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Triumph and Tragedy: Exploring World War I through Transcription

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Civics +3 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This collection brings together Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day 2019, "Triumph and Tragedy in History." #NHD2019

These resources - including photographs, museum objects, newspapers, diaries, administrative records, pamphlets, and correspondence - explore the varying military and civilian experiences during World War One. Resources highlight what the Great War was like for soldiers, and how the military experience differed for African Americans and whites during a time of legalized segregation and racism in the United States. Other materials featured include diary entries, correspondence, and publications discussing the impact of WWI -both during and after the war- on the home front.  Many of these primary and secondary sources were featured as projects on the Smithsonian Transcription Center, and have been fully transcribed by digital volunteers--making these collections easier to read, search, and explore. 

By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research. 

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Smithsonian Transcription Center

Look Right

Smithsonian Transcription Center

Dogfight Over the Trenches

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Horace Pippin

National Portrait Gallery

Horace Pippin

National Portrait Gallery

Cabinet card of Col. Charles Young as a cadet at West Point

National Museum of African American History and Culture

NAACP Spingarn Medal awarded to Major Charles Young

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Omega Psi Phi Colonel Charles E. Young Service medal and bracelet

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Letter to Oscar W. Price from Charles Young

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Look right

Smithsonian Transcription Center

John Storrs diary

Archives of American Art

John Storrs with one of his sculptures

Archives of American Art

Europe Diary (July-Sept 1918)

Archives of American Art

Europe Diary (Sept 1918 - March 1919)

Archives of American Art

Joseph Lindon Smith reading

Archives of American Art

Joseph Lindon Smith in uniform

Archives of American Art

Joseph Lindon Smith

Archives of American Art

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Smithsonian Transcription Center

Wives or Widows?

National Museum of African American History and Culture