World War I

Soldiers marching on Broadway


World War I

Before the United States formally joined the conflict, many intellectuals in the nation’s major universities, including Columbia’s president Nicholas Murray Butler, were opposed to U.S. intervention. Once Congress declared war in 1917, any previous ambivalence about the war was replaced by a commitment to national service. President Butler established the Student Army Training Corps to support the Army; it was housed in Hartley and Livingston Halls. He also created a smaller campus-based Naval training unit.

The University supported students’ leaving campus to join the war effort by allowing them to receive full credit for courses in which they had enrolled. Bennett Cerf, who later founded Random House, wrote in his memoirs about signing up for extremely difficult courses such as advanced geometry in the term in which he knew he would be leaving Columbia for Officers’ Training Camp. He said that he did this to receive credit for coursework that he would otherwise never have passed.

The University awarded a Bachelor of Arts Certificate for Academic Record and National Service in June 1918 to fifty-seven members of the Columbia College Class of 1918 who had left their studies to join the military. In conferring the degree, President Butler declared that the students were “admitted forever to the roll of graduates of Columbia College,” even though they had not completed their prescribed course of studies. Among the recipients was Chandler Waterman, who had died of wounds in April of that year.  

In 1915, even before America officially joined the war, forty-nine graduates of the School of Nursing volunteered to serve with Allied forces in Europe. After the United States declared war in 1917, Columbia medical personnel, in collaboration with Presbyterian Hospital, established the first American base hospital. In addition, a large number of Columbia doctors and nurses deployed to Etretat, France, where Base Hospital No. 2 was established. Some of these Columbians served in a mobile unit, a specially equipped convoy of automobiles that served as a surgical hospital to supplement the existing field hospitals which were often too far from the rapidly shifting front lines to provide effective care to the wounded.

Altogether, more than 2,600 Columbia students, alumni, staff, and faculty served their country during the war. These included more than 350 faculty members and administrators and almost two-thirds of the graduates of the Law School from 1910 to 1918. As many as a third of the graduates of 1918 missed commencement because of military service. Most strikingly, the Dean of Engineering had only one graduate present to receive his degree; the rest of his class had left for the war.

More than 200 Columbians are known to have lost their lives during the conflict. Among the dead were two brothers. James Vedder (Columbia College 1919) was killed in September 1918 in an action that would posthumously win him a citation of bravery. Two months later, his older brother, Harmon Vedder (Columbia College 1918), died just one week before the armistice. The dead also included Amabel Scharf Roberts (Nursing 1916), Columbia’s only female casualty of the war.

Alumni Who Perished in This War


Student soldiers marching on Broadway, circa 1918 Students marching up Broadway, circa 1918.

Alumni who perished in this war

A - Architecture     J - Journalism
CC - Columbia College L - Law
ENG - Engineering PH - Pharmacy
E(NAVY) - Engineering (Navy) PS - Physicians and Surgeons
EXT - University Extentsion TC - Teachers College
GR - Graduate Faculties UNC - Unconfirmed

A-K  | L-Z

Name School Class Year Date of Death
Agar, John Giraud PS 1919 October 20, 1918
Alexander, Arthur Douglas CC, L 1909, 1912  April 21, 1919
Allen, Jr., Clarence Emir L 1916 July 15, 1918
Apgard, John Giraud PS 1918 October 21, 1918
Baer, Paul Howell CC 1920 March, 1918
Baldwin, Julian Wadsworth PH 1910 July 28, 1918
Baldwin, Morgan Smiley L 1917 October 9, 1918
Barker, Prescot Erskine CC 1916 September 29, 1918
Barry, Vincent EXT    
Bartow, Lathrop CC 1909 December 9, 1918
Batten, Charles Albert CC 1918 August 28, 1918
Battey, Louis Le Garde L 1914 October 13, 1918
Baush, Richard Oliver E(NAVY) 1916 February 14, 1918
Betowski, Paul Eugene PS 1906 July 2, 1918
Beverly, Benjamin Sloan ENG 1914 October 13, 1918
Bising, Albert George PS 1896 November 2, 1918
Bissell, Joseph Bidleman PS 1883 December 2, 1918
Blake, Harold Rockwood TC 1916 March 19, 1919
Blatt, Samuel Charles PH 1910 September 29, 1918
Blount, James Henderson L 1890 October 7, 1918
Blume, Samuel UNC   Summer 1918
Bostwick, Henry Anthon CC 1885 July 25, 1917
Bourke, John Francis PS 1905 July 28, 1919
Bradley, Jr., Wayles Baker ENG 1917 February 4, 1918
Brand, Stanley Oliver EXT   June 14, 1917
Brotherton, John Gardner GR   October 14, 1918
Brown, Henry Warren A 1910 Spring 1919
Bruce, Parker EXT 1916 September 12, 1918
Buermeyer, Herbert Arthur CC, TC 1916, 1916 July 2, 1918
Burdick, Harold Stacey E(NAVY) 1917 January 16, 1919
Burke, Frank W. ENG 1913 August 25, 1918
Burrows, Jr., Lorenzo PS 1889 October 29, 1918
Butler, Lyman Collins L 1913 June 20, 1917
Caldwell, Eugene Wilson PS 1898 June 20, 1918
Campbell, Duncan CC 1915 November 1, 1918
Cantor, Daniel PH 1920 November 7, 1918
Chamberlin, Maxwell Eugene CC 1919 September 28, 1918
Chapman, William Harmon PS 1917 September 26, 1918
Cohn, Meyer J 1915 October 18, 1918
Coleman, William Carithers GR 1911 October 7, 1918
Colquhoun, William Wallace ENG 1914 September 15, 1917
Cooke, Albert Samuel PS 1901 February 1, 1915
Cowperthaite, Harold Frederick CC 1915 October 10, 1918
Cudlipp, Jerome Moore CC, L 1916, 1918 September 23 1918
Cullen, Robert Emmett L 1919 October 15, 1918
Deutsch, Sigmund PS 1902 November 29, 1917
Dixon, Jr., Ben Franklin L 1906 September 29, 1918
Dowd, Arthur King L 1917 March 25, 1919
Dowd, Jr., Dennis P. L 1911 August 11, 1916
Dryfoos, Arthur David UNC 1899 August 23, 1918
Dunn, Walter Emory CC 1916 October 28, 1918
Edwards, Frederick Trevenen CC 1915 October 5, 1918
Eisner, Moses Nathanial PS 1917  
Evans, Alfred Winter ENG 1906 October 12, 1917
Everson, Robert Kenneth CC 1917 January 20, 1919
Fahnestock, Clarence PS 1900 October 5, 1918
Farrell, Raymond F. A 1914 August 8, 1918
Felbel, Frank Julius CC, L 1911, 1913 January 13, 1919
Féry, Alfred Lucien Pierre CC 1917 September 26, 1915
Fisk, Clinton Earle CC 1902 October 18, 1918
Fitz-Gerald, Edward M. CC   1917 or 1920
Friedman, Israel Joseph CC 1911 October 28, 1918
Goodglick, Samuel PS 1916 November 8, 1918
Gregory, Gordon Clark CC 1914  
Griswald, James Brown PS 1890 October 1, 1917
Gudebrod, Jr., Frederick C. EXT 1915 October 12, 1918
Guiteras, Julian George ENG 1913 October 12, 1918
Guiterman, Henry Rosenwald CC 1919 October 4, 1918
Gurry, Edward A. PH 1914 October 20, 1918
Haines, Edward Joseph ENG 1905 March 1, 1918
Hanlon, Joseph Thomas ENG 1916 July 31, 1918
Harris, Lester Potter CC 1918 July 9, 1918
Harris, Thomas Addis Emmet L 1915 September 5, 1918
Harrison, Edmund Caskie CC 1902 November 1, 1918
Hassinger, Philip Edward CC 1914 September 14, 1918
Hays, John Elder ENG 1913 October 16, 1918
Hazen, Conrad P. ENG 1914 February 11, 1918
Healy, Jefferson Aloysius CC, L 1916,  1919 August 11, 1918
Hegarty, Thomas Alexander CC 1918 October 30, 1918
Henry, John Paul CC 1914 October 21, 1918
Herr, Wilmer Edgar L 1919 April 4, 1918
Hettling, Frederick Charles CC 1919 October 13, 1918
Hines, Terrence G. UNC    
Hirshler, Jerome Jacob EXT   January 21, 1918
Hobbs, Austin Latting PS 1911 September 26, 1918
Holbrook, Newberry CC, ENG 1911, 1913 February 16, 1918
Holliday, Jr., John Hampden CC 1908 December 23, 1917
Holzman, Martin Maximillian CC, PS 1913, 1915 October 20, 1918
Irving, John Duer CC, GR 1896, 1899 July 1, 1918
Jabureck, Charles Cornelius EXT   July 12, 1919
Janeway, Theodore Caldwell PS 1895 December 28, 1917
Jauss, Raymond Boyd ENG 1916 July 15, 1918
Jewell, William Arthur GR   July 22, 1918
Joerg, Alfred Norton CC 1910 July 25, 1918
Johnson, France Davis ENG 1906  
Johnstone, Malcolm McLaren CC, ENG 1917, 1919 June 3, 1918
Jones, William Benjamin PS 1884 March 1, 1919
Kalvio, George J. EXT 1914-1917 October 24, 1918
Keller, Daniel Schneck L 1919 September 25, 1918
Kent, Stewart CC 1920 December 21, 1918
Kenyon, Nelson Townley L 1919 November 9, 1918
Ker, David CC 1917 September 12, 1918
Kilmer, Alfred Joyce CC 1908 August 1, 1918
Kline, Louis A. EXT 1916 October 1, 1918
Knight, Frank Henry PS 1899 October 28, 1918
1805.SoldiersFlagsandAlmaMater Six soldiers standing at attention with flags in front of Alma Mater statue.

A-K  | L-Z

Name School Class Year Date of Death
Laccorn, Paul Eugene PH 1911 October 16, 1918
Lahey, William Stewart CC, J 1913, 1914 October 31, 1918
Lasher, Jr., John Kennedy CC, L 1914, 1916 September 9, 1918
Lathrop, John Earle ENG 1913  
Leonard, Howard George EXT   September 9, 1918
Levy, Alwyn Gordon CC 1918-1920 April 25, 1918
Lilley, John L. L 1915 October 6, 1918
Lilly, Charles Castner PH   July 19,1918
Lowman, John Henry PS 1877 January 23, 1919
Lucas, Anthony  Fitz CC 1914  
Lunn, Jr., Robert ENG 1913 October 1, 1918
Maas, Charles O. L 1892 July 21, 1919
Marquard, John Murray TC 1915 August 23, 1918
Mason, Frank Louis CC    
Maurice, Benjamin Van Dyke CC 1917 May 13, 1918
McCormick, John Kernan CC, L 1913, 1915 October 17, 1918
McCreery, Sydney Francis CC 1917 October 6, 1918
McDonald, William LaFayette GR 1916 June 30, 1919
McGinley, John Joseph CC 1912  
McKnight, Locksley TC 1915 Fall 1916 
McPhee, Raymond Joseph L 1905 March 26, 1918
Mead, Lewis Durant PS 1900 June 14, 1918
Merrill, John Franklin CC 1918 October 4, 1918
Miller, David William ENG 1917 March 17, 1918
Mitchel, John Purroy CC 1899 July 7, 1918
Mitchell, Edward Bedinger CC 1901 January 22, 1918
Mitchell, Robert Freeman L 1919 October 15, 1918
Moeller, Herbert Philip CC 1919 September 28, 1918
Mulqueen, Gilroy CC, L 1916, 1919 December 1, 1917
Nicol, Fancher L 1901 September 1, 1918
O'Neale, Jr., James Sanders CC 1914 August 25, 1918
Osgood, Harold Symonds CC 1915 October 13, 1918
Peltier, Paul Desnoyers PS 1918 April 1, 1919
Perkins, John Richard CC, PS 1915, 1918 October 9, 1919
Petersen, Leo Smith PS 1911 October 21, 1918
Peterson, Chester William CC   October 12, 1918
Peugnet, Charles Paul ENG 1895, 1897 February 22, 1918
Pickering, Howard Vincent TC 1912-1914 October 26, 1917
Pinkus, Irving J. EXT   August 30, 1918
Polhemus, George Weeks CC 1912 September 3, 1919
Prouty, Theodore Rentrope GR 1913 October 23, 1918
Pulsifer, Adlebart E. TC 1915-1916 October 2, 1918
Purchas, Jr., Albert E. CC 1919 July, 1918
Putnam, James O. L 1910 August 25, 1919
Rapoport, Philip TC 1913 September 5, 1918
Ream, Ward Hall TC   October 1, 1918
Roberts, Amabel Scharff UNC   January 17, 1918
Roosa, Elting W. PH 1915-1917 October 25, 1918
Rosenbaum, Abraham PH 1917 September, 1918
Rotgard, Isidore CC 1916 August 27, 1918
Rothenberg, David Meyer CC, PS 1915, 1917 October 5, 1918
Rust, Sidney Ruffin UNC   November 3, 1918
Satterlee, Edward Lansing A 1899 December 4, 1918
Schlottman, Gustave CC 1913 October 19, 1918
Sellers, Lee West J 1919 June 2, 1919
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley EXT   August 23, 1918
Shilliday, Rexford CC 1919 May 22, 1918
Smith, Bert Rice ENG 1917 June 18, 1917
Smith, Henry C. ENG 1917 December 21, 1918
Smith, Joseph Clovis L 1917-1918 June 22, 1918
Smith, Leighton V. TC 1915 October 23, 1918
Solovei, Samuel PS 1917 October 15, 1918
Spiegelberg, Sidney Lehman CC, PS 1902, 1906 August 18, 1918
Sprague, Russell W. ENG 1917 December 23, 1917
Starkweather, Courtney Nash PS 1920 October 4, 1918
Steinhoff, Karl Ludwig PS 1918 October 11, 1918
Stevens, Floyd Alonzo GR 1915 June 11, 1918
Stillman, Walter Martin CC, L 1915, 1917  January 7, 1919
Straight, Burr Dexter TC? 1917 October 3, 1918
Strunz, Gilbert Jarecki CC 1913-1914 October 7, 1918
Talley, Allen Williamson GR   October 7, 1918
Tate, Jr., James A. L 1917 March 21, 1919
Taylor, Ermond A. CC 1920 February 19, 1919
Thacher, Clifton Otis CC 1918 November 22, 1918
Thomas, Clarence Crase E(NAVY) 1916 April 28, 1917
Tichborne, Herbert M. ENG 1917 December 23, 1919
Tucker, Dudley Gilman L 1910 July 8, 1918
Vedder, Harmon Boultbee CC 1918 November 5, 1918
Vedder, James Outwater CC 1919 September 29, 1918
Waite, Alan Frederick L 1918 September 29, 1918
Walker, Russell Tracy A 1912 July 1, 1918
Ward, Galbraith L 1919 December 17, 1918
Ward, Walter Lester A 1917 October 6, 1918
Waterman, Chandler CC 1918 April 5, 1918
Weaver, John Howard CC 1915 August 26, 1920
Weil, Richard CC, PS 1896, 1900 November 19, 1917
Weir, Horace Garner PH 1907 March 31, 1918
West, Ralph O'Neal CC 1919 September 15, 1918
Wheeler, David Everett CC, PS 1895, 1898 July 19, 1918
Wheless, Hubert Chapelle L 1918  
White, Sidney W. L 1917 October 31, 1918
Willard, Charles Bunnell L 1914 June 4, 1917
Williams, Harry Clay L 1918 November 6, 1918
Williams, John Edward PS 1913  
Williams, Spencer Charles CC, L 1917, 1919 May 21, 1918
Winans, Chester Buttre CC 1918 September 12, 1918
Wood, Francis Appleton CC 1916 September 13, 1918
Wood, Jr., Charles Lewis GR   August 18, 1918
Wupperman, Carlos Domasso CC 1907 April 15, 1919
Zion, Lewis PS 1915 October 31, 1918