BY JIMMY BRYANTUCA ARCHIVISTDue to the enormity of World War I, and its aftermath, it is virtually impossible to show the full impact the war had on the Arkansas State Normal School (now the University of Central Arkansas). But, it is hoped that this article will shed some light on that period of time and show the sacrifices and dedication of both those who served in the military and those who served at home. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, the faculty, staff and student body of the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) received virtually all of its updates on the war from newspapers. There was no television, internet, radio (UCA acquired its first radio in 1922) or cell phones. There were only one or two traditional land-line telephones on campus.The Log Cabin Democrat carried daily front page stories on the fighting which kept the residents of Faulkner County up-to-date on what was taking place in the war. Even though Conway was a small town in 1917, the Log Cabin Democrat’s front page looked much like the front page of a large daily newspaper in a major city. The war’s impact at UCA was first felt by the male members of the faculty, staff and student body. Soon after the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, approximately 75 male students organized themselves into a military unit and began drilling under Coach Guy Dan Estes and Professor R.E. Womack. The students and faculty both knew that the men would soon be serving in the military, some as support personnel and others under combat arms, and preparations were made to have them as prepared as possible before leaving the campus. It did not take long before the men began leaving the campus to join the U.S. Armed Forces. Members of the UCA faculty who served in the military during World War I included Coach Guy Dan Estes who joined the Army engineering Corps as a lieutenant and was promoted to captain before the war ended; D.D. McBrien of the UCA History Department who joined the Army; Mr. J.C. Cook of the UCA Athletic Department who joined the Army and, like Estes, was soon promoted to captain; and Heber McAlister, who was hired at UCA in 1917, but first served in France at the rank of major before beginning work here in 1919. McAlister later became UCA’s third president in 1930.Captain Cook served on the front lines in France and wrote a letter that was published in The Echo. The following are excerpts from his letter of January 24, 1918, "I am still occupying my little dugout. Things are going along as well as one could wish. I was a little late in arriving on the scene and consequently had to take the dugout that was left after everyone else had made his selection. The one which fell to my lot would make a cute little dog kennel, but I am afraid the dog couldn’t live in it because of the water and dampness in general, and that it would not live in it because of the bugs and mice. "I don’t spend much of my time during the day in my dugout, for the reasons stated, also because until today I had no stove or electric lights. No doubt you are surprised to hear that we have electric lights at the front; well we don’t, not all of the time, nor all along the front for various reasons, but here we have a pretty comfortable time. Another thing which keeps one’s ears wide awake most of the time is to be on the alert for gas shells. Tomorrow I think I’ll take a little ride back to our division headquarters in order to talk with different echelons. I shall, if I have good luck bring back some American newspapers. We get a French-American edition of the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune." Capt. Cook was made the commanding officer of the regiment’s advance supply camp and was recognized by Col. Frank Parker, his regimental commander, for doing an outstanding job of getting supplies to those troops on the front lines.According to a letter from Col. Parker to Capt. Cook that was published in the June 7, 1918 edition of the Log Cabin Democrat, "The regimental commander desires to express to you and through you to your detachment, his satisfaction concerning the excellent work being done by your command. The regiment has entire confidence in you, and knows that when supplies fail to reach it, the fault is not yours. At some future date I shall make further recognition of your excellent and faithful services, which are being thoroughly appreciated at present by your regiment. You will communicate the contents of this letter to your command." UCA’s male students contributed greatly to the war effort. There were about 200 men enrolled at UCA in the spring of 1917 when America declared war on Germany. By the spring of 1918, however, only 12 men enrolled in classes. The exact number of UCA alumni who served in World War I is unknown, however, we do know that approximately 100 alumni did serve during that time period.On May 22, 1918, the UCA service flag was unfurled in a special ceremony and 98 stars, representing the number of UCA alumni serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, were attached to the flag. During the ceremony it was made known that many additional stars needed to be added to the flag once sufficient information became available. In the Scroll (UCA’s yearbook) of 1918 and 1919 some of the men had their pictures made while wearing their military uniform. At least two alumni were killed in the war, G.P. Gilham and Hamilton Conger. The 1919 Scroll made the following comments about Gilham, "Mr. Gilham attended the Normal School (now the University of Central Arkansas) only a short time, but proved to be a great friend to the students, a good mixer, and a very promising athlete. He answered the "Call to the Colors," completed his training, and bravely took his stand in the conflict. But while death soon claimed him, we are proud to say that he died in the faithful performance of duty." The female students and female faculty members were also doing their part in the war effort by being involved in many areas that directly benefited the fighting man in the field. In addition to supporting the war financially by buying Liberty Bonds, they served in the American Red Cross and participated in the process of registering women for war work.Arkansas Governor Charles H. Brough was quoted in the February 4, 1918 issue of the Log Cabin Democrat as saying, "In times of war, the nation must have an accurate knowledge not only of its man-power, food, livestock, fuel and money power, but its woman power as well. You will not be called upon for any service you do not offer is the assurance given the women who may entertain a mistaken notion about registration being a draft into service away from home. Nothing of the sort is intended." Governor Brough continued, "The objects of the registration may be summarized as follows: To give every woman an opportunity to offer to her country such services as she is best fitted to render. To interpret to the government the possibilities of the woman power of the country…To ascertain which women are available for service outside the home, and which are not. The demand for women to fill official positions is much greater than the supply, and young women are earnestly recommended to take an adequate course in stenography, typewriting and secretarial work, as opening one of the best avenues for service." The registration drive was under the supervision of the Woman’s Committee of the Council of National Defense. Although many reasons were given for the registration, it was primarily to determine how many women were willing to contribute to the war effort by serving in areas such as industry, education, hospitals, and office work. There were 171 occupations that were open to women registrants. According to The Echo, "All of the women of the faculty have registered and more than fifty of the women students have completed their registration." Female students were also working to assist the local Conway Draft Board. According to UCA historian Ted Worley, "When the Conway Draft Board was snowed under with paper work, six Normal (now University of Central Arkansas) girls volunteered to help. They were Eva Gillespie, Mamie Grady, Lillian Chambers, Beulah Winfield, Ruth Rushton, and Pauline Scott. They were put to work making copies of medical examination blanks." In order to raise money for Liberty Bonds, the members of the UCA Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) staged an "Old Maids Convention." The fund raiser was entirely funded, created and produced by the YWCA. One of the highlights of the "Old Maids Convention" was a time machine. The women created a time machine that transformed old women into young women, much to the delight of the crowd. The cost to see the show was 25 cents.Another event in which the UCA women faculty and women students figured prominently was the patriotic song service that was held in the auditorium of the E.E. Cordrey Science Building (UCA’s first building) on the UCA Campus.A national week of patriotic song was held across America in February 1918 to show support for the war effort. According to the Feb. 23, 1918 issue of the Log Cabin Democrat, "The national week of song was observed by a large and enthusiastic assemblage at a patriotic song service held in the State Normal auditorium last night. The auditorium was packed to its utmost capacity and scores unable to gain admission were turned away." The program began with an invocation from Dr. J.W. Conger and an address by Conway Mayor, J.C. Dawson, on "The Call of the Red Cross." Dr. J.H. Reynolds, president of Hendrix College, gave an address on "The Schools and the War." The service was presided over by the president of the Conway Commercial Club, Jo Frauenthal, and all Conway schools participated in the event. The songs that were sung at Conway’s patriotic song service were "America," "The Star Spangled Banner," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Carry me back to old Virginie," "The Little Brown Church in the Dale," "Over There," "Tipperary," "Smile! Smile! Smile!," "The Marseillaise Hymn" and "Dixie." Arguably one of the most important organizations the women students of UCA were involved in during World War I was the American Red Cross. Men and women were both invited to join but few men remained, most serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. "Sewing for soldiers" was the battle cry of many Conway and UCA Red Cross members. The women sewed various types of comfort clothing for the men including sweaters, pajamas and bed coats.According to The Echo, "That every woman in the school is anxious to do her "bit" has been shown during the year in many ways. One seldom sees a Doyne Hall (UCA residence hall for women) girl without her knitting; the Christian Association and the societies have bought Liberty Bonds; donations to the Christian Association War Service Fund have been made, and some of the teachers and students have bought Liberty Bonds, Thrift Stamps and War Savings Stamps. One French orphan has been adopted and others probably will be soon." The American Red Cross, through their many contributions and their desire to assist those in need, provided a big morale booster to those American men who were engaged in the fight. There were at least 57 UCA women who served in the American Red Cross, sewing various types of clothing for the troops as well as making bandages for those injured in combat.Author’s Note: Sources for this article were The Echo, Log Cabin Democrat, A History of the Arkansas State Normal School by Ted Worley and the Scroll.