Like many Americans, Ohioans were actively involved in World War I after the United States formally entered in April 1917. The state hosted Camp Sherman, one of the largest military training camps in the United States. Over 154,000 Ohioans were drafted into the military during World War I, and a total of 256,00 draftees, volunteers, and Ohio National Guardsman represented the state in the military. The 166th Ohio Infantry Regiment, Ohio National Guard served with the 42nd Infantry Division, also known as the Rainbow Division, drawing men from 26 states and the District of Columbia. The 332nd Infantry Regiment, formed at Camp Sherman, was the only U.S. Army unit to serve on the Italian Front. Two years after the U.S. entered World War I, the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June 1919 to formally end the first modern war. Approximately 6,777 Ohio troops died from battle wounds or disease.
The Official Roster of the Ohio Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the World War, 1917-1918 [Ohio Docs 940.412771 A2a v. 1-23] is available for research in the Library. Volumes 1 to 19 pertain to the Army, while Volumes 20 and 21 are Navy, and Volume 22 is for the Marine Corps. Volume 23 is the Addenda.
A selection of World War I regimental histories records are listed on the Online Collections Catalog. Included in this list are the Summary of Operations in the World War, compiled by the American Battle Monuments Commission [940.41273 Eu 1st-93rd] for many Ohio regiments. These materials can be paged for research in the Library.
Further World War I information, including draft registration cards, can be accessed by using Ancestry and Fold3 which are available via computers in the Library.
You can browse all World War I era newspapers, library, archives, and museum records using our Online Collections Catalog.
Below is an example of a World War I battle flag found in our museum collections.
Description: National colors of the 136th Machine Gun Battalion, 37th Infantry Division. Rectangular flag measures 128 cm high by 160 cm wide. Two battle streamers attached to flag. Text on 1st battle streamer: Anes Sector, St. Mihiel, France. October 7 - October 16, 1918. Meuse-Argonne Offense, France. September 26 - September 30, 1918. Baccarat Sector, France. August 4 - September 16, 1918. Text on 2nd battle streamer: Ypres-Lys Offensive, Belgium. November 9 - November 11, 1918. Ypres-Lys Offensive, Belgium. October 31 - November 4, 1918.
Camp Sherman was one of sixteen national training facilities to train soldiers during World War I, named after Ohio General William Tecumseh Sherman. Construction began on June 28, 1917 and continued until October 1917 with over 2,000 buildings in place. The Camp was located northwest of Chillicothe and became known as the "Soldier Factory." Camp Sherman was disassembled after the war. The United States government still maintains control of the land which now includes Hopewell Culture National Historic Park, Chillicothe Veterans Administration Hospital, and the Chillicothe Correctional Institute.
Below is a photograph of soldiers reading at the Camp Sherman Library. More images of Camp Sherman are available on Ohio Memory, a statewide digital library program.
A large selection of collections relates to Camp Sherman Soldiers, Companies, and Battalions is listed on the Online Collections Catalog and can be paged for research in the Library.
The Camp Sherman News, 1918-1919 [N-905 vol. 1 no. 28, vol. 2 no. 38] was a newspaper that ran during the time period Camp Sherman was used and can be paged for research in the Library.
Camp Sherman Clippings, 1917-1919 [State Archives Series 1371] contains newspaper clippings detailing activities of troops at Camp Sherman and can be researched on microfilm rolls GR 9273 through GR 9274 in the Library Microfilm Room.
Camp Sherman, 1917-1967 [SC 5409] includes postcards and images that illustrate camp life, military training activities, and facilities at Camp Sherman. This collection can be paged for research in the Library.
Created from the 9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Battalion, Companies E, F, G, and H became part of the 372nd Infantry Regiment of the 93rd Infantry Division. The 372nd was an African American Regiment that served alongside the French Army during World War I. Other units came from Washington, D.C., Maryland, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and Connecticut to form the regiment. French leaders had no objections to fighting side by side with black servicemen, and they quickly assigned the 372nd to the 157th Infantry of the French Army, also known as the Red Hand Division. These men fought in the famous Meuse-Argonne offensive and were honored with the Croix de Guerre, France's highest military honor.
Below is a photograph of the 372nd Infantry Regiment marching on Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio. More images and information related to the 372nd are available on Ohio Memory, a statewide digital library program.
The Historical Commission of Ohio was appointed by Governor James M. Cox in February 1918, as the official agency of the state for the collection and preservation of records and materials pertaining to Ohio's part in World War I. The Commission worked under a cooperative agreement with the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, now the Ohio History Connection.
The following collections were compiled by the Historical Commission of Ohio and can be paged for research in the Library:
The Council of National Defense was founded during World War I to oversee civilian attempts to support the war effort. In 1917, individual states were asked ot create their own councils to assist the federal council.
The following collections were compiled by the Ohio Branch of the Council of National Defense and can be paged for research in the Library:
First Annual Report, 1918 [940.4911 Oh3r]
The Report of the Ohio Branch of the Council of National Defense, 1919 [Ohio Docs OY N 27.2: Am35/919]
Ohio in the War and Now, 1918 [Ohio Docs 940.4911 Oh3]
Preservation of Food. Canning, Preserving, Drying and Preserving of Eggs, 1917 by the Ohio State University Home Economics Department [Ohio Docs OY N 27.2: P926]
General Files, 1917-1919 [State Archives Series 1135]
Discover books, newspapers, periodicals, company catalogs, pamphlets, maps, atlases and more!
We do not hold military service or pension records. That information can be obtained by contacting the National Archives and Records Administration. Records created in the 20th century are housed at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
You may also wish to read the military records section of the National Archives Genealogy webpage.
If you have questions, please contact us at email@example.com or 614.297.2510.