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WWI exhibition now open at Duke Library

Furman's original copy of "Spirit of the American Doughboy” makes a trek to Duke Library.

A new exhibition marking the United States World War I Centennial is now on display at Furman’s James B. Duke Library.

The exhibition, “Over Here, Over There: Greenville in the Great War,” is free and open to the public. The exhibition is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., on the second floor gallery of James B. Duke Library, and will be on display through May 31.

An opening reception sponsored by the Friends of the Furman University Libraries and the Furman Department of History will be held Thursday, Feb. 16, at 4 p.m. in the gallery. The public is invited to attend.

Curated by Tyler Edmond (Class of 2017), Helen Mistler (Class of 2019), Donny Santacaterina (Class of 2015), and Furman history professor Courtney Tollison, the exhibition surveys World War I’s (1914-1918) impact on the local community—it examines the contributions of this area to the war effort, domestically and overseas, and it assesses the mixed legacy of progress emanating from the war years.

From the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914, and especially after the United States entry into the war in April 1917, Greenvillians felt compelled to “do our bit.” Alongside local citizens, students at Furman and the Greenville Woman’s College invested time, energy, and resources to the war effort domestically and overseas, and in some instances gave their lives in service to the nation.

Through exposure to new people and new ideas, and as a beneficiary of the nation’s great economic mobilization, World War I brought social and economic progress along with changes in infrastructure to the area, but fell short of what could have been accomplished during this time of national and international upheaval.

The exhibition includes loaned artifacts and documents from several area institutions and private collections, including the Greenville County Historical Society, the Greenville County Public Library, and the Upcountry History Museum-Furman University.

Also of note is the return to the Furman campus of its original copy of E.M. Viquesney’s “Spirit of the American Doughboy,” a life-size bronze statue commissioned after the war and installed in over 150 locations around the country. Furman’s statue was one of the first ones dedicated, in 1921, and was installed on the university’s downtown and new campuses until 2004, when a replica replaced the original.

For more information, contact Jeffrey Makala at 864-294-2714, or jeffrey.makala@furman.edu.

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