The Penn Libraries is proud to announce a new exhibit and one-day conference commemorating the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending World War I. The exhibit, “Life During Wartime: Penn at Home and Abroad During the Great War,” explores the varied experiences, both positive and negative, of University of Pennsylvania students, faculty, and alumni during the years of the war, 1914 through 1918.
“As an institution of higher learning and a stronghold of the Republican eastern establishment, Penn’s leadership demonstrated a strong sense of loyalty to historical class structures and free market economics,” exhibition and conference organizers Nick Okrent and Rebecca Stuhr explain. “It was a time of personal courage for men and women, of active dedication to strongly held beliefs, and a community will to succeed. But it was also a difficult time, to be in favor of peace—to resist the calls to demonstrate patriotism through taking up arms, to advocate for alternative political or economic structures, or to exist outside of the established white majority population.” These local and national contexts illuminate the significance of the artifacts presented in this exhibit and reflect movements in contemporary material culture, the political and governmental response to war, and changes taking place within society.
A brief symposium accompanying the exhibit will take place on April 5. The symposium will feature Alisa Chiles, Penn PhD candidate in the History of Art; Dr. John Ditunno, Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Jefferson Medical College; Mark Frazier Lloyd, Director of the Penn University Archives; and Vanessa Williams, Instructional Designer and Trainer at Temple University and recent recipient of a Penn Musicology PhD. Topics will include performance and circulation of music during the war, important innovations for rehabilitation of the wounded, and the contributions of prominent Penn professors and other Philadelphians.
The exhibit will be displayed in the Kamin Gallery on the first floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, and is free and open to the public until August 3. To find out more information about the exhibit and to register for the conference please visit www.library.upenn.edu/about/exhibits-events/ww1.