News & Notes

Exhibition: “Through the Valley of Death: A Special Collections Perspective on the First World War”

Posted in Announcements, Events, Exhibitions, Special Collections Tagged with: ,

LSU Libraries Special Collections marks the 100th anniversary of U.S. involvement in “The Great War” with the exhibition, “Through the Valley of Death: A Special Collections Perspective on the First World War,” running from February 20 – June 2, 2017 in Hill Memorial Library.

“Through the Valley of Death” features letters, documents, photographs, oral histories and published materials from our major collections, including Rare Books, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, and University Archives, that provide a window into politics, propaganda, combat, home front activities, and social issues of this tumultuous era. Life at LSU during the war, and the university’s efforts to honor the sacrifices of faculty, students and staff, through the building of Memorial Tower and the planting of the Oak Grove, are also explored. Rather than a complete overview of the conflict, the focus of the exhibition is on the materials in Special Collections’ holdings that relate to American involvement in the war.

Memorial Oak Grove

Memorial Oak Grove, LSU Campus Trees were planted in the 1920s in memory of students and alumni who were killed while serving during the First World War.

The stories these century-old items tell resonate with relevance. The introspective, descriptive letters and photographs from combat soldiers are alternately humorous and haunting. Graphic propaganda elicits a visceral response. Newspaper articles outlining racial tensions and concern over immigration evoke images of modern headlines. Oral histories from Louisianans describe service during the Great War, memories of LSU cadets, the flu epidemic abroad and at home, the prejudices that German immigrants faced stateside, the long-lasting repercussions for soldiers who were gassed in the trenches, and how news of the war’s end spread up and down the bayous.

“The First World War touched the lives of millions of Americans and the people of LSU were no different.  Many students, faculty, and staff went ‘over there’ to do their part; others bought war bonds, raised money for the Red Cross, knitted caps and scarves for the boys at the front, and adapted their lectures and assignments to include topics on patriotism and the importance of America’s cause.  The records pertaining to LSU’s role in the war illuminate their efforts and the Memorial Tower and Memorial Oak Grove on campus are daily reminders of the ultimate sacrifice made by Louisianans and LSU alumni and students,” said Barry Cowan, Assistant University Archivist.

“When we first started planning, the concern was that we may not have enough to fill the gallery space. But the opposite is true – we have more materials related to the First World War than we can possibly include in the exhibition.  The good news is that all of our materials are available for research ,” said Leah Wood Jewett, Exhibitions Coordinator.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information visit our exhibitions page or call (225) 578-6544.

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Announcements Events Exhibitions Special Collections

Jennifer Mitchell is the Head of Archival Processing in the Special Collections department of the LSU Libraries.

Posted in Announcements, Events, Exhibitions, Special Collections Tagged with: ,
One comment on “Exhibition: “Through the Valley of Death: A Special Collections Perspective on the First World War”
  1. Dale Aydell says:

    Two of my Great Aunts, Teresa Euphemie and Edna Aydell went to Oklahoma to treat soldiers returning from WWI who were sick from the influenza pandemic that broke out during the war. It cost both their lives. Edna Died Oct 20,1918 and her sister Theresa died on Oct 24, 1918. Edna was 18 yrs old and Teresa was 21. Their bodies were returned home to French Settlement for burial. Both are buried in the French Settlement Community Cemetery.

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On Display

Made in New Orleans: The Past in Print  –  Main Gallery

John Earle Uhler Papers  –  Reading Room

In the News

Made in New Orleans
“Hill Memorial Library showcases ‘Made in New Orleans: The Past in Print’,” The Daily Reveille

Made in New Orleans
On exhibit: ‘Made in New Orleans’ at LSU Hill Memorial Library, March 19-June 8,” inRegister

Letterform Characters
“Hill Memorial Library exhibit explores history of typeface,”  The Daily Reveille

Through the Valley of Death
“Hill Memorial Library debuts WWI exhibit,” The Daily Reveille

Investigating Sherlock
“LSU’s Hill Memorial hosts Sherlock Holmes exhibit,” The Daily Reveille

Jazz Fest 101: A Showcase of Student Oral History Research
“Hill Memorial Library displays ‘Jazz Fest 101,’ explores festival’s past,” The Daily Reveille

A Voyage to the Floating World: Japanese Illustrated Books and East-West Cultural Exchange in the Nineteenth Century
“On Exhibit: A Voyage to the Floating World,” inRegister

Advancing Scholarship & Learning for 80 Years: LSU Press and The Southern Review
“Hill Memorial Library Displays History of LSU Press, Southern Review,” The Daily Reveille

A la Militaire” – The Battle of New Orleans
“Hill Memorial opens ‘A la Militaire,'” The Daily Reveille

Cooperative Extension at LSU
“AgCenter: Louisiana resource for 100 years,”
The Advertiser

I Remember: An Art Show of Environmental Significance
“Time for oil and gas industry to come to the table on coastal restoration,” BR Business Report

The Relentless Pursuit of “Equal”
“Integration Exhibit Opens,” LSU Daily Reveille

Centuries of Style
“Style Stories,” The Advocate

“Clothing as Social History,”

Of Kin & Cane
LSU Daily Reveille

Blacks in the Red Stick
LSU Daily Reveille

Louisiana for Bibliophiles
The Advocate

Change(less): Photography and the Ephemeral Made Permanent
DIG Magazine

Recent Faculty Publications


Hebert, Andrea. “Information Literacy Skills of First-Year Library and Information Science Graduate Students: An Exploratory Study,” Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Volume 13, Issue 3 (September 2018).

Miller, Marty. “Sacred vs. Profane in The Great War: A Neutral’s Indictment: Louis Raemaekers’s Use of Religious Imagery in Adoration of the Magi and Our Lady of Antwerp.” Catholic Library World, vol. 89, no. 1, Sept. 2018, pp. 20–32.

Wilder, Stanley. “Delayed Retirements and the Youth Movement among ARL Library Professionals,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Ziegler, Scott. “PAL: Toward a Recommendation System for Manuscripts,” Information Technology and Libraries, Vol. 37, No. 3 (2018).


Caminita, C., Cook, M., & Paster, A. (2017). Thirty years of preserving, discovering, and accessing U.S. agricultural information: Past progress and current challenges. Library Trends, 65(3), 293-315.

Dauterive, Sarah, John Bourgeois, & Sarah Simms. “How little is too little? An examination of information literacy instruction duration for freshmen.” Journal of Information Literacy, 11.1 (2017): 204-219.

Fontenot, Mitch; Emily Frank; and Andrea Hebert. “Going Where the Users Are: Three Variations on a Theme,” Louisiana Libraries, Fall 2017.

Johnson, Hayley. “#NoDAPL: Social Media, Empowerment, and Civic Participation at Standing Rock,” Library Trends, Fall 2017.


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