UT Libraries holds thousands of unique documents and artifacts relating to America’s participation in World Wars I and II. A collection of those materials is now on display for a limited time in the Elaine Altman Evans Exhibit Area in the John C. Hodges Library.

Members of the US Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, World War II (UT Special Collections)
Members of the US Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, World War II (UT Special Collections)

The public is invited to a reception and lecture to mark the unveiling of the exhibit, Echoes of War, on Thursday, February 1. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Jack E. Reese Galleria on the first floor.

Vejas Liulevicius, director of UT’s Center for the Study of War and Society, will deliver a lecture, “Echoes of War: Human Experiences during WWI and WWII,” at 6:30 p.m. in the library’s Lindsay Young Auditorium. His lecture will discuss the concept, practice, and human cost of war in the 20th century, and how World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and modern conflicts are linked.

Among the objects on display from the UT Libraries’ Special Collections are letters home from WWI soldiers, a WWI doughboy’s helmet, and a WWII soldier’s footlocker and Army-issued sewing kit. Digital images and artwork, along with excerpts from interviews with veterans recorded as part of the WWII Oral History Project, will complement the artifacts. The exhibit includes a few original combat scene sketches drawn by a Knoxville child as he listened to radio broadcasts during WWII. That child was Hal Ernest, son of the owner of Ellis and Ernest Drugstore that stood on UT’s campus until 1967.

Victory Liberty Loan poster
Victory Liberty Loan poster (UT Special Collections)

The Center for the Study of War and Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study of the human experience of war and peace, international conflict, and diplomatic cooperation. The center sponsors conferences and public lectures. Among its programs is the ongoing WWII Oral History Project aimed at preserving the voice of the American veteran.

The reception and lecture are free and open to the public. If you plan to attend, please contact mvenable@utk.edu or 865-974-6903. Parking will be available in Staff Lot 12 in front of Hodges Library on Melrose Avenue.