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Grant number like: PW-264049-19

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Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA 24061-2000)
Edward Joseph Khair Gitre (Project Director: July 2018 to February 2022)

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources
Preservation and Access

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$349,864 (approved)
$346,268 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2019 – 7/31/2021

The American Soldier in World War II

The creation of an online collection of over 65,000 handwritten survey responses containing the personal comments of American soldiers in WWII. The narrative responses would be transcribed and reunited with quantitative data from the respondents; contextual information would be added to facilitate access by multiple user groups.

Our project will make available to scholars and to the public a remarkable collection of written reflections on war and military service by American soldiers who fought in the Second World War. During the conflict, an in-house Army Research Branch surveyed approximately half a million service personnel. Survey respondents were asked about myriad topics, from the effectiveness of training to the preference of fabrics used in uniforms. Service personnel were also provided space to write frankly about any of their concerns. Until now, only by visiting Washington, D.C., could one read these 65,000-plus anonymous "free-text" commentaries. Taken together, these wartime records provide us the most comprehensive portrait of the largest citizen-soldier Army in US history. Our interdisciplinary team will reunite these one-of-a-kind free-text commentaries to their source surveys and make the entire reconstituted collection available to the public through an open-access website.