From the Archives

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: 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, ...

World War I in Lawrence: Journal-World starts tobacco fund for soldiers

On Oct. 20, 1917, the Journal-World announced a new way for citizens on the home front to ease the trials of U.S. soldiers serving overseas:“To make the soldiers in the trenches a little more happy and to add pleasure to their idle hours, the Journal-World is today starting a Tobacco Fund for ...

World War I in Lawrence: KU chemistry professors join the war effort

Lawrence news in October 1917 included several war-related items. The “Great War” was having an effect on KU’s chemistry department this semester: “There are nearly 700 students taking work in the department and there are fewer professors than usual. The cost of laboratory fees has gone ...

World War I in Lawrence: KU students begin compulsory exercises

In early October, the Journal-World interviewed several University of Kansas faculty members and found many in favor of compulsory military drill for students. The policy was officially adopted a few days later at a meeting of the University Senate: “Compulsory physical exercise for every ...

World War I in Lawrence: Thousands gather to bid soldiers farewell

Although several individuals had departed Lawrence since the war’s outbreak to serve in various positions on the front and at home, the first large-scale departure of troops didn’t take place until autumn, 1917. The Lawrence Journal-World of Oct. 1 described the scene: “The Lawrence units ...

World War I in Lawrence: Home Economics department serves mess hall-style dinner

In late September and early October of 1917, festivities such as dances and concerts were held for the soldiers temporarily stationed in Lawrence before they were sent to Fort Sill for further training. Among these parties was a dinner prepared and served to Company M at the University of ...

World War I in Lawrence: Military companies camp, hold drills

In the days leading up to their departure for Fort Sill, Oklahoma, local military organizations continued to camp in Lawrence. Battery B, which had been staying at Woodland Park, was forced to vacate its sleeping quarters to make room for September’s Douglas County Fair. The battery moved ...

World War I in Lawrence: KU football player switches to ‘rare sport’ of flying

Russell Cowgill of Lawrence wrote home this week from aviation training school in Dayton, Ohio. According to the Lawrence Journal-World, “Cowgill was a K. U. football player last fall, but the new sport of flying is what he calls a ‘rare sport.’ His brief letter follows: 'Well, I’ve had ...