Remembering the First World War

Posted on March 29, 2017 by Holly Hasenfratz in

This year, April 6th marks an important anniversary in American history—it’s the centenary of the United States entering the First World War. 100 years ago, the United States officially joined the fight against the German Empire. Almost 5 million American men and women served in World War I. Each state sent troops and supplies in support of the war effort.

To honor the past and remember WWI, this month we’re looking back 100 years ago. These images from the Dickinson Research Center’s Robert E. Cunningham Collection, give us a special insight into how one Oklahoma town contributed to the war effort a century ago.

With a population of approximately 26,000 in 1917, Stillwater, Oklahoma, did its part to support the war by recruiting soldiers and contributing food and supplies. Like other cities throughout the West, Stillwater held parades to boost conscription and generate support for the war. Additionally, storefronts and buildings sported signs encouraging people to buy Liberty Bonds to raise money.

In April 1917, the time for neutrality was over, and calls for patriotism swept the nation. Families, friends, and communities frequently gathered at rail stations to support deploying recruits. Every American in small towns to big cities was affected by the war in some way.



Today, Archives play an important role in preserving the history and memory of the past.  Through papers and photographs, we are able to travel back in time to learn about, and better understand our collective history. By documenting the past, archives and museums ensure that knowledge is passed from generation to generation.


WWI Draftees, 1917. (2000.005.4.066)


About Holly

Holly Hasenfratz is the Digital & Institutional Archivist at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. As a native Oklahoman, she’s passionate about telling the stories of the American West.