After surveying material for the project our group has found a tremendous amount of information both in the university archives and elsewhere throughout the Fredericksburg region. UMW’s archives specifically hold an abundance of material from the war times. The archives have almost all of the academic catalogs and bulletins from 1914-1918. However, the most useful bulletins and catalogs are from 1917 when America first entered the war, which described how students and staff could potentially help the war effort and how to conserve during wartime. Even some of the bulletins after 1918 offer some information about campus life during the war. UMW’s archives also hold President Russell’s papers from 1914-1918 which specifically reference the war and the campus community. There are a few student scrapbooks made by various students. They have little to no writing in them, but they do have valuable photographs from the time, which include soldiers and female students in what seem to be nurse uniforms. UMW’s digital archives also have all the yearbooks from the war years, which depict student life through clubs and sports teams. They offer information into student extracurricular activities and events during the time and offer some writing from various students. Additionally, at the institutes archives are a collection of newspaper clippings collected by Hamilton Eckenrode. They mainly consist of war events and nothing specific to the community, but with more research we may be able to find some useful information.
Beyond UMW’s own archives we have done some preliminary research at other archives and historical societies. The Central Rappahannock Regional Heritage Center has a great deal of information on the Fredericksburg area during the war. The collection includes photographs, oral histories, journals, and various local government documents. There are actually some letters from troops that were sent back home to the city. The Central Rappahannock Regional Library has a collection of post cards from Fredericksburg in addition to some oral histories from the region. The Virginia Room run by Barbara Willis has several useful resources, which include photographs and secondary sources from the time. Fredericksburg’s Circuit Courts has a list of World War I inductees of soldiers from the city and region. This list will help to research personal stories of those from the area.
We are still looking into local newspapers in the area to see if there is any useful resources. The Free Lance-Star has a digitized collection of newspaper, but it is not the most useful search engine when looking for a specific topic. In addition to the Free Lance-Star one individual, Gary Stanton, has compiled what seems to be some very useful material for the project. His website has the best digital collection of Fredericksburg resources, including some census records and searchable indexes for tax records, court records, and newspapers. The Virginia Historical Society has the Goolrick Family Papers from 1896-1927, which help give insight into the home-life in the Fredericksburg area because they were such a prominent family. They have information on the struggles through the war times and the Spanish Influenza of 1918.
All in all we seem to have plenty of information and sources to work with through UMW’s own archives and collections elsewhere throughout the region. We are continuing to find useful information on a daily basis and will continue to update that information through blog post and twitter as the information comes out. Hopefully, this project will be a tremendous success and I am looking forward to the rest of the semester as we work on our sites.