Fall 2017 WWI Digitization Days

 

 

(Hartford, CT)- Somewhere in France in 1918, a Yankee Division soldier named Frank Rivers, a 23-year old from New Haven, took shelter in a cave after a long march. He collapsed, exhausted, onto a bunk carved into the wall of the cave. As he lay there, he noticed a newspaper sticking out of a crevasse in the wall. He contemplated whether or not he had the strength to reach out and grab it or even read it. Sheer exhaustion won out and Rivers left the newspaper in place, instead choosing to sleep, a choice that likely saved his life. A few days later, after moving on, word made it to his company that there had been an explosion in that very cave. It had been booby-trapped by the German troops who had stayed there before them. Rivers, who recounted this story to his grandson many years later, reckoned some other poor soldier, who wasn’t quite as tired, tried to read that newspaper and found himself facing an eternal slumber.

It is stories like these, along with the photos, letters, documents and souvenirs that help bring the story of World War One back to life. In an effort to help preserve these memories and this significant part of our history, this fall museums and libraries across the state will be partnering with the Connecticut State Library to hold a WWI Digitization Day for their communities. Connecticut residents and their family, friends, and neighbors are being asked to find their WWI related items and stories that might be tucked away in drawers or trunks so they can be included in this important archive. A list of the fall Digitization Days can be found below or at http://ctinworldwar1.org/events/ .

Connecticut State Library’s Remembering World War One Digitization Days, funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, gives Connecticut residents, like Frank Rivers’ grandson, an opportunity to have their WWI photos, letters, keepsakes and stories preserved for future generations. During these events State Library staff record the stories and digitize the photos, letters, medals, keepsakes or objects saved by the men and women who served over here and over there. Their stories and digital images are then made freely available online and will be preserved in the Connecticut Digital Archive so that their efforts and sacrifices are never forgotten.

The Remembering World War One project has been holding WWI Digitization Days at libraries, museums and community centers around the state since 2014. The project, begun as a way of commemorating the World War One centennial, is the largest of its kind in the United States and has told the stories of more than 300 men and women from across the globe. The stories, photos, letters and keepsakes can be from anywhere in the world, as long as the person bringing them to an event is a Connecticut resident.

“These events are an important way of documenting a piece of history that may otherwise never be known,” says Project Manager Christine Pittsley from the Connecticut State Library. “People don’t think the story of how their father enlisted just after arriving from Italy because he wanted to serve his new homeland, or that photo of their grandmother in her Red Cross uniform is important. But they are incredibly important. Every single photo, letter and story serve as a reminder of what these men and women endured and accomplished. Each thread helps to weave the narrative of who we were during the war and how we became the nation we are today.”

For more information about these events please Christine Pittsley at (860) 757-6517 or CTinWW1@ct.gov. To learn more about the Remembering World War One project or other upcoming events please visit http://ctinworldwar1.org/digitization-days/.

 

 

Fall 2017 WWI Digitization Days

Date

Time

Place

Event Partners/Hosted By:

September 16

11:00-3:00 p.m.

Edith Wheeler Memorial Library, Monroe

Edith Wheeler Memorial Library, Monroe Historical Society, The Center

September 23

11:00-3:00 p.m.

Groton Public Library

Groton Public Library

September 26

11:00-3:00 p.m.

Simsbury Public Library

Simsbury Public Library

September 30

11:00-3:00 p.m.

Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven

Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven

October 3

1:00-4:30 p.m.

Cheshire Public Library

Cheshire Public Library

October 7

11:00-3:00 p.m.

Berlin-Peck Memorial Library, Berlin

Berlin-Peck Memorial Library

October 17

2:00-6:00 p.m.

Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury

Mattatuck Museum

November 4

11:00-3:00 p.m.

Bentley Memorial Library, Bolton

Bolton Historical Society, Bentley Memorial Library

November 18

11:00-3:00 p.m.

Suffield Senior Center

Kent Memorial Library, Suffield Historical Society