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Illinois Digital Archives

About this collection

Collection provided by: Illinois State University

 

The materials in this collection, dating from 1917-1919, document the participation of the students, alumni, faculty and staff of Illinois State Normal University in World War I. During the war, Illinois State Normal University Librarian Ange Milner corresponded with persons in service. After the war, she sent a survey to all who could be located. The bulk of the material in this collection consists of the responses to this survey as well as letters and photographs sent to Miss Milner and others at the University. These materials were gathered in War Service Records for each individual. It also includes documentation of on-campus activities, including a reunion for everyone that served in World War I, hosted by the University in June 1919.

 

These women form a very interesting group. Four of them were members of the University faculty (including the director of the newly-opened women's residence hall); six had graduated since 1910; five graduated between 1900 and 1910; one graduated in 1890 and was in her early forties at the time she entered the service; seven did not graduate; three were graduates of University High School; two were sisters. Most had taught school since graduation, but several had gone into nursing during World War I. Many served as nurses, reconstruction aides or Red Cross workers, and one spent the entire war as a Navy typist in Washington, D. C. About half of these women saw service in Europe. At least two served in hospital units that came under fire in France and one was among the twenty-plus women awarded the Croix de Guerre. One of the most prominent women in this group was Julia Scott Vrooman, wife of Carl Schurz Vrooman, U. S. Assistant Secretary of Agriculture who went to Europe as a member of the Agricultural Commission. The women represented in this collection provide excellent examples of the roles that women played in World War I.

 

For more information about this project, visit this link at the University Archives, Illinois State University.

 
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