Together with the Departments of Communication and Performing Arts, the History Department is working on a play to commemorate Connecticut’s involvement in World War I. This project was awarded a grant of about $10,000 from Connecticut Humanities for the initial research and script production. The History Department/Connecticut Studies will conduct the research and Professor Edmund Chibeau will write the script.
The narrator of the play is Stubby, one of the most celebrated war dogs of World War I. A stray in New Haven in 1918, he was adopted by one of the soldiers training at Yale. When told to deploy, he smuggled Stubby on board ship, and they sailed for France. There he served with honor, received many medals and commendations and was given a field promotion to sergeant, a higher rank than his owner. He introduces the play, guides the narrative through the various themes and scenes. The play concerns Connecticut’s home front activities during the Great War. Governor Holcomb quickly mobilized residents to help prosecute the war. Soldiers joined the services, factories went on a war footing, and women and children were enlisted to serve as well. They volunteered for the Women’s Land Army, a government agency organized to assist farmers. Women and girls joined the canning corps, pledging to preserve and can thousands of quarts of fruits and vegetables; children planted gardens, distributed pledge cards, and worked on farms. Schools altered their curriculum’s to emphasize patriotism, and the Universities became laboratories for war related work and training. Yale sent hospital units to the front, and all four male dominated universities established Student Army Training programs. Nursing schools were called upon to do their part, and many Connecticut women served with the American Expeditionary Force in France. All the while the Connecticut Council on Defense reminded residents to support the war, to ration food and fuel, monitor their neighbors, and be alert for “slackers.” This original play will be performed in the new Performing Arts building currently under construction.