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“Galveston & the Great War”
August 12 @ 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Organization: Rosenberg Library
Contact: (409)763-8854 ext 125
April 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into the First World War. In commemoration of this pivotal event in world history, Rosenberg Library will unveil a new exhibit later this month. Galveston & the Great War will feature original World War I-era artifacts, documents, and photographs from the library’s outstanding historical collections.
The opening preview of this special exhibition is scheduled on Thursday, April 20 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the 4th floor Hallway Gallery. A guest lecture by Sean McConnell, Rosenberg Library archivist, will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the adjacent Fox Room. This event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided.
Galveston & the Great War will include military gear, war souvenirs, and propaganda posters. Wartime correspondence and even a local soldier’s diary will be on display, as well as 6 of the original 77 World War I memorial markers which were once placed at the bases of oak trees on the Broadway esplanade in honor of fallen Galveston soldiers.
US Entry into WWI
Though WWI began in Europe in 1914, the United States maintained a position of neutrality until 1917. Growing unrest surrounding wartime atrocities coupled with Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare led to America’s entry into the war. Men between the ages of 21 and 30 were required to register for military service, and over 4 million Americans ultimately served during the First World War. Millions more—many of them women and children—organized locally to support the war effort by raising relief funds and producing food and other supplies for troops overseas.
Galveston’s Role in the War
Locally, Fort Crockett served as a U.S. Army training center where troops received artillery training before being deployed to France to fight the Germans. Besides preparing troops for the European front, military officials at Fort Crockett monitored the Gulf of Mexico for potential threats from German submarines. Substantial gun batteries stood ready to defend Galveston’s coastline.
Galveston and the Great War is on display through October 2017. The exhibit is located in the Hallway Gallery on the library’s 4th floor. Rosenberg Library is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission to the museum galleries is always free.
Photo: Galveston’s Fort Crockett during World War I (image courtesy of Rosenberg Library’s Galveston and Texas History Center)