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Remembering the Great War

PosterNinety years ago an armistice was signed on November 11th to end a conflict which soon came to be known as the Great War. This is an apt designation, for the war that raged in Europe, Africa, the Near East, and the Far East from 1914 to 1918 was a defining moment in the history of the world. It was a bloodletting beyond anything one could have conceived of at the time—over 40 million soldiers and civilians either killed or wounded—and the impact was as much psychological as it was physical. The horror of the war and its aftermath caused people to reexamine traditional values, and the social, economic, political, and aesthetic changes which the war brought have consequences to this day. 

This exhibition brings together for the first time on campus original printed materials and artifacts from the Great War. The largest section is devoted to American sheet music, which helps to document the changing attitudes of the American public toward the war.  Included among the more than 40 songs are such famous ones as Over There and How ‘Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm (After They’ve Seen Paree?). In addition to the sheet music, one case is devoted to postcards, another to artifacts, and two to books and pamphlets. 

The exhibition is part of much larger program of events, including weekly public lectures, a film series, and a musical performance of Stravinsky's The Soldier’s Tale. Together, these exhibits and events will help to underscore why the First World War has come to be known as the Great War.