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Doing Their Bit: The Surprising Role of Virginians in the Great War by Lynn Rainville

Lynn Rainville

On February 22, 2018, Lynn Rainville delivered a Banner Lecture entitled “Doing Their Bit: The Surprising Role of Virginians in the Great War.”

In this illustrated lecture, Lynn Rainville revealed the crucial roles that Virginians played in the Great War. These individuals ranged from drafted soldiers to politicians (including Staunton native, Woodrow Wilson) and from locally born horses to their ferriers. These patriots also included female stenographers, African American doctors, domestic gardeners, National Guard troops, and army chaplains. Of these hundreds of thousands of volunteers, more than 3,600 lost their lives as a direct result of the war, impacting families throughout the state. And yet many of their sacrifices have been forgotten. Rainville concluded her talk with a study of statues erected in Virginia after the war to reveal a more complete story of service and sacrifice during the Great War.

Dr. Lynn Rainville is a research professor in the humanities at Sweet Briar College and a fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She is the author of Hidden History: African American Cemeteries in Central Virginia and Virginia and the Great War: Mobilization, Supply and Combat, 1914–1919.