Today we launched a month-long crowdfunding initiative through https://impact.gettysburg.edu/project/8257. While Team Peirs has always been encouraged by Gettysburg College, we do not have a formal budget and, as a truly collaborative project, we do not operate out of a specific academic department or office. We are very grateful for the support that we have received from the Provost’s Office, Musselman Library, the Civil War Institute, and Civil War Era Studies. We are appealing to the “crowd” because the project has grown and because we want to continue to add new content and connect with more students.
Each summer Team Peirs meets to discuss what we would like to accomplish in the next academic year. This summer we talked about the close of the centennial commemorations of the First World War and how we could frame the defense of the French town of Le Verguier, a key moment in Jack’s war, both as a leader and a soldier. Additions to the collection, contributed by the Dracopoli family and featured in part in our March 22 “Chatting” post included a letter to Jack from the mayor of Le Verguier, written in September 1919, along with photographs and a hand-drawn map of the area, and several French newspapers describing the erection of a memorial to the 24th Division of the local chapel. We know that Jack saw a lot of battle, but by saving these pieces, it was obvious that this small French town had special meaning to him.
To honor Jack, and to contextualize his experience defending (and ultimately loosing) Le Verguier, we decided to plan another trip to France. This time we want to trace his steps, 100 years after he stood at Le Verguier. And we want to share our experience with Gettysburg students who are working with the Peirs letters, if possible, in real time. So we are appealing for the help of friends, family, Gettysburg alumni, fans of history, supporters of experiential education and the digital humanities, and anyone interested in this project and the commemoration of the First World War.
Thank you for your continuing interest in this project and your support.
Ian, Amy, R.C., Meghan