Library of America has been awarded a $550,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in partial support of World War I and America, a national program marking the centenary of the nation’s entry into the war in 1917. The project will be undertaken in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum, the World War I Centenary Commission, the Wounded Warriors Project, and other organizations.
In keeping with Library of America’s mission to foster greater appreciation of the nation’s history through its written heritage, the World War I program will bring members of the veteran community together with the general public in libraries and museums around the country to explore the transformative impact of the First World War by reading, discussing, and sharing insights into the writings of Americans who experienced it firsthand. The aim is to create structured opportunities for those who served in more recent conflicts to bring their experiences to bear on historical events and texts, illuminating for a wide audience the similarities and differences between past and present.
The grant to Library of America is the largest awarded by the NEH this year and will also support the development and publication of a companion book, World War I: Told by Americans Who Lived It, an annotated narrative collection of firsthand American writings about the war. This major new anthology, edited by noted biographer A. Scott Berg, will encourage exploration and discussion of the war’s meanings and resonances long after the centennial is over.
The project website, WWIamerica.org, featuring resources for public programming and an online exhibition of documents and artifacts from World War I, will launch in Fall 2016.