Overview

At the beginning of World War I, in 1914, many Americans were praying that the war would not involve them, but by 1917 America began to fight in World War I. War always has an effect on people fighting, but also back at home. The War did not leave Berry College untouched. Many men enlisted or where drafted to fight for America, while many women learned to contribute in other ways. The actual purpose of Berry College slightly changed during war time. The campus was also host to some training for men to prepare them to go off to war. Martha Berry also thought of her Berry Boys that where off fighting every day. By 1918, when World War I ended, Berry College had changed even losing some of their boys to war (Dickey and Mathis).

Berry College Support

Throughout World War I, Berry supported America’s troops in various ways. At the school, The Junior Faculty knitted sweaters to keep the boys that were on the front warm in the cold, European climate. The boys really appreciated this and said they were made of the finest quality. The boys and girls also saved their money to buy Liberty Loan Bonds and War Savings Stamps. Berry also had a relatively large amount of Red Cross members. This group of about one hundred girls devoted most of their free time to support the war effort by making bandages, sewing Red Cross materials, and even picking cotton ("Love in Action"). The Berry boys brought excellent reputations from the war to the Berry schools. One man stated, “No better reputation is needed for any boy than to say he finished at Berry.” None of the Berry boys were rejected for any physical reason. The boys had the three great attributes for being excellent war heroes; they were taught to work, they were men of character, and they were all extremely healthy. One man said, “Discipline and alertness have been the two greatest lessons to me thus far in the army. I must say that both of these were stressed at Berry, and I have derived much good from them.” By the end of the war, over five hundred students and faculty were sent off, and out of those numbers, ten men died at war (Berry,"How Berry Helped Win the War").

Berry's Men at War

Many people at Berry were affected by the war, but no one felt it more than the men on campus that were recruited to go to war. Many of Berry’s young men fought in the war, and quite a few became decorated with honors. One of these decorated young men was Henry Atkinson. He was in the Marines, Second Division, and helped hold back Germans for 17 days, which in the end helped save Paris. For the stated courageous action he received the recognition, and was called the Hero of Chateau Thiery ("Chateau Thiery Hero visits Alma Mater"). Another former Berry Boy that was honored by the military was Lt. Andrews. He was recommended for the Croix de Guerre, a very prestigious honor. He was recommended for this award because of his actions caring for the wounded during a bombardment. He also volunteered to lead officers across enemy lines ("Lieutenant Andrew Given Croix De Guerre"). One can see from these examples that the men of Berry where brave, but also caring for their comrades. They did not leave a man behind, which one might conclude help came from their schooling at Berry.

There was also a Berry Girl that went to Europe during the war to help, Mildred Street. She was the only woman in the YMCA working in Italy during World War I ("Miss Mildred Street Formerly of Berry School Only Woman in YMCA Work for Italy's Soldiers").

Martha Berry's Experience on the Front Line

Martha Berry herself was on the front line as the war started. She was going to visit her sister, Princess Eugenia Ruspoli in Italy. At the time the war started, she was in Carlsbad. She was one of the last visitors in the hotel she was staying and witnessed heart-wrenching sites. She finally decided to leave and went onboard several trains to get to Amsterdam, from which she would set sail to America. Once she got to Amsterdam, which took six days instead of the usual fifteen hours, she was happy to set sail. However, watching the soldiers leaving to head to the front, she was amazed to see such patriotism towards their country. Their last farewells to their wives and children were filled with smiling faces and not one tear shed. She questioned, “Are these people even human?” She was lucky enough to find a nice New Yorker lady who was willing to let her have the sofa in her room. She describes the ship as extremely overcrowded. She wrote that not enough food was on board to go around, there were hardly any chairs so many sat on the deck for fresh air, and each person was given a number as to which lifeboat they were assigned to. When she saw the Statue of Liberty, she was filled with happiness. She was ready to be back at Berry with her boys and girls.

Memorials and Patriotism at Berry College

After the war, to remember those who served, Berry College created several memorials in their honor. One of these memorials is Victory Lake, a man-made lake created in 1921. Victory Lake was a place created to help Berry students learn to swim, but dedicated to "the memory of the young men of Berry who died in the first World War (Couch,"Victory Lake Built By Class Workers; World War I Memorial). Although the actual lake has dried up now, the Victory Lake campsite still serves as a reminder of the former students who gave their lives for their country. Another memorial Berry created was the Victory Scholarship fund for students at the Berry schools. The money would be used for ten scholarships each year to incoming students in memory of the ten young men who gave their lives during the war ("A Victory Memorial"). Even the Road of Remembrance, which runs right through Berry's main campus, is named in honor of those who died during the first World War. It is no surprise that Berry's patriotism during the war continued long after the conflict was over through the use of memorials such as these.

Patriotism at Berry College during the years of 1917 and 1918 was at an all-time high. Berry showed their patriotism through many different ways, including supporting the Red Cross, buying war bonds and stamps, hosting different patriotic celebrations, and maintaining a service flag (Berry,"A Patriotic Christmas"). Berry was very fond of having patriotic rallies during the war. There are numerous examples of patriotic parades, rallies, and church services held to boost the spirit of those who were at Berry during the war (Berry,"Day by Day at Berry"). One of Berry's proudest accomplishments was the completion of a service flag. The flag was over ten feet tall and filled with stars showing how many men Berry had serving or sacrificed. At the revealing ceremony of the flag, Berry's guest speaker, Judge M. W. Wright, said that, "In the many patriotic rallies and meetings I have attended I have never seen a flag with so many stars of gold and none with more stars of blue ("Berry's Service Flag")." Berry College had many things to be proud of, and they showed it through their patriotism during the first World War.

Works Cited

Berry, Martha. "Day by Day at Berry." The Southern Highlander Oct. 1918: 3. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Berry, Martha. "How Berry Helped Win the War." The Southern Highlander Oct. 1918: 4. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Berry, Martha. "A Patriotic Christmas." The Southern Highlander Oct. 1918: 2. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

"Berry's Service Flag." The Southern Highlander Oct. 1918: 3. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

"Chateau Thiery Hero Visits Alma Mater.” March 1919. Print. Newspaper Clipping. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Couch, Robert. "Victory Lake Built By Class Workers; World War I Memorial." Mount Berry News 27 May 1949: 8. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Dickey, Ouida and Doyle Mathis. Berry College A History. Athens: The University of Georgia Press. 2005. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

"Lieutenant Andrews Given Croix De Guerre.” 29 Septmember 1918. Print. Newspaper Clipping. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

"Love in Action." The Southern Highlander Oct. 1918: 18. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

"Miss Berry's Experiences in the War Zone." Rome Tribune-Herald. 1914. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

"Miss Mildred Street Formerly of Berry School Only Woman in YMCA Work For Italy's Soldiers." 2 Oct. 1918. Print. Newspaper Clipping. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

"Patriotism at the Berry Schools." 1 February 1918. Print. Newspaper Clipping. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

"Public Health Department." 1918. Print. Newspaper Clipping. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

"Red-Blooded Americans at Berry School." June 1918. Print. Newspaper Clipping. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

"Unfurling of Service Flag at Berry School Made Notable Patriotic Occasion." 21 September 1918. Print. Newspaper Clipping. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

"A Victory Memorial." The Southern Highlander Oct. 1918: 9-10. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.