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Kansas topics in Chronicling America - World War I

Important dates:

  • July 28, 1914: Beginning of WWI

  • April 6, 1917: United States declares war

  • July 1917: Construction begins on Camp Funston

  • March 1918: First reports from Haskell County, Kansas of an "influenza of a severe type"

  • November 11, 1918: Armistice with Germany signed

  • June 28, 1919: Treaty of Versailles signed ending the war

Below are article links to a sampling of historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection.

Influenza Epidemic

In 1918 the United States was involved in World War I, but was also dealing with the outbreak of a deadly influenza epidemic. Often referred to as the Spanish Flu during the period, this epidemic took a significant toll on Kansas with 2,639 recorded deaths. However, the death toll across the globe was much worse, with estimated deaths varying anywhere from 50 million to 100,000 million people.

Suggested search terms: Influenza, Spanish Influenza, Flu Epidemic, Influenza Epidemic of 1918

“Uncle Sam’s Advice on Flu,” The Liberal democrat. (Liberal, Kan.), 24 Oct. 1918. 

“May Close All Churches and Schools Here,” “Kansans Die of ‘Flu’,” “Go Under Quarantine,” The Topeka state journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 08 Oct. 1918.

“Facts and Figures of ‘Flu’,”The Liberal democrat. (Liberal, Kan.), 05 Feb. 1920.

“Rebound in Flu Shown in State Reports Today,”The Topeka state journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 06 Feb. 1920.

Fort Riley and Camp Funston

When the United States became involved in World War I, almost 80,000 Kansas men joined the armed forces.  There became a need for new military men to be trained; Camp Funston was established at Fort Riley for that purpose.  The camp was one of 16 divisional cantonment training camps built during World War I, and was named after Brigadier General Frederick Funston.  Under auspices of the National War Work Council and the Y.M.C.A, the Topeka state journal published an edition for Camp Funston called “Trench and Camp.” 

Suggested search terms: Camp Funston, Fort Riley
“The Regiment of Negro Infantry now at Camp Funston,”The Kansas City sun. (Kansas City, Mo.), 03 Nov. 1917.

“Camp Funston News,” “Assembling Recruits,”The Topeka state journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 09 Feb. 1918.

“Visitors’ Days,”The Topeka state journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 29 June 1918.

“Q. M. Wants Help,”The Topeka state journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 14 Sept. 1918.

“Funston is First,” “Cantonment Life,”The Topeka state journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 26 Oct. 1918.

The American Red Cross

The American Red Cross was a new organization at the start of World War I.  When the United States entered the war in 1917, the organization grew tremendously.  Of their many contributions, the Red Cross was especially recognized by their efforts of serving troops by dispatching medical services and providing food and comfort items.

Suggested search terms: Red Cross, American Red Cross

“Answer the Call,”Baxter Springs news. (Baxter Springs, Kan.), 12 July 1917.

“The Red Cross—What-How-Why,”Western Kansas world. (WaKeeney, Kan.), 19 July 1917. 

“Red Cross Work in Civilian Relief Full of Romance,” “What the Red Cross is Doing and What You Can Do,”Western Kansas world. (WaKeeney, Kan.), 23 May 1918.

“How Was the Last War Fund Spent?,”The Liberal democrat. (Liberal, Kan.), 16 May 1918. 

“Fly Your Flag,”The Topeka state journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 13 Dec. 1918.

“Join: Make this a Red Cross Christmas,”The Topeka state journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 17 Dec. 1918.