Kelvin Smith Library to host “Universities at War: The CWRU Student Perspective of World War I” exhibit, lecture series

WWI posterIn the early 20th century, the American college experience began to encompass the fun, frivolity and new friendships that coexist with the learning environment on campus. However, when the United States entered World War I in 1917, the college experience changed dramatically on many campuses, including those of Western Reserve University (WRU) and the Case School of Applied Sciences (CSAS).

From the beginning of the war, young Americans were bombarded with messages about what their relationship to the war could and should be. The student response at WRU and CSAS to these changes reflected a desire to maintain the traditions of the college experience, while also embracing the emphasis on sacrifice and heroism expressed in war propaganda.

Presented by Kelvin Smith Library, “Universities at War” is an exhibit that investigates the messages students received about the war through various print culture media. Posters, postcards, literature, advertisements, flyers and pamphlets will be on display, as well as university curriculum and student responses through yearbooks and other student publications. The exhibit also features a collection of WWI propaganda posters generously loaned by Stan Berger.

Join us for the following special events. Click here to RSVP.

  • “Universities at War” Exhibit Opening Reception
    • Thursday, Sept. 18 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    • Kelvin Smith Library, Hatch Reading Room
  • “Western Reserve and Case and World War I” Presentation by Richard Baznick (Director, Institute for the Study of the University in Society)
    • Friday, Sept. 26 from 12:15-1:30 p.m.
    • Kelvin Smith Library, Dampeer Room
  • “World War I in Pictures” Presentation by Henry Adams
    (The Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History, CWRU)

    • Friday, Oct. 31 from 12:15-1:30 p.m.
    • Kelvin Smith Library, Dampeer Room
  • “Cleveland during World War I” Presentation by John Grabowski
    (Krieger-Mueller Associate Professor in Applied History, CWRU and Historian & Senior Vice President for Research and Publications, Western Reserve Historical Society)

    • Friday, Nov. 14 from 12:15-1:30 p.m.
    • Kelvin Smith Library, Dampeer Room

These events are free and open to the public with valid photo ID. The “Universities at War” exhibit will be open during regular business hours beginning Friday, Sept. 19. For more information, please contact