“Throughout the history of Sam Houston Normal she has been an institution of service-never has she failed to take part in any worthy movement or fallen down in any great undertaking.” From the The Alcalde, 1918. World War I was no different from 1917-1919 Sam Houston sent 200 of the finest young men “over there”; to Europe to fight for the great struggle of Democracy.
At home, the Sam Houston Normal Institute established a unit of the SATC, Students Army Training Course, where students could enlist as privates and continue their education. These soldiers/students bunked in the Austin Hall Building; sleep on mattresses bought from the Texas Penitentiary, and did drills and exercises as if they were in boot camp.
The above photographs shows the SATC on campus. Note the bottom right photograph of the campus. In front on the left is the Manual Training/Agriculture Building. In the middle with three floors is Austin Hall. In the back photograph, there are the spires of the Old Main Building. The top middle photograph shows the back of Austin Hall before the new columns and extra door, were added later as the college grew to the south.
To see more WWI materials in the archives come visit us in the Newton Gresham Library, room 400.
This art supplement from The Galveston Daily News, September 29, 1918 is a newspaper edition of an original poster by Joseph Pennell Del. called, “That Liberty Shall Not Perish from the Earth – Buy Liberty Bonds, Fourth Liberty Loan.” The image on the poster shows the Statue of Liberty in ruins, and the New York City skyline burning.
The image and words were meant to invoke patriotism so that Americans would buy $6 billion in Fourth Liberty Loan bonds. These bonds would pay for supplies for the soldiers that were still fighting in Europe. In less than two months on November 11, 1918, the Armistice would be signed and the War to End All Wars would be over.
Sam Houston Normal Institute sent many students to become soldiers and fight in WWI. When the fighting was over and the students came back the tradition of observing Armistice Day was begun. In 1954 Armistice Day was renamed to Veterans Day. This Veterans Day celebration is still observed today.
To see more about Sam Houston State University’s history of honoring the Armed Forces come visit the Special Collection, Thomason Room (named for John W. Thomason, artist, Marine, SHNI graduate) and the University Archives.
Col. John W. Thomason’s illustrations and paintings often have a military theme. Night time scenes of cannon fire and explosions in the sky are vivid and harken back to a time when Thomason was in the Marines in World War I.
Note: The original painting does not have a plane, cannon fire or moving lights for that matter. I added those for a cool gif effect.
If you are interested, all the John W. Thomason drawings have been digitized and can be found here.