Wed May 3, 2017 5:30pm

The Poignant Side of General Pershing and WWI at New Haven Museum

Sponsored by: New Haven Museum

A passionate romance with George Patton’s sister, Anne, and a secret marriage to a young French painter are particulars not typically associated with General John Pershing and World War I, but they are two of the poignant details covered in the book, “My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War,” by historian Andrew Carroll. In conjunction with the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I, Carroll will give a presentation based on his book at the New Haven Museum, 114 Whitney Ave., at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3, 2017, with a Q&A and book signing to follow. Admission is free. The event has been made possible in part by the Connecticut State Library, and a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Carroll’s intimate portrait of General Pershing, who led American troops in Europe during World War I, is revealing. Given a military force that on the eve of its entry into the war was downright primitive compared to the European combatants, Pershing surmounted enormous obstacles to build an army and ultimately command millions of U.S. soldiers. According to Carroll, Pershing—often perceived as a harsh, humorless, and wooden leader—concealed inner agony from those around him: almost two years before the United States entered the war, he suffered a personal tragedy so catastrophic that he nearly went insane with grief and remained haunted by the loss for the rest of his life, as the previously unpublished letters he wrote to family members now reveal. Carroll will discuss the American experience in the war based on eyewitness accounts by Pershing and other senior officers, as well as the troops, aviators, and nurses who risked—and often gave—their lives during the conflict.

In addition to discussing his book, Carrol will note his involvement in the PBS documentary, “The World War,” which premieres in April, 2017. He will also highlight his new initiative, known as the “Million Letters Campaign,” with The Center for American War Letters, which encourages Americans to help preserve and share letters and emails related to every war in U.S. history.

In a related event, on Wednesday, May 24, from 3 to7 p.m. New Haven Museum will host a statewide effort to help preserve World War One history, hosting the Connecticut State Library’s “Remembering World War One” Digitization Day. During the event, which is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, area residents can bring in their WWI photos, letters, and keepsakes to the museum, where they will be photographed or scanned by Connecticut State Library staff for inclusion in the public record.

Andrew Carroll is the editor of several New York Times bestsellers, including “War Letters” and “Behind the Lines.” He also edited, on a pro-bono basis, “Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families.” The book inspired the PBS film “Operation Homecoming,” which was nominated for an Oscar and won two Emmy awards. In 1998, he founded the Legacy Project, an all-volunteer initiative created to honor veterans and active-duty troops by preserving their wartime correspondence. He has collected an estimated 100,000 previously unpublished letters, and emails, from every war in U.S. history. The Legacy Project has been re-named The Center for American War Letters, and is now part of Chapman University. The Center’s mission is to continue to collect, preserve, and promote extraordinary war-related correspondences. Carroll has been a contributing editor to numerous publications, including the New Yorker and Time magazine, and his op-eds and articles have appeared in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and National Geographic. He lives in Washington, D.C., and Orange, California, where he serves as the founding director of the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

About the Connecticut State Library
The Connecticut State Library is an Executive Branch agency of the State of Connecticut. The State Library provides a variety of library, information, archival, public records, museum, and administrative services to citizens of Connecticut, as well as the employees and officials of all three branches of state government. The Connecticut State Archives and the Museum of Connecticut History are components of the State Library. Visit the State Library at,,, or

About the New Haven Museum
The New Haven Museum has been collecting, preserving and interpreting the history and heritage of Greater New Haven since its inception as the New Haven Colony Historical Society in 1862. Located in downtown New Haven at 114 Whitney Avenue, the Museum brings more than 375 years of New Haven history to life through its collections, exhibitions, programs and outreach. For more information visit or or call 203-562-4183.

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