100 Years Ago: New Hampshire’s WWI Letters of Death and Heroism

“Are the folks at home backing us up?” Liberty bond advertisement, lithograph, color. Poster showing a soldier writing a letter by candlelight. WWI, 1918. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

To most people WWI is a just a series of statistics or a list of famous battles. Perhaps you can remember names of a few high ranking officers. It is the men in the trenches (and the women in the hospitals) who should be first in our thoughts. They died and suffered in great numbers.

In the Somme valley, the back of language broke. It could no longer carry its former meanings. World War I changed the life of words and images in art, radically and forever. It brought our culture into the age of mass-produced, industrialized death. This, at first, was indescribable.

This quotation by Robert Hughes, in The Shock of the New, expresses the unnatural, grim reality that came crashing down on those serving in Europe during World War I.  Not only was it a new experience by those directly participating, but in the age of improved photography and motion pictures, man’s inhumanity was captured and widely shared. Continue reading

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New Hampshire Tidbit: Who Let the Shaker Cows Out of the Barn?

“Perfect Seventh” of Canterbury (NH) Shaker Village, a thoroughbred Holstein cow.

In 1863 the cows of Canterbury New Hampshire’s Shaker Village would have been “kept in one of forty-six stalls, in two rows facing each other, with a wide passage between them. Each animal, has its name and place, and it trained to know and take it; and they all walk in and out with the regularity of a file of soldiers, and by one motion of a lever, the whole row is stalled or released.” Continue reading

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New Hampshire WWI Military: Private Clark Aaron Goudie of Lisbon NH (1895-1918)

A photograph of Clark Aaron Goudie from the 1917 Dartmouth College Yearbook

Clark Aaron Goudie was b 11 September 1895 in Lisbon NH, son of Lawrence W. & Emma A. (Clark) Goudie. His father was an immigrant from Scotland who was an engineer and building contractor, while his mother was a homemaker and native of New Hampshire. Clark had half siblings Pliney Barlett and George Magnus, and sibling Harriet E. “Hattie.”

Clark attended Lisbon NH schools, followed by attendance for four years at Dartmouth College’s Thayer School. The 1917 College yearbook indicates that “His death while in the service prevented his securing a C.D. degree.” His WWI Registration form indicates that in June of 1917 he was working for the State of NH on the survey between New Hampshire and Vermont. Continue reading

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New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Berlin

Berlin NH WWI memorial. Photograph by Jon Platek, Panoramio. Used with permission granted on that site.

In his inaugural address of 1921, the Honorable Eli J. King, Mayor of Berlin, New Hampshire stated:  “A Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial has been purchased and will be placed in the park near the Grand Trunk Station this spring. This memorial will be a credit to the City of Berlin.”  Additional documents show that $5,300 was appropriated by the city, and along with a credit from parks and playgrounds, a total of $6, 720.00 was available.

Raymond Averill Porter, a noted Boston sculptor, was commissioned to create the monument that consists of a concrete base, a shaft of Milford pink granite, and bronze relief panels.  The relief depicts Liberty, as a full-length woman wearing  a robe, sandals, and a wreath.  She holds a shield and a palm branch.   City and state seals mark all sides of the shaft. Continue reading

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100 Years Ago: New Hampshire’s Valentine’s Day of 1917

Unsettled weather notice, from the February 14 1917 Portsmouth Herald newspaper

New Hampshire’s weather was unsettled on Valentines Day, February 14, 1917. So was the nation, and the world.

Unbeknown to lovers, sweethearts and the devoted, the entrance of the United States into the Great War was only two  months away. Bonds of affection were soon to be tested in a most terrible way. Continue reading

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