Libraries introduces Camp Meade collection, Spanish–American War exhibition

Exhibition Case Brochures

Exhibition case, brochures and sample items featured in “Much More Than The ‘Splendid Little War’: Exploring the Spanish–American War’s Legacy on Its 125th Anniversary,” presented in collaboration with the National Guard of Pennsylvania (NGP) History Project and on display through Sept. 1, 2023, on the first floor of the Madlyn L. Hanes Library at Penn State Harrisburg.

Credit: Penn State Harrisburg Archives and Special Collections

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — In 2017, Heidi Abbey Moyer, archivist and humanities reference librarian at Penn State Harrisburg’s Madlyn L. Hanes Library, had the opportunity to acquire what she described as a “modestly sized but remarkable collection of materials“ that would nicely complement the campus’ existing repository of archival resources.

Specifically, Moyer made the acquaintance of Fred Greguras, a Vietnam veteran and military historian with a collection of archival materials focusing on the Spanish–American War of 1898 and the military camp known as Camp Meade, which occupied the land where Olmsted Air Force Base was once headquartered — and where Penn State Harrisburg is now located.

After a yearlong negotiation with Penn State University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections in the Madlyn L. Hanes Library officially acquired the Fred M. Greguras Camp Meade Collection in January 2018. As of fall 2022, following the completion of archival arrangement and processing, the collection is available and open for research by Penn State students and faculty as well as military historians and researchers. A finding aid for the collection is available online.

In spring 2023, Archives and Special Collections hosted a graduate student archives intern, Dustin Smith, who curated an exhibition focused on Camp Meade and the Spanish–American War of 1898. This year marks the 125th anniversary of the war, which is being commemorated by the National Guard of Pennsylvania (NGP) History Project. Smith worked with the NGP History Project to borrow materials for the exhibition, which launched in April on the first floor of the library and will be on display through Sept. 1.

“The Spanish–American War was a truly complex conflict that involved more belligerents than simply Spain and the United States,” said Smith, who received his master’s degree in American studies in May. “However, these complexities have been forgotten over time, resulting in the war’s gradual oversimplification.”

The exhibition seeks to correct this by drawing attention to the contributions of African American servicemen of the U.S. military and the revolutionary forces from Cuba and the Philippines. The display features rare and unique items generously on loan from the NGP History Project, such as a Model 1874 canteen used by a member of the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment’s Company A, and a woolen U.S. Army Volunteers fatigue blouse, circa 1898.

For more information about the 125th anniversary exhibition, “Much More Than The ‘Splendid Little War’: Exploring the Spanish–American War’s Legacy on Its 125th Anniversary,” visit the Current Exhibitions and Displays page.