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World War I

Resources for conducting research on the First World War.

ND Rare Books and Special Collections Holdings

Manuscript Collection of Dr. George Marshall Oakden – Collection of diaries, letters, documents, and ephemera of a Surgeon of the British Royal Navy that details Oakden’s service to Britain during World War I. Of considerable interest are Oakden’s about naval actions around Gallipoli. MSE/MD 3820-001 to MSE/MD 3820-014

C. E. Le Rossignol World War I Nurse Letters and Photographs Collection – Collection or 54 letters between C. E. Rossignol and her brother, Arthur, while they both were serving in World War I from 1914 to 1919. C. E. was a nurse and her brother was a soldier with the British Expeditionary Forces. MSE/MD 3821-1 to MSE/MD 3821-81

Illustrated London News, American edition, Special Collections, Rare Boxed AP4 .IL62, 1914-1918 (incomplete)

Humphrey M. Barbour World War I Scrapbooks – A four-volume illustrated memoir, in scrapbook form, of the World War I military service of Humphrey M. Barbour, an artillery officer in the American Army's 42nd (Rainbow) Division. In addition to a 220-page typescript memoir the volumes contain close to 1000 photographic prints, postcards, published halftones, maps, manuscript military records, and drawings relating to Barbour's service, 1917 to 1919. MSN/MN 0506-1-B to MSN/MN 0506-4-B; MSN/MN 0506-5 to MSN/MN 0506-7

Rosen, Abraham. Abraham Rosen Diary. 1917-1919. 3 vols. A World War I soldier’s diary written by Abraham Rosen (1898-1960), whose family had emigrated from Bessarabia (Russia) to Philadelphia in 1908. Rosen served in the 110th Infantry Regiment (28th Division) of the U. S. Army from March 1917 to May 1919, first in Co. M and subsequently in the Signal Platoon of Headquarters Co. The 110th Infantry arrived in France in May 1918 and served in many of the major campaigns of that year, including the Meuse-Argonne offensive. Two initial volumes, covering December 1917 to March 1918, were written during training at Camp Hancock, Georgia. A third, much longer volume (perhaps 25,000 words) covers Rosen's last months of training, his wartime service in France, and the occupation. Rosen was a Jew, and his persecution by other military personnel is a feature of the narrative. MSN/MN 8014-1 to MSN/MN 8014-4

Lenore Mooney Papers – The correspondence and other papers of the American Lenore Mooney (1859-1941), dating especially from her time as a relief worker in Paris during World War I. There are many letters to Mooney from French soldiers and others victimized by the war, as well as a substantial correspondence with nephew Charles E. Bayly, Jr., an ambulance driver with the American Field Service who subsequently served as sous-lieutenant in the French army. MSN/MN 0500-1 to MSN/MN 0500-241

Flora Elsie Hill Journal – The European travel journal of Flora Elsie Hill (b. 1862), a teacher at the State Normal School at Marquette, Michigan. The journal includes entries ranging from 12 April to 18 August 1914. Of particular interest are the entries after 4 August, which describe Hill’s difficulties in getting out of Russia and her anxious trip back to England in the uncertain opening days of World War I. MSN/MN 8005-1

Two Diaries in Official Army Books covering the period 1 January 1918 to 10 February 1919. 266 manuscript pages, written in a neat secretarial hand, chronicling in detail the progress of the final year of WWI and the immediate aftermath of the Armistice. The diaries are unsigned but appear to be an official day by day Army record of the War, chronicling aspects of the fighting, troop movements, etc., as well as other matters of concern, such as the growing problems in Ireland and in Russia in the immediate aftermath of the Bolshevist Revolution and political developments. Included also is a full text of the Armistice. Eight finely executed manuscript maps showing aspects of the War in its final stages have been carefully and neatly prepared in blue and green ink and appear to be copies of maps published contemporaneously in The Times. The original press cuttings containing The Times versions of the maps are loosely inserted with the diaries. MSE-MD 3823-1B and MSE-MD 3823-2B

Le Miroir, 5 volumes, 1914/1915-1918-1919.  Paris weekly covering 9 August 1914 to 27 July 1919 (260 issues total). Special Collections, Rare Books XLarge – D 501 .M57

Schultz, Ernest. A travers les mers et les océans vers la France. Débarquement des troupes russes à Marseille, 20 avril 1916. Paris?: E. Schultz, 1916? [in French and Russian] Photo album signed by Colonel Ernest Schultz that contains 95 photos documenting the landing of Russian troops in Marseille on April 20, 1916. In-process – contact Natasha Lyandres.

Wachtfeuer: Kunstblätter zum Krieg (1914-1918) – Complete set of 221 weekly issues plus the special issue for New Year’s 1915. Primary source showing German nationalistic text with more than 1,000 illustrations of war propaganda depicting war situations, important politicians, and allegorical content. Special Collections, Rare Books Medium – D 526.5 .W34

How to Use the RBSC

Hours You Will Be Able to Use Your Materials

Monday-Friday, 9 am – 5 pm

  • Often there is someone available prior to 9 am if you happen to come and want to begin reading materials that have already been pulled for you. Keep in mind that new materials are not pulled until 9 am due to staffing.
  • Don’t count on working in Special Collections on the weekend – the department is closed Saturday and Sunday.
What to Do and Expect When You Arrive
  • Leave your coat, bag, pens, and all food (including gum and candy) and drinks in the coatroom on the left as you walk into the exhibit area. There are some lockers there to use on a first come, first served basis.
  • You may bring a laptop, tablet, cell phone (please turn the ringer off), paper, and pencils with you. NO PENS.
  • Bring your ND id and sign in at the front desk.
  • Tell the person at the desk what you want to see (have the call number (ex. Medium B 1873 .B535 1937) or shelf mark (ex. MSN/CW 5084-105) from the library catalog with you. If you made an appointment with one of the curators, tell the person at the desk and he or she will get the curator to speak with you.
  • If you are interested in using the overhead scanner to scan a book or other type of material, ask the person at the front desk. You can save the file and email it to yourself or save it to your own thumbdrive.
Finding Aids
  • A Finding Aid is a type of guide that provides information about items in a collection of records. It gives information such as the acquisition and processing of the materials, their provenance, the size of the collection and types of materials in it, the organization and arrangement of the materials, and an inventory of the series and folders of the collection.
  • Finding Aids for some of ND's archival collections.
Library Catalog
  • ND Catalog – Select “Special Collections” from the “Search Scope” drop-down menu
  • Catalog Classic – Select “Hesburgh Special Collections” under “Limit to: All Locations”
Requesting Materials

Contact the curator (see below) for the type of material you want to see preferably 1-2 days in advance.

For manuscripts, please have the name of the collection and identifying number. This number generally begins with MS followed by another letter designating the geographical area, then a slash, then 2 or 3 letters generally representing the time period, followed by a number. For example: MSN/CW 1009 is Manuscript North American / Civil War 1009. “INQ” is used for the Inquisition collection.

For books, look the title up in the library catalog. Write down the entire call number (in bold below). The words “Vault,” “XSmall,” “Small,” “Medium,” “(MR) Medium,” “Large,” “XLarge,” and “Oversize” are very important to include. This identifies the location of the item in our storage facilities. For example:

  • Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library Special Coll. Vault (D 17 .Sch22L)
  • Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library Special Coll. Rare Books Medium (B 1873 .B535 1937)
  • Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library Special Coll. (MR) Medium (PS 3505 .R43 C66 1968) **The (MR) is very important to write down – it tells us the book is in a different location so we can go there directly and not keep you waiting.**
Whom to Contact to Use the Material
  • General Inquiries: Special Collections, 574-631-0290,
  • Ancient and Medieval Collections, Dave Gura, 574-631-6489,
  • North American Manuscripts and Sport Collections: George Rugg, 574-631-6506,
  • Early Modern and Modern European Collections including Irish Collections, Julie Tanaka, 574-631-7845,
  • Russian Collections, Natasha Lyandres, 574-631-3009,
  • Latin American Collections, any of the curators above
How Much Time to Allow to Get Access to the Materials
  • Most items can be accessed the same day they are requested. It is possible to walk in and request materials, but you may have to wait depending on their location and the time of day (materials generally are not paged between 11:30 am – 1:00 pm)
  • To save yourself time, please try to request materials at least 1 day in advance.