New exhibit chronicles Armco’s involvement in World War I

A new exhibit at the MidPointe Library Middletown chronicles Armco’s involvement in World War I.

The exhibit called “Middletown and the Great War” is timely because this is the 100th anniversary since the United States entered the war, said Cari Hillman, the library’s public relations manager.

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It chronicles how Armco, now AK Steel, sent employees to serve in the Armco Ambulance Corps. The exhibit also features “incredibly detailed” letters that were written from employees to George M. Verity, the steel plant’s president, Hillman said. She said the letters read like they were written to a family member.

“You can tell how involved Armco is with its employees,” she said. “It’s a really, really special exhibit.”

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The Armco Ambulance Corps Collection encompasses more than 240 items, primarily correspondence, related to the Armco and the Armco Ambulance Corps during World War I.

The Armco Ambulance Corps formed during the summer of 1917, shortly after the United States officially entered World War I. Since Armco and its employees were eager to aid the war effort, it was decided that a group of volunteers, selected from the ranks of Armco employees, would head to France and join the American Red Cross Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps, Hillman said.

This group represented the “Armco Spirit” and was fully funded and outfitted by the company, she said. The group left New York City for France on Aug. 8, 1917. Shortly after arriving, the Armco Men were absorbed into the American Expeditionary Forces but remained together, Hillman said. They primarily served in Ambulance Service Section 646 and participated in many engagements.

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There also is a smaller exhibit at MidPointe Library West Chester, Hillman said.

She said this project was a collaborative effort between the MidPointe Library System, the Middletown Historical Society, and the Ohio History Connection.

The exhibit will be open through the fall, she said. It’s located near the Ohio Room.

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