First World War database: 'Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War'

Posted on centenarynews.com on 28/10/2013
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ProQuest is launching a new database - Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War - which will provide access to primary sources highlighting the experiences of servicemen and women during the First World War.

ProQuest is a Michigan-based electronic publisher and microfilm publisher, which provides access to sources "from dissertations to governmental and cultural archives to news".

Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War contains over 1,500 magazines written and illustrated, mostly unofficially, by every type of military unit which were intended for distribution only to the members of that unit.

ProQuest has described these publications as "rare and previously inaccessible" and that the new database will "open up new possibilities for scholars around the globe".

The collection has been sourced from archives including the British Library and the Imperial War Museum and contains periodicals written by and for serving members of the armed forces and associated welfare organisations published between 1914 and the end of 1919.

Mary Sauer-Games, Vice President ProQuest Information Solutions said that the database "will provide unparalleled access to rare and hitherto under-used publications which in their poetry, short stories, memoirs, jokes and cartoons represent an essential counter-point to the official histories and more established literary sources of the war". 

"In the run up to the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in 2014, researchers from a range of disciplines have told us that they want to be able to access new historical primary sources; material that contains new voices from the war which can be used to fuel new research discoveries".

Magazines written by infantry units, such as The Wipers Times have been scanned from cover-to-cover and digitised. Periodicals of hospitals, supply depots, training camps, and prisoner of war camps and from every combatant nation, on every active front including the home front, have all undergone the same process.

Images courtesy of ProQuest

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News

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