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The Stars and Stripes In Print

From Feb. 8, 1918, to June 13, 1919, by order of Gen. John Joseph Pershing, the U.S. Army published a newspaper for its forces in France, "The Stars and Stripes." When "The Stars and Stripes" began publication, American forces were dispersed throughout the Western Front, often mixed at the unit level with British, French and Italian forces. The newspaper's mission was to provide these scattered troops with a sense of unity and an understanding of their part in the overall war effort. The eight-page weekly featured news from home, sports news, poetry and cartoons, with a staff that included journalists Alexander Woollcott, Harold Ross, and Grantland Rice. Printing the paper on presses borrowed from Paris newspaper plants, the staff used a network of trains, automobiles and a motorcycle to deliver the news to the doughboys (as the American soldiers were called). At the peak of its production, "The Stars and Stripes" had a circulation of 526,000 readers.

St. Mihiel General John Joseph Pershing, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, in uniform

The newspaper began during the Civil War as a resource for Union troops. It was then published during World Wars I and II, and has since been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and 1945 in the Pacific.

The complete 71-week run of the newspaper's World War I edition is online in "The Stars and Stripes: The American Soldiers' Newspaper of World War I, 1918-1919". In the "Special Presentation" called "A Closer Look at The Stars and Stripes," advertisements, soldier-written material, sports, and women and the war effort are highlighted. The section also includes a World War I timeline and historical map that you can zoom in on to get en even closer look.

The Library has several Web sites dedicated to American veterans. For example, in Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project (see June issue of the Wise Guide in Archives), you can see and hear the unique stories of many of these veterans in their own words. Some of the audio- and video-taped interviews donated to the project were recorded by professional folklorists, but most were conducted by family members, friends, neighbors, students and other volunteers. The interviews have taken place in private homes, retirement communities, VFW halls, schools, and libraries. They touch on all aspects of America's war experiences at home and abroad--from the routine to the extraordinary, from enlistment to discharge. In American Memory, there are many more places to learn about America's veterans going back to the American Revolution.

The Veterans History Project is overseen by the Library's American Folklife Center. Folklife is an integral part of all American lives and an essential part of the Library. The story of America is reflected in the cultural productions of ordinary people who live everyday lives, from cooking and eating meals, to the activities of work and play, to religious observances and seasonal celebration. The American Folklife Center was created in 1976 by the U.S. Congress to "preserve and present" this great heritage of American folklife through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, publication and training. The American Folklife Center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in the Library of Congress in 1928, and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.

A. Maurice Toussaint, artist, "St. Mihiel," 1919. A soldier sitting on top of a hill, overlooking a valley and a bridge. The Germans had held St. Mihiel and surrounding areas since the first battle at the Marne in 1914. At last, in 1918, under the command of Gen. Ferdinand Foche, the allied forces broke through the German hold on St. Mihiel and it was safely under France's control once again. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Call No.: POS - Fr .T67, no. 3 (C size) [P&P]; Reproduction No.: LC-USZC2-4112 (color film copy slide)

B. [General John Joseph Pershing, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, in uniform], 1919. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Call No. : BIOG FILE - Pershing, John Joseph [P&P]; Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-113824 (b&w film copy neg.)

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