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31st Annual Bishop Lecture: "Through the Eyes of a WWI Combat Engineer"

March 6, 2017
bishop lecture

On March 9, Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives will host a lecture by Dr. Virginia A. Dilkes titled “Remembering World War I: Through the Eyes of a WWI Combat Engineer,” based on her father’s experiences during the war. This event is open to the public and begins at 6:00 p.m. at Alexander Library (169 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ). The lecture will be followed by a reception and a chance to preview the exhibit “Heaven, Hell, or Hoboken!”: New Jersey in the Great War.

RSVP for the Lecture

In “Remembering World War I: Through the Eyes of a WWI Combat Engineer,” Dilkes will present the first-hand experiences of the War through the eyes of her father, Charles Edward Dilkes. Drawing on excerpts from his memoirs and pictures of his WWI artifacts, she will follow her father’s footsteps through the battlefields of France to his triumphant march through Luxembourg and his days in Germany serving in the U.S. Army of Occupation. Along the way, this personal history will wend from his birth in Philadelphia and childhood memories at the Jersey shore to work at Camp Dix, Camp Kilmer, and the Raritan Arsenal, from which he retired in 1958.

The Dilkes family presented many of Charles’s artifacts and photographs to Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives and they will be on display in “Heaven, Hell, or Hoboken!”: New Jersey in the Great War (on display March 9–September 15, 2017). The exhibit—one of many commemorative events planned by the NJ WWI Centennial Commission—focuses on the individual experiences of these Jersey doughboys and servicewomen who bravely went “Over There,” and the families and neighbors who remained behind, “Over Here.”

The Annual Louis Faugères Bishop III Bishop Lectures are named in memory of the son of Louis Faugères Bishop, Jr., a prominent cardiologist and book lover with close family ties to Rutgers and New Brunswick—for example, Bishop House and Bishop Place on the College Avenue Campus—even though he himself was an alumnus of Yale University. In his honor, the annual Bishop Lecture brings noted scholars and subject experts to Rutgers to offer their insights on diverse topics related to book and manuscript collecting, printing history, and the use of rare archival materials for research.

Recent Bishop Lectures include Penn State history professor Roger Geiger on “Becoming a Modern Research University: The Postwar Challenges of Rutgers and Penn State, 1945-1965;” film critic and Star-Ledger columnist Stephen Whitty on “Forbidden Words: Taboo Texts in Popular Literature and Cinema;” and Karen Reeds on “Old Herbals, New Readers.”