WWI and America

Join the Jesup, Acadia Senior College, and the George Edwin Kirk American Legion Post 25 for “World War I and America,” a series of eight programs in early 2018 about the first World War and its effects on America, Maine and and Mount Desert Island. Also, from January through March, stop by the Jesup to see a collection of artifacts and documents pertaining to World War I and other wars, donated for display by the American Legion and members of the MDI community.
These programs and the display are supported in part by a grant for “World War I and America,” a two-year national initiative of the  Library of America presented in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and other organizations with generous support from The National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information about any of the programs in this series, contact Melinda Rice at mrice@jesuplibrary.org or at 207-288-4245. All programs are at the Jesup and are free to attend, though some do require advance registration.

Mon. Jan. 8 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. 

Facilitated discussion with Dr. Libby Bischof

Dr. Bischof, an associate professor of history and chair of the Department of History and Political Science at the University of Southern Maine, will moderate an in-depth discussion, springboarding from assigned readings. Dr. Bischof is a 19th-century American cultural historian. The event is free and open to the public but registration is required. To register and receive the readings contact Melinda Rice at mrice@jesuplibrary.org or at 207-288-4245. 

Sat., Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. 

“George Kirk and Bar Harbor in World War I” with the George Edwin Kirk American Legion Post 25 
Members of the Post will share the story of George Kirk, his life and World War I service, and how he came to be the namesake of Bar Harbor’s American Legion post. Kirk was a 1912 graduate of the Bar Harbor High School, a student at the University of Maine, and died in a field hospital in Europe in 1918. Some World War I-era documents and artifacts also will be on display.  

Thurs., Feb 1 at 7 p.m.

Film Screening: “War Horse”
Join the Jesup for a screening of “War Horse.” This Academy Award-nominated film directed by Steven Spielberg is set during World War I. A British teen named Albert raises and trains a horse, Joey, but at the outbreak of the war, Albert’s father sells Joey to the British cavalry. Against the backdrop of the Great War, Joey begins an odyssey full of danger, joy and sorrow, and he transforms those he meets along the way. Meanwhile Albert, unable to forget his equine friend, searches the battlefields of France to find Joey and bring him home. 

Sat., Feb. 10 at 1 p.m.

“World War II: Exploring Local Connections” with the George Edwin Kirk American Legion Post 25
Join a panel of speakers to learn about the experiences of MDI residents during World War II, and bring your own stories to share. 

Sat., March 10 at 1 p.m. 

“The Wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Beyond: Exploring Local Connections” with the George Edwin Kirk American Legion Post 25 
Join a panel of speakers including those who served in Korea, Vietnam and subsequent wars, and learn more about the experiences of MDI residents who served in these wars. Bring your own stories to share.

Mon., March 12 at 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. 

Two Events with  Dr. Donald Zillman:
9:30 a.m. Facilitated Discussion 
7:00 p.m. Author Talk
 Learn more about the experiences of American citizens at home, with Dr. Zillman, co-author of the book “Living the World War: A Weekly Exploration of the American Experience in World War I.” First, at 9:30 a.m., join us for a facilitated discussion in a small-group setting. Then, at  7 p.m., Dr. Zillman will give an author talk. Using the Congressional Record and the New York Times, “Living the World War” delves into the lives of Americans during the war who did not know what was happening overseas in real time. The book also explores how the experience of war and emerging national issues profoundly shaped America in the 21st century. Dr. Zillman is the Edward Godfrey Professor of Law at the University of Maine School of Law. In his career he served as an Army Judge Advocate, and as a professor of law at Arizona State University and the University of Utah before coming to Maine as the dean of the University of Maine Law School. He also served as the president of the University of Maine at Presque Isle and as a visiting professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. Both of these programs are free and open to the public but registration is required for the morning discussion. To register contact Melinda Rice at mrice@jesuplibrary.org or at 207-288-4245. 

Thurs., March 29 at 7 p.m.

“The Maine Homefront in WWI” with Earle Shettleworth 
Join Maine State Historian Earle G.  Shettleworth, Jr. to learn more about Maine’s role in World War I. This illustrated lecture documents the lives of Maine’s men and women in World War I, especially here at home. Thirty-five thousand men and women across the state joined the military in 1917 and 1918 to fight in a “war to end all wars” that promised to “make the world safe for democracy.” Maine civilians supported the war by purchasing $118.4 million in government bonds and $8.4 million in war savings stamps. Private sector relief programs operated by the American Red Cross, YMCA, YWCA and the Salvation Army also received generous contributions from the public. By the end of the war, every man, woman and child in the state had donated an average of $147 to the war effort. Newly unearthed historic photographs, many of them real photo postcards of the period, tell the story of recruitment, troop departures, parades, bond drives, shipbuilding, war-related industries and knitting socks for the soldiers. This chapter in Maine’s past comes alive in these century-old pictures.