July 16, 2003 "The Stars and Stripes" Collection Now Part of American Memory Web Site

Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

The Library of Congress has released a new addition to the American Memory Web site of more than 120 thematically organized collections. “The Stars and Stripes: The American Soldiers’ Newspaper of World War I, 1918-1919,” is now available at www.loc.gov.

At the direction of Gen. John J. Pershing, “The Stars and Stripes” newspaper was published in France by the U.S. Army from Feb. 8, 1918, to June 13, 1919. By early 1918, American forces were dispersed throughout the Western front, often mixed at the unit level with British, French and Italian forces. The primary mission of The Stars and Stripes 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, poetry, cartoons and sports news, with a staff that included journalists Alexander Woollcott, Harold Wallace Ross and Grantland Rice. On borrowed printing presses, using a delivery network that combined trains, automobiles and one motorcycle, the staff produced a newspaper with a circulation that peaked at 526,000 copies. This new online collection presents the complete run—71 weeks—of the World War I edition.

The collection also includes special presentations that discuss the newspaper’s content: its illustrations and advertising, its publication of soldiers’ poetry, and its coverage of women. Brief biographies of editorial staff members and their later careers indicate the high level of journalistic talent at The Stars and Stripes. A timeline and map place the newspaper within the greater historical and geographical context of the war.

The collection was processed with optical character recognition (OCR) software to allow users to search the full text of the newspaper for a word or phrase. This feature expands the collection’s usefulness to historians and genealogists who are researching names and details that do not appear in the headlines. “The Stars and Stripes” collection serves as a pilot project in the development of search and display capabilities to be used in future releases of historic newspapers.

American Memory is a project of the National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress. Its more than 120 collections, which range from papers of the U.S. presidents, Civil War photographs and early films of Thomas Edison to papers documenting the women’s suffrage and civil rights movements, Jazz Age photographs and the first baseball cards, include 8 million items from the Library of Congress and other major repositories. The latest Web site from the Library is the monthly “Wise Guide” (www.loc.gov/wiseguide) magazine, which demonstrates that “It’s Fun to Know History.”


PR 03-127
ISSN 0731-3527