A vivid memory of World War II is the troop trains leaving the Kingston railroad station. At the station, families hugged their loved ones and hung on to them until they had to board the train. The steam locomotives disappeared out of sight around the bend on Railroad Avenue bound for Weehawken, New Jersey where the men were sworn into the service and sent on to training camps across the country. Two blocks south, a similar scene took place as gray buses pulled away from the Central Post Office on Broadway.
Early in 1940, it was enlistees boarding the trains and buses, but after the fall of France later that year, Congress enacted the nation’s first pre-war conscription act drafting men aged 21 to 35 for one year of service restricted to the Western Hemisphere and U.S. Territories. In 1941, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Congress extended the draft to men aged 18-35 (and briefly to 45), for the duration of the war and removed all restrictions. Approximately, 10 million men were drafted across the country by the Selected Service System.
To publicly honor its service men and women, the City of Kingston erected war memorials in each ward listing each service person’s name. Throughout the city in the front windows of houses hung silk banners bearing a blue star for each family member serving in the military.
One Kingston woman created a remarkable document to their service. Anna Norton Dederick (1887-1972) clipped from the Kingston Daily Freeman from 1940-45 and pasted into three scrapbooks more than 5,000 photos and articles of Kingston’s military.
Scope of Collection
The collection includes scrapbooks compiled by Anna Norton Dederick.