In time for your Veterans Day lesson plans, CRIS Radio has produced a 15-minute audio program that includes recordings of selected WWI state archival records. This specially produced Veterans Day program is available at no cost at CRIS Radio, www.crisradio.org.
CRIS Radio produced this audio program and numerous other recordings of primary source historic documents selected in partnership with the Connecticut State Library. These documents include government records, soldiers’ diaries, letters to home, and newspaper articles. Also included are questionnaires completed by returning military personnel that provides insight on the impact of war on young men and women.
In addition to the 15-minute audio program, students and educators are invited to explore the numerous “Voices of WWI” recordings available on the CRIS website for streaming and downloading, also available at no cost.
Images of the original documents are available on the web site adjacent to the link that brings you to the audio recordings. In many cases, a transcript of the document also is available.
The collection is rich with stories of life in Connecticut and her citizens in France before and during the war. Some of my personal favorites:
- The first Puerto Rican killed in the war was Bridgeport resident Cristobal Rodriguez-Hidalgo. This record includes a moving correspondence between Cristobal’s fiancee and the state librarian.
- The government released a document “Native Born American Women, What You Can Do” to encourage behaviors on the home front.
- The letters of Milton Bradley (in editing process).
- Many news stories about a pre-draft registration ordered by Governor Holcomb. This included the coercion of high school students during the school day. (in editing process; will be available by searching “military census”.
- “When Connecticut Stopped the Hun” is an account of the Battle of Seicheprey by General Clarence Edwards. It recounts the efforts of the 26th Yankee Division in that battle. The 26th was the division many Connecticut men service in.
Voices of World War I demonstrates that archival records and historical documents can be made accessible to anyone, including people who are blind or have a range of print disabilities, by utilizing new technology tools coupled with human narration. Audio versions of the selected documents narrated with the appropriate emotion and proper syntax will be available as podcasts. Knowledge mining technology will offer online searching capabilities that enable students and researchers to quickly identify specific documents within archival collections. This new online tool will allow individuals to access the archives with a computer or mobile device, including a smartphone, tablet or e-book.
This new online technology will be available for free to the participating audiences through the CSL and CRIS Web sites.
This pilot is funded by a grant awarded by National Archives’ National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any CRIS service, please don’t hesitate to contact CRIS via email, telephone (860-478-9050) or snail mail at the address below.
Please feel free to forward this to other teachers in your school or out (or any person who may simply be interested). Voices of World War I is available at no cost to all educators.