The army papers in most cases may be the work of amateurs, but they show the American soldier in his honesty, good nature, optimism, and healthy vitality.
-- The Bugle, Camp Lewis, Washington, Vol. II, No. 1, June 6, 1919.
Troop newspapers were available to the American soldiers of World War I from the time they arrived at training camp until they were civilians again. When they went overseas, as over two million would, papers accompanied them there and back. As one writer explained, "an American without his newspaper is a lost soul indeed. He is like a Frenchman who has nothing in his canteen but water; like an Englishman without his bathtub."1
There were many publications that sprang up at various camps and cantonments around the nation as Americans girded for action following the declaration of war on April 6, 1917. The most substantial effort was made by the National War Work Council of the Y.M.C.A.: It created a newspaper under the general title of Trench and Camp. Billed as a national paper for the National Guard and National Army, it sought to "print the news, to inform, to stimulate and help relieve the tedium and monotony of camp life." It was the brainchild of John Stewart Bryan, publisher of the Richmond News-Leader. On October 8, 1917, the first issue of Trench and Camp appeared in thirty-two editions, distributed at as many cantonments. Inspired by a single editorial policy, it also contained local news and other items of specific interest to the men in each camp. In its original form, issues consisted of eight pages, 11 1/2 by 18 inches. Some maintained this size throughout; others were expanded. Normally, four of the eight pages contained syndicated matter supplied from a central office in New York