Doing Their Bit: The Surprising Role of Virginians in the Great War

Time Period
1877 to 1924
Media Type
Black History
Business & Industry
Domestic Life
Military History
Politics & Government
Women's History
Lynn Rainville

On February 22, 2018, Lynn Rainville delivered a Banner Lecture entitled “Doing Their Bit: The Surprising Role of Virginians in the Great War.”

In this illustrated lecture, Lynn Rainville revealed the crucial roles that Virginians played in the Great War. These individuals ranged from drafted soldiers to politicians (including Staunton native, Woodrow Wilson) and from locally born horses to their ferriers. These patriots also included female stenographers, African American doctors, domestic gardeners, National Guard troops, and army chaplains. Of these hundreds of thousands of volunteers, more than 3,600 lost their lives as a direct result of the war, impacting families throughout the state. And yet many of their sacrifices have been forgotten. Rainville concluded her talk with a study of statues erected in Virginia after the war to reveal a more complete story of service and sacrifice during the Great War.

Dr. Lynn Rainville is a research professor in the humanities at Sweet Briar College and a fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She is the author of Hidden History: African American Cemeteries in Central Virginia and Virginia and the Great War: Mobilization, Supply and Combat, 1914–1919.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

Want to listen to an audio-only version of this lecture? Listen now on Soundcloud.