Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Month: May 2017 (Page 1 of 4)

“Doughboys and Doughnut Girls: The Salvation Army in World War I,” June 9

Topeka – Kansas Museum of History – Museum After Hours

Join us for this special Museum After Hours program series, 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 9. The programs complement the Kansas Museum of History’s special exhibit, Captured:  The Extraordinary Adventures of Colonel Hughes, and are held in recognition of the 100th anniversary of World War I. The Museum will be open until 6:30 p.m., admission is half price after 5 p.m. The Museum Store will also be open until 6:30 p.m. more

C-SPAN2 & 3, June 3-4

As of this afternoon, not a big selection of WWI programming for this weekend.  As usual, all times Central, and we’re not responsible for schedule changes between now and the weekend.


-Saturday, June 3:  Book TV has Eugene Mark Whalan speaking on his book, “The Great War and the Culture of the New Negro.”  At this time, the C-SPAN2 listings show it as TBD for Saturday afternoon with a repeat Sunday morning. more

Centennial Countdown to the Great War: May 1917

It’s May 1917, and the United States has just entered the Great War.  Visiting Allied war leaders ask President Wilson for an immediate commitment of American troops.  General Pershing is named commander of the American Expeditionary Force and departs for Europe.  The United States enacts the first draft law since the Civil War.  Included is a provision authorizing the president to organize volunteer divisions such as the one former President Roosevelt wants to lead, but the President says he will not exercise that authority.  Americans are asked to subscribe to a “Liberty Loan” to finance the war effort.  President Wilson urges press censorship, but a bill giving the president censorship authority fails to pass Congress.  The Allies confront the Central Powers in the Balkans; Italy launches another attack against Austro-Hungarian forces on the Isonzo.  United States Navy warships arrive in Great Britain to assist the British with convoy escort and other duties. more

The Annals of Kansas, #11

June 4 through 10, 1917, in Kansas.

June 4, 1917

  • Joseph L. Bristow, editor of the Salina Journal and chairman of the Public Utilities Commission, refused to retract his charges of “grab and plunder” and said he would not keep quiet about excessive contract prices for munitions and cantonments.  Bristow had written in the Journal on May 26 that there were “hundreds of contractors, salesmen, manufacturers and railway officials . . .  out to get their share of the $7,000,000,000 authorized by Congress for financing the war.”  In answer to a statement that “this is no time to be knocking the government,” Bristow retorted:  “This is no time to be robbing the people.”  Later the Kansas City Star said of him:  “Bristow made life hard for those who believed public funds were legitimate plunder.”
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    Letters Home: Correspondence during World War I

    In December 1917, the University of Kansas Alumni Association’s Graduate Magazine began publishing letters from Jayhawks serving in various capacities overseas. The letters became a regular part of the publication in 1918 and 1919. While some of the letters were from former students to faculty at KU or to The Graduate Magazine itself, most were sent to their families and later shared with the Alumni Association’s publication – giving those back home a glimpse into the lives of brave Jayhawks overseas. more

    Today is National Poppy Day

    From the American Legion:

    “This year, for the first time, we are elevating the commemorations to include National Poppy Day™.

    Last fall, the Legion’s National Executive Committee approved a resolution in support of declaring the Friday before Memorial Day as National Poppy Day. The American Legion has worked with the American Legion Auxiliary in support of the Poppy Program for many years. With the creation of National Poppy Day, this support can grow – but we need your support. more

    The Annals of Kansas, #10

    May 31, 1917, brings two more appropriate entries:

  • One hundred tractors were plowing in Scott County in an effort to increase the wheat acreage one third.
  • Four Topekans were arrested by federal authorities, charged with being ringleaders in a plot to hinder draft registration.  Two persons from Kansas City, one from Lawrence, and one from Olathe were also arrested.  (See Thom’s previous post: )
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    The Verdict

    With the prosecution and defense resting their cases, Judge Pollock issued his instructions to the jury. Unlike Judge Van Valkenburgh in the Missouri trial, Pollock showed no tendency to appeal to the jury to be patriotic and biased towards the defendants. He began by acknowledging that war inflamed passions and prejudices which could sway loyal citizens to impose standards of their own and fix the boundary line of punishable speech at a point which makes all opposition to the war a crime. The judge admonished the jury to decide the case on the “cold, clammy facts.” If the court could try the defendants wholly removed from any thought of the war, “the nearer justice will be done in this case.” more

    C-SPAN2 & 3, Memorial Day Weekend

    Our usual post on WWI programming on the C-SPAN networks, with the usual caveats:  all times Central, check the listings for changes, we can’t be responsible for schedule changes, oversights or errors by the author.  Happy viewing!

    On C-SPAN2:

    -Monday, May 29, 8:30 a.m.  Jennifer Keene talks about her book, World War I:  The American Soldier Experience. more

    Nurse Etta Coover of Colby

    Like many communities in Kansas, in Colby you will find a memorial to their war dead.  This includes five names from World War I; perhaps nothing stands out until you read the third name, maybe doing a double-take.  It reads:  Etta Coover.

    Etta Coover was born at Colby on June 28, 1887.  It sounds like as she grew up she studied for jobs that one might expect a woman to pursue in those times.  She attended Kansas Wesleyan in Salina and pursued the Normal program; in other words, she was going to be a teacher.  Upon graduation she took a job at Gypsum, Kansas, which included being the assistant principal at the high school.  It apparently was short-lived.  In November, 1910, her father passed away, and Etta returned to Colby to be with her mother and sister. more

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