World War I in Southeast North Carolina and Beyond


This guide identifies collections that feature content from World War I. Material includes primary sources, as well as later secondary documentation and reminiscences of the war. Collections largely contain correspondence and memorabilia from soldiers who served, with highlights from those local to Wilmington, as well as from the African American perspective. Additional documents reflect international experiences from the European and/or Asian side of the conflict.

For information related to World War II, please refer to the Related Special Collections Subject Guides section.

Digital Collections

John D. Erikson Collection, 1918-1919

John D. Eriksen (1889 - 1961), a native of Norway, immigrated to the United States in 1906. In 1916, he became an American citizen and married Brunswick County native Esther Dosher (1893-1990). During World War I, Eriksen served as a member of the American Expeditionary Force, 56th Engineering Corp, G Company. He arrived in France in March, 1918 and returned to the United States on March 11, 1919. The collection includes letters written by Eriksen during his service in France from 1918-19.

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Chronicling America - The Wilmington Morning Star (1909-1990)

Information on accessing Wilmington newspaper, The Wilmington Morning Star which ran from 1909 to 1990.

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American Memory Project

Images, videos, and presentations compiled by the U.S. Library of Congress related to American history.

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Historical Newspapers

This collection of historical newspapers provides genealogists, researchers and scholars with online, easily-searchable first-hand accounts and unparalleled coverage of the politics, society and events of the time. Includes:

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Manuscript Collections

MS 017 Harmon C. Rorison Private Papers

This collection contains materials pertaining to the life and military career of Harmon C. Rorison, a military officer, pilot, and banker from Wilmington, North Carolina. The bulk of the materials in this collection pertain to Rorison’s military service during World War I, the Russo-Polish War (also known as the Polish-Soviet War), and World War II. The military-related materials include correspondence, including a letter to Rorison from Merian Cooper; copies of U.S.

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MS 040 Sidney Gardner MacMillan Private Papers

This collection consists of thirty letters written by Sidney Gardner MacMillan to his family, one letter written by Jessie N. Worth to her Aunt Margaret MacMillan, and five photographic postcards of France. Sidney's letters provide a unique view of a soldier from Wilmington, NC who was part of the United States Army during the Battle of Marne in France and part of the US occupation of Germany near the end of World War I.

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MS 052 Austin Joseph Holliday Private Papers

This collection of three articles chronicles Austin Joseph Holliday’s attempts to receive service-connected total and permanent disability from the Veterans’ Administration for an illness that occurred during World War I. The plaintiff Holliday, a black WWI veteran, based his prayer for compensation under U.S. Judicial Code, Section 145, March 3, 1887, c—359, 1, 24 Stat. 505 and the World War Veterans Act 1924 in pursuant to Part I of Veterans Regulations Number I, as amended in the Economy Act, Public Law Number 2, 73rd Congress, March 20, 1933 on War Times Rates, etc.

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MS 060 Friedrich Brauer Collection

The collection consists primarily of printed materials, pamphlets, broadsides, postcards, flyers, newspapers and other ephemera, related to the study of Germany during World War I, of the post war political and economic conditions of the Weimar Republic, and of the rise of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist Party. Part of the collection consists of German campaign materials from the late 1920s and early 1930s. Photographs include a few of the Brauer family and one of the grave site of Baron von Richthofen.

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MS 148 John F. Schrank Letters

This collection contains letters from John F. Schrank, who in 1912 attempted to assassinate President Theodore Roosevelt, to his doctor, Dr. Adin Sherman, during 1914-1918 when Schrank was committed to the Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Waupun, Wisconsin. Schrank's letters contain his gratitude for and desire to maintain his friendship with Dr. Sherman, his commentary on World War I, and general observations and relevations on the current status of his life.

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MS 184 Dr. Ralph Werner Brauer Personal Papers

This collection of Brauer papers is organized in several series. The first series to be processed focuses on Brauer's early life, from birth through the late 1940s. In addition to documenting Brauers's early life, this series contain a large amount of material about pre-WWI Germany, with items dating from the early 1900s through 1920. It also includes documentation of the political situation in Germany during Hitler's ascent. Many rare, one-of-a-kind, ephemeral newspapers, leaflets, handouts, and other items are to be found in this series.

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MS 204 Wilbur D. Jones, Jr. Papers

This collection contains research material collected by author Wilbur D.  Jones, Jr. for his novels, including interviews, newspaper and magazine articles, photographs, author notes, correspondence with publishers, and drafts of the manuscripts.

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MS 207 W. D. Sr. and Viola M. Jones Collection

This collection contains the personal papers of Wilbur D. Jones, Sr., (1892-1967), a Wilmington banker and World War I veteran, and his wife, Viola Murrell Jones (1903-1973). Materials include newspapers, biographical materials, World War I-era correspondence and memorabilia, reports cards, photographs, scrapbooks, programs, newspaper clippings, printed webpages, and realia, including two purses that belonged to Viola M. Jones. Major subjects include World War I and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, including the female branch of the organization known as the Daughters of Rebekah.

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MS 214 Robert J. Cooke Collection

This collection consists of material collected by Robert J. Cooke from various presidential elections from the late 1960s to the early 1990s, primarily at the respective Democratic Conventions. Items include copies of speeches, pamphlets, publications, press badges, ads, biographies, and campaign material. Candidates of note include Governor George C. Wallace, President Jimmy Carter, and President Bill Clinton. A selection of Cooke's research on the Rorison family of Wilmington, North Carolina is also included.

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Special Collections Vertical Files

The Special Collections vertical files are compiled by Special Collections staff on an ongoing basis and contain material such as articles, photographs, maps, emphemera, etc. of various persons, places, organizations, and topical subjects related to UNCW and Southeastern North Carolina history.

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Contact Librarian

Rebecca Baugnon

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Special Collections Librarian
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