A century ago, in April of 1917, the United States entered what was called the Great War, now called World War I. To commemorate this anniversary, Windsor Historical Society will open its newest exhibit: The Changing Face of War: Windsor Responds to World War I on March 22, 2017. Everyone is invited to a FREE public opening reception from 5-7 p.m. View the exhibition, enjoy refreshments, and hear Curator Kristen Wands, Librarian/Archivist Michelle Tom, and Education and Outreach Coordinator John Mooney who will speak briefly at 6 p.m. The exhibition is supported in part by Connecticut Humanities.
America entered the war reluctantly; memories of Civil War horrors still resonated strongly in many inter generational American households. In an era before radio, film, television, and social media, compelling and colorful chromolithographed posters convinced the American public to step up, enlist, raise money, and maintain home front morale. Significant changes associated with World War I included new technologies — tanks, machine guns, chemical warfare — that greatly affected war tactics. Standard cavalry units proved less and less effective. The word “shell shock” entered our language. Increasing numbers of women served close to the battlefront as Red Cross nurses.
This exhibition covers life on the battlefront and on the home front. At its center are six recently-donated recruitment posters, complementing the Society’s rich World War I-era collections of photographs, postcards, correspondence to and from the battlefront, uniforms, and gear. Discover the stories of Windsor residents like Harold Loomer who etched the names of all of the bases where he served onto his mess kit. Hudson Pelton kept the guidebook he was issued, orienting soldiers to Camp Merritt in New York, where he trained before serving overseas. Infantryman Fred Kibbe’s letters document his disillusion with the realities of warfare. When Reverend William B. Cornish died of influenza while serving as a chaplain at Camp Devens, MA, his wife received a black armband with an embroidered gold star and laurels. Their stories and more will show how Windsor residents responded to and were affected by the Great War.