On April 6, 1917 the United States of America officially entered the Great War. The declaration of war pushed thousands of young men to sign up for military service and pledge to give their lives for the country. Joining in the national enthusiasm for war, hundreds of men from Lancaster county were among those who enlisted, with a few dozen joining the 111th Ambulance Company of the Medical Corps.
Within the 111th Company was bugler and ambulance driver J. Reah Hollinger, a 1917 graduate from Franklin and Marshall College (see photo above). During his military service, Hollinger kept a diary to document his daily life, friendships, and medical experience. Under the command of company captain, Dr. Charles P. Stahr, Hollinger and the 111th supported their fellow soldiers and saved the lives of the wounded.
While the Hollinger diary sanitized or omitted many of the horrors of war, the medical artifacts available at the Edward Hand Medical Heritage Foundation, the pictures provided by Lancasterhistory.org, and my own research of the realities of war give the diary a visual dimension to create a vivid picture of battlefield medical experience.
The following website will take you through that experience to reveal the reality that the diary itself bypasses. The hyperlinks in each blog entry will take you deeper into the website and its depiction of the reality of warfare. You will see war as the troops who served in the Medical Corps lived it from enlistment through discharge from military service.
The website was created for the Edward Hand Medical Heritage Foundation by D. Cicchiello under the Hackman Summer Scholar Program funded by Franklin and Marshall College. The project was coordinated by Dr. Louise Stevenson, Professor of History and American Studies at F&M, as well as Dr. Nikitas Zervanos and the Board Members at EHMHF.
Click here to begin your journey.