A town-wide series of programs and events to commemorate the 100th anniversary
of the end of World War I

April through November 2018, Ridgefield, CT


programs and events| library resources | community partners | online resources


The “War to End All Wars” began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28, 1914. This single event sparked a conflict of unparalleled scope and brutality that killed tens of millions of people, both civilian and military. It finally ended on November 11, 1918.

The United States didn’t officially join the Allied cause until April 1917, but Connecticut residents were keenly aware of the conflict; in many cases, it affected countries from which they or their relatives had emigrated. Most Connecticut residents were involved somehow, fighting or helping those who fought. The state was known as the “Arsenal of the Nation,” producing more than a third of the Allied Forces’ small arms munitions.

The World War I Town Committee is hosting a full calendar of special events and programs, most of them free. Please check each hosting organization’s website to confirm times and admission.

Library Resources


Programs and Events



Sunday, April 15, 3 PM @ Keeler Tavern Museum

The Lafayette Escadrille with John Cilio



May through August 15 @ Town Hall

WWI Exhibit by Ridgefield Historical Society

Exhibit at Ridgefield Town Hall presented by the Ridgefield Historical Society.  On display during the Town Hall's opening hours through August 15.


Saturday, May 5, 3 PM @ Keeler Tavern Museum

Lecture and Memoir Writing Workshop with Drew Lamm

Sunday, May 6, 1 PM @ Ridgefield Library

Genealogy Research: Using American Military Records with Tony McKeen

In this two-hour presentation Toni McKeen will cover what documents are available in United States Military Records, the information they contain, how to find them, and how to use them for further research.  An informative handout, which lists helpful military sites, will be provided to attendees.  The program will begin with an inspirational Powerpoint presentation of historical WWI and WWII posters.

Toni McKeen has been doing genealogy research on her own extensive Italian family, her husband’s Irish family and son in law’s German family for more than 30 years. She is a member of several genealogical organizations, and was recently Chairman of the Genealogy Club of Newtown. Over the years she has taught at Founders Hall in Ridgefield, Redding, CT as well as Bronxville and Mamaroneck, NY.  Toni has also been a popular lecturer at various genealogy societies in the New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Boston, and Long Island areas.

Please register.

Sunday, May 28, on Main Street, Ridgefield

Memorial Day Parade - Ridgefield Remembers WWI



Sunday, June 3, 2 PM @ Ridgefield Library

Lecture: Connecticut in World War I with Christine Pittsley

Come learn about what Connecticut was like during World War One.

Known as the “Arsenal of the Nation” it is said that Connecticut factories produced more than a third of all small arms munitions used by the Allied Forces. Yet Connecticut played other roles as well, ones that are just now being revealed.

Join Christine Pittsley from the Connecticut State Library’s “Remembering World War One” project to explore what was happening here on the home front as our soldiers fought in the trenches. Learn about how our war governor Marcus Holcomb prepared the state for war and how Connecticut’s Council of Defense became one of the largest and most effective in the nation. From Liberty Loan campaigns and victory gardens to local soldiers and nurses on the front lines learn about the ways Connecticut contributed to winning the war.

This program is presented by Keeler Tavern Museum and the Ridgefield Library.

Please register.


Sunday, June 10, 1 - 4 PM @ Keeler Tavern Musuem

WWI Digitization Day

Your family members’ experiences of World War I are history. To help you capture that history, Ridgefield is hosting a Digitization Day sponsored by Connecticut State Library.

Keeler Tavern
On Sunday, June 10, 2018, a team of trained archivists and oral historians will be at Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center to hear your stories and capture images of your WWI-related objects and documents, which will then be entered in the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA). This online system, a collaborative effort by Archives & Special Collections at the University of Connecticut Libraries and the Connecticut State Library, preserves for future generations the digital resources created by Connecticut museums, libraries, and other cultural heritage organizations.

Learn more and register for this free event at http://keelertavernmuseum.org/events.

Thursday, June 14, 7 PM @ Ballard Park

Flag Day Ceremony and Flag Retirement Ceremony with the American Legion and the Marine Corps League.

Sunday, June 17, 12 - 4 PM @ Keeler Tavern Museum

WWI Family Day

  • Reenactors
  • Ambulance
  • Trenches
  • John Cilio WWI Film
  • WWI Ridgefield Answers the Call Exhibit/Display Boards presented by the Ridgefield Historical Society
  • Gilbert Story - Julia's Send-Off
  • Kids Activities
  • Info Booth on Saving Family Memories of WWI
  • Animals of WWI
  • Music
  • Food Trucks
  • American Legion Information Table
  • Spirit of the Incense - an iconic early American modern dance solo created by Ruth St. Denis in 1906 - performed by Amy Pantaginni 

    And much more!

Sunday, June 24, 3 PM @ Keeler Tavern Museum

Lecture and Music of WWI by Jane Sine


Sunday, July 1 through Tuesday, July 31 @ Ridgefield Library, Lower Level Gallery

Ridgefield Answers the Call: WWI - Exhibit/Display Boards

Reception, Saturday, July 7, 1 - 3 PM

Join us for this exhibit presented by Ridgefield Historical Society.  A wine and cheese reception will take place on Saturday, July 7 between 1 and 3 PM.


Thursday, September 13, 3 PM @ Founders Hall

Founders Hall Book Discussion: Title TBA

Wednesday, September 26, 10 AM @ Ridgefield Library

AM Book Group Discussion: Title TBA

Sunday, September 30, 1 - 4 PM @ Maple Shade Cemetery

World War 1 Doughboys at Rest in Ridgefield

A self - guided walking tour of the graves and memorial tombstones of more than twenty World War 1 servicemen, and one woman who gave spirited support. Information will be posted at each gravesite including pertinent dates, historical facts and personal information about the decedent. Entrance to Mapleshade Cemetery is at the corner of Mapleshade Road and North Street.

The tour will take place from 1 to 4 PM on Sunday, September 30, with a rain date of Sunday, October 14. This program is presented by Ridgefield Graveyard Restoration Committee.



Tuesday, October 16, 7 PM @ Ridgefield Library

Critics' Circle Book Discussion: Title TBA


Tuesday, November 6, 4 PM @ Ridgefield Playhouse

Screening of SGT. Stubby: An American Hero Movie

Visit ridgefieldplayhouse.org for tickets and more information


Thursday, November 8, 7 PM @ Ridgefield Library

The First World War in Literature: British Soldier Poets with Dr. Mark Schenker

With the centenary of the original Armistice Day—11 November 1918 —arriving this fall, Mark Schenker of Yale College will visit our library on 8 November to discuss poems written by British soldiers of WWI. The Great War, as it was often called, claimed more than nine million lives and changed forever the political and cultural landscapes of the Western World.

A handout of more than a dozen poems by five poets—Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, Siegfried Sassoon, and Edward Thomas—will be available at the Library's Circulation Desk from September 1st onwards. That three of these five men were killed in action during the War adds a poignancy to their poetry, poetry that helped to usher in the modernism that defined so much of the early 20th century.

Please register.

Sunday, November 11, 11 AM @ Lounsbury House

Veteran's Day Ceremony

Sunday, November 11, 3 PM @ Ridgefield Library

Concert: Greatest Music of the Great War

The years around WW1 saw a period of change and rapid evolution in American
popular music. New syncopated rhythmic elements introduced by African –
Americans like Scott Joplin and other ragtime composers would prove to be the
catalyst for the Jazz Age revolution to come. The social dance phenomena of twosteps,
fox-trot, and tangos were all the rage. Wartime songs figured prominently in
our collective psyche, via the charisma of George Cohan and the genius melodic
instincts of young Irving Berlin. Patriotic Sousa marches found their way into new
jazzy contexts, while songs like “Over There”, “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the
Morning”, “It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary”, “Keep the Home Fires Burning” are
all indelibly associated with the fears, struggles and ultimately the triumphs of the
Great War.

Curated by violinist Paul Woodiel and Wesleyan University’s Roy Wiseman, this
colorful concert features selections from Wiseman’s extensive library of authentic
period band arrangements, covering the length and breadth of America’s wartime
music, all performed by a virtuoso quintet of some of Broadway’s best

This concert is free thanks to the Friend of the Ridgefield Library.

Please register.

Online World War I Resources

BBC World War I

American Experience: The Great War (PBS)

The Art of World War One in 52 Paintings (Made From History)

World War I Centennial (Smithsonian)

World War I (History Channel)