As a way to think about the long and complex links between and among Salem and the world at large—the transnational histories of Salem— this website helps tell the stories of some of the Salem veterans of the two World Wars, tracing their family histories TO Salem and the war experiences that took them AWAY from Salem.
Salem, Massachusetts has been a global city for hundreds of years. From the earliest engagements between indigenous populations and European explorers and traders, to the first English immigrants to settle permanently in Naumkeag, to the years of the China trade, to waves of newer immigrant groups in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries…it is through the movements of ideas, people and goods that Salem has been transformed and continually connected to and dependent upon places the world over.
During the first half of the 20th century, many of the male members of Salem’s large immigrant and first-generation American populations were drawn into both World War I (“The Great War”) and World War II. In this way, the stories and lives of people who had roots outside of the US were entangled in new ways with other people and places outside the US. The global movement of people, ideas, cultures and experiences was omnipresent and reinforced.
This website (which is a work-in-progress) was created by students in two departments (Interdisciplinary Studies/ American Studies and World Languages and Cultures) in the Spring of 2017 as part of two courses at Salem State University: Professor Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello’s IDS 333a “Global America” course and Professor Elizabeth Blood’s WLC “Translation” course. It is intended to expand and enhance the work done to date by the City of Salem on the Salem Gold Star Squares project.
We have organized the website to highlight the cultures and nations of origin of the veterans and their families. In each category you will find a list of veterans, each one with a biography, links to archival and historical sources, map links and a list of suggested secondary sources to learn more about the experiences of war in the places where the men were stationed or engaged in combat.
The names of the students who worked on each portion of the project can be found on the individual entries, but we list them here as well: Anthony Divirgilio; Maro Fijux; Leslie Guevara; Aminata Keita; Haley Lawnsby; Brad Lumb; Kimberlee Maniscalco; Michelle Mazarez-Manga; Taylor McLaughlin; Sam Minton; Brianna Molten; Ashley Paron; Jennifer Petz; Clarita Recinos; Paige Rotundo; Hana Sargent and Rachel Trifone. A special thank you as well to Nancy Dennis, Reference Librarian at Salem State University for her intensive archival and genealogical work with all of the students and to Justin Snow, Digital Initiatives Librarian for his technical assistance on the website.