World War I service medal

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Before the war Square marker

Defense Council

Active service

Home front

After the war



Exhibit home

Archives home

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State Archivist Seal
An exhibit by the
Oregon State Archives

Oregon at War! American soldiers marching through gas shelled French town.
Before the War
Table of contents

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Finley High of Ashland

  Jerome Woodson of Eugene
  Francis Lamberty of Springfield

Delta Criteser of Clackamas


Most Oregonians led rural or small town lives on the eve of World War I, rarely leaving their farming, logging, fishing, or mining communities. In countless cases the stereotype of the naive farm boy going off to war rang true. But life changing experiences would not be limited to those destined to fight in far off lands. World war would touch all Oregonians.

To place the experience in context, this section examines some of the key aspects of life in Oregon before the "Great War." It also looks at America's reluctant path to war.

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Living in Oregon before 1917
View Working: the Oregon economy
View Interacting: Oregon social and cultural trends
View Striving: women and minorities
Fighting: the role of the military in Oregon

Neutrality collapses
View America's strained neutrality
View Mobilizing for total war

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About the images delta
These young men were among over 44,000 Oregonians who traded civilian clothes for uniforms as they left fields, schools, and factories to fight in World War I. From top to bottom: Finley High of Ashland; Jerome Woodson of Eugene; Francis Lamberty of Springfield; Delta Criteser of Clackamas. (OSA, Oregon Defense Council Records, World War I Personnel Photographs)