University center's book focuses on Central PA in WWI

A center at Shippensburg University has released a book of essays on Central Pennsylvania during World War I in time to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the war’s start. The Center for Applied History published Duty Calls at Home: Central Pennsylvania Responds to the Great War, 1914-1918.

The book is comprised of essays written by graduate students enrolled in Dr. Steven Burg’s research in local and regional history class in Spring 2013. The students, members of the university’s applied history graduate program, wrote, edited and prepared the essays for publication. Burg, professor of history and chair of the history and philosophy department, contributed a foreword and afterword for the collection.bookcover

The idea for the collection originated when Burg discovered that it was difficult to find history books that included information on the impact of the war on the Central Pennsylvania home front.

“I realized that there was a great opportunity here for my students to write a history that fill and important gap about how the First World War impacted our local people and communities,” said Burg. “I knew that we could provide a real service for local teachers, students, and residents who might want to better understand how the events of the First World War touched the lives of people right here in the Mid-state.”

The essays explore a wide array of topics including the mobilization of the Pennsylvania National Guard, the role of civilians with the Carlisle branch of the American Red Cross, efforts to conserve and preserve food for the war effort, and the impact on the U.S. Army Training camp, Camp Colt, on the Gettysburg community.

Several essays examine the war’s impact on higher education in the region including Dickinson, Shippensburg, Gettysburg, and Wilson colleges. Other essays focus on the changes at Mercersburg Academy, the Westtown School, and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.

Burg and John Maietta and Christy Fic, two of the student-authors, will be on WITF-FM’s Radio Smart Talk from 9 to 10 a.m. July 28 to discuss the response of Central Pennsylvania to World War I. The program is also available online at

Copies of the book can be found at many local bookstores in the region, or ordered directly at