The Great War – Over Here – 7 April 1918

By Don Taylor

Wartime Wednesday

Recently actually an old shipmate of mine, John Travers, from the USS Kitty Hawk (1972), came across issues from the New York Times showing photos of the Great War. He didn’t know what to do with them and asked me if I would like to see them.


I immediately thought of my Grandmother Madonna (Donna) and her efforts with the Preparedness Bazaar. Also, The Great War is interesting to me in general, so I said “sure,” and he sent me a box of newspaper pages. Wow. Amazing materials. I looked at the photos and decided to group the images into three categories.

Over Here – Images of the Great War from here in the United States.
Over There – Images of the Great War from the battlefields of Europe.
Somewhere – Images of the Great War from somewhere else, typically Great Britain.

This week, I’ll write about my thoughts about the Great War, Over Here.

 The Great War – Over Here – 7 April 1918

RECRUITS TO THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD
FROM CHICAGO, JUST ARRIVED, AND MANY
WITHOUT UNIFORMS DRILLING IN BATTERY PARK.
A Vista of Lower Broadway shows in the background.
(Times Photo Service)
New York Times – 7 April 1918

The first photo reminds me that it was commonplace to see large numbers of men drilling all across the country. Rather than having the men drill exclusively on military bases, it was common to see them drill at parks all across the nation. I think, in many ways, this helped Americans stay committed to the Great War and accept the hardships that the war made people endure.

ANN PENNINGTON, IN THE
“MIDNIGHT FROLIC,” ATOP THE
NEW AMSTERDAM THEATRE
(“Abbe.”)New York Times – 7 April 1918

Ann Pennington was an actress who was known as a “shake and quiver dancer.” During the “Midnight Frolic” she performed a “syncopated frolic.” That style reminds me of the many dances that grandmother Donna did during her shows. She starred on broadway in Ziegfeld Follies in 1913. 1914, 1915, 1916, and again in 1918 immediately following her time with “Midnight Frolic.”
Ann, unlike my grandmother, went on to achieve fame in both silent and sound motion picture. Even though the war was going on, it was important to show home beauties. Being only 10 months younger my Donna, Ann was a contemporary show business personality who also moved from coast to coast – New York to California – in pursuit of a show business career. I am certain my grandmother either knew or knew about.

GIRLS OF THE NATIONAL HONOR GUARD
OF NEW YORK
Leaving for Base Hospital No. 1, Williams-
bridge, Bronx. Bearing Fruit and Flowers for the
Soldiers Recuperating There. They Are, Left to
Right: Missus Theodora Booth, National
President of the Guard; Vera Royer, and Augusta
Davis. (Press Illustrating Service, Inc.)
New York Times – 7 April 1918

Like all wars, the Great War, injured and crippled so many of our young Americans. While in the hospital, usually far from home and family, it is always such a blessing to be visited by a friendly face. The men and women who provide cheer to our military men and women while in the hospital are a special group whose selfless actions are often forgotten. I thank the many who volunteer to bring joy and hope to our military and veterans hospitals for their service.

Thank you again, shipmate, for forwarding these images to me.

Note: These images are reduced in size for the web. I also have the same images at much higher resolution. For example, the Girls of the National Honor Guard is on the web at a resolution of 764×778, but I also have it at 2143×2183.  I am looking for a permanent home for these images. If you know of a site that would provide permanent access to the higher resolution images, I would love to hear from them. Just use the contact section below.

These images are also available from The New York Times pages on Newspapers.com.

See my images for this date here.

———- DISCLAIMER ———-



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