Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Audiences Encouraged to Bring WWI Artifacts, Memorabilia; Discuss Family Histories at Daylong event at County Library in Whippany

As part of a statewide remembrance of the 100th anniversary of our nation’s entry into World War I, a special FREE day-long “World War One Road Show’’ event is coming to the Morris County Library in Whippany on Saturday, Oct. 14.

grahic stating NJ WWI Road Show and featuring two uniformed WWI soldiers carrying rifles

Residents are encouraged to bring in their artifacts, memorabilia, and share family history from the era.

They will have a unique opportunity –- whether history enthusiasts or casual observers — to meet experts from the New Jersey State Archives and the Morris County Archives who can speak one-on-one about your WWI-related objects, manuscripts, photographs, textiles, and other memorabilia.

They also can share their professional expertise about caring for your items.

In addition, there are scheduled special presentations by historians and re-enactors, including an opportunity for children to have a circa-1917 schoolroom experience.

photo of Freeholder Director Doug Cabana

Morris County Freeholder Director Douglas Cabana

“Morris County is honored to be the host county for such an impressive and exciting statewide event, which honors those who served in World War I,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “We remember today the great sacrifices made 100 years ago in the name of freedom by families from across Morris County and our state and nation.’’

This is the second of two World War I Road Shows occurring this year in the state, as part of a yearlong WWI commemoration to the Doughboys, Gold Star Mothers, their families and their era sponsored by the New Jersey Historical Commission,  State Archives, and State Museum.

The first Road Show occurred on April 28 at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library.

Organizers for the Oct. 14 event in Morris County have gathered a diverse set of specialists from the State Archives, Morris County Archives, and State Museum, in addition to experts in military history and collectibles, to offer insight and perspective on all WWI memorabilia and family histories brought in by attendees.

NOTE: Please DO NOT bring any firearms, ammunition, or live artillery shells to the event (PHOTOS ONLY).

There will be a morning session (11 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.) and an afternoon session (2 p.m. – 3.30 p.m.) for the public to speak with artifact and archival experts about their memorabilia, photographs, objects and how to care for them.World War One poster

Presentations from several guest speakers will be held throughout the day. Included are:

  • Life in the Trenches by John Torkos, past president of the Great War Association, reenactor, and collector of militaria. He also will help identify military items and collectibles.
  • World War I History by West Morris Mendham High School history teacher Steve Santucci. 
  • Picatinny Arsenal in World War I will be presented through a series of historical panels about the arsenal in the days leading up to and during the war.
  • Other programs about World War I food, dress, and daily life for civilians and soldiers will be presented throughout the day.
    photo of World War One parade in Dover

    World War One parade in Dover

Children will have an opportunity to experience games made and played by children in 1917.  They also will have an opportunity to sit in an interactive one room school house exhibit.

Exhibits at the World War One Road Show, to be on display throughout the library, will reflect a wide range of topics offering a perspective on what people were reading, seeing, talking about, and experiencing in 1917.

A few special exhibit and information tables will be specifically tailored for historical societies, museums, and fraternal and veteran’s organizations.

Visit History.NJ.gov  for additional updates and details.  Contact Peg Shultz at 973.829.8117 for details.

On April 6, 1917, 100 hundred years ago this year, the United States officially entered World War 1 as President Woodrow Wilson signed a war resolution that was strongly backed by Congress.

photo of WWI veteran George Rutherford Flartey of Dover

photo of WWI veteran George Rutherford Flartey of Dover

More than four million American families, including those in Morris County and across New Jersey, sent their sons and daughters to serve in uniform during the “Great War.’’

Some did not return. Nearly 117,000 U.S. soldiers gave their lives in combat – some 200 of them from Morris County.

Morris County heroes like Harry Benson-Anderson of Dover, Charles Bender of Butler, Bertrand Francis Cox of Mount Freedom, Leslie Mulligan of Wharton, Giovanni Ricci of Morristown, brothers Adolph Ralph Swenson and Alwin Howard Swenson of Stirling, and nurse Amabel Scharff Roberts of Madison – to name a few — were among those killed in the “War to End All Wars.’’

To see the full list, visit: https://morriscountynj.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/World-War-I-Soldiers.pdf

In addition, more than 200,000 service men and women of all ranks of life were wounded during World War 1, which the United States World War 1 Centennial Commission terms ”America’s Forgotten War.’’