He was undoubtedly the first victim of the first World War whose name I learned. As a freshman at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, I would lower my stress levels by walking. I traipsed around the expansive campus, but I’d also venture onto city streets. I discovered that near the stately Llenroc mansion (built to be the home of Cornell founder, Ezra Cornell – though he never lived there), there was an impressive stone staircase, with a large terrace that was a perfect spot for looking down on “the bustling town” (as the Cornell anthem calls the city). A plaque identified the structure as a memorial for Morgan Smiley Baldwin, a 1915 graduate of Cornell, whose body lay “where he fell at Boni-France, September 29th, 1918.”
For years, this was what I knew about Baldwin. I assumed – as probably others have – that “Smiley” was a nickname, but it turns out it was his given middle name (his mother’s maiden name was Smiley). I did learn that the stairway had been erected by his aggrieved father. We are in the midst of the centennial of the “Great War,” and I decided to take a fresh look at Baldwin’s story. Continue reading
July, 2017 is 100th anniversary of the first U.S. forces sent overseas to fight in World War I.
The Time and the Valleys Museum in Grahamsville, Sullivan County will be hosting a weekend of educational programming and exhibit on July 8th and 9th. Continue reading
The State Museum opened A Spirit of Sacrifice: New York State in the First World War on April 15. On display through June 3, 2018, the exhibition explores New York’s role in World War I and features artifacts, images, posters, and documents from the collections of the State Museum, State Archives, State Library, and cultural institutions from across the state.
The exhibition is organized into six distinct areas covering New York’s participation in the war both at home and on the warfront, and features a life-size recreation of a trench on the Western Front. In addition, the Museum will offer an online exhibition featuring an interactive World War I timeline and a teacher’s guide (to be launched later this spring) and an exhibition catalogue (to be published by SUNY Press in December 2017). Continue reading
“New York State has prepared for war.” The headlines of the South Side Signal for April 6, 1917 announced the entry of the United States into conflict. “Local War Notes,” a new feature (later, simply, “War Notes,”) would chronicle Long Island developments through armistice.
On April 6th , it was announced, that, among other news items, Edwin N. Post, R.N. had been appointed head of the enrolling party for the naval reserves, establishing recruiting headquarters over Smith and Salmon’s drugstore in Babylon village. Recruits thronging to Babylon village, seventeen had already enrolled at Sayville and another fifteen at Bay Shore. Legislation had been introduced to increase the size of the naval militia, allow the state to appropriate lands, and expand punishments to those showing disrespect to the flag. Continue reading
To mark the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I in April 1917, Staatsburgh State Historic Site will offer a theme tour, “World War I & the End of the Gilded Age.” The 90-minute tour, led by an interpreter in period clothing, is offered on Saturday, April 8, at 1 pm.
The site also has on view an exhibit focusing on Ogden Livingston Mills, son of Staatsburgh’s residents, Ruth and Ogden Mills, who chose a life of public service, including service in the Great War. Focusing on his wartime activities and political career, the exhibit also features a silver tray given to his parents, Ruth and Ogden Mills, by General Pershing, to thank them for billeting American officers in their Paris home during the war. Continue reading
The Roosevelt Island Historical Society will host a free lecture on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 6:30 pm, “Metropolitan Hospital Goes to the Great War” by Judith Berdy, President Roosevelt Island Historical Society, at the New York Public Library Branch on Roosevelt Island .
The wounded and dying soldiers on the battlefields of the Great War required a new level of medical care. Roosevelt Island’s Metropolitan Hospital played a role as one of a number of American hospitals that sent doctors, nurses and other staff members to run base hospitals in Europe during World War I. Continue reading
In late March, the Cultural Services of the United States French Embassy kicked off “How 1917 Changed the World: A Centennial Commemoration of The United States Entrance into World War One,” a major cultural and educational year-long initiative highlighting the 100th anniversary of this critical year of change. The slate of programs will also focus on the significant cultural impact of the Great War. Continue reading
Goodness has long been an admirable part of our identity as Americans. It is evident at the national level in our response when natural disasters strike here or abroad. Closer to home, we see it manifested daily in our own Adirondacks and foothills, where people donate, volunteer, and reach out to help others. Our foundation as small-town folk is one of welcoming, caring, sharing.
Along with that comes the knowledge that we’re also lucky to be Americans, lucky to not have been born in some other country where things are much different. Many of the lessons we learned in school were derived from the struggles of others in less fortunate circumstances.
We were taught to appreciate certain rights and freedoms, to speak out against perceived wrongs, to defend the less capable, and to question the directives of those in leadership positions. In some countries, those rights are viewed as privileges for the chosen few, or are not available at all. Continue reading
To mark the centennial of World War One the Historical Association in Canton is seeking to recognize St. Lawrence County contributions to the war effort as well as the war’s impact on local families.
In honor of the centennial of the United States’ entry into WWI in 1917, the Association has opened a new exhibition, “Come On!: Posters and Portraits of World War I.”
The exhibit shows posters for war bonds alongside photographic portraits of local soldiers. Most of the photos are unidentified, and the museum welcomes visitors who recognize a friend or family member to help identify them. Continue reading
As the centennial of World War I begins, Schenectady County Historical Society and Humanities NY will host a World War I Reading and Discussion Group entitled “Our World Remade.” Texts will include historical accounts; novels; poetry; government documents; news accounts; journals and letters from soldiers, nurses, politicians, pacifists, and other eye-witnesses to the tragic and transformative events of The Great War. Continue reading