About the Exhibit

April 2017 marks the centenary of America’s entry into World War I. In commemoration, Northwestern University Libraries present a series of exhibits and events that honor the contribution of the Northwestern and Chicago communities to the war efforts. Through posters, photographs, original documents, manuscripts, and archival artifacts, Northwestern Remembers the First World War retells many stories from a world at war, including the history of Base Hospital 12, a medical encampment drawn from the University’s medical and dental schools.

The images on this website draw largely from the Base Hospital 12 collection held in University Archives, creating a picture of the daily life of medical staff during the war. These letters, photographs, and artifacts reveal that war service for medical professionals was difficult and uncomfortable. The staff treated shrapnel wounds, infections, mustard gas burns, exposure, and emotional trauma. Base Hospital 12 faced bad weather and water shortages, long work hours and little privacy or time off through the end of the war. Months after the cessation of hostilities, the staff finally returned to Chicago in April 1919.

Exhibit: March 27 – June 16, 2017

Exhibit: March 27 – June 16, 2017

Northwestern Remembers the First World War is on display at Northwestern University Libraries from March 27 – June 16, 2017, with displays in University Library and Deering Library with artifacts from Northwestern’s own Base Hospital 12 and war posters that rallied a nation’s courage and support.

Special Thanks

I would like to express my appreciation to all those who provided me the possibility to complete this exhibit. A special gratitude I give to Drew Scott, Carlynne Robinson, and Josh Honn for helping me with all the steps of the exhibit. 

Special thanks go to Susan Sacharski, Archivist of the Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and to Brigid Lusk, Director of the Midwest Nursing History Research Center at UIC College of Nursing. 

Many thanks to Kevin Leonard, Anne Zald, Dan Zellner, Tonia Grafakos, Cory Slowik, Janet Olson, Brittan Nannenga, Ann Aler, Scott Krafft, Ann Duncan-Gibbs, Barbara Stanek, Lauren McKeen, Liz Weinstein, Clare Roccaforte, Sigrid Perry, and the Facilities Operations and Security Management team of the Library. 

A special thanks to all the men and women serving our country and who have served.

Yvonne Spura, curator

Pritzker Military Museum & Library

The mission of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library is to acquire and maintain an accessible collection of materials and to develop appropriate programs focusing on the Citizen Soldier in the preservation of democracy.


Northwestern University Libraries is dedicated to the fair and ethical preservation, digitization, curation, and use of its collections. This exhibit is made available to the public under Fair Use (Section 107 of the Copyright Act) for learning and teaching purposes, as well as to promote the mission and activities of Northwestern University Libraries (ARL Code of Best Practices in Fair Use). Northwestern University Libraries does not claim the copyright of any materials in this collection. If you are the copyright holder of any item(s) in this collection or have questions, comments or concerns about this exhibit, please contact us via email at library@northwestern.edu.