The Bloomsburg State Normal School
and the Great War, 1914-1918
When the First World War broke out in Europe in 1914, Bloomsburg had been a state normal school for teacher education for 45 years. The war had minimal impact on the school, except for the elimination of German as a foreign language, until the United States entered the war in April 1917. From then on, many male students left to enter the service and those that were left supported the war effort by raising money through Liberty Loans and the Red Cross War Fund. Yet life at the school went on, with dances and May Day celebrations. The campus would end up being most affected not by war, but disease. The Great Influenza Epidemic hit Bloomsburg in the fall of 1918, the campus was quarantined, and three students lost their lives. After the war, a living memorial of pine trees to 15 men and one woman connected to the Normal School who lost their lives in the conflict was dedicated on May 30, 1919. After falling into relative neglect, it would be restored and rededicated 84 years later.
This exhibit documents life at the Normal School and Town of Bloomsburg from 1914 to 1918 through the scrapbooks kept by three students; the impact of the influenza epidemic; the lives of soldiers who survived the war; the lives of the 16 who did not; and the WWI Memorial Pinery, its original dedication and restoration in 2003. It contains photographs, post cards, programs, flyers, newspaper clippings, yearbooks, and clothing.
The exhibit can be found in the flat cases in front of the University Archives on the third floor of Andruss Library and will be on display until March 1, 2019.
The University Archives periodically creates online or 'virtual' exhibits to highlight the Archives' collections and the history of Bloomsburg University.
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