Wednesday, January 31, 2018

BCHS World War I Book to Receive Statewide Award

The Bradford County Historical Society (BCHS) is pleased to announce that it has been selected to receive a PA Museums Institutional Achievement Award. Formerly known as the Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and Historical Organizations, PA Museums (Pennsylvania’s statewide trade association), serving museum professionals and institutions, award program recognizes exemplary work going on in museums and history organizations in Pennsylvania.

BCHS was chosen for this award as a result of its project titled, "Defending Democracy: Bradford County in World War I, A Centennial Remembrance." During 2017, Historical Society Manager/Curator, Matthew Carl, created both an exhibit about Bradford County in World War I, and a book covering the story of the county’s involvement in the war from beginning to end.

During the PA Museums Annual Statewide Museum Conference in April, BCHS will be honored at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Centre County.

The book published by the Bradford County Historical Society was researched, edited and designed by Matthew Carl with the assistance of a number of volunteers and staff who helped with typing and proofreading. Featuring 516 pages, 18 chapters, 260 photographs, a list of soldiers who registered and were chosen for service from Bradford County, and a complete surname index, the book has been very popular.

Following a different plan from other military histories, "Defending Democracy" focuses on personal stories of the soldiers along with information about what was happening on the home front in Bradford County throughout the war. Send-off and welcome-home parades, Red Cross work, and other unusual details not often found in histories of this nature can be found in this book.

"That is what makes the book so interesting," explained Matthew Carl. "The details of everyday life allow the reader to get a sense of what it would have felt like to live during that time."

A total of 70 families submitted information and photographs to be included in the book and these contributions filled in several gaps in the story. Many original documents that were issued to soldiers, or images of soldiers and nurses, tie the story together.

Over 2,100 soldiers were selected from Bradford County for service in the Great War. Each township and borough provided men for service. Several provided nurses. This project has created a record of their sacrifices for generations to come.

The exhibit will continue to be available while the 100th anniversary of the war goes on through the coming season. The book is still available at or by stopping by the Bradford County Historical Society research center, Wednesday through Friday, 10 am to 4 pm. Other sales locations around the county can be found on the BCHS website.