#KU and #WWI Commemoration

One of the ongoing themes of this season’s Downtown Abbey has been how to commemorate and memorialize casualties from World War I. Should there be a stone commemorating the dead in the city square? A park where villagers can sit and quietly reflect? When we have experienced so much loss, how is it that we’ll best remember? After WWI, this commemorative soul searching occurred in almost every community and town around the world — even right here at home at the University of Kansas.

On January 9th, 2015, the Lawrence Journal World‘s Sara Shepherd interviewed William Towns, former union operations manager and KU history scholar, about KU’s Memorial Stadium and Student Union, commemorative WWI buildings on the KU campus. In the article we learn how decisions made about WWI commemoration affected decisions regarding WWII memorials and the construction of our much-recognized Campanile.

Read the article.

KU History website.

Bruce Menning #WW1 lecture available online

Did you miss the Tuesday, September 9th CREES Brownbag lecture with military historian Bruce Menning on “Russia and the Outbreak of the Great War”? No problem! A video of the lecture is available on the CREES YouTube channel!


Peggy Hull Deull, America’s first female war correspondent

There’s a new post on the University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library‘s blog about a 2014 Summer Conservation Intern’s experience working on items related to Peggy Hull Deull, America’s first female war correspondent.

Born in 1889 in Bennington, KS, Peggy Hull Deull was inspired to become a journalist during the First World War. As a war correspondent, she traveled from the US to Mexico, Paris, London, Siberia, and Shanghai. 

Peggy Hull [Deuell] in WWI uniform, 1917. Kansas Collection, Call Number RH MS 130.

Peggy Hull [Deuell] in WWI uniform, 1917. Kansas Collection, Call Number RH MS 130.

“Peggy’s collection is also one of the many fantastic features that facilitates our study of war history, and in particular, helps to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I,” said Amber Van Wychen, 2014 Summer Conservation Intern.

To read Amber’s full post, go to: http://blogs.lib.ku.edu/spencer/peggy-hull-deuell-a-conservation-internship/

Gavrilo Princip, Sarajevski Atentat

Want to learn more about Gavrilo Princip? As a Spring 2014 class project, student’s in KU BCRS 208: Intermediate Bosnian-Serbo-Croatian translated the above video, adding Serbian and English subtitles for a greater audience. Access the subtitled versions here and select the language of the subtitles underneath the video.

By translating the video, students and community members participating in the #KU_WWI Twitter Project now have a non-English, regional perspective of events, providing a glimpse of how different historical narratives can be understood and interpreted.

“I like to include content-based and project-based learning into my language classes,” said BCS Instructor Marta Pirnat-Greenberg, “it motivates students and makes language learning more relevant to the them.”

Ms. Pirnat-Greenberg teaches Bosnian-Serbo-Croatian and Slovene at KU — click here to find out more about the South Slavic program in the KU Slavic Department.

Medicine in the First World War

The University of Kansas Medical Center in collaboration with the National World War I Museum has created a website dedicated to Medicine in the First World War.  The website features primary sources and essays about Base Hospital #28, the unit where most of the physicians, surgeons, and nurses who left Kansas City for France in 1918 worked.

Since 2009, KUMC and the Department of History and Philosophy and Medicine have supported a First World War Medicine Study Group.  Comprised of faculty, support staff, and many others, this group has been examining hospitals and medical practice on the Western Front, 1914-1918.  The principal aim of the First World War Medicine Study Group is to increase and expand the study of regional primary source materials with presentations and publications. The group has already given 35 presentations and lectures, developed 5 posters, and published 2 articles in scholarly journals. And this is just the beginning! Stay tuned for updates about upcoming lectures over the centennial period, 2014-2018.

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1918 Jayhawker


“The strain of war and the drains of its demands has been felt as keenly perhaps by the University of Kansas as any other co-educational institution in the country,” begins KU’s 1918 yearbook. Dedicated to the war and its affects on KU faculty and students, the 1918 Jayhawker provides a snapshot of the tidal wave of effort that encompassed the entire United States upon its entry into World War I.  At KU, German speaking clubs were canceled, and Spanish speaking clubs were introduced. A ruling passed by the Board of Regents made daily exercise compulsory, and a large number of men signed up for military drill. Women replaced sewing hours with Red Cross knitting classes, and “First Aid” nursing became the most popular course of the year. The yearbook is a story of how an educational community came together and adapted to a harsh new reality, and it provides a glimpse of how World War I, the war they thought would end all wars, shaped the lives and community of Kansas Jayhawks.  In honor of the 1918 Jayhawker and its student editors, the KU WWI Planning Committee is using images from the yearbook as logos, as well as a wood cutting from the yearbook for this blog’s header.  These are just a few images found throughout the yearbook, which I I strongly encourage you to sift through online: 1918 Jayhawker.