On the eve of the centennial of U.S. involvement in World War I, the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum opened My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I. Jay Bigalke, editor of the Philatelic Literature Review and The American Philatelist, and I were at the museum for the reception.
Marshall F. Emery, Interim Director of the National Postal Museum, welcomed the crowd, which included museum staff, noted philatelists like John Hotchner, and members of the public. Curator Lynn Heidelbaugh spoke about the exhibit, and Dr. Doug Dechaw, Digital Humanities Librarian for Chapman University, talked about the university’s Center for American War Letters and its contributions to the exhibit.
Andrew Carroll, Director of the Center for American War Letters and author of the new book My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War, introduced a reading of letters featured in the book and the exhibit. The readings featured correspondence from soldiers and their families, a nurse, and General John J. Pershing, closing with his letter to “My Fellow Soldiers,” written in 1919.
Following the reading, Lynn Heidelbaugh gave spotlight tours of the exhibit, and the Jefferson Street Strutters provided period music.
The exhibit is open through November 29, 2018. The National Postal Museum, together with the American Philatelic Research Library and American Philatelic Society, will host a postal history symposium with the theme WWI and its Immediate Aftermath November 1-2, 2018 at the museum in Washington, D.C. Proposals for papers are due June 15, 2017.