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Records Relating to World War I

Despite prewar division over the nation's involvement in the First World War, New York State's residents and its government rallied in support of the war effort following the official declaration of war in April of 1917. More than a half-million state residents eventually served in the military, the largest state contingent in the nation. The State Defense Council was created in 1917 to coordinate mobilization of the state's military, industrial, agricultural, and commercial resources. 
The state's industries shifted to production of weaponry, aircraft, and steel demanded by the military, ultimately securing more defense contracts than any other state. The State Board of Regents authorized the release of high school students (boys and girls) to alleviate labor shortages on the state's farms. Governor Charles S. Whitman established home defense committees at the county level across the state and New York participated in the U.S. Public Service Reserve program, which worked locally in cooperation with the State Defense Council to recruit men to fill needs of ship building yards.
This resource contains links to descriptions of several dozen record series, totaling over 600 cubic feet, which reveal how New York State's people and government responded to the First World War. It includes references to records specifically documenting military service and government services to veterans, as well as descriptions of records of specific executive and legislative branch agencies that worked together to mobilize the state's war resources.
The resource attempts to organize in a meaningful way records held by the State Archives that contain significant research value on the topic of New York's response to the First World War. The resource is not intended to be comprehensive and researchers should consult the State Archives Finding Aid Search to discover additional records relating to the First World War. Full text searches using the term "World War, 1914-1918" will yield additional records and searches combining it with terms such economics, social aspects, heath, agriculture, transportation, women, etc., will yield descriptions of records on specific aspects of the New York experience.

Military Service Records and Services to Veterans

Series B0808 Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917-1919

Series 13721 Abstracts of National Guard Service in World War I, 1917-1919

Series B0814 Muster Rolls of New York National Guard Units That Served in the United States Army during World War I, 1917-1918

Series 13726 National Guard Muster Rolls, 1878-1954

Series B2001 New York National Guard Service Cards, 1917-1954

Series B2000 New York Guard Service Cards and Enlistment Records, 1906-1918, 1940-1948

Series B1357 World War I Veterans Bonus Cards, 1914-1919

Series A0412 World War I Veterans' Service Data and Photographs, 1917-1939

Series A0710 New York State Veterans' Home Resident Case Files, 1897-1963

Series B0455 War Service Scholarship Examination Scores List, 1950-1951

Series B0454 War Service Scholarship Candidate Lists, 1944-1959

See the State Archives Military Service Records pathfinder for additional resources documenting the service of New York residents in World War I and other military conflicts.

State Defense Council

State Defense Council Agency History

Series A4234 Correspondence Files, 1917-1918

Series A4242 Administrative and Correspondence Files, 1917-1918

Series A4241 Subject Correspondence Files, 1917-1918

Series A4240 Correspondence with State Agencies, 1917-1918

Series A4235 Correspondence of County Home Defense Committees, 1917-1918

Series A4237 Correspondence with National Council of Defense, 1917-1918

Series A4239 United States Public Service Reserve Correspondence Files, 1917-1918

Series A4238 Health and Hospital Resources Files from the Adjutant General's Office, 1917

Series A3080 Defense Council History Files, 1917-1918


Governor's Office

Gubernatorial records in the State Archives shed light on public sentiments, as well as the development and implementation of state policy before, during, and after the First World War. Such records document the public debate over American participation in the war, economics and citizenship rights during wartime, and state government response to postwar issues such as labor unrest and political radicalism.

Series 13682-53A Governor Alfred E. Smith Subject and Correspondence Files, 1919-1920, 1923-1928

Series 13682-78B Governor Nathan L. Miller Subject and Correspondence Files, 1921-1922

Series A0612 Governor Appointment and Other Correspondence Files, 1883-1936, 1955-1958, 1998-2006 

Series A0531 Governor Investigation Case Files of Charges and Complaints Against Public Officials and Agencies, 1857-1919

Series A3217 Governor Executive Statements, 1913-1921

Series 13035 Proclamations by the Governor, 1893-2010, 2012-2017

State Education Department

The State Education Department was responsible for administering the Boys' Working Reserve (Farm Cadet Program) implemented to meet farm labor shortages during the war and for administering the consitutionally mandated certification of literacy requirement for new voters in the postwar period. The department's Division of Archives and History was responsible for researching and documenting the experiences New York's military service men and women and the state's local communities during the war. 

Series A0412 World War I Veterans' Service Data and Photographs, 1917-1939

Series A3166 Working Files for a Publication on New York in World War I, 1917-1925

Series A3167 Historical Research Working Files, 1795-1945

Series A3112 Enlistment Papers and Reports of the New York State Boys' Working Reserve (Farm Cadet Program), 1918

Series A0063 Press Clippings and Background Files Concerning the Board of Regents Literacy Test, 1916-1933

Series A2042 Records of the Commissioner's Visit to France, 1915-1917

Military Training Commission

Military Training Commission Agency History

Series A0401 Administrative Reports, Correspondence, and Orders, 1917-1921

Series A4435 Statistical Reports, Background Material, and Industry Profiles, 1918-1921

Series A4436 Administrative Records and Manuals Relating to Military Training Enrollments and the Farm Cadet Corps, 1917-1921

Adjutant General's Office

In addition to documenting the service of individuals, records of the Adjutant General's Office document the agency's responsibility for overall administration of the New York National Guard in the World War I era. These records document policies affecting the state's entire military system, as well as those relating to the organization, staffing, training, equipping, and deployment of specific units.  

Series 14405 Special Order, 1855-1975

Series 14403 General Orders, 1802-1975

Series A3354 World War I Historical Research Files, 1914-1928

State Engineer and Surveyor

The State Engineer and Surveyor's office was responsible for administering the Walters Act, which was enacted to alleviate the certainty of heavy financial losses faced by contractors due to unusual economical conditions created by America's entry into World War I. 

Series B0236 State Engineer and Surveyor Walters Act Administrative Files, 1918-1919

Series B0241 State Engineer and Surveyor Card Index to Walters Act Administrative Files, 1918-1919

Series A3260 State Engineer and Surveyor Payrolls for Employees in Military Service, 1917-1920

Additional State Agencies

Records of the Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate Seditious Activities

Series B0303 State Legislature Joint Legislative Resolution Regarding the 332nd Regiment of the American Expeditionary Force, 1919

Series B0237 Commission on Acquisition of Land for Public Defense at Rockaway Administrative Files, 1917-1918