Skip Navigation
Falvey Memorial Library
Advanced
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

WWI at Sea

We recently digitized the Photograph collection of Walter Timothy, Jr., an African American from Philadelphia who served in the United States Navy from 1911 to 1919. The collection consists of photos mainly from Timothy’s years in the Navy, but includes a few earlier photos as well.

Walter Timothy, Jr., was born on November 12, 1894 to Walter Timothy, Sr., and Rosa Timothy. The collection includes 2 photos of Timothy Jr. as a 16-month-old toddler. A few other uncaptioned portraits may depict family members.

The bulk of the photos document Timothy’s time as an enlisted sailor in the United States Navy. Timothy enlisted in April 1911 and was honorably discharged in February 1919. While in the Navy, he served as a mess attendant and cook on several different ships. (The U.S. armed services were racially segregated until the latter half of the 20th century, with African Americans often relegated to support roles, such as stewards and mess workers.) The ships on which Timothy served were primarily assigned to convoy duties.

Photos of Navy life include several of Timothy’s shipmates, some in silly poses. There are also numerous photos of different kinds of ships, including several in “dazzle camouflage,” a technique in which ships were painted in bold geometric patterns in order to make them more difficult targets. Airships, airplanes, and submarines are depicted a few times as well. There are also a few photos of shipboard pets or mascots, including a cat, a dog, and a goat.

After the war, Timothy worked as a letter carrier. He married Laura Christine Ford in the 1920s and they do not appear to have had any children. Timothy died in May 1985.

Further reading:

A Short History on Segregation in the Navy: From the War of 1812 through World War II, U.S. Naval Institute blog, February 26, 2019. https://www.navalhistory.org/2019/02/26/a-short-history-on-segregation-in-the-navy-from-the-war-of-1812-through-world-war-ii

General Mess Manual and Cook Book, U.S. Navy, 1902. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/g/general-mess-manual-and-cook-book.html


Like

eBook available: Our Young Aeroplane Scouts In France and Belgium

Our latest Distributed Proofreaders project to reach Project Gutenberg is another example of juvenile fiction from the World War I era: Our Young Aeroplane Scouts In France and Belgium by Horace Porter. Like Two American Boys with the Allied Armies, this was published in 1915, before the United States’ entry into the war.

In the novel, two airplane-loving friends, Billy and Henri, find themselves drawn into events as the war unfolds in France. Much of the narrative involves Henri’s efforts to retrieve his family’s treasure from the war zone, but the story is highly episodic and contains a variety of different scenarios. Its portrayal of death and combat is fairly unflinching for a children’s book. The writing itself is quite slangy and filled with unusual sentence constructions, making it surprisingly difficult for the modern-day reader to parse. Perhaps this was more accessible to its target audience at the time, though given that other books from the period remain much more readable today, it’s also possible the writing always felt awkward.

Awkward or not, the full text of the book is now available for free online reading (or download in a variety of common eBook formats) through Project Gutenberg.


Like

Available for proofreading: Two American Boys with the Dardanelles Battle Fleet

Two American Boys with the Dardenelles Battle FleetLess than two weeks ago, we released the eBook of the World War I juvenile novel, Two American Boys with the Allied Armies, by Major Sherman Crockett; now we are ready to begin work on one of that story’s sequels, Two American Boys with the Dardanelles Battle Fleet.

If you would like to help create a new electronic edition of this more-than-a-century-old story, you can join the Distributed Proofreaders project, where volunteers contribute small amounts of work to produce large numbers of eBooks. To learn more about how the process works, see our earlier blog post, Proofreading the Digital Library. Once you are ready to help, the adventure await you at the book’s project page.


Like

eBook available: Two American Boys with the Allied Armies

Cover imageOur latest Distributed Proofreaders project to become a Project Gutenberg eBook is another World War I juvenile, Two American Boys with the Allied Armies, by “Major Sherman Crockett.” This book is the first in a series, in which two American youths visit the European war zone in search of a missing relative.

Published in 1915, before the United States entered into the conflict, the tone of the book is quite different from war novels of the following years, in which anti-German sentiment was much more explicit. Here, the main characters are careful to maintain neutrality, expressing admiration for bravery on both sides of the conflict, and rendering aid to the injured without prejudice. The portrayal of war is sometimes more nuanced than usual for this type of book as well, making some effort to separate the actions of individuals from those of nations.

However, just because the portrayal of conflict is in some ways more subtle than in other similar books, nothing else about the volume offers much subtlety. The titular boys, a pair of cousins, are drawn with little shading: Jack is always right and does everything perfectly, and Amos simply follow’s Jack’s lead, fawning along the way. Back story tends to be filled in through expositionary dialogue, with absolutely no regard for naturalism. The book also expresses quite strong feelings for the value of unquestioning patriotism.

Along with other series books of this vintage, this title fills in more of the picture of how an active conflict was used to sell books to children in the early 20th century, and what messages publishers thought were appropriate to present in this context.

The entire book is available to read online or download in popular eBook formats through Project Gutenberg.


Like

eBook available: The Red Cross Girls on the French Firing Line

The second Red Cross Girls adventure (following The Red Cross Girls in the British Trenches) is now available on Project Gutenberg. In The Red Cross Girls on the French Firing Line, the girls’ adventures in France continue, with the narrative giving much of its attention to Eugenia, the eldest of the group, who was more of a background character in the previous volume. As in the previous volume, the book develops the characters while offering occasional action sequences, at the same time setting some seeds that may lead to future romantic plot threads. Some of the prose is a bit awkward, perhaps suggesting that the book was written in greater haste than the previous volume, but this is another interesting specimen of war-time juvenile fiction.

As always, the entire book may be read online or downloaded in popular eBook formats through Project Gutenberg.


Like

eBook available: The Red Cross Girls in the British Trenches

The latest title from our collection to become a Project Gutenberg eBook is The Red Cross Girls in the British Trenches, the first title in a series of juvenile adventures about four American girls who come from substantially different backgrounds but work together to provide relief to the wounded during the first World War.

While many war series were published at this time with a male audience in mind, this is one of the rarer titles marketed to young girls. The narrative is significantly more character-driven than the “boys’ books” of the time, but it still delivers a few action set pieces. It also touches on issues including gender roles, mental illness and the impact of the Civil War, providing an example of how these topics were portrayed to a mainstream juvenile audience at the start of the twentieth century (which, of course, may seem insensitive by twenty-first century standards).

The full text of the book may be read online or downloaded in a variety of popular formats through Project Gutenberg.


Like

Available for proofreading: Our Young Aeroplane Scouts in France and Belgium

Our latest book to appear as part of the Distributed Proofreaders project is Our Young Aeroplane Scouts in France and Belgium. Like the recent Red Cross Girls titles, this is part of a wave of juvenile adventure novels released in reaction to the first World War, and it has been out of print for more than a century.

You can volunteer to help turn the images from our Digital Library into a new, free electronic edition of the text at Project Gutenberg. To join in, first read this earlier blog post to learn how the process works, then head to the project page to begin work.


Like

Available for proofreading: Two American Boys with the Allied Armies

Cover imageFollowing the completion of the Dreadnought Boys series, our next Distributed Proofreaders project is the first entry in another early 20th-century juvenile military series. Two American Boys with the Allied Armies was published in 1915, before America’s entry into World War I, and it follows the adventures of the titular boys during that conflict. The series would go on for a total of five novels, concluding in 1918 along with the conflict it described.

To help create a new, free digital edition of this more-than-a-century-old book, you can read this earlier blog post to learn how the process works, then join the work on the project page.


Like

Available for proofreading: The Red Cross Girls on the French Firing Line

Following last month’s unveiling of The Red Cross Girls in the British Trenches, we have released its sequel into the rounds of the Distributed Proofreaders project. The Red Cross Girls on the French Firing Line is the second entry in the WWI-era juvenile series.

To help create a new free electronic edition of this century-old book on Project Gutenberg, you can read this earlier blog post to learn how the process works, then join in the work at the project page.


Like

Available for proofreading: The Red Cross Girls in the British Trenches

The subject of our newest Distributed Proofreaders project, The Red Cross Girls in the British Trenches, is the first in a ten-volume series of juvenile novels about nurses during the first World War. The series outlasted the war by a few years, but this initial volume was written while the conflict was still ongoing.

To help create a new free electronic edition of this century-old book on Project Gutenberg, you can read this earlier blog post to learn how the process works, then join in the work at the project page.


Like

Next Page »

 


Last Modified: June 27, 2019