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World War I Committee seeks documents, launches website

Department of Arkansas Heritage - Monday, November 14, 2016

Photo courtesy Sequoyah Research Center/UALRThe Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee recently asked Arkansans to consider donating materials related to the Great War period to archival institutions and unveiled its website as it prepared for the 2017-18 commemoration.

In a Nov. 11 press conference at the Old State House Museum in Little Rock, State Historian Dr. Lisa Speer, a member of the WWI Committee and director of the Arkansas State Archives, said that “This centennial commemoration presents Arkansans with an opportunity to preserve the experiences of those who served in and lived through the First World War so that future generations will know and understand their sacrifices. For more than 110 years, the Arkansas State Archives has been collecting and preserving materials that document our state’s history, as well as the history of Arkansas servicemen and women from the Revolutionary War to more modern-day conflicts. The last U.S. veteran of World War I died in 2011, so our opportunity to capture first-person accounts from the soldiers, and undoubtedly many of the civilians affected by the war, is gone. However, family members of the veterans and civilians who supported the war effort can ensure that their legacies are not forgotten by donating photographs, letters, documents, artifacts, and other materials that allow their stories to live on to the Arkansas State Archives.”

The WWI Committee also unveiled its official website, www.WWIArkansas.org, at the press conference. Among other things, the website includes:

  • WWI-related sites, museum, archives and memorials around Arkansas
  • A database of WWI commemorative events in the state and information on having local events sanctioned
  • A WWI Arkansas timeline, bibliography, lesson plans, speakers bureau, podcasts and information on how to schedule a WWI traveling exhibit
  • A Memories page on which Arkansans can post photos and documents related to their families experiences during the WWI era.

Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH), introduced a video of Governor Asa Hutchinson, which will be available on the web site and describes his decision to create the Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee. Hurst said, “We appreciate the Governor for creating this committee to remember a very important time in Arkansas’s past, and we thank him for entrusting DAH to oversee this worthy endeavor.”

Photo courtesy Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries

For more information on the Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee, write them at 1100 North Street, Little Rock, AR 72201, call (501) 324-9880 [TDD 501-324-9811], email Mark Christ or visit www.WWIArkansas.org. To learn how to donate materials to the Arkansas State Archives, call (501) 682-6900 or email.

Photo courtesy Arkansas State Archives