True Sons of Freedom Online Exhibit

Hello everyone. In this video I’ll
demonstrate the use of the True Sons of Freedom website and how to find related
online resources. True Sons of Freedom is an exhibition at the Library of Virginia
featuring near life-size photos of African American soldiers in World War I.
It’s on display from January 16, 2018 until November 9th, 2018. The exhibit
website is located at Before we start looking at individual soldiers, let’s take a quick look at the About section, accessed using the menu in the top right corner. On this page, you can read an essay written by the curator of the
exhibit. It will help you better understand why we wanted to display these images in particular to commemorate World War I. Next to the
About button you’ll also see one that says Schedule. Click on this to view all
of the events related to the exhibit as well as the traveling schedule here at
the top. When the Library of Virginia creates an exhibition, we often make a
traveling version that can circulate to public libraries, museums, and other
locations in Virginia to help spread this knowledge. If you click View the
Itinerary, a PDF will download or display showing when and where the traveling
exhibit can be seen. Now let’s navigate back to the True Sons homepage by
clicking on the shield logo in the upper left corner. You’ll see some of the
soldiers images tile in at the top of the page. Let’s scroll down to view more. When you navigate over these thumbnail
images, the name of the soldier appears. You’ll notice they are arranged
alphabetically by default. When you click Filter by Region, a list of Virginia’s
regions will display. This feature might be useful if you know the place a person
was from but not their full name or the legal name. Let’s look at one soldier in
detail. How about Garrett Paige Bagley? If we click his photo we’ll see more
information about Mr. Bagley. He was born February 4th, 1896 in Victoria,
Lunenburg County, Virginia and his father and mother are listed. Below this you’ll
see several sections of information: public life, education, military service,
civilian life, and photos. You can see that he was a farmer both
before and after the war in Lunenburg County. He lists his father as his
employer which leads me to think this might be a family farm. If you click on
the photograph you can view the whole image and not just the thumbnail. All of
the information and these images come from the World War I History Commission
Questionnaires Collection, which you can find in our digital collections. On
January 7th, 1919 Governor Westmoreland Davis created the Virginia War History
Commission whose goal was to complete an accurate and complete history of
Virginia’s military economic and political participation in the World War.
The commission sent a four page questionnaire to each soldier or their
remaining kin after the war and requested photographs. Having your photo
taken in the early 1900’s could be an expensive and time-consuming process. The photos in this collection could have been the only or one of the only images
of these men, which is one reason why we wanted to re-digitize them. All of the
re-digitized images and questionnaires are searchable in our Online Catalog. Go
back to the True Sons website. If you have more information about any of these
soldiers you can submit it by clicking the question below the photograph. This
will open an email to the webmaster at LVA dot Virginia dot gov address. Any information
that is received, either additional photos or more details about their lives,
can be added to this page and will help future researchers. If we scroll down a
little further, you’ll see two more thumbnail images. You can use these to
move forward or backward alphabetically through the collection The logos in the footer link back to our
digital collections on Virginia Memory, the main website of the Library of
Virginia, and another chance to contact us with any questions or information.
Though the exhibit at the Library of Virginia ends soon, there will still be
traveling exhibits around Virginia and this website as ways to access the True
Sons of Freedom. Thank you.

1 thought on “True Sons of Freedom Online Exhibit

  • Very informative. I checked. my dads picture was not on exhibit. He was in world war 1. I am doing research for my dads military but it is hard. Any suggestions. Thanks

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