Current Exhibits

sandburg wars poemFirst Global Conflict: Contemporary Views of the Great War, 1914-1919

29 August—19 December 2014

A century has passed since the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the premiership of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His murder in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 set in motion the first great conflict of the twentieth century and the first conflagration to involve a world-wide system of empires, treaties, protectorates, and dependencies.

One hundred years later, the participants in the original conflict are gone, but records of their experiences and views of the war endure on paper and film. Here are letters, photographs, posters, pamphlets, documents, and books that represent small, but intimate looks at the ways the “Great War” changed the lives of its witnesses. We hope these contemporary views convey both the scale of disruption the war brought, and the everyday bravery of those who faced it.

Please join us for a tour of the exhibition by its curators, Tony Hynes, Dennis Sears, and Caroline Szylowicz, at the first meeting of the 2014-2015 cycle of events sponsored by The No. 44 Society, the book collecting group of Champaign-Urbana. All are welcome!

This exhibition is also part of a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus initiative called “The Great War: Experiences, Representations, Effects.” Twenty-four additional photographs and books from the Rare Book & Manuscript Library will also be displayed at the University of Illinois Krannert Art Museum as part of the exhibition, “La Grande Guerre: French Posters and Photographs from World War I,” 28 August through 23 December 2014.