The Library of Congress has a new collection of The New York Times Rotogravure from World War I. I was excited to see that the Library of Congress had the same material that I have which meant that I could use it and not need to scan my own collection. The LoC quality was excellent; they had whole pages instead of my partial pages. Then I saw that they don’t have all of the issues. I looked at my collection and the next one I was going to write about was the June 30, 1918, issue. It isn’t available in the Library of Congress Rotogravure collection. My search of the collection showed they have June 2, June 9, June 16, and June 23, but not June 30, 1918.
Oh my — my collection suddenly became much more important. If I have editions that the Library of Congress does not have, then my collection might be unique. If so, I really need to preserve it digitally. Sadly, in the pages that I have for 30 June 1918, one photo was cut out. It affects that page and the reverse side but not the other pages. I photographed all the pages I have from this June 30th 1918 edition. Then I OCRed (used Optical Character Recognition) the images. There is one page that contains a full-page ad for Tintex, but no war photos, so I did not OCR that page and did not include it in my final product. I assembled the OCRed images into a single Portable Document File. I wish that I had the technology to either photograph the entire image or to be able to adequately stitch the images together; however, I was not happy with the results of my trying to electronically stitch the images.
Here is my attempt with the 30 June 1918 issue. I hope you find the images and stories as interesting and as fascinating as I do.
This Veterans Day, like most Veterans Days, I honor my veteran ancestors. This day was originally known as Armistice Day because an armistice – the cessation of hostilities – went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
Today, I also take a look at the men of the Forty-Second Infantry Division, U.S.A. Known as the “Rainbow Division,” Douglas MacArthur suggested its formation from multiple states that would “stretch over the whole country like a rainbow.” The division was created in 1917 from 26 states, including Maine, and was one of the first divisions of the American Expeditionary Force to go to Europe. Douglas MacArthur was promoted to Colonel as the Division’s Chief of Staff.
The photo below is of some of the Forty-Second Division soldiers hanging out at a shell shelter. Two of the men are sleeping, one on the cold ground, the other on what looks to be a really uncomfortable ridge of the shell. However, it is the expressions of the other soldiers that makes me wonder. They are all looking at something off to their left. Two of the men have odd smiles on their faces. I wonder what they are seeing. Something definitely interesting.
Next, we see a commander’s post. It is unclear if this with the 42nd Division’s command post during the Champagne-Marne campaign (15–18 July 1918) or sometime before that.
Finally, the New York Times gives us a glimpse of the 42nd in the trenches. Crowded, guns at the ready, bayonets affixed. Ready for combat.
From March until July, 1918, the Germans were losing about 20,000 soldiers a month on the Western Front. Total causalities were well over 100,000 soldiers a month during the same period. Four months after this picture, the armistice was signed and the bloodiest war in European history (at that time) was over.
Yes, today is a day to remember our veterans and thank them for their service. But it is also a day to reflect upon the “war to end all wars.” As a Vietnam veteran, I wish we could just find a way to only create peacetime veterans and not have any wars. Deterrence is better than battle.
One of the interesting images from the New York Times of 7 April 1918 is an image of Lady Drogheda. Her 1918 flight over London, dropping leaflets urged people to buy British War Bonds, is reminiscent of Donna flying over Revere Beach three years earlier dropping banners and tickets for the movie she was in. (See Donna Montran Biplane Flights – 1915 for details). Apparently, this mode of advertising was quite the thing in the day. Of course, I can’t imagine anyone doing it today as it would be viewed upon as littering. Times have changed so much over the past 100 years.
Another fascinating image of the period is one showing English Girls, playing baseball at a Y.M.C.A. Hut, in England. American Sailors are looking on to help and British Soldiers are watching from the background. I wonder if the women had ever seen a Baseball game before. Although baseball was introduced in England in 1890, it fell into low attendance during subsequent years and then dissolved altogether in 1898. American baseball wouldn’t return to England until in the 1930s.
When the Great War began, the Y.M.C.A. launches a program of morale and welfare services that served 90% of the American military forces in Europe. It was an amazing organization and aided the servicemen of the Great War so much.
I too remember the Armed Forces Y.M.C.A. being an important part of my military life. When I was stationed at Treasure Island, in San Francisco, I would take the bus into The City. From the bus station, I would walk down to the Armed Forces YMCA, which was only a few blocks away. There, I played table tennis and met the girls at the occasional dance. It was a great place to hang out and a pleasant respite for the homesick sailors. Thank you to all of the volunteers at Y.M.C.A. facilities that have brought joy, happiness, and play into the lives of so many soldiers, sailors, and marines. Well done.When the Great War began, the Y.M.C.A. launches a program of morale and welfare services that served 90% of the American military forces in Europe. It was an amazing organization and aided the servicemen of the Great War so much.
This week, I continue with images from the New York Times. This time, they are not from “over here” nor from “over there,” but rather, they are from “somewhere” else — in this case from England. An image of the entire page in context is available from The New York Times pages on Newspapers.com. My images for this date are here.
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.