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Local History

Grant Awarded to Continue Effort to Preserve WWI History

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A grant awarded this week will help continue an effort to preserve part of Missouri’s past.  Michele Skalicky has more on a project that’s focused on remembering the state’s role in World War I.

The $74,694 grant awarded by the Missouri State Library to the Springfield-Greene County Library District, will be used to digitize historical collections from around the state about World War I.  Brian Grubbs, local history and genealogy department manager at the Library Center, said the money will be used to continue work on Over There:  Missouri in the Great War, a statewide collaborative digitization project.

The local library district serves as the fiscal agent for the project, and Grubbs is the project director. 

According to Grubbs, the project is an effort to preserve a sometimes overlooked part of history.  World War I, he said, is generally overshadowed by WW II and the Civil War.  But he said the war was a major turning point in not only America’s history, but also in world history.

"We see the emergence of a lot of new technologies, the emergence of a lot of understanding of medical practices and developments.  And, so, this project looks at those major events through the perspective of Missourians and the lens of Missouri itself," he said.

The digitized records can be found at missourioverthere.org.  Grubbs said the site contains more than 11,000 pages of primary source material written by and about Missourians--not only soldiers who witnessed the war first hand but also civilians who served on the home front to support their loved ones overseas.

Secretary of State Jason Kander announced the grant this week.  The literacy and enrichment grants are funded by the Library Services and Technology Act through the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.