Data and Methods

Currently the dataset consists of data from the sources described below.

Pennsylvania Adjuntant General's List

Description: The list was divided into three sections, subtitled "Officers", "Enlisted-White", and "Enlisted-Colored". Within each section, each page contained information on approximately twenty individuals, with two rows for each individual. Although the variables were not formally organized into columns, they were reported in a consistent order and separated by commas in most cases.
Author: The exact author is unknown, however the original list was found among the papers of the Pennsylvania Adjutant General's office at the Pennsylvania State Archives.
Dates Covered: circa 1920
Sample: The list covers men who died from any cause while in the service of the US Army during the mobilization related to World War I. Causes of death include disease, suicide, execution, homicide, drowning, and accidents, in addition to combat-related deaths. The overwhelming majority of deaths on the list occured in 1918. The earliest deaths on the list occurred in the United States on April 10, 1917, shortly after the U.S. Congress declared war. The last death included on the list occurred in France on June 23, 1920.
Original Purpose: The reason the list was originally created is unknown. Shortly after the war, the War Department requested that the states complied county-level data on service members killed during the first world war for the purposes of creating memorials. It's possible this list was part of Pennsylvania's response to that request.
Entry Method: We transcribed the list into a spreadsheet, with separate columns for each variable. The content for each variable was recorded exactly as written in the original, including typograpical errors and spelling mistakes. The spreadsheet was uploaded into the database and output from the database was checked against the original to verify its accuracy.
  • Date of Birth Date of birth was reported only in two cases.
  • Date of Death
  • Place of Death Nation only.
  • Cause of Death Reported categorically: "killed in action", "died of wounds", "died of disease", "died in an accident", "murdered", "committed suicide", "executed", "drowned", "lost at sea"
  • Gender Recorded implicitly, as only men could serve in the U.S. Army during World War I.
  • Race/Ethnicity Not recorded for officers. Recorded explicity for enlisted men as "white" and "colored".
  • State of Residence
  • City of Residence
  • Street Address of Residence Reported for enlisted men only.
  • Military Assignment For officers the list typically only identified the branch of the American Expeditionary Force in which they served (i.e., Infantry, Medical Corps, Signal Corps). For enlisted men, the list consistently identified regiment and unit, and less consistently battalions and brigades.
  • Rank
  • Serial Number

"Honor Rolls" from the Evening Public Ledger

Description: A typical honor roll was divided into a list of Philadelphia residents, followed by a list of casualties from the surrounding region. The list of Philadelphia residents was subdivided by casualty type, while the regional list unfolded in no particluar order. Most honor rolls were also immediately preceded or followed by descriptive text that provided context for and additional information about the list. Honor rolls frequently began on the first page and were continued within the first four pages of the paper. After
Author: Throughout the war, the Evening Public Ledger published lists of local casualties drawn from both official and unofficial sources. Official sources included casualty lists from the U.S. War Department and the Canadian Army. Unofficial sources included family and friends of the casualty, who received their information from letters and telegrams. Due to delays by the War Department in publishing the casualty lists, the first news of a service person being killed or wounded frequently came through informal channels.
Dates Covered: April 6, 1917 through June 30, 1919. Honor ro
Sample: The honor rolls included the names of service-persons who were reported as combat-related and non-combat-related casualties (i.e., those who died, were injured, taken prisoner, or reported missing). In addition to persons serving with the Army, Marines, and the Navy, the honor rolls included nurses, YMCA & Red Cross workers, and foreign correspondents. As a result, women occasionally appear on the honor rolls, primarily as nurses or Navy yeomen. While African-Americans occasionally appear, a preliminary comparison with the Pennsylvania Adjutant General's list suggests they were largely excluded from the honor rolls. Once the honor rolls have been fully entered, we will be able to assess better the their representativeness.
Original Purpose: In addition to showing the Evening Public Ledger's support for the war effort, the Honor Rolls alerted the newspaper's readers to casualties from the Philadelphia region. Through the honor rolls, the newspaper consciously filled the information gap created by the War Department lists which were frequently delayed and often failed to include important identifying information (specifically, home address). See Steven Casey, When Soldiers Fall: How Americans Have Confronted Combat Losses from World War I to Afghanistan, New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
Entry Method: Honor rolls are entered directly into the database via a standardized form. Names and addresses have been entered exactly as written, inclusive of original typographical and other errors, with the exception of numbered streets which are converted to ordinals (i.e., "Seventh Avenue" is transcribed as "7th Avenue"). For efficiency and consitency, casualty status and rank are selected from standardized drop-down menus (statuses and ranks not already in the drop-down menus are added as needed).
  • Cause of Death Reported categorically, but not discretely (i.e., "killed in action", "killed", "died", "died of disease", etc.)
  • Gender Reported explicitly only for women (in the text accompanying the list).
  • Race/Ethnicity Reported explicitly only for persons identified as "colored".
  • State of Residence
  • City of Residence
  • Street Address of Residence Reported fairly consistently for Philadelphia residents. Generally not reported for residents outside of Philadelphia, or for service persons whose names were drawn from the Canadian Army casualty list.
  • Rank
  • Casualty Status

Photographs from the Evening Public Ledger

Description: Links to photographs in the Evening Public Ledger are included here as a matter of interest and as a service to those researching individuals. They are intended for research purposes and no demographic or other data from the photographs or their captions were incorporated into the larger dataset. Photograph portraits of service persons appeared routinely in the pages of the Evening Public Ledger from 1918 through 1919. Stand-alone photographs appeared throughout the pages, but photographs of casualties were published in galleries, typically on the same page as the "Honor Roll" or the "Sketches of Heroes" articles.
Author: Evening Public Ledger
Dates Covered: April 6, 1917-June 30, 1919
Sample: Most of these photographs are of an individual service persons, while a small number are of a relative of a service person (usually a spouse). The large majority of the photographs are of service persons who were listed as casualties. Entry of photographs is not yet complete but so far the sample suggests that the Evening Public Ledger included photographs only of service person identified by the War Department as "white".
Original Purpose: The large majority of the photographs collected in this data series were intended to accompany the "Honor Roll" published in the same issue. Others, were included in the newspaper in association with an article or as a stand-alone photograph of interest. Most of the photographs appear to be official potraits from the War Department, while others appear to be personal photographs.
Entry Method: As information from the photographs and their captions will not be incorporated into the dataset, our selection and entry methods were not as rigorous. Emphasis was placed instead on being efficient rather than comprehensive. While all of the photographs affiliated with the "Honor Rolls" will be entered, the selection of photographs from other sections of the paper will not be complete. Photographs were first identified by examining each issue using the full page view feature in Chronicling America. Pages that contained photographic portraits were tagged for later review. Once reviewed, photographs of service persons and occasionally, their relatives were saved as images using the site's clip tool and their URLs were stored in the database.