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World War I - Archival Sources

Primary sources related to the 'Great War' (WWI) and 1918 Flu from the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections, WU LIbraries.

Contact Info

contact special collections

Archive, Manuscript & Rare Book collections are accessed in Olin Library at the Special Collections reading room.

HOURS:  Monday - Friday 9:00-5:00 by appointment

LOCATION:  Olin Library, 1st floor, Danforth Campus


*collections stored offsite require advance notice for retrieval and use

Questions about a specific topic? Contact:

University Archives: Sonya Rooney

Rare Books: Cassie Brand

Manuscript: Joel Minor 

Local History: Miranda Rectenwald

Dowd Illustration Research Archive: interim curator

Film & Media Archive: Andy Uhrich

Collections related to WWI

This page contains an overview of collections that document events in St. Louis and Washington University's connections to the Great War (World War I ).  Topics include home-front activities, military involvement, Red Cross programs, and the 1918 Influenza pandemic.

Contact Special Collections for information about accessing the items described below:

A plaque hangs on the Ridgly Hall arcade honoring those in the University community who died durring in World War I

Published Primary Sources (At Olin Library)
On-Line Sources: (ebooks and databses)

WWI Sources from Other Local Archives

Other collections about World War I.  Please contact each organization for more information:

WU Campus & 1918 Flu Epidemic

Chancellor Hall announced suspension of "all classes and gatherings after 12:30" Wednesday October 9, 1918 (as reported in Student Life Vol 43. No. 2, October 11, 1918).

Administrative work continued, and professors continued to work in their office.  Football and hockey practice also continued. Graham Chapel became a Red Cross shop where students made Influenza masks. The student newspaper noted that campus was empty and ran a comic article with a blank space as the "detailed composite of student activities during the past week." (as reported in Student Life Vol 43. No. 3, October 18, 1918).

Classes resume Monday November 18, 1918.  To make up for the lost 6 weeks, classes were scheduled longer each day (until 4:30 pm), and only Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day were observed as holidays.  (as reported in Student Life Vol 43. No.8, November 22, 1918)

The influenza situation at Washington University is considered at an end by November 29, 1918, when less than 8 cases were reported in the previous week (Student Life Vol 43. No. 9, November 29, 1918).

For futher information, see:

Online Primary Sources about 1918 Influenza (From other archives across the US):

More Resources