Missouri Over There

Harry S. Truman World War I Symposium May 9th

Posted on: May 1, 2015

The birthplace of Harry S. Truman

Members of the “Missouri Over There” project staff from the Springfield-Greene County Library will be attending the Harry S. Truman World War I Symposium. This event will be held in Lamar, Missouri, the birthplace of President Harry S. Truman, next weekend on Saturday May 9th.

This all day event will feature several presentations by local historians discussing the experiences of World War I soldiers. Events include a presentation by the Missouri Park Service on Captain Harry S. Truman, living history and historian portrayals of the soldier’s daily routine and struggle for survival in the deadly trench warfare battles that raged in the countryside of France and Belgium. Music and songs popular with WW1 soldiers will be featured at noon and performed throughout the day between programmed events. Displays of uniforms, photos, art work, and news articles of the WW1 era in America will be available for public viewing. 

Historian Gary Larsen will be discussing the extensive work being completed by the “Missouri Over There” staff. The project staff is collaborating with institutions across the state to document the wartime experiences of Missourians both at home and abroad during World War I. Larsen will be discussing the process of selecting materials for digitization, as well as the process of digitizing large collections for public online viewing. Those interested in learning more about digitization and how to digitize their own personal collections will want to attend this program.

Historian Michael Price from the Springfield-Greene County Library will discuss life in Springfield, Missouri during World War I. He will provide information on how Springfield residents supported the war effort while Greene County men went to France and fought in the trenches. To learn more about the war effort on the home front, don’t miss Price’s program.

Local historian and collector Shannon Kelly will be giving several programs during the symposium. One will focus on the life of the average American soldier during World War I. Those in attendance will learn about the gear and weapons carried by American soldiers as well as how they lived their life in the trenches. Kelly will also be discussing in detail the bloody trench warfare on the Belgium battlefields and the surprising Christmas truce of 1914.

Ancestors of World War I veterans are encouraged to bring in any photos, letters and other family keepsakes for a question and answer sharing time with historians. The historians will provide insights on their veteran’s experiences, and answer questions about military units and battle campaigns during their time of military service.  These keepsakes may be digitized onto an electronic format for archival preservation. This free service will be provided by staff members from the Springfield-Greene County Library as part of the “Missouri Over There” project. With the ancestor’s permission, the scanned documents may be used to compile a soldier database providing information for all Missouri soldiers that fought during World War I.

For further details on the event contact Kavan Stull @ 417-673-1051.  The four State Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America is hosting the event.