Ohio University announces virtual exhibit to commemorate 80th anniversary of D-Day

A new virtual exhibit at Ohio University is recognizing the 80th anniversary of D-Day in June 2024, with clips from the digital archives of student-run newspaper The Post that illustrate the experiences of students during World War II.

June 6, 2024


The exhibit, curated by Ohio University Archivist and Records Manager Bill Kimok, draws from newly digitized issues of The Post, covering previously unavailable years from 1939 through 1960. Visitors will journey through more than a decade of history, which highlights the profound impact of World War II on campus life from 1939 to 1945.

"This exhibit commemorates a pivotal moment in world history and reflects the resilience and spirit of our University community during those challenging times," said Kimok. "Our hope is that viewers will gain a deeper understanding of the era's impact on OHIO students and the worldwide changes that shaped their college experiences."

OU to offer 22 war courses - The Post
Martial law reigned here - The Post
Kill this bill - The Post

Perspectives from the OHIO campus in wartime

The exhibit delves into various aspects of the wartime campus, from editorial debates over the military draft to coverage of defense preparations and the personal stories of students and alumni who served. Highlights include the adaptation of academic and athletics schedules to meet war demands, the significant roles played by women in defense efforts, and the community's engagement in war support activities like bond drives and rationing.

In 1939, the war was never far from the minds of the Ohio University community, as this Sept. 25, 1939, front page shows. By 1940, calls for a military draft that would not exempt college students was the talk of campus. Some members of the community, including Post writers, were not happy with the bill, as indicated by this front-page editorial of Aug. 2, 1940.

Students to take part in trial air raid - The Post
Intercollegiate Football - The Post

To conserve resources, The Post was only publishing once every two or three weeks in summer 1944 when news of the June 6 D-Day Normandy landing arrived. The Post’s coverage of D-Day was published in the campus newspaper on June 9. Even though by then the news was likely known across campus and the Athens community, The Post did its best to update readers about the most recent advances of the Allied forces onto the European continent.

Uncovered OHIO history reveals WWII sacrifices

In addition to Kimok, the digital exhibit was written and curated by Digital Imaging Specialist & Lab Manager at Ohio University Libraries Erin Wilson, and Digital Initiatives Assistants Greta DeLapp, BA ’25 and Adrian Kautz, BA ’27.

At the same time Kimok and the archives team were producing this virtual exhibit, Kimok stumbled upon some long-buried treasure in Libraries storage.

“I discovered some interesting fancy decorative dark red and gray felt scrolls wrapped around gold rods, which when unfurled show lists of names,” Kimok said. A hunch led him to check the names against a roster of World War II deceased personnel from OHIO, which had been published on page two of the Nov. 30, 1945 issue – the entire list of the 201 “Gold Star Men.” 

“They match perfectly,” he said.

Gold Star Men scroll from WWII on Ohio University's campus

A recently discovered handmade scroll displaying the names of World War II deceased personnel from OHIO, as published on page two of the Nov. 30, 1945 issue of the Ohio University Post. The entire list of the 201 “Gold Star Men" is published in the same issue and is viewable in the new online exhibit, "Ohio University and The Post during World War II."

Gold Star men listing in Ohio University Post

Page two of the Nov. 30, 1945 issue of the Ohio University Post.

OHIO Libraries' Digital Archives offers researchers a wealth of WWII content

While the virtual exhibit includes just a fraction of the University’s collection of World War II-related content published in The Post during the 1939-1945 period, Kimok encourages readers to pore over the digitized papers for themselves.

“With digitizing of The Post for over 100 years completed now, researchers can focus on their own research of Ohio University during World War II, or any other University-related news during other years,” said Kimok. “And if you find some really cool and interesting stuff, please send us an email and tell us about it!”

For more information on the virtual exhibit and to explore the digital archives, please visit the Ohio University Libraries website or email Ohio University Archivist and Records Manager Bill Kimok at kimok@ohio.edu.