English front, from From 1917: Documents de la Section photographique de l'Armée française, Special Collections.

1914: Then Came Armageddon

August 11 – December 30, 2014

Department of Special Collections
976 Memorial Library
728 State Street

A documentary exhibit about World War I, especially on the Western Front, commemorates the centennial of its outbreak. Guest exhibit co-curators Skye Doney and Eric O'Connor draw upon strong holdings of books, printed ephemera, letters, postcards, and other unpublished materials in campus libraries and archives to illustrate the months leading up to the beginning of war in Europe in 1914; prosecution of the war itself; life on the home front; creative works inspired by the war; and the eventual entry of the United States into the “war to end all wars.”

All Germany, Hand in Hand (picture postcard 1914, from the Stangel Collection, Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

The exhibit highlights World War I materials in Special Collections, among them the Andrew Laurie Stangel Collection, full of rich imagery concerning German wartime propaganda. Scores of picture postcards from the Stangel Collection are digitized and available on the UW Digital Collections Center, under the title: “The Fine Art of Propaganda, Hand-Delivered. Greetings from the Fatherland!: German Picture Postcards and History, 1914-1945.” Other portions of World War I holdings in Special Collections are also included in the history section of the UW Digital Collections. The exhibit also features works from the circulating collections in Memorial Library, materials from the library and archives of the Wisconsin Historical Society, and titles borrowed from private collections. A checklist is available.

The exhibit project has enjoyed support from the George L. Mosse Program in History. France and her allies in World War I

A finding aid pointing researchers toward many World War I-related books, manuscripts, and printed ephemera in Special Collections is also available through the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections. Although this finding aid is extensive, it does not describe all relevant holdings in Special Collections. The staff of Special Collections will be happy to help you identify additional materials that may speak to your interests in this topic.

For more about the exhibit, collections, and recent lecture "1914-1918: The War Within the War" by historian Adam Hochschild, see "Often Overlooked Impacts of WWI."

Other related exhibits are scheduled for other campus library venues during fall semester. For example, a number of World War I medals from the Stangel collection are on view at the Chazen Museum of Art in Niche 7 between Gallery VII and Gallery VIII (gallery map). For a brief summary of the Stangel collection, see descriptions of the Chazen's notable collection; detailed images of this medallic art can be found in an online Chazen Museum portfolio, including a detailed depiction of the sinking of the Lusitania.