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 up in a great leap since last year on account of the increase in cost of supplies. Nine of the former members of the faculty are now in government service. Chemistry is running the war, according to Prof. E. H. Bailey, of the department, and when the government needs a man, they cannot hold him back.”

Downtown, staff at the post office reported that they were “experiencing considerable trouble at the present time due to persons sending perishable articles to the soldiers in camps. Many of these packages contain fruit and other perishable articles which, if not delivered promptly, will spoil before delivery. The department is handling these packages as rapidly as possible but the public as asked to help by packing the articles carefully and not sending things that will perish if the delay is slight.”

The public schools of Lawrence reported they would “probably begin their work on the ‘war lessons’ sent out by the Department of Public Education at once. At last night’s meeting of the Board of Education, Superintendent Kent was given the power of purchasing these pamphlets…. The action was taken following a letter from President Wilson and one from Mr. Hoover recommending that the schools do their part in the war by studying these ‘war lessons.’… The lessons are in the form of pamphlets which take up concrete problems growing out of the war and point to the solution. They will probably be used as supplementary reading matter for the Geography and Reading classes.”