Displaying items by tag: World War I

Thursday, 30 July 2020 19:31

Norristown in World War I

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A couple of weeks ago, one of our regular researchers asked me about some photographs he once saw here of funerals for service men killed in World War I. I’ve been through most of our photographs, but I wasn’t aware of the photos he was talking about. Since he was interested in WWI, I pulled down a large book we have titled Roster of Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines from Norristown, Pa., in US Service, World War, 1917-1919. And…surprise! There were the photos.

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In addition to photographs of several funerals, there are photographs of soldiers before they left for Europe and Liberty Bond drives.

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This photograph shows Civil War veterans hailing the new recruits.

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After a few pages of photos, the book becomes a record of the all the men from Norristown who served in the war. There’s no indication of who produced the book. The rosters look as though each man signed his own name. It also lists the dates of their service and the branch they served in.


This invaluable record was donated to the Historical Society by B. Frank Stritzinger in 1929.


Published in Found in Collection
Thursday, 12 March 2020 19:44

Fourth Liberty Loan

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This morning I came across two photographs of a rally for the Fourth Liberty Loan in Norristown. Described in the Times-Herald as a “monster demonstration,” the parade was to encourage people to buy bonds to help pay for World War I.


The Fourth Liberty Loan officially got underway on September 28, 1918. The parade took place on the 27th. The large parade included local companies, like Alan Wood Steel, scouts, the Red Cross, veterans, fire companies, marching bands, and even some cowboys from Betzwood Studios.

The man speaking in this picture is Judge William F. Solly, who spoke as a last minute replacement for Henry I. Fox, a local attorney who was ill.


The United States entered World War I in April of 1917, but it was a year before American troops began traveling to Europe. Propaganda showed the dire possibilities of the war. This small poster is from our collection:

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Liberty Bonds could be purchased in multiple denominations. The government was authorized to issue them through the Second Liberty Load Act of 1917. That act is still the basis for the issue of treasury bonds today. Initially, Americans were slow to buy the bonds, perhaps because it was not a common thing in American life to loan the government money. By the time of the Fourth Liberty Loan, however sales were good. This small notebook from a women’s committee in Lower Gwynedd records the sales.

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The Fourth Liberty Loan would mature in 1938. They were to pay 4.25%, but the government defaulted on the Fourth Liberty Loan, making it the only federal bonds to default. When issued, the bond stated that it would be paid according to the “present value of gold” but in 1933, the US abandoned the gold standard. So the government refused to pay the full value of the bonds.

Published in Found in Collection
Thursday, 06 April 2017 13:38

100 Years Ago Today


In honor of the United States’ entrance into World War I on April 6, 1917 we wanted to highlight a related object from the Historical Society’s collection. The medal is a French Wounded Fund Medal commemorating the entry of the United States into the war. On one side of the medal is an eagle, shield, and sword.  The shield is a combined crest of the United States’ allies, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Serbia, Belgium, Russia, Montenegro, and Serbia. Around the edge of the coin it reads “Do Right and Fear No Man” which was inspired by an inscription on one of George Washington’s swords.


Britain is the ship, France is the rooster, Italy is the Cross of Savoy, Montenegro the small lion’s head, Russia is the bear, Belgium is the roaring lion, Serbia is the four E’s, and Japan is the rising sun.

 On the reverse is the shield of the U.S. with the recognizable stars and stripes surrounded by a laurel wreath. Within the shield on the line separating the stars and stripes is the inscription “APRIL VI MDCCCCXVII” or April 6, 1917. In a circle around the shield is the phrase from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address “That Government by the People Shall Not Perish.”

MEDAL BACK DATE The reverse side of the medal.

The American Fund for French Wounded was a charitable organization established by American women. The organization was intended to help the wartime hospitals in France. Medals such as this one and other items like this one were used to raise funds for medical supplies and improved hospital conditions in Europe. The American Fund for French Wounded was active throughout the U.S. starting in 1915.


A close-up of the reverse of the medal, showing the date April 6, 1917 in Roman numerals.


The medal is object number 6,418a donated by Joseph H. Smith in 1920. 



Published in Found in Collection