NEW EXHIBIT ON DISPLAY: Over the last year our Museum Curator has been researching the First World War in Latah County. Our new exhibit focuses on correspondence from the local soldiers of Latah County and paintings from a book donated to LCHS entitled "The War Paintings of Claggett Wilson" to provide context. This new installment of our World War I series premiered at the 43rd Annual Ice Cream Social on July 29, 2018.

Over the next 18 months, the Latah County Historical Society will present learning opportunities in tandem with the American centennial of WWI involvement. The first installment of this series was premiered on April 27, 2017. World War I touched every corner of America, including the communities of Latah County. Come and learn about how this major conflict shaped our region.

ABOUT THIS EXHIBIT: Without the marvelous participation of newspaper editors, this project would have been much more difficult. Newspaper editors played a significant role in receiving soldiers correspondence and publishing it for the community to read. Through this practice, our Museum Curator was able to research and read soldiers' letters from the local area during the First World War in preparation of the exhibit. Hundreds of pieces of correspondence from local soldiers in the Genesee News, Kendrick Gazette, and The Daily Star-Mirror (Moscow) were examined. A selection of these stories were then curated for this exhibition. Reading these stories illuminates the impact that local soldiers had on the War, which was being fought across the globe.   

 

To then give the reader some context, our Curator turned to art. In 1939, Abe Goff donated a book entitled The War Paintings of Claggett Wilson to the American Legion Cabin Dudley Loomis Post #6. The work was subsequently given to the Latah County Historical Society where we became fascinated by Wilson’s work. In further research, it was found that the original paintings have been donated to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Since these paintings were outside of copyright, we were able to reproduce and use them to illustrate the content of the letters.

 

In one such letter George Meyer talks about leaving home, which for him was in the Kendrick area: “I want to thank the ladies of the Red Cross for the Comfort Kit for it is sure fine -- has come in handy several times already and I know I will be using it most every day in the future.” ... “We had a great time in Moscow. In Spokane the Red Cross gave us a dandy lunch and at the train they had lunches, tobacco and fruit for us to have on the train and say I shook hands with more pretty girls coming over here than I ever did before in my life, but girls are a scarce article over here only a few visitors.”

THIS EXHIBIT IS MADE POSSIBLE BY A COMMUNITY ENHANCEMENT GRANT FROM THE IDAHO STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

More to Explore

Curator Zach Wnek created a digital exhibit on our Google Cultural Institute page to compliment "World War One: Latah County Stories," which is on display now at the McConnell Mansion. 

One of the highlights of the opening reception for "World War One: Latah County Stories" was the Red Cross Cake that guests were invited to sample. A few of our wonderful board members tried their hand at this vintage recipe, which was promoted during WWI by the Red Cross as a durable treat that could be sent to the boys abroad. 

© 2019 by the Latah County Historical Society.

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