Old Hometown

Local writer Sarah St. John pulls from the Journal-World archives to compile reports of what it was like to be in Lawrence decades ago.

World War I in Lawrence: Anti-German sentiment creeps into mayoral race

Local news reports show that anti-German sentiment infiltrated the Lawrence mayoral race of 100 years ago. The Lawrence Journal-World of Jan. 31, 1918, dropped a hint that there was “every indication that the pro-German candidate for mayor of Lawrence is soon to be announced. Of course he ...

World War I in Lawrence: Hoard food at your own risk

Wartime food restrictions specified the quantities of certain foods residents were permitted to keep on hand, and people were not hesitant to report friends or neighbors who were suspected of crossing the line. In March 1918, the Lawrence Journal-World reported that some unnamed person had ...

World War I in Lawrence: KU students do their part

A mix of war-related University of Kansas news occupied the front page in early March, 1918. On March 8, the Journal-World announced that Roy Stockwell, former secretary of the University of Kansas Y.M.C.A. and a 1911 KU graduate, had been “decorated with the Croix de Guerre by the French ...

World War I in Lawrence: Residents hone their green thumbs for the war effort

With the approach of the warmer months, patriotic Lawrence residents were showing an interest in “war gardening.” Professor Charles A. Shull, of the department of botany at the University of Kansas, spoke in Lawrence this month on “scientific intensive gardening,” by which “every ...

World War I in Lawrence: Locals encouraged to return to ice-harvesting tradition

As recently as 50 or even 25 years before the Great War, Lawrence residents had spent a good part of the winter cutting and storing ice from area ponds and from the Kansas River, and “extensive ice houses on the river bank” had a capacity of several hundred tons. Local “ice men” ...

World War I in Lawrence: Colleges discuss eliminating baseball

In the spirit of wartime frugality, the Kansas College Association this month discussed “the elimination of college baseball, reduction of expense attached to intercollegiate athletics, lowering of Coach’s and other athletic official salaries, extension of inter-class athletics to the ...

World War I in Lawrence: Restaurants observe meatless and wheatless days

Food conservation efforts continued through the winter, with citizens encouraged to abstain from red meat every Tuesday and from all wheat products every Wednesday. Not only private citizens, but public restaurants, were urged to comply, and daily updates in the Journal-World publicized which ...

World War I in Lawrence: Registration of ‘German alien enemies’ begins

Since its founding, Lawrence had been very welcoming to settlers of German origin, but this attitude was undergoing a big change in early 1918. This week, the time span of Feb. 4-9 was announced for “the registration of German alien enemies in Lawrence…. For this purpose the police station ...

World War I in Lawrence: Soldiers enjoy holiday celebrations

According to T. J. Sweeney, chair of the gifts committee, the Lawrence soldiers at Camp Doniphan were reported to have enjoyed a good holiday celebration with the help of the arrival of the special railroad car packed with treats from home. Major Henry T. Salisbury, formerly in command of the ...

World War I in Lawrence: Military language sneaks into mundane news reports

During the course of the war, there were of course several front-page stories every day relating battles and other news from the front. One interesting side effect of this emphasis on war news was the permeation of ordinary hometown news with “war jargon.” A fine example of this tendency ...

World War I in Lawrence: Train car filled with treats for troops

As U.S. soldiers approached their first “Great War” Christmas, a joint effort by the federal government and local citizens was created to bring a holiday feast to the approximately 620 Lawrence men training at Fort Sill. According to a late-November Lawrence Journal-World article, “Uncle ...

World War I in Lawrence: Aviator tells family of harrowing flight

Sam Pickard, son of C. C. Pickard of Lawrence, wrote home this month while training in the Royal Flying Corps of Toronto, Canada. During a practice flight one evening, Pickard had “found something wrong with his machine so that he could not read the instruments before him to tell his ...

World War I in Lawrence: Service flags go up around town

The Service Flag, whose stars were used to indicate family members who were serving in the armed forces, became widespread in the Second World War, but its origins date from 1917, when the first such flag was designed and patented. The new practice quickly caught on. “The first of the service ...

World War I in Lawrence: Food-conservation efforts continue in Lawrence

Food-conservation efforts continued in Lawrence throughout the fall, as volunteers canvassed the town asking citizens, especially housewives and cooks, to sign a pledge card promising their best efforts in waste-free cooking. According to the Lawrence Journal-World in November 1917, Chancellor ...

World War I in Lawrence: Couples share brief visits during military training

The unwritten rules of many facets of social behavior, including public displays of affection, began to shift during the Great War. This is demonstrated by a report from Camp Funston, Kansas, where women visiting their husbands or sweethearts would indulge in what the Journal-World called ...

World War I in Lawrence: Knitted gift makes an impact

Two Lawrence women received thanks this week from a Navy man who was grateful for having received a “knitted helmet” made by Mrs. Belle Wilmot, with yarn purchased by Mrs. Fred Morris. The item was probably of a type produced by Red Cross knitters across the nation in 1917. Daniel Sherry, ...