World War I Soldiers
As part of a long-term State Library project to make as many collections as possible available to the public through the web, we have been at work since late 2007 digitizing a collection of World War I portraits given to the State Library by the Boston Globe in 1935. With over 8,000 photographs and three times as many corresponding biographical cards, we have also created a database that includes basic information about each soldier -- assignment, rank, merit awards, and sometimes even extra facts from newspaper clippings.

Although there are a few candid snapshots in the collection, most of the photographs seem to be professional portraits taken for military record displaying the soldier’s name, rank, unit and division. If the paper published a story about a soldier (usually if he had been wounded or killed), the photo is accompanied by a "cut slip" with more information on the soldier's service and the article that appeared in the Globe. Some of the photos are also accompanied by a metal plate used for printing the picture in the newspaper. Each picture represents one of the many stories to be told about soldiers in the Great War.

On July 20, 2011, scanning was finally completed -- 8,487 New England soldiers yielded over 11,000 images! The final photograph is of J.W. Zwinge, member of the 101st Field Artillery, Battery A. Although the last photo scan suggests the end of an era, the database will continue to grow with over 25,000 biographical cards that have yet to be added

The State Library is planning to have the images and biographical information available for all soon through our website.
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