World War I and America

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Click on the program title to register.  Registration is ongoing unless otherwise noted. 

Smithtown During World War I
Thursday, March 30 • 7:00- 8:30 pm
When President Woodrow Wilson went before Congress on April 2, 1917 to request a declaration of war against Germany, the Town of Smithtown, like so many other communities around the nation, began to ready itself for the impending battle and accompanying hardships that lay ahead. Young men registered for the draft, reporting to local military camps for basic training before being shipped overseas. On the home front, the citizens of Smithtown supported the war effort by organizing a chapter of the American Red Cross, assembling food and clothing drives, and purchasing war bonds. Smithtown Town Historian, Brad Harris will lead off this year’s Long Island Room Program Series by discussing these and the many other contributions Smithtown’s local residents made during the “Great War”. S

World War I from Sarajevo to the Armistice
Thursday, April 6 • 7:00-8:00pm
This presentation covers the clash and death of empires, the late entry of the U.S. into the conflict, propaganda, personalities and movies of the era. C

Songs of World War I
Saturday, April 8 • 2:00-3:00pm
The music of the era was vital to boost morale, to mourn and to rally support. Using guitar, ukulele and dulcimer, Linda Russell and Companie sing the marches, humorous ditties, pensive ballads and patriotic anthems that saw the United States through that dark time. S

Fifteen Shades of Grey - The Lusitania, the Sussex, and America's Ambivalent Road into the First World War
Tuesday, April 18 • 7:00-8:00pm
Michael A. Barnhart, Professor of History at Stony Brook University, will discuss America's intervention into the First World War, which was by no means inevitable. He will explore the many variables, both political and diplomatic, within the British, German and American governments that, in the end, led to Woodrow Wilson's decision for war. N

Historical Non-fiction Book Discussion
Thursday, April 20 • 10:30-11:30am OR 2:30-3:30pm
Selected title is King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led the World to War by Catrine Clay. In person registration only. Registration begins and books are available beginning Monday, March 20.S

Preparing Long Island for War: The U. S. Military Training Facility at Camp Upton
Thursday, April 27 • 7:00- 8:30pm
In 1917, as the United States prepared to enter World War I, there was an urgent need to mobilize troops and train them for battle. To meet this need, military bases were erected throughout the country. On Long Island, Camp Upton, located in Yaphank, was used to train soldiers from the New York area, among them, beloved American songwriter, Irving Berlin, who composed the military-themed musical “Yip! Yip Yaphank!” while stationed there. Learn more about the history of Long Island’s Camp Upton as Paul Infranco, retired Longwood Central School District social studies teacher and volunteer at Brookhaven National Lab, discusses the important role it played in training United States servicemen during World War I, as well as its functions during World War II and its eventual conversion to the lab in 1947. S

Veterans Resource Fair
Saturday, May 20 • 10:00am-2:00pm
Various organizations and agencies will be available to provide information to veterans interested in utilizing their useful services. No registration required. S

Historical Non-fiction Book Discussion
Thursday, July 27 • 10:30-11:30am OR 2:30-3:30pm
Selected title is Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten War by Richard Rubin. In person registration only. Registration begins and books are available beginning Monday, June 26S

World War I Battlefield Artists
Thursday, October 5 • 7:00-8:00pm
This program will give an overview of the war, the commissioning of the War Art Propaganda Bureau and the evolution of the paintings of the battle front from government approved images to controversial ones. Suffolk County Community College professor Christina Bosco will also discuss self-portraits of soldiers and the beginnings of a medical recognition of PTSD, then known as shell shock. K

Historical Non-fiction Book Discussion
Thursday, October 26 • 10:30-11:30am OR 2:30-3:30pm
Selected title is Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan. In person registration only. Registration begins and books are available beginning Monday, September 25S


S- Smithtown Main Building K - Kings Park Branch
C - Commack Branch N - Nesconset Branch


The Smithtown Library's World War I and America program series is part of World War I and America, a two-year national initiative of The Library of America presented in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and other organizations, with generous support from The National Endowment for the Humanities.

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