World War I
North Carolina sent 86,457 soldiers overseas to fight for the United States during World War I. While North Carolinians served in the army, navy, and marines, and throughout the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in France, the greatest concentration of Tar Heels was in the 30th and 81st divisions. In only five months of combat, the United States suffered over 275,000 casualties, including over 54,000 combat deaths. North Carolina lost 828 men killed and 3,655 wounded in battle. Another 1,542 North Carolinians died of disease while serving in the army, mostly from influenza. Even more died of influenza back home, where many citizens worked hard to support the war effort.
The resources gathered here will give you a glimpse into the experiences of North Carolinians during “The Great War” and point you to other related materials available in the collections of the State Archives of North Carolina. A detailed inventory of World War I Collection that is available through the Military Collection is searchable through the MARS online catalog.
Archives Resources related to World War I:
World War I Collection finding aids
The finding aids for the World War I collection detail various records relating to North Carolina's involvement in World War I. Series include: County War Records, North Carolina Council of Defense, Military Organizations, Liberty Loan Campaign, Local Draft Boards and Recruiting in the State, Private Collections, Compiled Individual Service Records, The Food Administration Papers, Fuel Administration Papers, Organizations, Publications, Photographs, Miscellaneous, and Maps. The World War I Papers are part of the Military Collection. Learn more on the finding aids page.
World War I Digital Collections
The World War I digital collection includes selected items from the World War I Papers, including photographs, letters, and posters. A World War I maps collection is also available online. The bulk of the World War I maps are topographical studies of France and Belgium, either field or ordnance surveys. Other types represented include barrage maps; drawings to accompany engineers’ operational reports; sketches of railroads, roads, and bridges; depictions of trench lines, troop dispositions, and positions of balloons; aerial photographs; Corps situation maps, updated daily; and blueprints of bombproof shelters. Both of these collections are part of the North Carolina Digital Collections.
Exhibit: Old North State and 'Kaiser Bill': North Carolinians in World War I
This virtual exhibit is an introduction to the role North Carolinians played in "The Great War." It also provides access to the State Archives of North Carolina' World War I collection which includes letters, diaries, photographs, military documents, and memorabilia. Subjects covered in this exhibit include: the Thirtieth and Eighty-first Divisions, trench warfare, the homefront, and soldier stories. The exhibit was created by Neil Cottrell, an intern in the Youth Advocacy and Involvement Office's 2005 North Carolina State Internship Program.
Exhibit: Wildcats Never Quit: North Carolina in World War I
The "Wildcats Never Quit" website is the result of an LSTA grant awarded to the State Archives of North Carolina, the State Library of North Carolina, and the North Carolina Museum of History through the NC ECHO project. The purpose of this grant was to create a virtual collection using selected World War I materials from all three institutions, including printed books and documents, letters, diaries, photographs, and artifacts. By uniting these varied resources in cohesive and searchable formats, our goal is to make it easier for the K-12 community to bring original resource materials into the classroom and to assist scholars of the World War I time period.
Other World War I Resources
Back to Top