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'Iolani School Archives: WWI & 'Iolani

The ‘Iolani School Archives collects, organizes, preserves and provides access to historical records of ‘Iolani School.


Above steps by the National Archives

Teaching with Primary Sources

*Also see the Teaching and Primary Sources box in the Links tab of this guide.

                Content disclaimer

WWI & 'Iolani

Upper School Faculty!

Major historical events can often seem abstract to students given geographic distance and time period. This supplemental, interactive experience will show relevance to students through connections of people and place. Students will exercise primary source and visual literacy by closely examining historical images and documents. They will use critical thinking skills to complete writing assignments which can be modified by faculty to be formal or informal. Students will also be exposed to other U.S. historical collections.
The following is primarily intended to complement your existing teaching units.

Station writing prompts developed by History faculty member William Monaco.


Grade: 9-12


Location: 'Iolani School Archives. Adaptable for Distance Learning.


Time allotment: 46 - 54 minutes

  • Introduction to archives = 5 min
  • Station and reflection instructions = 5 min
  • 8 -10 min stations x 4 = 32 - 40 min
  • 1 min transitions x 4 = 4 min



Each student must bring:

  • iPad (school issued)
  • pencil




  • The Archivist will give a summary of WWI materials held by the 'Iolani School Archives.
  • Students will be divided into four (4) groups.
  • Student groups will rotate through four (4) stations displaying the archival resources. Approximately 8 - 10 minutes per station.
    NOTE: The stations may be experienced in any order (they are numbered below only for the purpose of ease of reference).
  • Students will individually complete a short writing reflection per station.



Introduction to Archives:

  • What is an archive?
    • What type of materials?
    • Mass produced or rare/unique?
    • Archive vs. library differences?
  • Station and writing reflection instructions.


Station 1 - Fr. Bray and the American Expeditionary Forces:

The Rev. Kenneth A. Bray is a prominent figure in the history of 'Iolani School. The Bray Collection includes four, 8 in. by 23 in. frames with sketches and remarks created by Fr. Bray of his observations during his time in France as a member of the American Expeditionary Forces, circa 1917 to 1918, prior to his term of employment with ’Iolani School.
There will also be a presentation board explaining, "Who is Fr. Bray".

---> Writing assignment - prompt:
What is the most striking / surprising to you about Father Bray's observations during his time in France?


Station 2 - U.S. National Archives Digital Resources:

Via the 'Iolani Archives WWI subject guide, students will explore subtopics by accessing digitized U.S. National Archives primary source materials on the DocsTeach WWI pages.
Topics highlighted for the students to explore include the American Expeditionary Forces, WWI Posters, Women in WWI, The Homefront, Liberty Loans, and Draft Cards. Students may also explore other WWI subtopics of interest.

---> Writing assignment - prompt:
Select one topic that most interests you of the National Archives items. Why does it interest you?


Station 3 - WWI Era 'Iolani:

This station will feature images of 'Iolani School during the WWI era including students, buildings and grounds.
Also included will be A History of Iolani School, volume 1 (1940), open to page 105. This page of the history, written by past faculty member Ernest Villers, discusses the students and staff in the war effort.

Villers sites, "Iolani Service Flag," Hawaiian Church Chronicle, November 1918, page 13, available digitally at UH eVols. Students will be instructed to access the journal on their iPad.

---> Writing assignment - prompt:
What is the most striking to you about 'Iolani School in the early 1900s?


Station 4 - U.S. Boys Working Reserve and 'Iolani Participation:

Students will be permitted to look through a scrapbook created from August 1917 - October 1918 by past faculty member Thomas Pierce Rogers. It includes photographs and narrative regarding the group of students he led to participate in a government homefront initiative,

"Once we had a camp on Kauai. You see we were at war with Germany and so needed very much sugar. Most of the men having gone to fight we decided to take their place, so we joined the U.S. Boy's Working Reserve..."
(Rogers scrapbook, August 1917- October 1918).

---> Writing assignment - prompt:
What stands out to you about 'Iolani's contribution to WWI efforts?


Optional Follow-up:

Possible additional writing assignment prompts include:

  • Write a journal entry as a member of the American Expeditionary Forces.
  • Write a journal entry as one of the 'Iolani students who worked in the US Boys Working Reserve as a homefront effort for the war.


Digital Versions for Distance Learning:

Station 1 - Fr. Bray and the American Expeditionary Forces:

Station 2 - U.S. National Archives Digital Resources:

'Iolani Archives WWI subject guide
See the World War I on DocsTeach box.

Station 3 - WWI Era 'Iolani:

Station 4 - U.S. Boys Working Reserve and 'Iolani Participation:

World War I on DocsTeach - National Archives

Explore primary sources on the DocsTeach WWI pages.

View by various topics, including American Expeditionary Forces in which 'Iolani School's own Father Bray was deployed.
Other topics include:
WWI Posters
Women in WWI
The Homefront
Liberty Loans
Food Conservation
The 1918 Flu Pandemic
Personal War Experiences
"Enemy Aliens"
Trench Warfare
Draft Cards

See Also

Important Questions in the Study of Primary Sources infographic

(Click to enlarge.)

Thanks for reviewing a draft of
"Important Questions" go to
Dr. Melissa Perkins,
'Iolani School History Faculty
2021 Hawai'i History Teacher of the Year

(Click to enlarge.)