Online Primary Sources: World War I Pamphlet Collections

The importance of pamphlets as historical literature cannot be stressed enough. Although ephemeral in nature, “As primary documents, pamphlet literature offers researchers rare and unique evidence of events occurring within the politics, history and mores….” of particular times, the above quote coming from the French Pamphlet Planning Project’s planning meetings at the Newberry Library in 2013. Here are several collections worth perusing: World War I Pamphlets (the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) featuring over 400 items ranging from Toynbee’s polemic against the Turks to an eyewitness account about visiting the front; the World War 1 Pamphlet Collection (University of Pennsylvania) containing 240 titles, among them George Prothero’s (President of the Royal Historical Society and observer/consultant at the Paris Peace Conference) Our duty and interest in the war and the Spectre of navalism by Julian Corbett, a pre-eminent British naval historian; World War 1 Pamphlet Collection (University of Colorado at Boulder) hosting over 1000 items from After twelve months of war by Charles Masterman, head of the British War Propaganda Bureau to America can’t quit by William Howard Taft, ex-President of the United States; and Columbia University’s WWI Pamphlets 1913-1920 including Winston Churchill’s Conduct of the War by Sea. A subset of the Pamphlet Collection of the Harvard College Library contains over 2500 items of interest. Among these five collections, there is some overlap, and some of the writings are not in English, but all in all, they offer valuable insights into this conflict from a wide variety of perspectives.

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