Designating Roles: Leading, Supporting, and Advertising

This past week, the four of us at Mary Washington got together to try and divvy up the responsibilities for the site, both for our own project and for the creation of the overall site for this Century America project.  It was an interesting process just because I have never worked on a group endeavor in such extensive terms before, and planning a website is a lot different than simply proposing a paper!  I think we did a decent job of trying to assess what each of our roles within the project are going to be, and how we will work together to create an overarching site that everyone involved will be proud of.

For my part, I will be collecting and publishing the narrative about Josiah P. Rowe (which will be found in the Fredericksburg section of the site) and compiling the information from President Russell’s papers into a section on Administration at the State Normal School (to be found in the SNS section of the site).  This will entail digitizing whatever sources that I think will best contribute to these narratives, as well as writing about what we’ve discovered and what the two sections that I am in charge of will entail.  With Leah, I will also be responsible for creating the page for the State Normal School, from which the viewer will be able to see the different sections about the school during that time.

Lastly, Candice and I will be making a map using Maps Alive in order to show which states have schools participating in the Century America project that is sponsored by COPLAC and the Teagle Foundation.  This map will live on the site home page for the entire Century America project and will hopefully be able to engage the reader and excite them about the diversity of the project.  I might just be a little bitter (just a bit) that we won’t be using GIS and this software isn’t spatial, but I know that for the purpose of this project this will be much easier and user-friendly than trying to incorporate elements from ArcMap.

As for advertising, we have considered going to the Bullet to get an article published on the school website either for our ADH class or the Century America project, which would then hopefully provide links to each of the participating websites so that we can get viewers from there.  On a more realistic scale, we will try to reach out to those students already at our school, and proceed by word of mouth and via social media to get our friends and their acquaintances to view our website.  Because the project is about our school, it should be interesting to those of us who attend the university to see what life was like here during the Great War.  Alumni would also be a potential audience since again they are invested in the university and are likely interested in its history.  Finally, another outlet that would be useful in cultivating an audience would be those who participate in reenacting – these individuals are already interested in military history and would most likely be interested in what was happening on the home front of this war as well.

All in all, I think our group is making headway and great progress!  Jack, Candice, Leah, and I can’t wait for what the semester holds for us in this project.  Now to see what bumps we might encounter along the way…

UMW/Fredericksburg Preliminary Survey

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!