Over the past week or so, in addition to some earlier findings based on internet searches, Candice, Leah, Jack, and I have been able to find several resources both within the UMW archives and out in the Fredericksburg community. Jack and Leah made it out to the Special Collections within our university archives and were able to find many helpful resources during the years of World War I. Academic Catalogs and Bulletins mention the war and certain “war activities” that the university was involved in on the home front. Also included in this collection, and online, are copies of the yearbook from every year beginning in 1914, with the exception of 1918 in which there was no yearbook published.
We are hopeful that much more exists about home front efforts in Fredericksburg in other archives found throughout the area; we have discovered many collections that appear promising, and will be checking them out very soon! First and foremost, this Thursday we will be going to the Central Rappahannock Regional Heritage Center and looking at their own special collections, including diaries regarding the home front experience and oral histories, as well as photographs. Their hours are not the most convenient for college students what with classes and all, but we will all be able to make the trek this week, which will be exciting I hope!
The Central Rappahannock Regional Library has a postcard collection dating to the World War I era which should be extremely useful to this project. Located within the library is the Virginiana Room containing primary sources and photographs from Fredericksburg’s past. The Circuit Courts will also prove helpful if we get any leads that require deed research. Online through the Fredericksburg Historical Courts there are lists of WWI military recruits, as well as marriage licenses from the past that can be used to gather insight about life on the home front.
It seems like the four of us here at UMW have a number of promising leads regarding the home front experience during WWI, but it might take some sifting through and digging to find some sources from more than just the main archives. We are attempting to contact smaller organizations that have been around for a while, including the fire department, the Masonic lodge, and the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico to see if they might have any photos, diaries, or other artifacts of interest that might aid us in our research. I can’t wait to continue on with our discoveries!