Berea during the Great War

Student Curator: Kiley Davis ’18

Dates Showing: May 15, 2018 through September 2020

Location: In the foyer of the Frost Building on the Berea College Campus

This exhibit explores two significant events that affected the Berea College community during World War I: The death of the college President’s so, Cleveland Frost, and the requirement at all College level men remaining in school serve in the Student Army Training Corps (SATC).

The curator’s main label reads:

“The Great War, more commonly known as World War I, began in 1914 after Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Bosnia. At this point, political relations in Europe were already unstable, prompting the world’s great economic powers to assemble into two opposing sides: the Allies and the Central Powers. The Central Powers consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. The Allies were France, Britain, Russia, and Italy.

“In April of 1918, the United States declared war on Germany and joined the Allied powers after Germany resumed the policy of unrestricted Submarine warfare and the interception of the Zimmerman Telegram, in which Germany proposed an alliance with Mexico if the U.S. entered the war. The Berea College community was heavily affected by the United States’ entry into the Great War.”

The remaining texts in the exhibition are carefully selected and edited quotations from documents of that day including,

“All able-bodied men of college rank, 18 years old, will be enlisted in the S.A.T.C., and have the uniform, support, and pay of soldiers while continuing college courses. These college courses will be changed by putting in some military work.”
—The Citizen, September 19, 1918

“The Ticonderoga . . . was a freighter heavily loaded (5,000 tons of horses) with 125 men under Frost’s command. . . . She dropped behind the convoy and was attacked by a submarine. From . . . a letter [by a] surviving soldier . . . to his wife . . . we gather that the vessel was put in a sinking condition at once (6:20 a.m. Sept. 30) and her wireless telegraph apparatus shot away. One of the first shots killed Lieut. Frost who was standing on the upper deck. He was hit in the breast, died immediately, and his face in death wore a smile.”
—The Citizen, November 7, 1918