News Post

From the Archives: World War I and the Student Experience

This Nov. 11 marked the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the fighting between the Allied powers and Germany during World War I. As early as 1916, students at both Blake and Northrop engaged in activities related to war preparation and war relief.

Blake students started to practice military drills in December 1916, four months before the United States formally entered the war. After the U.S. entered in April 1917, activities related to the war effort increased at Blake. The 1918 Call O'Pan yearbook reported on the activities of Blake lower school students:

"Following the trend of the times and the example of their elders, the thoughts and occupations of Junior Blakes have turned from such frivolities as parties, to knitting and the hoarding of pennies for stamps. Thus, lessons, athletics, Red Cross work, and the meeting of the various requests of the Government in the way of buying bonds and stamps, and supplying books for soldiers have rounded out a strenuous year."

In addition to doing military drills, knitting, raising money and preparing bandages for the Red Cross, Blake alumni also served in the military.

At Northrop, the 1918 Tatler yearbook described that:

"There is a spirit of militarism in the air; yes, and of patriotism. This spirit has not passed our school by. We have been loyally doing our duty to our country, both by contributing our money and by our own personal efforts. What girl can say that she has not done some needlework or knitting, or has not come to school some mornings loaded down with old books, newspapers, bottles, tin cans, or other choice bits of salvage?"

Northrop students and faculty volunteered for the Red Cross, drove for motorpools, raised money for French orphans, donated books as part of the library drive and knitted many sweaters, socks, mufflers, caps, wristlets, wash cloths and afghans.

Learn more about what was happening at Blake and Northrop during World War I by contacting the school's archivist, Alex Bentley, to request access to our online yearbook collection.