place: a wine vault, somewhere in hell – torn, blood streaked, shell plowed France.” – Joel T. Boone, June 28, 1918 By the time he wrote those words to his wife, Joel T. Boone, a Navy doctor assigned to the […]

World War I: The Women’s Land Army

This is a guest post by Ryan Reft, a historian in the Manuscript Division, in honor of Women’s History Month. “The man with the hoe is gone. Six hundred thousand of him left the fields of America last year,” observed the Los Angeles Times in April 1918. Hundreds of thousands more would follow as a […]

World War I: African-American Soldiers Battle More Than Enemy Forces

This is a guest post by Ryan Reft, a historian in the Manuscript Division. “Interpreters were brought from everywhere to instruct our men in the French methods of warfare because be it known that everything American was taken from us except our uniform.” —Noble Sissle, 369th “Harlem Hell Fighters” Regiment The Library of Congress exhibition Echoes […]

World War I: American Jazz Delights the World

This is a guest post by Ryan Reft, a historian in the Manuscript Division. In the afterglow of the armistice in 1918 that ended World War I, Europe, and particularly the city of Paris, exhibited a wild exuberance. In mid-January 1919, future civil rights pioneer and American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) officer Charles Hamilton Houston encapsulated […]

World War I: The Great War in Song

This post first appeared in “Veterans on the Homefront,” the November–December issue of LCM, the Library of Congress Magazine. The entire issue is available online. The Library preserves recordings and sheet music of thousands of tunes from World War I. The Great War inspired thousands of songs, music that a century later still evokes a […]

World War I: Immigrants Make a Difference on the Front Lines and at Home

This is a guest post by Ryan Reft, a historian in the Manuscript Division. By 1910, nearly a third of the United States’ 92 million residents were either born abroad or the progeny of parents who immigrated to America. The idea of “hyphenated Americans”—citizens who identified as Polish-American or Italian-American, for example—discomforted many native-born citizens. […]

World War I: Workers Greet Labor Day 1918 with Optimism

This is a guest post by Ryan Reft, a historian in the Manuscript Division. Amid war, Labor Day in 1918 took on increased importance. Mobilization had presented unprecedented opportunities, and workers achieved remarkable advances during America’s months at war. Many reached out to President Woodrow Wilson before the 1918 holiday, hoping that he might make […]