WWI Centennial Exhibit

A Pair of Soldier Shoes
Hunt Library, First Floor Exhibit Cases 
October 22, 2018  – February 2019

In recognition of the 100th anniversary (November 11, 2018) of the armistice that ended fighting in World War I between the Allies and Germany, the Libraries present the exhibit “A Pair of Solider Shoes,” which explores the experience on the CMU campus during WWI.

The United States entered the war on April 6, 1917 and U.S. troops began arriving at the Front in 1918. While many Americans had been participating in the Preparedness movement since the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, there was a need to drastically grow the size of the Army. Military camps sprang up around the country to train new officers. Carnegie Tech hosted one of those camps, converting its entire academic apparatus into a machine of war. 

Military training at CIT combined both physical and academic preparedness. At “Camp Carnegie” students were drilled in marching, trench digging, and grenade throwing. On campus, students were trained as radio mechanics, stenographers, telegraphers, truck drivers, and band musicians. War Courses were also introduced for women in topics like mechanical drafting and occupational therapy. On November 11, 1918, armistice was declared. 

At the end of the war, there were an estimated 8.5 million military casualties. 320,000 of them were American. The training camp at Carnegie Tech was short lived, but for that small window of time it fundamentally changed the lives of its students and teachers. The physical changes it brought to campus lasted well into the 1950s, when Langley Aeronautics Laboratory (which later served as a dining hall called Skibo Inn) was torn down to make way for Hunt Library.

All objects and photographs in this exhibit are from the University Archives’ World War I Collection.

Related reading:

Back in the Stacks Blog: Men and Women of World War I
Back in the Stacks Blog: What I Didn’t Know About World War I
Our Fellows in France: The Mellon Institute During World War I
Primary documents for WWI research

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