March 2, 2005 Veterans History Project Highlights More Stories; Site Tops 1,000 Fully Digitized Collections
“Military Medicine” Goes Online March 3
Press Contact: Anneliesa Clump Behrend (202) 707-9822, Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
A new selection of 20 fully digitized collections of materials submitted by veterans and civilians will be available for the first time on the Library of Congress Web site on March 3 at http://www.loc.gov/vets/stories/ex-war-militarymedicine.html.
This is the sixth set of individual stories—comprising interviews, letters, photographs and written memoirs—to be featured on the site, which is titled “Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project.” Since the launch of this presentation site on Memorial Day 2003, the Veterans History Project has regularly made available new stories to illuminate certain themes. Past themes have included D-Day, prisoners of war and life-altering moments. The latest addition of stories focuses on military medicine and highlights personal accounts from doctors, nurses and individuals providing medical support.
With this new set of fully digitized stories, the Veterans History Project site offers 1,024 digitized collections online, comprising more than 48,000 individual items. The digitized materials are part of the continuing effort by the Library to make its collections accessible online.
“The Veterans History Project Web site is a multimedia site. Students, historians and anyone interested in 20th century history can listen to oral histories from veterans and read first-hand accounts of war,” said Diane Kresh, director of the Veterans History Project.
One of the featured veterans, Glenn Wyler, was that rare soldier who served tours of duty in both major theaters of World War II, working as ships physician on a troop transport vessel. His often colorful, two-volume memoir, which totals more than 250 typed pages, “The Buzzard's Tale,” changes only the names of the men and the ship. Raised in Utah, Wyler had no desire to go to sea, but the Army assigned him to the “Buzzard,” which sailed the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Pacific oceans.
During Frances M. Liberty’s 28 years in the Army Nurse Corps, she served in three wars and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Her assignments ranged from landing on the beach at Anzio, Italy, in World War II and supplying a hospital train in Korea to caring for celebrity patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. When Liberty enlisted in 1943, she recounts in her oral history, “They weren’t really prepared to handle women.”
Yeiichi Kelly Kuwayama, the son of Japanese immigrants, was a Princeton graduate working at the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in New York in 1940 when he was drafted. The attack on Pearl Harbor dashed any chance that his stint in the Army would be short-lived, and after being bounced around in administrative jobs at out-of-the-way bases, he grabbed an opportunity to join the Japanese American 442nd Regiment, whose motto was “Go for Broke,” and trained as a medic. The 442nd became one of the most decorated units in American military history.
The Veterans History Project’s Web site continues to feature an interactive guide to “Voices of War,” the first book drawn from its collections, which was published in November 2004 by National Geographic Books. The companion Web site can be viewed at www.loc.gov/voicesofwar.
Veterans from World War I through the current conflict, and the civilians who supported them, are coming forward to record their personal stories and contribute personal documents for a growing archives at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The goal is to collect, preserve and share with future generations the stories of all American war veterans. To date, more than 25,000 individuals have submitted stories to the collection.
Authorized by legislation passed in 2000, the project is being carried out as Congress envisioned: with grandchildren interviewing grandparents, veterans interviewing each other, and students conducting interviews as part of classroom assignments.
Those interested in becoming involved in the Veterans History Project are encouraged to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request a project kit. The kit is also available on the Veterans History Project Web site at www.loc.gov/vets or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.