Ardent for Some Desperate Glory: Remembering The First World War


This exhibition featured material from several collections housed at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center that span from the lead up to World War I through its aftermath.

The exhibition catalogued the evolution of America's involvement in the war beginning with Woodrow Wilson's 1913 isolationist Inaugural Address and ending with letters from Theodore Roosevelt discussing the importance of purchasing war bonds, the need to promote volunteerism and the necessity of preparing and training the troops for military action overseas. It also chronicles the work and influence of Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe, a British publishing magnate who traveled to America to get the US more deeply committed to the war effort.

Photographs throughout the exhibition document the lives of the soldiers, technological changes in warfare, and the destruction of the European landscape. Advances in air, land, and sea warfare are shown through diagrams of zeppelins, art raid charts, articles on German U-boat movements, and instruction manuals on the use of gas masks. Also shown are bombing maps of France and a number of newspaper articles describing the destruction of historical churches and cathedrals by artillery fire.

The exhibition also explores the role of women and nurses through poems, stories and scrapbooks made by nurses who experienced the carnage of war firsthand. Also shown were articles and drawings depicting women's increased role in the workforce as well as the mourning and poverty that resulted from lost husbands and sons. There were material on display related to Edith Cavell, an English Nurse who was controversially executed by the Germans. Also shown are rare manuscripts from nurse and novelist Mary Borden, author of The Forbidden Zone.

The exhibition also explored the theme of sacrifice in wartime through the personal letters and correspondence of two soldiers -- Lucas King, an Englishman, and Vinton Dearing, an American -- who were killed in action. Displayed were letters from the soldiers to their families and loved ones chronicling their excitement to serve their countries, their trepidation upon arriving at the front, and their fear of dying in the trenches


This exhibition is no longer on view.

Ardent for Some Desperate Glory