Training the Soldier
To train National Guard troops and new recruits, the War Department established over 30 camps in the United States. Soldiers were taught weapons proficiency, basic drill orders, physical fitness, military discipline, and command structure. After overseas deployment, doughboys received additional training from British and French instructors.
Explore photographs, textual, and other records related to training the soldier in World War I in our Catalog.
There are more than 110,000 World War I photographs in the National Archives Catalog.
- American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs, 1917 - 1918
Interested in further online research? Visit the National Archives Catalog to begin your own search.
While many resources are available online for research, there are many more records to discover in National Archives research rooms across the country. The following records have been described at the Series and File Unit level, but have not yet been digitized. This list is not exhaustive; please consult our Catalog to browse more records, and contact the Reference Unit listed in each description for more information.
War Department. Division of Military Aeronautics. U.S. Army Balloon School, Fort Omaha, Nebraska. Reports, Rosters, Data Sheets, Returns, and Other Records Relating to Balloon Companies and Cadet Companies at Fort Omaha, NE, 1918-1919
War Department. Office of the Chief Signal Officer. Signal Corps Detachment, David Ranken Jr School of Mechanical Trades. Unregistered Correspondence, Telegrams, Student Records, and Other Papers, 1918-1918
The WWI draft registration cards consist of approximately 24,000,000 cards of men who registered for the draft, about 23% of the population in 1918. The cards are arranged by state. Not all of the men who registered for the draft actually served in the military, and not all who served in the military registered for the draft.
The WWI Selective Service System was in place from May, 1917 to May, 1919. There were 3 registrations:
- June 5, 1917 -- all men ages 21-31
- June 5, 1918 -- those who attained age 21 after June 5, 1917
- Sept. 12, 1918 -- all men ages 18-45
What Can You Find in the Cards?
While the 10-12 questions varied slightly between the 3 registrations, information one can find there generally includes:
- full name
- date and place of birth
- citizenship status
- occupation and place of employment
- personal description
- nearest relative (last two versions)
The draft cards contain no information about an individual's military service. They are not service cards. Learn more about the draft registration cards
View Registration Cards Online
World War I Draft Registration Cards, digitized on the FamilySearch website (free)
World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, digitized on the Ancestry.com website (free on NARA computers, otherwise by subscription)
Selected World War I Draft Registration Cards of the Famous, Infamous, and Interesting, from the National Archives at Atlanta
Explore teaching and learning resources for World War I, including primary sources, online tools, lesson plans, and multimedia.
- Find primary sources and online activities for teaching World War I on DocsTeach.org, our online tool for teaching with documents.
- The National Archives has partnered with the United States World War One Centennial Commission, the National World War I Museum & Memorial, and other partner organizations to present a collection of World War I Education Resources.
- The Army in the Woods, Prologue Magazine, Summer 2014
Shooting World War I: The History of the Army Signal Corps Cameramen, 1917-1918, The Unwritten Record blog
Hidden Women: The Art of WWI Camouflage (Photos), The Unwritten Record blog