Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dona Brown


When the United States entered the First World War in April of 1917, the people of Burlington, Vermont, pledged to support the cause “with every means at our command.” Some were indeed called upon to give the utmost: the core of this project will be the examination and exploration of the identities of those people of Burlington who lost their lives as a result of the conflict. This approach fills a historical gap, as little has been written about the experience of Burlington, or Vermont, in the war since the late 1920s. There were 55 men and women of Burlington who were killed in action or died while in federal service during World War I; that number and subset of people was selected from the total of 1,453 Burlingtonians who served in a military capacity. The number is large enough as a sample to draw some initial conclusions, but also manageable enough that each individual can be understood and known in some detail. An array of local primary sources has been utilized to illuminate the lives and deaths of the individuals in question. Burlington newspapers, city directories, annual reports, and federal draft registration cards provide information about places of birth, occupations, ages, and addresses: material relevant to a discussion of economic class and demographics. This information about the origins and pre-war activities of those sampled is supplemented with information gleaned from military service records, examining such questions as whether these people were volunteers or draftees, what military units they were a part of, where they were stationed, whether or not they went overseas, where they died, and where they are buried. The evidence indicates that the Burlington of a century ago was starkly divided along lines of class, ethnicity, education, and geography: these divides followed the men into their military service and into the ways in which they were posthumously commemorated. Public commemoration has mostly faded into the mist of memory: this research strives to understand on a deeper, regional level the lives and experiences of the American Soldier in World War One.



Number of Pages

141 p.