The people and organizations listed below offer programs about Arkansas and World War I. The Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee offers this list as a public service and does not endorse the content of any of the programs. Arrangements for the programs must be made directly with the speakers.
Abby Burnett has a program on WWI casualties and the Gold Star Mother campaign. The talk will include photos of WWI soldiers’ tombstones in Arkansas, or rather, their cenotaphs because these stones state that the bodies were left in France.
4353 Madison 2590
Kingston, AR 72742
Mark Christ has a program on Arkansas’s World War I memorials, which commemorate the soldiers who fought in the Great War. Call (501) 324-9886 or email [email protected].
Conway Women's Chorus has a WWI ensemble group consisting of about 15 ladies who perform our songs and stories about Arkansas in the Great War.
Dr. Michael B. Dougan: I Didn’t Raise My Boy to be a Solider: Over There In commemoration of The Great War, Dr. Michael B. Dougan, Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, Arkansas State University, has prepared a presentation based on World War I songs, not just those from America, but also including those from the Allied and Central Powers. Dr. Dougan’s father, Will Leigh (“Billy”) Dougan, served in the Royal Flying Corps during the war. The presentation will focus on how songs influenced public opinion. A power point presentation based partly on the covers of sheet music accompanies the presentation.
Dr. Dougan can be reached at [email protected] and at (870) 935-9076.
“The Great War and Arkansas” will provide a broad overview of Arkansas’s role in World War I. It will cover topics such as the homefront, discrimination against Arkansawyers of German descent, the draft, mining and material, the establishment of training camps like Camp Pike, and a brief examination of Arkansawyers who served in the war to end all wars. Contact information: Dr. Buck T. Foster, [email protected], (501) 450-3158.
“Great War American Soldiers, Tactics, and Technology” Kent Goff conducts first person living history performances on the Arkansas hero Herman Davis and other presentations on the experience, equipment, training, and combat experiences of American Soldier in the Great War. Kent is a graduate of West Point, Arkansas State University (MA- History), and the US Army War College, and will be retiring as a Colonel from the US Army Reserve in June 2017. For more information, please go to https://www.facebook.com/Mississippi-Valley-Educational-Programs-333671560055279/ Contact Kent about a program at [email protected].
Elizabeth Hill provides a fast-paced, 30- to 45-minute program on Arkansas’s women and World War I. Using humor, a photographs-only PowerPoint presentation—i.e., no distracting text—and a sense of her own amazement at her findings in Arkansas’s archives, Hill promises that the audience will leave the presentation with an appreciation for our grandmothers and great grandmothers’ contributions. In fact, women throughout the United States were thrust into a bloody, world-wide conflict in which the federal government simply could not function without their help. Although the Woman’s Committee of the National Council of Defense choreographed the work with constant communication to each state’s woman’s committee, Arkansas’s own woman’s committee members made the work happen throughout seventy-five counties. And Arkansas’s non-elite women came through as they signed pledge cards for food conservation and willingness-to-serve campaigns, knit sweaters for the “boys” in Red Cross workrooms, volunteered to be school teachers or nursing trainees, starved the garbage pail, made stuffed prunes and called it “candy,” dried the pits to be made into gas masks, convinced their families to eat fried sausage made from cottage cheese, and filled vacant jobs to which male counterparts did not always welcome them!
Elizabeth Hill, M.A.
North Little Rock
Lauren Jarvis of the Arkansas State Archives offers a program titled “In the ‘Grippe’ of Influenza: Arkansas and the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918-1919” will center on the state’s experiences with one of the deadliest epidemics in history. Appearing at the end of World War I, the ‘Spanish’ Flu killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide. This program will focus on Arkansas’s story, exploring the local officials’ response to the disease and the impact the epidemic had on local communities, as well as how to find resources and information on the subject. She can be reached at [email protected] or (501) 682-6897.
Mississippi Valley Educational Programs. For 20 years, the MVEP team has been providing high quality first person living history programs for Arkansas museums, schools, and parks. MVEP has currently several US soldier and Red Cross presentations under development that could be tailored to include local Arkansans or sites, such as the numerous old depots that were the focus of the boys going “Over There” or returning home. All MVEP programs are hands on and fully participatory – for example, the program on gas warfare includes students actually being trained using the AEF training plan with actual gas masks so that they can understand the experience of wearing the vision and breathing limiting device and imagine having the move quickly and fight in such conditions. For more information, please go to https://www.facebook.com/Mississippi-Valley-Educational-Programs-333671560055279/ Contact Kent about a program at [email protected].
The North Little Rock History Commission has a PowerPoint program with 59 slides showing the role of North Little Rock in WWI. The program includes information on Fort Roots and Camp Pike and is illustrated with images from several private collections donated to the NLR History Commission. Also included in the program are images of Camp Pike courtesy of the AR National Guard Museum in Camp Joseph T. Robinson. Contact Sandra Taylor Smith or Cary Bradburn with the North Little Rock History Commission, 506 Main Street, North Little Rock, AR 72114; (501) 371-0755 or [email protected].
“Researching Your World War I Ancestors: A Case Study,” will share how to identify and research your family’s WWI era ancestors by using examples from her own family research. Using examples of ancestors who served and did not serve, you will be able to find local, state, and national records and resources to learn more about WWI era ancestors. This information can also be applied to researching community members who served during the war as well.
Contact info: Amanda L. Paige p[email protected] 5015154871
“Honoring Those Who Served”: A brief overview of the role played by the common Arkansas soldier in the Great War is told with the use of firsthand accounts recorded by the soldiers. It is the story of the war as told by the soldiers who lived and fought it. With advance notice firsthand accounts by soldiers from your area can be included in the presentation.
Contact Mike Polston, (501) 286-9665, [email protected]
Raymond Screws of the Arkansas National Guard Museum: The Camp That Fordyce Built: Camp Pike in WWI. When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, the country needed military training facilities. One of the sites selected was in the Little Rock area. Construction of Camp Zebulon Pike began in July 1917, and continued into the fall. The United States Army selected Arkansan, Major John R. Fordyce, as Construction Quartermaster. As with the Great War, the Post, now known as Camp Robinson, commemorates its centennial in 2017. This program looks at how Little Rock won the battle for a post, the construction, and its importance during WWI. Call (501) 212-5215 or email [email protected].