A century ago, more than 10,000 Spokane residents served in the military as soldiers, sailors, and marines in World War I. More than 180 of them didn’t come back.
Now, through the diligent work of State Archives graduate assistant Joshua Van Veldhuizen with the long-neglected public records in the Spokane War Committee cards, the experiences of Spokaneites before, during, and in the wake of the First World War have been chronicled at Spokane Goes To War.
To convert the old records into vivid multimedia stories, Josh digitized the War Committee collection for the state’s Digital Archives, compiled metadata from each card’s handwritten information, and did additional research on many of the soldiers.
“There were hundreds of hours of going through old newspapers,” Josh said.
The effort, which Josh undertook as a project for his Master of the Arts in public history from Eastern Washington University, also launched him into assisting with research for an upcoming exhibit at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.