Over There, Over Here: Rhode Islanders in the Great War


On April 6, 1917, America declared war on Germany. Within two months over 50,000 Rhode Island men had registered to serve in the armed forces. For the first time, women were also given the opportunity to enlist. The Navy and Marine Corps designated women as Yeomen. In the Army, women served in the Nurse and Signal Corps.

Rhode Islanders unable to serve “over there” found ways to support the war effort at home. Women were particularly active, raising money for troops, filling jobs left vacant by soldiers, and adopting food conservation measures so that America could increase its food aid to war ravaged Europe. High school students also worked for the conservation effort, joining the Food Administration Signal Corps.

After the armistice was signed, Rhode Islanders continued to be actively engaged, supporting US troops and European allies by providing aid, food, and moral support as they worked to rebuild the continent after one of the deadliest and most destructive wars in its history.

In this online exhibition, you can view photos and documents that capture the important contributions made by Rhode Islanders during the Great War.