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NJ Historical Commission
P.O. Box 305
Trenton, NJ 08625

Tel: (609) 292-6062
Fax: (609) 633-8168

World War I Resources for Teachers and Students

The 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I in 2017 provides an excellent opportunity to explore the key role that New Jersey played in this worldwide conflict. A wealth of primary source documents and other teaching resources are available online. Here’s a short list of available resources:

United States World War One Centennial Commission website:
Through a partnership with the National WWI Museum and Memorial, the Commission has assembled a remarkable array of curricula, videos, articles, and other materials relating to World War I. Look under the “Educate” tab to access this collection.

National Archives World War I Collections:
This page provides handy links to a variety of collections relating to The Great War.

NJ Page of the United States World War One Centennial Commission website:
This site is curated by the New Jersey Historical Commission, the New Jersey State Museum, the New Jersey State Archives, the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office, Rutgers University Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives, and the New Jersey National Guard Militia Museum. It contains detailed information on sites in New Jersey related to the War, a calendar of upcoming events, and a variety of articles exploring different aspects of New Jersey’s involvement. Be sure to visit throughout the anniversary year as new content will be added regularly.

NJ State Archives WWI “Unofficial” Service Records:
These “unofficial” service records are accounts of the dates and places of New Jersey soldiers’ military service (as well as some personal data) during the U.S. involvement in World War I, April 6, 1917 through November 11, 1918. They are typed records created by the Adjutant General's Office, and known to exist only on microfilm. The collection is alphabetical by last name, and can be requested through the mail and online.

NJ State Archives World War I Deaths: Descriptive Cards, Photographs, and Correspondence:
In late 1919, the U.S. War Department issued sample cards for the recording of service information for deceased soldiers and sailors. The NJSA has created a database for this collection that contains 3,427 name entries, linked to an information card or photograph, or frequently both. The information cards provide the following data: name; service number; race; residence; place and date of enlistment; place and date of birth; organizations served in and dates of assignment/transfer; date and cause of death; wounds or injuries received; and the name and address of the person notified of the death. The photographs included in the series measure 3.5"x5.5", and usually contain an oval-shaped, reproduced image, frequently a military portrait. The correspondence linked to the database originated from the New Jersey State Library’s War History Bureau collection. The Bureau sent letters to fallen soldiers’ families, asking for a photograph of their loved one. The photographs were to be used in a Bureau publication. The correspondence that the Bureau received with the photographs sometimes describes the soldier's life before the war and how he died fighting for his country. You can search the database by surname, first name, town and county of residence, birth state and country, cause of death, and race.

Rutgers University Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives WWI Liberty Bond Posters:
This collection of posters documents the five Liberty Loan campaigns conducted in the United States from 1917 to 1919 in order to raise funds for the war effort. In an era before television and commercial radio, posters and broadsides were a significant medium of mass communication which employed artwork to sway public opinion and activity. Over thirty different illustrators and artists are represented on these World War I posters, which were almost all sponsored by the U.S. government. The effort involved most if not all of the most prominent illustrators of the time, and this collection contains the work of Joseph Pennell, Louis Raemaekers, Joseph Christian Leyendecke, Howard Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flagg, Ellsworth Young, Vic Forsythe and Gerrit A. Beneker, as well as others less well-known.

For more information on teaching resources for New Jersey history, contact the New Jersey Historical Commission at 609-292-6062, visit our website, visit us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter