World War I

Topical Reference Page
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Postcard showing machine gun practice, postmarked: Lawton, OK. Ft. Sill Branch, Dec. 3, 1917, 6 pm.

With millions of people deployed to the front, the number of letters, postcards, packages, and news exchanged rose substantially during World War I, 1914-1918. Social welfare organizations created opportunities, campaigns, and materials to encourage letter writing to sustain morale at home and at the front. Governments developed methods to control communication through censorship regulations and adapted logistical networks to move great quantities of mail.

Related Blogs

YMCA Work During the Great War

Morale is one of the main factors that can help or cripple an army. Thus when the US joined World War I, the YMCA set out to work alongside the US Army to keep up morale - feeding soldiers, providing comfortable spaces for them, and otherwise keeping them entertained.

Holiday Parcels in World War I

One of the most frequent questions I get asked as a curator is about care packages, namely, what did family and friends send to each other during one time period or another? The curiosity is understandable—who among us doesn’t want to peek inside the mail?

My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I

My Fellow Soldiers uses original letters to examine WWI through a deeply personal lens. In this way, we can reflect upon the enormous impact the war had on the individual.

The Zimmermann Telegram and the Power of the Printed Word

2017 marks the centennial of America’s engagement in World War I, also referred to as the Great War. The National Postal Museum will present a special exhibition to commemorate and reflect upon this anniversary. My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I features personal correspondence to and from the front lines, thereby illuminating accounts of love, life and death in the tumultuous time of war.

Object Group

World War I Stamps

The "Great War" forever changed the map of the world. Military occupations, postwar mandates, and plebiscites created numerous new governments. From the disintegration of the Russian, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian empires emerged newly-independent nations, while nationalist and irredentist movements took advantage of the chaos to claim sovereign territory.

Whatever their origins, and no matter how long- or short-lived these new governments were destined to be, they all announced their arrival by issuing postage stamps. Enjoy this selection of stamps related to World War I and its aftermath.

Related Content

World War I and Postal Traffic in British Colonies

Paper written by Richard Maisel for the 2008 Winton M. Blount Symposium.

Image: Title page of Empire Abstracts, Number 48

Postal and Treasury Savings Stamp Systems: The War Years

Paper written by Harry K. Charles for the 2008 Winton M. Blount Symposium.

Image: War Savings Certificate stamps

Food Will Win the War

“Food Will Win the War”: Motor Trucks and the Farm-to-Table Postal Delivery Program, 1917-1918
Paper written by Robert G. Cullen for the 2008 Winton M. Blount Symposium.

Image: Egg crate, c. 1920