On April 6, 1917, America entered the First World War, a war that had been raging since 1914. The United States government realized that the success of the war effort depended on contributions from the homefront. This global conflict required the assistance of every man, woman, and child: to buy war bonds, conserve food and fuel, send supplies overseas, support the troops, and manufacture the weapons and machinery needed for battle. Each person had to do their part.
The citizens and institutions of Philadelphia answered the call to do their patriotic duty. Philadelphians came to the Library Company to learn more about the war. They participated in parades, Liberty Sings (public sing-alongs), and bond drives to show support and raise awareness. Residents (even schoolchildren) grew gardens and saved food. Men enlisted and women spearheaded support organizations. These activities on the homefront helped unite Philadelphians in a common cause, culminating in a victory over the enemy on November 11, 1918.
From November 11, 2016 through April 21, 2017, the Library Company of Philadelphia Together We Win: The Philadelphia Homefront During the First World War was on display in our gallery. Co-curated by Reference Librarian Linda August and Curator of Prints and Photographs Sarah Weatherwax, this exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into the war and the sacrifices and contributions Philadelphians made to the Allied cause. More specifically, the exhibition examines the role that the Library Company, its staff and its shareholders, played in supporting the war effort. Books, photographs, audio clips of World War I era music, home-made Allied flags, a scrapbook, and other ephemera will explore the story of the city and its residents during the war years and their immediate aftermath.