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WWI - Making History

The New York State Archives’ A0412-78 series is a collection of 33 cubic feet of material gathered by public historians throughout the state under the direction of state historians James Sullivan and Alexander C. Flick. The work was gathered as part of a mandate from the State Legislature in 1919, which called for New York State’s participation in World War I to be recorded and documented. The World War I project was the first project carried out under the new Historian’s Law of 1919, part of the New York State Education Law, which allows each county to appoint a local historian.

Contained in series A0412-78 are smaller histories covering very specific topics. One paper is The New York State “Boys” in the War: A Report of Impressions Gathered From Sorting and Reading Soldiers’ Letters of the World War During the Summers of 1934 and 1935, written by historian Balbino R. Flores in September, 1935. This paper contains excerpts from letters written from the front organized into a semi-narrative of the war. Another work, entitled World War Service Record of Utica, New York, is an in-depth report on what happened in the city of Utica throughout the war, including the participation of women, the statistics of the city’s war industries, and the impact of the influenza pandemic. Another impressive work was compiled by Chauncey Ives, village historian of Rye, New York, who published The World War History of the Village of Rye: 1917-1918 in book format. There is also a book contained in the file which presents a history of American Expeditionary Force Base Hospital No. 9 in France, whose author is credited only as “The Padre.”

This is a sample of the many resources contained in series A0412-78. There are also a number of smaller collections of records from government agencies, private groups, and individuals that provide a well-rounded account of New York’s participation in the Great War.