For France! Stanford men and women in World War I

November 9, 2018
Title graphic "For France!"

Sunday November 11, 2018, Veterans Day, marks the 100th anniversary of the unofficial end of World War I. Although the actual peace treaty wasn’t signed until later, November 11, 1918 — at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month — is when a truce, known as the Armistice, was signed and the fighting stopped. In commemoration, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives presents an exhibit of WWI-related materials drawn from the University Archives’ War Records and other sources. Items on display range from Ambulance Corps and Women’s Nursing Unit recruitment broadsides, to personal correspondence and published accounts, to photographs of those who volunteered or enlisted in the Escadrille (the French air-corps). With a focus on Stanford students, the exhibit portrays their initial, youthful excitement upon traveling to Europe, their antics involving a stolen flag, the drama of enduring the reality of the fighting, and, tragically, the deaths of many of those who volunteered. In all, 77 Stanford students died of WWI-related injury or illness. The exhibit offers a glimpse into an often overlooked part of Stanford history, and, one hundred years later, gives us reason to reflect with wistful irony on the meaning of “The War to End All Wars.” 

For France! is curated by Tim Noakes, head of public services for Special Collections, whose long-standing interest in World War I history and literature prompted him to write his Stanford MLA thesis on the work of Welsh poet David Jones (1895–1974).

The exhibit will be on display Thursday, November 8 through the end of fall quarter on the first floor of the East Wing of Green Library.