University of Rochester

EVENT: "Could You Live in a Total War?," an exhibit about the lives of American civilians on the homefront during World War II

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday (except July 4, closed); noon to 5 p.m. Saturday; and closed Sunday, through Aug. 15 in the Friedlander Lobby of Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester's River Campus

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public

May 27, 2003

Graduating senior Robert Verbsky cataloged hundreds of World War II printed documents this spring in the archives of Rush Rhees Library, all the while wondering whether Americans would make the same sacrifices if war with Iraq had lasted as long.

"I really do want people to ask themselves: Could you live in a total war?," he says. Selections from posters, magazines, booklets, and other materials targeted to civilians in the late 1930s and into the '40s are now on view in the Friedlander Lobby of Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester's River Campus. The exhibit is free and continues through Friday, Aug. 15.

Verbsky, a history major from Bellmore, N.Y., enrolled in an internship in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections to sort and describe almost 2,000 publications related to World War I and World War II. He completed the assignment and proposed the exhibit before finishing his senior year. Next fall, he will begin a master's degree program in public history at the State University of New York in Albany.

Originally, the displayed items were produced to educate Americans about necessities during wartime: conserving raw materials, the need for women to work in what were then nontraditional jobs, and on various aspects of homeland security. "As I catalogued the material, I started seeing these different stories coming out," Verbsky says. "Could Americans today make these same kind of sacrifices if the war with Iraq were still going on? This project firmed up my desire to work on exhibitions or in departments of museums after I graduate."

Hours for the exhibit are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday (except July 4, closed); noon to 5 p.m. Saturday; and closed Sunday. For more information, contact (585) 275-4477.




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