Through my research I hoped to gather a reflection of student and campus life at East Texas State Teachers College (now Texas A&M University-Commerce) through the pages of The East Texan during World War II. The East Texan is the student produced paper at TAMU-C that has been in circulation since 1915. Because World War II impacted mainstream America in a unique way, I wanted to see how if its effects made its way to Commerce, Texas (a small rural college town).
This research project required hours of time at the Special Collections Office at the James G. Gee Library. That is where all the East Texan archives are kept. I flipped through newspapers printed from 1935 to 1945, taking note of important headlines, the amount of war articles written, political cartoons, propaganda, and the advertisements. My findings were documented through fieldnotes and snapshots of the newspapers.
Through my findings I discovered that the East Texas campus was impacted just as much as the rest of America. Young men were overseas fighting, and the rest of America was left trying to do their government mandated patriotic duty. Rationing effected them heavily, and civilian acts of defense were implemented. Government propaganda put the fear of the enemy into Americans through posters and political cartoons. Through all of this, the students tried to get through their studies, and kept their spirits up with recreational activities sponsored by the social groups.