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World War I in the Library

World War I Digital Collections

First World War
Issued in two modules, the first module, Personal Experiences comprises diaries, letters, postcards, personal narratives, trench literature, maps, scrapbooks, albums, photographs, sketches, paintings, sheet music, cartoons, propaganda, and other ephemera. The second module, Propaganda and Recruitment, comprises posters, postcards, diaries, cartoons, photographs, leaflets, pamphlets, instructions for the distribution of propaganda, instructions to military units, extracts from local newspapers, printed reports, minute books, papers of the Ministry of Information, papers of the Kriegspresseamt, newsletters, and tribunal case files. Both modules document the war from a global perspective, covering multiple war fronts (Western Front, Ireland, Italian Front, Eastern Front, Balkans, Gallipoli, Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, neutral countries), and including documents in over 30 different languages (Afrikaans, Arabic, Belgian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Flemish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Maori, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slavic, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian, Welsh, and Yiddish). (940.3)
International Encyclopedia of the First World War
World War I Trench Maps and Aerial Photographs
McMaster University's famous collection of trench maps. Emphasis on France and Belgium, but includes maps and photographs from other theaters of war as well (Eastern front, Middle East, and Africa). (940.3)
Europeana, 1914-1918: Untold Stories and Official Histories of World War I
First World War Poetry Digital Archive
A collection of over 7,000 artifacts--including text, images, audio, and video--drawn from the personal collections of ten British poets of the War. Though the poets and their poetry are the central, organizing principle of the collection, the collection is far more than an archive of literary artifacts. From Oxford University. (940.341)
Lethbridge Cenotaph Collection
Biographies of 262 Canadian soldiers who are commemorated by a cenotaph in Lethbridge, Alberta. (940.371)
Newspaper Pictorials: World War I Rotogravures
Photographs from the rotogravure sections of the New York Times and the New York Tribune. This collection presents higher-quality reproductions than you'll find in the digitized versions of these two newspapers. (940.373)
Stars and Stripes: The American Soldiers' Newspaper of World War I
American Leaders Speak: Recordings from World War I and the 1920 Election
Audio recordings of speeches by Warren G. Harding, James Cox, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Samuel Gompers, Henry Cabot Lodge, and John J. Pershing. (940.373)
World War I Collection
Letters, postcards, and memorabilia from the Musselman Library at Gettysburg College. (940.373)
New York State Archives Military Collections: World War I, 1917-1938
Abstracts of National Guard service, National Guard muster rolls, veterans' service data and photographs, Proclamations by the governor, posters, instructional lantern slides, and more.  (940.3747)
Pennsylvania State Library World War I Collection
Regimental histories, posters, government reports, and more, from the State Library of Pennsylvania. (940.3748)
North Carolina State Library World War I Collection
Regimental histories, personal narratives, letters, posters, and photographs. (940.3756)
World War I Collection
Documents from the Special Collections of the Memorial Library at the University of Madison. Emphasis on rescue and relief efforts, but includes propaganda and other aspects of the war as well. (940.414)
The Medical Front in World War I
Covers: Diabetes in the pre-insulin era, influenza, lice, military surgery, psychiatry including chronic alcoholism, sanitation and hygiene, typhoid fever, and venereology. (940.475)
War Poster Collection
Selection of World War I and World War II propaganda posters from the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections. (940.488)
Propaganda Posters
Over 500 posters from World War I and World War II, from Washington State University Library. (940.488)
World War I & II Poster Collection
Over 500 posters, mostly American, but also some British and French. From the University of North Texas Digital Library.  (940.488)
World War I & II Posters and Postcards
From the University of Minnesota Libraries. (940.488)
World War I Postcards from the Bowman Gray Collection (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Over 6,000 war-themed cards printed in Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, and the U.S. during the war. (940.488)
World War I Pamphlets
Over 400 war-related pamphlets, from the Special Collections of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. (940.488)
World War I Collection
War-related pamphlets, from the University of Colorado Library. (940.488)
Posters from the First World War, 1914-1918
Over 100 posters, printed in the United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, and more. From the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. (940.488)
Allied Posters of World War I
Over 1,500 propaganda posters from the Special Collections of the Temple University Library. (940.488)
French World War I Posters Collection
105 posters published in France during the First World War. (940.488944)
World War I Poster Collection
American propaganda posters from the Indianapolis Public Library. (940.488973)
World War I Posters
Almost 2,000 posters, mostly from the United States, but from other countries as well. From the Library of Congress (940.488973)
Answering the Call
55 World War I era posters, issued by U.S. federal government agencies, as well as Non-Governmental Organizations like the Salvation Army and the YMCA. Browse by poster artist, issuing agency, poster subject, and poster publisher. From the Milner Library at Illinois State University. (940.488973)
World War I Sheet Music
Almost 2,000 pieces of war-related sheet music from the Brown University Library. (940.488973)

Exploring the Library's World War I Collections

The World War I collections in the University Library are massive. To research World War I in the Library, you'll need to proceed systematically. Use the following strategies.

Browse by Subject Headings
The Library's print collections are organized by subject, and you can browse the collection by these subjects. For example, print resources about World War I are organized under the Subject Heading World War, 1914-1918. If you click on the preceding link, you will see that the Subject Heading is further sub-divided into more and more specific Headings. The set of resources filed under the more specific Headings are not included in the set of resources filed under the more general Heading. Therefore, you must look under every Heading that could possibly be relevant to your search. Browsing the menu of Subject Headings is an excellent way to get a broad overview of the Library's World War I print collections. As you work more with Subject Headings, you can begin to predict how they are subdivided. For example, World War, 1914-1918 is subdivided by social groups (e.g. World War, 1914-1918 --Women), nations (e.g. World War, 1914-1918 --Russia), topics (e.g. World War, 1914-1918 --Casualties), and more. To begin browsing the print collections by subject, go to the Online Catalog, select "Subject Headings" in the "Search By" box to the right, and then enter a known Subject Heading.
Browse by Call Number
The print resources in the Library are classified according to their subjects, and you can browse the print collections by these classifications. When you browse books on the shelf, that's precisely what you are doing, but you can also browse virtually in the Online Catalog. Select "Call Number" in the "Search By" box, and enter a known Classification Number. For example, the classification number for World War I is 940.3. Like Subject Headings, Classification Numbers are broken down into more and more specific topics. For example, if you wanted to browse books on World War I war crimes and atrocities, you would begin browsing at 940.405. When you begin your research, you probably won't know the relevant Classification Numbers. However, if you find a relevant book, either through a keyword search, or maybe a recommendation from your teacher or a book review (e.g. Bloody Good: Chivalry, Sacrifice, and the Great War), then you can click on the call number in the catalog record (940.31 F857b), and the catalog will take you to a virtual shelf list, where you can begin browsing the collection by Classification Number. Remember to browse both forward and backward.
Use Article Indexes
Periodicals compose a large portion of the Library's collections. The Online Catalog includes records for these periodicals, but not for the articles in them. For example, we have a record in the Online Catalog for the journal War & Society, but there's nothing in the Catalog to indicate that an issue of this journal contains an article titled "Brain Wounds in the First World War". To identify the articles that are inside these periodicals, you must use an Article Index. Article Indexes are similar to the Online Catalog in that they are organized around Subject Headings. As in the Online Catalog, you can also do keyword searches, but identifying the Subject Headings that organize the database will make it easier to work more methodically. The 3 best Article Indexes for researching World War I will be:
Use Bibliographies and Guides
There are many different types of Bibliography, but in general, a Bibliography's purpose is to map out the published and, in many cases, the unpublished source base for a particular field of inquiry. Bibliographies list both primary and secondary sources since those designations are determined largely by how you use the source. Below is a sample of recommended Bibliographies for researching World War I in the Library:
Use Newspapers
The Library has over 1,000 World War I era newspapers. As with journals and magazines, there are no records in the Online Catalog for the articles that appeared in newspapers. Unlike journals and magazines, however, there are also no article indexes to help you find relevant articles from newspapers. Most newspapers were never indexed, and the few that were indexed were among the first to be digitized. Use the Library's Newspaper Database to identify newspapers by date of publication, place of publication, or format (e.g. original print, or digitized version). For newspapers that are not digitized, the principal access point is date: if you are researching a particular event (a battle, a speech, an election, a scandal), use the date to help you isolate potentially-relevant newspaper issues. For more abstract topics, you might have to browse longer runs of the newspaper. Below is a selection of World War I era newspapers that we have online: