WW1 America: Images

For immediate release

Release dated: 
January 27, 2017
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lauren Peck, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org

WW1 America: Images

These images may be used for editorial purposes in magazines, newspapers and online to promote “WW1 America,” April 8-Sept. 4, 2017, at the Minnesota History Center. Credit information is listed.


Great Migration

Union Terminal, Jacksonville, Florida, 1921

Booming war industries and the oppression of Jim Crow accelerated the phenomenon known as “The Great Migration” of African-Americans from the rural South to the urban North during WW1.

Metro Jacksonville Photographs

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Food poster

“The Spirit of ‘18-- The World Cry, Food: Keep the Home Garden going,” by artist William McKee, 1918

America shipped enormous amounts of aid to war-torn Europe, including nearly six million tons of food (mostly flour). At their peak during this time, Minneapolis mills produced 46,000 barrels of flour per day in 1916 alone. Around the country families contributed by rationing, championed by the U.S. Food Administration slogan “Food Will Win the War.”

Library of Congress

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RMS Lusitania chair

Deck chair from the RMS Lusitania, 1907

The luxurious RMS Lusitania, built in 1906 for Cunard Line, was attacked and sunk in May 1915 by a German U-boat. Nearly 1,200 people died, including 124 Americans. Passengers received pairs of chairs like this one as souvenirs after a 1907 crossing.  

National World War I Museum and Memorial

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Flu victims

Naval Training Station, San Francisco, California, 1918-1919

In 1918 and 1919, a pandemic of influenza claimed as many as 100 million lives worldwide, with an estimated 675,000 lives lost in the United States. U.S. military men suffered too, with more than half of all deaths during the war coming from influenza and its complications. This photo shows a crowded sleeping area for sick soldiers at the Naval Training Station in San Francisco.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command

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Doughboy helmet

"Doughboy" helmet worn by Norman F. Claussen and portrait, St. Paul, about 1916-1918

Norman F. Claussen of St. Paul was a first lieutenant with the 15th Field Artillery in the National Guard and served in the Mexican Border conflict in 1916. In 1917, he served with the American Expeditionary Forces in France. He received the Silver Star for “gallantry in action” and for “brilliant leadership” during his tour. In October 1918, shortly after returning to the United States, he died of influenza.


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Norman F. Claussen

Norman F. Claussen portrait


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Ruth Weir flag

American flag, 1918

In the fall of 1918, Ruth Weir, a nurse from Faribault, was assigned to a British hospital in Rouen, France, where many men were dying of pneumonia, influenza, gas attacks and wounds. Weir and her fellow American nurses used this American flag to cover “the bodies of our boys.”


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1918 machine gun

Machine gun, about 1918

Advances in technology, such as machine guns, artillery shells, poison gas, tanks and planes, resulted in unprecedented death rates during WW1. This is a French armed forces Model 1915 Chauchat 8 mm. Light Machine Gun.


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St. Paul Equity Club suffrage banner

Suffrage banner used by the St. Paul Political Equity Club, 1910-19

Women had gained the right to vote in many states but it wasn’t until 1919, because of protests during WW1, that a constitutional amendment passed. Many suffrage organizations around the country, including the St. Paul Political Equity Club, marched in support of the amendment.


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Houdini handcuffs

Handcuffs belonging to Harry Houdini and poster, about 1900-26, 1908

Born in 1874 in Budapest, Harry Houdini came to America with his family in 1878. By 1900, the master illusionist and escape artist traveled the vaudeville circuit, dazzling crowds by escaping from manacles, straitjackets, chains, coffins and even jail cells submerged underwater. During the war, Houdini started making movies, too.

History Museum at the Castle, Appleton, Wisconsin

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Houdini poster

History Museum at the Castle, Appleton, Wisconsin

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Photo of Madam C. J. Walker, 1915

Sarah Breedlove was born in Delta, Louisiana in 1867 and was the only one of her five siblings born into freedom. In 1906, Breedlove changed her name to Madam C.J. Walker, after her third husband. Using that name she created a hair care empire, becoming the first female self-made millionaire in America. Walker was a major supporter of African-American troops, and an outspoken advocate for racial justice.

Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History

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165th Infantry coming through Victory Arch, New York City, April 28, 1919

The Great War came to an end with the Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918, more than four years after it started. More than two million American troops began returning home. Communities across the country erected temporary “victory arches” as centerpieces for parades of returning soldiers.

National Archives and Records Administration

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transcontinental telephones

These “candlestick” telephones were used to make the world’s first transcontinental calls. A few weeks before the opening of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the American Telephone & Telegraph Company set up calls between New York City and San Francisco—an occasion widely celebrated as the dawn of a new era in American communications.

AT&T Archives

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Thomas Woodrow Wilson, a Southern-born progressive Democrat, was first elected US president in 1912. When war broke out in Europe in 1914, he maintained a position of strict neutrality, but on April 3, 1917, just weeks after his second inauguration--Wilson called for American entry into the war.  Even before the war was over, Wilson was laying the groundwork for the postwar peace which included American-style progressivism in a global setting--and a call for a “league of nations.”

National Museum of American History

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WW1 America ambulance

This is a WW1 America ambulance, recreated from used and new parts, following plans from the Ford Motor Company's original 1918 design. 

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US Draft Bowl

Bowl used in first United States Selective Service Draft, July 20, 1917.

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Suffrage Banner

This banner was used by members of the National Woman’s Party in their protests outside the White House in 1917. The protests were the first of their kind at the White House for any cause. Women won the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment on Aug. 18, 1920.

National Woman’s Party at the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, Washington, DC. www.nationalwomansparty.org

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