The Library of Congress has recently placed online the diaries, notebooks and address books of John J. Pershing, commander-in-chief of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, and the diaries of George S. Patton, a tank commander in World War I and a U.S. Army general in World War II.
These items join thousands of original materials from the World War I era that the Library of Congress has digitized and made accessible for use, ahead of the centennial of America’s entry into the Great War in April 2017.
Pershing’s digitized diaries, notebooks and address books describe his command of the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I and his postwar service as army chief of staff until 1925. Patton’s diaries, 1910-1945, illustrate his activities during the Mexican Punitive Expedition, World War I and World War II.
The online materials of both men are part of larger collections held by the Library of Congress that are available for research and can be viewed on-site in the Library’s Manuscript Division Reading Room.
The entire collection of Pershing papers spans the years 1882-1971, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1904-1948. It consists of correspondence, diaries, notebooks, speeches, statements, writings, orders, maps, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, picture albums, posters, photographs, printed matter and memorabilia.
The entire collection of Patton’s papers spans the years 1807-1979, with the bulk of the papers concentrated from 1904-1945. The collection documents Patton’s military career, including his attendance at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, 1904-1909; his service on the Mexican border as a member of John J. Pershing’s Mexican Punitive Expedition, 1916-1917; his service as an aide-de-camp to Pershing and later as a tank commander in World War I, 1917-1919; and his military career from 1938-1945. The majority of the papers chronicle Patton’s World War II service.
Other World War I-era original-source materials that the Library has digitized include posters; sheet music; military battles and campaign maps; and newspapers, including The Stars and Stripes. These items can be searched for and viewed on the Library’s website at loc.gov.
On April 4, 2017, the Library of Congress will open a major exhibition, "Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I," to commemorate the centennial of the United States’ entry into the Great War. The exhibition will examine the upheaval of world war, as Americans experienced it—domestically and overseas. It will close in January 2019. Initially, the exhibition will feature 200 items, but during its 18-month run, numerous other artifacts will be rotated into the display.
An exhibition showing how American artists galvanized public interest in World War I is currently on display at the Library of Congress. "World War I: American Artists View the Great War" is on view through Aug. 19, 2017 in the Graphic Arts Galleries on the ground floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The exhibition is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. An online version can be viewed at loc.gov/exhibits/american-artists-view-the-great-war/.
With the most comprehensive collection of multi-format World War I holdings in the nation, the Library is a unique resource for primary-source materials, education plans, public programs and on-site visitor experiences about The Great War, including exhibits, symposia and book talks.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov, and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.