Library News
Gifts can Preserve Photographs from the Great War
Thousands of WWI-era photos are in need of treatment and re-housing.
January 8, 2015

The University Library co-sponsored “The Great War: Experiences, Representations, Effects,” a cross-campus initiative that took place in the fall of 2014 marking the 100th anniversary of the onset of World War I.

Select items from the Library’s collection of more than 4,400 WWI-era photographs were on display from August through December in two exhibitions: one at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library and the other at Krannert Art Museum. The multiple perspectives and topics covered in the photos, originally commissioned by the French authorities to establish an official record of the conflict, offered a rich resource to students, scholars, and visitors looking for contemporary representations of the Great War.

The Literatures and Languages Library partnered in the campus initiative and offered an online guide for those interested in learning more about the literature during World War I and its aftermath at uiuc.libguides.com/ww1lit. The History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library participated through a Twitter feed to promote the Library’s vast collection of sources documenting responses to and experiences of WWI at twitter.com/HPNLuiuc. The Student Life and Culture Archives was also a participant and co-sponsor of “The Great War: Experiences, Representations, Effects.” For a complete list of courses, exhibits, film series, performances, and other special events which were in connection with this initiative, visit www.thegreatwar.illinois.edu.

“The WWI photo collection is a priority for the Rare Book & Manuscript Library,” said Curator Caroline Szylowicz. “We anticipate that this collection will be used more often for classes and research projects given the extensive campus-wide initiative taking place this fall.”

Given the age and condition of these special photos, the Rare Book & Manuscript Library is in need of funding to help treat and re-house them. With an approximate cost of $20 per photo, a generous gift of $1,000 would conserve 50 photographs at a time. Smaller contributions are also welcome. For more information about this special project, please contact the Library’s Office of Advancement at (217) 333-5682.

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