150 Palo Alto High School Students Study An Original WWI Diary

List of Student Researchers

Some time ago, an authentic diary covering 1914-1918 was obtained via an online auction site.  These pristine diaries reveal an incredible amount of detail, including what the reaction to world events was around the country.  Written by a religious educator from the East Coast, the writing is highly revealing and, luckily, this man wrote almost every single day for five years.  This resource has never been explored academically, so student work is novel, and brings this story to life uniquely.




There are models of instruction that exist to reinforce authentic discovery of primary sources.  When original diaries are explored, they often reveal subtleties that texts and conventional academic papers fail to disclose to the extent that academicians forego access to primary materials.  In other words, why solely read a timeline of events from a textbook when one may read a timeline from the perspective of an individual who was there?  Students pick this up immediately and are engaged far more easily in such cases.


Mira Bostic Points To The Word "Armistice"

What Did Students Learn From Examining This Diary?

  • What was the reaction in the country when the Lusitania was sunk? 
          The wave of indignation and anger that is going over this country on account of the loss of the Lusitania is remarkable.  The nation is stirred to its depths and complete reparation must be made at once by Germany (May 10, 1915). 
  • What was the prevailing feeling of people at home during the war?  
  • What was the view of people who were Internationalists?  What about the position of Reservationists?  How would you characterize the Irreconcilables? 
  • Did Americans support Wilson's leadership? 
  • What was the reaction to the revelation that Mexico was being brought into the war by Germany?
  • What were conditions like at home?
  • How was the mood when the War ended?
  • What was the mood like when America entered the War?
  • How outraged were Americans at the Zimmerman Telegram?