Over There Over Here: A Glimpse of the Great War through the Claremont Colleges Archival Collections

Over-There-Over-Here-blog-banner.pngIt was supposed to be "the war to end all wars," the Great War from 1914-1918. To this day, scholars still debate its origins and consequences. Descendants of the fallen and the public alike mourn the senseless slaughter of 10 million young men who perished in the trenches, battlefields, and open seas around the globe. Another 7 million civilians died in this conflagration: 1.5 million in the first modern genocide that occurred under the cover of the war in the Armenian populated regions of the Ottoman Empire.

The Claremont Colleges honors the lives lost by bringing to light new discoveries in its collections. "Over There, Over Here" has been researched and curated by students who completed Claremont McKenna College's history course, "The Great War," offered by Professor Wendy Lower. The multi-media display showcases artifacts from the conflict such as postcards written from German soldiers, uniforms, photographs, posters, music, and documentary film footage. These glimpses of the war reveal how ordinary soldiers and nurses experienced the carnage, how propaganda mobilized millions on the home front, and how human rights activists provided relief to widows and orphans in Belgium. The Pomona campus was transformed into a training ground. Five Pomona students died in the war; close to 300 served in the US Armed Forces, along with numerous faculty. Claremont Colleges' trustees William L. Honnold and Seeley W. Mudd participated in the Belgium relief campaign. Using materials from the Honnold/Mudd Library Special Collections and supplemented with objects loaned by faculty at Claremont McKenna College, these forgotten stories will now be told for the first time on this, the centenary of the start of the Great War. The exhibition will be on display from September 10 through October 5 in the Honnold/Mudd Library Special Collections Exhibition Gallery, located on the 2nd floor of Honnold.

Join us for an opening lecture and reception on Wednesday, September 10. Guest lecturer, Roger Chickering, professor emeritus of History at Georgetown University, will explore the "peculiar path" (Sonderweg) that Germany took into the era of the First World War during his presentation "Imperial Germany's Peculiar War: 1914-1918." Professor Chickering will pose the question whether Germany's experience of this war was different in basic respects from France's or Britain's. His comparison will focus on the role of the military and the longer-term developmental consequences of the war. The lecture will be hosted in the Honnold/Mudd Library Founders Room and will begin at 4:15pm. Tours of the exhibition "Over There, Over Here" will be given following the lecture. Refreshments will be served.

The Claremont Colleges Library is also hosting a Claremont Discourse lecture: "The Meaning of the Great War: Student and Faculty Perspectives" on Thursday, October 2. Wendy Lower, John K. Roth Professor of History and Evan Wollen, CMC Professor of Military Science and Director, CMC ROTC at Claremont McKenna, and a panel of students from the Claremont McKenna history course "The Great War" will share their experience of researching and curating the exhibition "Over There, Over Here." Join us in the Honnold/Mudd Library Founders Room at 4:15pm. Refreshments will be served.

The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum is hosting a musical performance titled "The Great War in Poetry and Song" on Monday, November 10 at 6:45pm. For more information and to make reservations visit: www.cmc.edu/mmca

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