Monday, November 28, 2016

Preservation Lab finding

One of my tasks as an intern in the Preservation Lab is to replace the brittle, yellowing folders holding our library’s collections with bright, new acid-free folders. The documents in these folders are mostly government-issued publications describing routine mandates and procedures. One folder, however, held something decidedly out of the norm: an appeal from President Wilson Woodrow, dated June 6, 1918, urging Massachusetts residents to be thrifty, buy lots of stamps, and hold on to those Liberty bonds… all to aid in the WWI war effort. This appeal was found in a serial publication called Bay State Bulletin, published by the Massachusetts War Savings Committee. The goal of
this publication appears to be to gather not just moral support for the war, but to encourage citizens to "put their money where their mouths were." Public support of the First World War had been low at the beginning, with most Americans wanting to remain neutral. But by 1917, in light of the sinking of the Lusitania and the discovery of the Zimmerman Telegram, opinions had changed. Bay State Bulletin shows an enthusiastic response to that change. Throughout the publication are aphorisms about the virtues of patriotism and frugality, news of towns all over the state raising money for soldiers, and stories of local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts distributing literature to neighbors and friends. One issue from March of 1918 includes a touching testament from an Armenian immigrant on what American liberty means to him, and his resolve to contribute to the war effort by selling War Savings Stamps. Massachusetts’s role in WWI history can be found throughout the pages of these bulletins: enthusiastic, patriotic, and prepared to lend a hand.

Adrienne Galindo
Preservation Lab Intern