Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Rare trench magazines from First World War compiled into searchable database

On the eve of the centenary of the start of the First World War  next year, a "library of lost voices" is being compiled by ProQuest, made up of more than 1,500 periodicals created by and for servicemen in the armed forces of Canada, the U.S., France, Australia, and New Zealand.

The majority of these trench journals and unit magazines -- many of them highly "unofficial" -- that have survived originate from units based on the Western Front in France; there are also magazines from units serving on the Eastern Front, in Gallipoli, Palestine, Egypt, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, Britain and USA. They have been compiled from various collections, including those of the Imperial War Museums and the British Library. The result is a scanned, cover-to-cover resource of around 35,000 individual journal issues, amounting to roughly 500,000 pages.  The full-text, full image searchable database will be available for a fee (readers can register for a free trial.) Researchers should also be able to access them through public or university libraries who subscribe to ProQuest services.

The journals include infantry magazines from various regiments, such as the popular Canadian monthly The Dead Horse Corner Gazette, published by the 4th Battalion.  Others include The Howling Howitzer and The Kit-Bag, as well as magazines produced by prisoners of war in internment camps such as Prisoner's Pie and Knockaloe Lager-Zeitung and titles made in hospitals and aboard hospital ships such as The Iodine Chronicle and Happy Though Wounded.

[image: Canadian War Museum]

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