Pickler Memorial Library



The World War I Collection


Of all the Twentieth Century conflicts, the "Great War" was viewed with the greatest enthusiasm. Much campus fervor was inspired by the selection of alum General John J. Pershing to command the American Expeditionary Forces in France. By the end of the war, fifteen faculty were away from campus engaged in war work; 443 students and former students were in military service.

Some of our alums brought back war souvenirs that they donated to the Museum to help educate successive generations. On display in the museum are various WWI artifacts, such as German and American military helmets, weapons, hard tack, magazine and bandolier, and much more.

One artifact in the collection is a statue of General Pershing as he came down a ship's gangplank into France.  Made by Ella Buchanan in 1919, it was donated to the museum by the artist's niece, Thelma Campbell, in 1968. John J. Pershing was given the rank of General of the Armies of the United States by Woodrow Wilson in 1919, and has remained the only American to hold that title. He was an alumnus of this institution, having graduated in 1880 with a Bachelor of Elementary Didactics, a two-year teaching certificate degree.

The selected objects below are but a small sample of the entire collection. Artifacts are available for use in accordance with the Special Collections departmental policies and may be used for research, curriculum support, or other presentations/programs. For more information on using these artifacts, or for information on additional objects within the collection, please contact the Special Collections department.