The Veterans History Project (VHP) today launched, “Over There” the second in a three-part, online “Experiencing War” website series dedicated to United States veterans of the First World War. “Over There” highlights 10 digitized World War I collections found in the Veterans History Project archive. To access Part II and other veterans’ collections featured in “Over There,” visit www.loc.gov/vets/stories/wwi-part2.html. Part III will be available in fall of 2017.
This series is being presented as a companion site to the Library of Congress exhibit, “Echoes of the Great War.” Each veteran’s first-person narrative is shared through their original photographs, letters, diaries, memoirs, maps and other materials.
Earl Covington Smith kept a diary during the war while serving as a gas officer, responsible for ensuring soldiers were equipped with gas masks and able to recognize an impending gas attack. In one of his diary entries, Smith mentions that the smell of death on the battlefield was so strong that it sometimes led to false alarms.
Lucius Byron Nash was a Lieutenant Junior Grade aboard the Navy’s USS Roanoke—a minelayer. Through photographs and letters home, Nash describes his dirty, grueling job, which demanded 12-hour shifts spent on deck in the pouring rain.
Although he experienced many close calls working on the front lines, Louis W. Rosen was fortunate to survive the war uninjured. He later compiled a written memoir, and included in it two lengthy letters he had written to his parents describing in detail what it was like to live under constant threat of attack.
Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of America’s war veterans from World War I through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/vets/ or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to the Veterans History Project email listserv to receive periodic updates and follow it on Facebook at facebook.com/vetshistoryproject/.
The exhibition “Echoes of the Great War” is located in the Southwest Gallery on the second floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. It is free and open to the public through January 2019, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Tickets are not needed.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States - and extensive materials from around the world - both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.