In the run-up to Veterans Day, the State Historical Society of Iowa announced last week it is seeking help from the public for a new display that will honor Iowa’s more than 3,500 World War I casualties.
The “World War I Honor Roll” will go on display at the State Historical Museum of Iowa next year on Memorial Day weekend, with names and photographs of Iowa service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War I. The display is part of the historical society’s ongoing commemoration of the 100th anniversary of America’s involvement in the Great War.
A total of 3,576 Iowans lost their lives while serving their country during the war. The list includes Merle Hay of Glidden, who was among the first men to die, and Wayman Minor of Centerville, who was among the last. The first U.S. servicewoman to die during active service in the war was Marion Crandall of Cedar Rapids.
“This display will help visitors connect names with faces along with recognizing and honoring the sacrifices of so many Iowans,” said Susan Kloewer, administrator of the State Historical Society of Iowa.
In 1920, the state’s Department of History and Archives contacted Iowa families who had lost members to the war and requested biographical information and images of the loved ones they’d lost. In response, the department received about 2,700 names and images of Iowa service men and women who were killed in action, went missing or died of disease, wounds or accidents.
Those records are held today in the State Historical Society of Iowa’s Research Center and will be the basis for the new display.
“While we have collected many of the names and images, we know Iowa suffered more losses during the war,” Kloewer said. “The public can help us fill in the missing pieces with their submissions. By assisting us with this project, we can help families ensure their ancestors are honored and recognized in this new display while preserving their history for generations to come.”
The public can visit iowaculture.gov/honorroll to see the historical society’s current list of Iowa’s World War I casualties and learn how to contribute to the project. All submissions will be reviewed and may be included in the display.
To learn more about Iowa’s role in the war, visit the “Iowa and the Great War” exhibit at the State Historical Museum of Iowa. The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. More information about both organizations is available at iowaculture.gov.