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Virginia’s Participation in World War I


illustration of woman holding military equipment
For every fighter a woman worker: Care for her through the YWCA United War Work Campaign. WWI Poster Collection. 

World War I, also known as “The Great War,” was a global conflict lasting from 1914 to 1918. The principal combatants were the Entente (Britain, France, Italy, and Russia) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire). The United States entered the conflict on the side of the Entente on April 4, 1917. The military conflict ended on November 11, 1918 with the defeat of the Central Powers.

Over 100,000 Virginians served in the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marines. Most soldiers served in the Army’s 29th Division, 42nd Division, 80th Division, 510th and 511th Engineer Service Battalions, and Base Hospitals Nos. 41 and 45. Over 3,700 Virginians died from all causes.

Featured Collections

State and Local Records

State Records: Digital Collections

State Records: Physical Collections

  • Adjutant General. Interwar Unit Files, 1918–1940, Acc. 32443.
    Material includes records, orders, personnel reports, and unit files.
  • Executive Department. Governor’s Office. Henry Carter Stuart, 1914–1918. General Correspondence, Acc. 28722.
    Relevant folders include Adjutant General, Armor Plate Plant, Belgian Relief, German War, Military, National Defense, and Virginia Military Records.
  • Executive Department. Governor’s Office. Westmoreland Davis, 1918–1922. General Correspondence, Acc. 21567a.
    Relevant folders include Adjutant General, Militia, Sea Training Bureau of Camp Stuart, Legislation for Benefit of Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, Virginia War History Commission, Y. M. C. A. – United War Work Campaign, and War Correspondence.
  • National Guard. Muster-In Rolls for the 1st Squadron Cavalry, Virginia Coast Artillery Corps, and Other Miscellaneous Units, 1917, Acc. 32116. Available on Misc. Reels 2084–2085.
  • National Guard. Officer’s Roster, 1917–1922, Acc. 32116. Available on Miscellaneous Reel 2092.
    Material also includes service records.
  • National Guard. Virginia Guardsman Records, 1847–1949, Acc. 26194.
    Collection includes photographs used in the Virginia Guardsman and images from WWI purchased from the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
  • Virginia Volunteers. Muster-In Rolls, 1917–1919, Acc. 32116. Available on Misc. Reel 2085.
  • Virginia War History Commission. Virginians of Distinguished Service, 1922–1925, Acc. 37219.
    Material consists of questionnaires, when available, and copies of citations. There are some records of those who did not receive citations.

Local Records

Federal Records

Digital Collections

Physical Collections

  • Directives and Questionnaires from the United War Work Campaign, 1917–1918, Acc. 27080.
    Material contains directives to the governor and local boards as well as questionnaires completed by business firms in Richmond that include personal and service information on their employees.
  • World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918 [microform]: Virginia. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1985. Film 1696.

Personal Papers

  • Astor, Nancy Witcher Langhorne, Viscountess. Women, Politics and Welfare: The Papers of Nancy Astor, 1879–1964 from Reading University Library, Acc. 37422. Available on Misc. Reels 2103–2146. Marlborough: Adam Matthew Publications, 1994.
    Collection includes documents of the Virginia-born Astor’s activities in the British Parliament and WWI civilian relief after her election in 1919.
  • Barksdale Family. Papers, 1917–1921, Acc. 22796a.
    Collection includes letters and a diary of Major George Edward Barksdale and his son Irving Sydnor Barksdale of Henrico County, Virginia, who served in the US Army during the war.
  • Cabell, Randolph McGuire. Diary, 1918 July 3–Sept. 2. Acc. 38551.
    Cabell was a student at Washington and Lee University when he enlisted as a lab technician with Base Hospital No. 45, also known as the “McGuire Medical Unit.” Topics include his enlistment, travel to the war front, and his service in France. Includes photographs.
  • Derrickson, Mary George. Papers, 1909–1943, Acc. 38655.
    Collection includes letters and other papers of Mary George Derrickson and her two sons, Paul Waples Derrickson and Ralph North Derrickson, who served in the U.S. Army during the war. Included are items accumulated from Mary Derrickson’s Gold Star Pilgrimage trip in 1930 to visit the grave of her son, Paul.
  • Goode, Richard A. Papers, 1915–1941, Acc. 36724.
    This collection includes correspondence of Corporal Goode of the First Air Service Mechanic Regiment, Company 15, and other materials from France such as postcards, clippings, photographs, booklets, and a manuscript entitled “A.W.O.L. in Paris.”
  • Hopewell, John S. Sergeant Hopewell Goes To War: The Diary of Harry S. Hopewell, 1916–1919, Acc. 35645.
    Included with the diary of Sergeant Hopewell of the Quartermaster Corps are photographs and wartime songs.
  • Kern, Margaret Ethel Kelley. Papers, Richmond, 1907–1938, Acc. 23481.
    Kern was extremely active in numerous types of volunteer work in World War I, as a writer, and in her role as Information Officer for the Virginia State Chamber of Commerce. The collection reflects her work as a writer, with relief and volunteer work in World War I, the Eightieth Division Veterans Association, and the enforced retirement of Gen. Adelbert Cronkhite.
  • Munford, Mary-Cooke Branch. Papers, 1881–1935 (bulk 1910–1930), Acc. 28142.
    Collection includes material from the Woman’s Committee of the Council of National Defense, which Mumford chaired, documenting her work during WWI.
  • Yonge-Humphreys Family. Papers, 1791–1938, Acc. 28127.
    Collection includes various booklets, broadsides and pictorial magazines regarding, among other things, submarine warfare, the Lusitania, Great Britain, France, Germany, Prussianism, the American Red Cross, and War Work.

Organizational Histories


Military Periodicals

  • American Legion Monthly. Chicago: American Legion, 1926–1937. D570 A1 A32
  • American Legion Weekly. New York: Legion Pub. Corp., 1919–1926. D570 A1 A31
  • Armed Forces Journal International. Washington, D.C.: Army and Navy Journal, Inc, 1863–. U1 A66
  • The Bayonet. Camp Lee, VA.: 1917–1919. Film 202
  • Camp Lee Review. Petersburg, VA.: 1917. U294.5 L35 C18
  • The Crucible. An Organ for the Promotion of a Better Understanding of Germany by the People of the United States. Richmond, VA: The Crucible Publishing Company, 1914–1915. D501 C7
  • The Hatchet, Published on the High Seas [A Daily Newspaper on “The President’s Ship” Homeward Bound]. N.p., 1918–1919. D501 H42
  • Heads Up. Richmond, VA: U.S. Army Debarkation Hospital No. 52, 1918–1919. Film 1670
  • The Reservist. Seven Pines, VA: Seven Pines Bag-Loading Plant, 1918. D501 R43
  • The Stars and Stripes. Washington, D.C.: National Tribune Corp., 1952. D501 S71
    Weekly newspaper originally published in Paris as the “official newspaper of the A[merican] E[xpeditionary] F[orces].”
  • The Volunteer. Richmond, VA: Service Press, 1917–. D501 V9
  • War History Commission News Letter. Richmond, VA: n.p., 1919–1920. D570.85 V8 A25

General Periodicals

Personal Narratives

  • Campbell, Jack. Jack Campbell’s War Diary (1918–1919). Lexington, VA.: C. W. Turner, 1982. D640 C347 1982
  • Catlin, Albertus Wright. With the Help of God and a Few Marines. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page, 1919. D570.9 C3 1919
  • Cronk, Earle Tabor. The Leatherman-Cronk Story of Two Innocents Abroad in the 21st Engineers, Light Railway, World War One. Richmond, VA: n.p., 1963. D570.31 21st C7
  • Cutchins, John Abram. An Amateur Diplomat in the World War. Richmond, VA: Commanders Committee, American Legion, 1938. D570.9 C87
  • Genet, Edmond Charles Clinton. An American for Lafayette: The Diaries of E. C. C. Genet, Lafayette Escadrille. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1981. D603 G45 1981
  • Marshall, George C. Memoirs of My Services in the World War, 1917–1918. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1976. D570.9 M37 1976

Special Collections