The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
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Missouri Museums and Libraries Partner to Document World War I History

The Springfield-Greene County Library District, the Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, and the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine, Kirksville, have partnered to develop a new digitization project documenting Missouri’s World War I history.

“Over There: Missouri and the Great War” is a statewide, collaborative effort to place documents, photographs, artifacts and other media into a single digital archive. The project partners received a $47,803 Library Services and Technology Act Digital Imaging grant from the Missouri State Library to develop the project. The grant was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Brian Grubbs, project director based at the Springfield-Greene County Library District, stated, “We are very excited to work with the Missouri History Museum and the Museum of Osteopathic MedicineSM. Each of the partners has successfully completed digital imaging grants on Missouri history, and brings a vast knowledge to the table.”

The First World War reshaped much of the modern world, and Missourians actively contributed to various aspects of the war effort. Missouri industries fulfilled military contracts to supply mules, munitions and other goods to Allied armies.

According to the Missouri State Archives, more than 156,000 Missourians served in the war. Prominent Missourians who fought in the war include Gens. John J. Pershing and Enoch Crowder, the future President Harry S Truman, and Walt Disney. The last surviving U.S. veteran from World War I, Frank Buckles, was a Missouri native.

Later this summer, project partners will begin to canvas the state searching for WWI collections. “Not only are we looking for material in museums, archives, and libraries,” Grubbs said, “but we will include private collections and family heirlooms in this project.”

More information about how the public can contribute to the project will be made available in the coming months.

This project seeks to enhance the understanding of Missouri’s role in the Great War in preparation for the centennial remembrance beginning in 2014.

Kathleen O'Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at

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