Chicago and the Great War
On Memorial Day, we commemorate all those who died while in military service for the United States. More than four thousand men and women from Cook County lost their lives in World War I. The US entered the war in 1917. Thousands of Cook County men served in all branches of the military, while many women volunteered as nurses with the army and the American Red Cross. Most served along the Western Front in France and Belgium, helping to end a bloody stalemate and achieve an Allied victory in 1918. Those who died were originally buried overseas, but many were later reinterred in Chicago-area cemeteries.
Between 1919 and 1921, Colonel E. E. Woods, then secretary of the membership committee of the Chicago Historical Society, compiled more than one thousand photographs and brief biographies of Cook County residents who died in the war. The portraits were exhibited for a time in the Museum. Today a selection of these portraits resides in our Google Arts & Culture exhibit Chicago and the Great War, providing a personal glimpse of World War I and its painful legacy. See more.
Google Arts & Culture is an online platform that puts the treasures, stories, and knowledge of more than 2,000 cultural institutions from eighty countries at your fingertips. The Chicago History Museum’s portal includes stories from throughout the city’s history. Peruse the designs of Chicago-born couturier Mainbocher, learn about the work of civil rights leader Reverend J. H. Jackson, and so much more! See all exhibits.