Remembering World War One

world_war_1_recruiting_posterToday is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, a conflict which began in an obscure corner of Europe, claiming over 16 million lives by its end some four years later.

On July 28, 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, citing Serbian involvement in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand the previous month. Ethnic nationalism, dynastic rivalry, and divisive alliances triggered a wave of hostilities, leaving almost the whole of Europe in a state of war within a few short weeks.

In the United States, many observers saw the Great War as an old world family quarrel. In 1916, Woodrow Wilson won a second term in the White House under the slogan, “He kept us out of the War.” This boast proved short-lived. The United State’s April 1917 entry into the war – the result of indiscriminate German submarine attacks in the Atlantic – was decisive, but wide swathes of public opinion questioned what had been billed as a “Crusade for Democracy.” In 1919, Congress vetoed the Treaty of Versailles over its inclusion of the League of Nations Charter (the forerunner of the United Nations). Wary of future foreign entanglements, America’s gaze shifted inwards, but the rise of totalitarianism in Europe and Asia brought isolationism to an end.

The last US veteran of World War One, Frank Woodruff Buckles, died in 2011. An NBC news profile, made shortly before his death, is below:

Covington’s Cincinnati

covingtonThis Thursday, July 24, from 4 to 6 p.m., the Walter Havighurst Special Collections, 3rd floor, King Library, Miami University, Oxford, will host a reception honoring their summer exhibit: Covington’s Cincinnati. Jack White, MU ’58, former Smithsonian curator, and native of Cincinnati, will give a guided tour of the exhibit he guest curated. Please come for free refreshments, a little of Jack’s vast knowledge of Cincinnati, and a look at the background of one of Miami University’s major collections.

  • This exhibit runs at Miami University Walter Havighurst Special Collections from June 4 through through August 1, 2014

Sampling Local History!

Dear Folks,

hueston-pioneer064-578x284This weekend the Butler County History Collaborative together with the Museums and Historic Sites of Greater Cincinnati are putting on A Sampling of Southwest Ohio History. This event of historic collaboration is held in conjunction with the annual Hueston Woods Arts & Crafts Fair offering educational fun for the whole family. Representatives from area history organizations will be on hand to share information about local historic travel destinations. This weekend event runs June 14 and 15, 10-5pm, at the Pioneer Farm, 6924 Brown Rd, Oxford, Ohio.

Click for poster

Before and After D-Day: Color Photos From England and France


On this day, 70 years ago, 156,000 American and allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. Following the invasion of Italy the previous year, the amphibious landings at Gold, Juno, Omaha and Sword beaches marked the beginning of the end for the German Third Reich in western Europe. To commemorate the most decisive day of World War Two, has republished these rarely-seen color photographs of the build-up and aftemath of D-Day.

Originally posted on LIFE:

It’s no mystery why images of unremitting violence spring to mind when one hears the deceptively simple term, “D-Day.” We’ve all seen — in photos, movies, old news reels, and usually in grim black-and-white — what happened on the beaches of Normandy (codenamed Omaha, Utah, Juno, Gold and Sword) as the Allies unleashed their historic assault against German defenses on June 6, 1944.

But in color photos taken before and after the invasion, LIFE magazine’s Frank Scherschel captured countless other, lesser-known scenes from the run-up to the onslaught and the heady weeks after: American troops training in small English towns; the French countryside, implausibly lush after the spectral landscape of the beachheads; the reception GIs enjoyed en route to the capital; the jubilant liberation of Paris itself.

As presented here, in masterfully restored color, Scherschel’s pictures — most of which were never published in LIFE — feel at-once profoundly familiar and somehow…

View original 177 more words

Remembering John E. Dolibois

doliboisWe were saddened to learn of the recent death of John E. Dolibois (Miami University class of 1942), formerly Vice-President of Miami University and United States Ambassador to Luxembourg. Ambassador Dolibois was a good friend of the Michael J. Colligan History Project and spoke to our audience on several memorable occasions, sharing his thoughts and reflections on World War Two and its legacy. In 2002, he was awarded the inaugural John E. Dolibois History Prize, given for substantial and sustained efforts to promote historical teaching and learning in the community and throughout the nation.

Born in Luxembourg in 1918, Dolibois emigrated to America with his father in 1931. In 1942, he left a job at Procter & Gamble to enlist in the US Army, serving with distinction in World War Two. Assigned to military intelligence due to his fluency in French and German, Dolibois became the last surviving interrogator of senior Nazi leaders in the Nuremberg War Trials. In 1947, Dolibois was appointed to serve as Miami’s first secretary of the Alumni Association. He later became Vice-President for Development and Alumni Affairs, pioneering alumni clubs across the country, expanding the alumni magazine, creating numerous donor projects, the Alumni Merit Scholarships, endowed professorships, and the Alumni College program. In 1981, Dolibois was appointed United States Ambassador to Luxembourg by President Ronald Reagan, serving his adopted country in that position until retirement in 1985.

A series of interviews with John Dolibois and his wife Winnie, completed for the Miami Stories Oral History Project, show the passion, humor, conviction, loyalty, and humanity of this prominent American.

John E. Dolibois archived interviews

Do you have any anecdotes, memories, or tributes to Ambassador Dolibois? Please share them by commenting on this post!

  • Michael J. Colligan History Project


Announcing the 2014 Jim Blount History Educator Award

blount-award-logoThe Michael J. Colligan History Project will conclude its spring events Tuesday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m. by recognizing recipients of the 2014 Jim Blount History Educator Award in a public ceremony at the Harry T. Wilks Conference Center. This year’s recipients are Lisa C. Eubanks, Ross High School and Kim T. Young, Fairfield High School. In addition, Richard O Jones, former staff writer and editor at the Hamilton Journal-News will receive an award in special recognition of his contributions to public history.

A link to Jones’s 23 articles detailing the Great Miami River Flood of 1913 and its recent centennial commemoration in Hamilton is below:

Richard O Jones articles

This award honors Hamilton native Jim Blount, whose career at the Cincinnati Enquirer and Hamilton Journal-News spanned a quarter century. A teacher and writer of history for sixty years, today he lectures widely and writes local history for the Lane Public Libraries. The Blount Award is given biennially to teachers whose inspired work stimulates historical inquiry and understanding, exemplifying the dedication to history education epitomized in Mr. Blount’s life and career. Mr. Blount will present this year’s awards.

Following the presentations, Johns Hopkins University Associate Professor of History François Furstenberg will give the Blount Award Lecture on “The War of 1812 and the Long Struggle for the West.” One of America’s most exciting young historians, Professor Furstenberg is the author of In the Name of the Father: Washington’s Legacy, Slavery, and the Making of a Nation (2006), and When the United States Spoke French: Five Refugees who Shaped a Nation (2014).

Please see below for program of this event.


  • Free public event. Reception to follow.

1913 Flood: Centennial Sculpture Dedication

UntitledDear Folks:

To commemorate the recent anniversary of the 1913 Great Miami River Flood, the city of Hamilton, Ohio invites you to attend the unveiling of a centennial sculpture, marking the record flood levels of one hundred years ago. This free public event will be held Friday, April 25, 2014 at 2 pm next to Park Ave. Ramp Westbound at High St. Bridge. Parking is available at Northeast corner of North B St. and Park Ave.


American Dreamer: Robert McCloskey & the Art of the Picture Book

LUntitledeonard S. Marcus 

Wednesday, April 16 @ 7.30pm

Harry T. Wilks Conference Center, Miami University Hamilton

Robert McCloskey crafted iconic images of childhood, family and community life as he elevated the children’s book to an authentic art form. In this illustrated talk, the nation’s leading historian of children’s literature explores the career of an artist-storyteller born in Hamilton who won two Caldecott Medals. This event is co-sponsored by the Lane Libraries as part of the Robert McCloskey Centennial.

  • Free public event. Reception to follow.

What’s Your Story? Jack Kirsch

Miami University Hamilton Downtown Center, 221 High Street

Heritage Stories of the Miami Valley

What’s Your Story? Moderated by Shaun Higgins

Wednesday, April 2 @ 7pm

Jack KirschJack Kirsch, Hamilton City Manager 1975- 1983, had a distinguished and visionary public service career. During his tenure, the High Street Underpass, Columbia Bridge, Route 4 Bypass, Southwestern Ohio Industrial District, Butler Regional Highway, Twin Run Golf Course and other projects important to both the city and region were completed.

  • Free public event. Reception to follow.