Skip to Main Content

World War I Collections

By: Simon Ertz

Founded in the aftermath of the First World War, the Hoover Institution Library & Archives has always placed special emphasis on collecting and preserving materials that relate to the world’s first full experiences of global diplomatic crisis, industrialized warfare, mass humanitarian aid efforts, and the controversial treaty-making process in 1919 that shaped the post-war order in Europe and beyond. International in scope, Hoover’s holdings on the Great War document the war in terms of international and domestic politics, military operations, economics and finance, wartime society and culture, humanitarian aid, gender, class, and race.

The cornerstone of Hoover Library & Archives’ collections on WWI consist of records kept by the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB), a relief agency run by Herbert Hoover that fed more than nine million citizens in occupied Belgium and northern France during the war. The library also contains pamphlets created and distributed by almost all the nations and interest groups that came to the bargaining table during the Treaty of Versailles. Related collections reflect the global reach of the conflict; the papers of Russian General N.N. Golovin, for example, are of singular importance for the study of the Eastern front. The Kraftwagen Park 2 war journal shows the war from the perspective of a German mechanized unit. The World War I subject and pictorial collections are rich in documents and illustrative material on all geographic areas and all aspects of the war. Additional illustrative material can be found in the Imperial War Museum photographs and poster collection. From the papers of leading military and political figures to the diaries of drafted soldiers and civilians, the WWI holdings at Hoover provide vast insight into the conflict from a variety of viewpoints across the world.

Featured Collections

ALAN NICHOLS PAPERS: letters, photographs, and drawings created by a Stanford student who served as an ambulance driver and pilot

ALFRED HERMANN FRIED PAPERS: Austrian pacifist during World War I

AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION WAR SERVICE RECORDS: Photographs, postcards, blueprints, insignia, and reports, relating to the work of the American Library Association War Service in providing library buildings, books, and librarians 

AMERICAN NATIONAL RED CROSS RECORDS: Materials relating to relief work during and immediately after World War I


CLELIA DUEL MOSHER PAPERS: Red Cross worker in France, 1917–19

COMMISSION FOR RELIEF IN BELGIUM RECORDS: Organization providing relief to Belgium

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM PHOTOGRAPHS: Depicts activities of the British army and navy during World War I

JOSEPH NEWTON HILLHOUSE PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION: photographs depicting the activities of the American Expeditionary Forces in France

KRAFTWAGEN PARK 2 WAR JOURNAL: German military motor vehicle unit

N. N. GOLOVIN PAPERS: General, Russian Imperial Army

WELLINGTON HOUSE PUBLICATIONS: British Foreign Office propaganda from World War I

WORLD WAR I PICTORIAL COLLECTIONS: Photographs, cartoons, and postcards depicting a variety of scenes and personalities from World War I

WORLD WAR I POSTER COLLECTIONS: a vast collection of WWI-era propaganda posters from across the globe

WORLD WAR I SUBJECT COLLECTIONS: Printed matter, military documents, maps, and memorabilia


See More: