RALEIGH — Although the U.S. entered the war two years after fighting began in Europe, Yanks (and Tar Heels) were right in the mix. A new book published by the North Carolina Office of Archives and History is one of several centennial observances of the April 6, 1917, U.S. entry into World War I.
Prepared by research historian Jessica Bandel, “North Carolina and the Great War, 1914-1918” is a heavily illustrated book about Tar Heels and the war experience. The 152-page volume is designed around artifacts held by the N.C. Museum of History, the State Archives, other depositories statewide and private collectors. Like items are assembled thematically to invite the reader to reach back to that earlier era.
Stunning images and imaginative design lift the book above the standard monograph about World War I. The “usual suspects,” such as Congressman Claude Kitchin, Ambassador Walter Hines Page, and the four aviators who flew for France as part of the Lafayette Flying Corps, are featured. But so are Pvt. Watus Prevatte of Robeson County, cut down by German snipers; musician James Tim Brynn, who helped introduce France to jazz; and Army nurse Rachel Loman, who was among the scores of women deployed in field hospitals.
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources has planned a multifaceted commemoration for the World War I centennial. On Saturday, the N.C. Museum of History opens an exhibit featuring full-sized, immersive trenches, interactive videos, and over 500 artifacts from European and American soldiers. The North Carolina Symphony performs on April 7-8 Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem.” The newly published book, designed for all ages, records in vivid fashion the impact of the war on those who met the challenge on the battlefields as well as those at home.
“North Carolina and the Great War, 1914-1918,” is available for purchase at the N.C. Museum of History, and can be ordered online at www.uncpress.org. The price is $30.
For additional information, please call (919) 807-7290. The Office of Archives and History in within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.