World War One Road Show Comes to Morris County this Saturday

Audiences Encouraged to Bring in WWI Artifacts, Memorabilia; Discuss Family Histories to October 14 Event AT the Morris County Library

William J. Hocking of Wharton --American Legion Post 91 in Wharton is named for Private Hocking, who was killed in action on Nov. 1, 1918, in Germany (left). Nurse Amabel Scharff Roberts of Madison -- The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Madison was named for Nurse Roberts, who died at Base Hospital No. 2 in Etretat, France.

MORRIS COUNTY — As part of a statewide remembrance of the 100th anniversary of our nation’s entry into World War I, a special FREE daylong “World War One Road Show’’ event is coming to the Morris County Library in Whippany on Saturday, October 14.

The event is being coordinated by the Morris County Heritage Commission.

Residents are encouraged to bring in artifacts and memorabilia and to share family history from the era.

You will have a unique opportunity –- whether history enthusiast or casual observer — to meet experts from the New Jersey State Archives and the Morris County Archives who can speak one-on-one about your WWI-related objects, manuscripts, photographs, textiles, and other memorabilia.

They also can share their professional expertise about caring for your items.

In addition, special presentations by historians and reenactors are scheduled, including an opportunity for children to have a circa-1917 schoolroom experience.

“Morris County is honored to be the host county for such an impressive and exciting statewide event, which honors those who served in World War I,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana.

“We remember today the great sacrifices made 100 years ago in the name of freedom by families from across Morris County and our state and nation.’’

This is the second of two World War One Road Shows occurring this year in the state, as part of a yearlong commemoration of the Doughboys, Gold Star Mothers, their families and the era, sponsored by the New Jersey Historical Commission, State Archives, and State Museum and the World War I Centennial Commission.

The first Road Show was held on April 28 at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library.

Organizers for Saturday’s event in Morris County have gathered a diverse set of specialists from the State Archives, Morris County Archives, and State Museum, in addition to experts in military history and collectibles, to offer insight and perspective on all WWI memorabilia and family histories brought in by attendees.

NOTE: Please DO NOT bring any firearms, ammunition, or live artillery shells to the event (PHOTOS ONLY).

There will be two sessions (11:00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.) and (2:00 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.) for the public to speak with artifact and archival experts to learn more about their memorabilia, photographs, and objects and how to care for them.

The Color Guard from the William J. Hocking American Legion Post 91 will open the day.  Morris Plains VFW Post 3401 will close the day with a flag-folding ceremony.

Presentations will be made by several guest speakers throughout the day. Included are:

  • Life in the Trenches by John Torkos, past president of the Great War Association, reenactor, and collector of militaria. He also will help identify military collectibles.
  • Teaching World War I History by West Morris Mendham High School history teacher Steve Santucci.
  • Animals of the Great War, presented by Joan Schiable, Morris County Park Commission.
  • Picatinny Arsenal During the Great War will be presented by Picatinny Arsenal historians and through a series of historical panels.
  • Other programs include World War I- era food, dress, and daily life for civilians.

Kathy Murphy, Chair, Morris County Heritage Commission, will be help visitors find World War I-veteran ancestors using burial records from the County Archives held by the Heritage Commission and software programs available at the County Library.

Children can experience games made and played by children in 1917.  They also will have a chance to sit in an interactive one-room schoolhouse exhibit.

Exhibits at the World War One Road Show, to be on display throughout the library, will reflect a range of topics offering a perspective on what people were reading, seeing, talking about, and experiencing in 1917.

A few special exhibit and information tables will be specifically tailored for historical societies, museums, and fraternal and veterans’ organizations.

On April 6, 1917, one hundred years ago this year, the United States officially entered World War I as President Woodrow Wilson signed a war resolution..

More than four million American families, including those in Morris County and across New Jersey, sent their sons and daughters to serve in uniform during the “Great War.’’

Nearly 117,000 U.S. soldiers gave their lives in combat – some 200 of them from Morris County. In addition, more than 200,000 servicemen and women of all ranks of life were wounded during World War I, which the United States World War I Centennial Commission terms ”America’s Forgotten War.’’