The Exhibit's Purpose
This virtual exhibit is designed to inform the public about the North Carolina State
Archives’ World War I collection. Primary sources consisting of letters, diaries, photographs,
military documents, and World War I-era memorabilia provide this exhibit's historical
|Above: Military Collection, World War I Collection, County War
Records, Box 6. Photograph by Alan Westmoreland.
The materials featured here represent only a small part of the archives’ extensive collection, and therefore this exhibit only begins to describe how North Carolinians experienced World War I as soldiers and citizens. As a virtual exhibit, this web site is designed to make the archives’ World War I collection more accessible. The featured artifacts are introduced and visitors are encouraged to explore their interests by viewing images of the primary sources. Quoted letters are represented as the originals and therefore include spelling errors. All of the images on this website are from the archives’ World War I Military Collection. The background image of the map found throughout the site is the "Hindenburg Line Map" used by the 30th Division. The brown background for the narrative and photographs is the image of a scanned letter sent from a soldier to his family in North Carolina. The YMCA provided the soldiers paper to write home, complete with reminders of:
To the writer: save by writing on BOTH sides of this paper
To the folks at home: save food; buy liberty bonds and war savings stamps
Who is Kaiser Bill?
As the kaiser (emperor or king) of Germany during World War I, Wilhelm II became the symbol of America’s adversary. Americans personalized the enemy by naming Wilhelm II, Kaiser Bill. Soldiers from the Old North State wrote about fighting Kaiser Bill and North Carolinians at home expressed their disdain for him in newspaper editorials, poetry, songs, and letters.
Refer to the index page to learn "soldier slang" used in the soldiers' letters. The Index link can be found on any page that provides links to view original letters.
Photographs on the home page slide show:
1. Soldier with pistol in holster. PFC Willard Allen White,
Company K, 321st Infantry Regiment, 81st Division. Military Collection, World War I Collection,
Archives and Photography Collection.
2. Aviator. 2nd Lt. Leonidas Polk Denmark, Company D, 105th Engineers
Regiment, 30th Division (transferred to air service, December 1917). Photograph taken from The History
of the 105th Regiment of Engineers, 30th Division by Willard P. Sullivan and Harry Tucker, 1919.
Military Collection, World War I Collection, Archives and Photography Collection.
3. Couple embracing. Photograph of Thomas Newton Bryson (30th Division) and Ethel
Leona Evans, both from Macon County, NC, ca. 1917. They were married after the war. Military
Collection, World War I Collection, Private Collections, Box 80, Thomas Newton Bryson Papers.
4. WWI Airplane. Military Collection, World War I Collection, Photographs,
Box 8, J. C. Stewart Photographs.
5. Trench sketch. "Plan for Layout Small Shelters," July 1918, Ypres Front,
Belgium, 105th Engineers Regiment, 30th Division. Military Collection, World War I Collection,
Private Collections, Joseph H. Pratt Papers, Box 47.
This exhibit is dedicated to the soldiers who proudly and bravely served America and the
Old North State during World War I.
The archives’ World War I Collection would not be possible without the donations of the soldiers and their families. The archives and the citizens of North Carolina thank you for sharing your personal history and thereby enriching North Carolina history.