The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.
Edward Stensrud enlists as Navy Seaman
For soldiers serving in the U.S. Navy, personal space was an extremely scarce resource, and personal storage even more so. Soldiers often kept what few personal items they owned in small wooden chests called ditty boxes. The ditty box pictured below once belonged to U.S. Navy seaman Edward Stensrud, who may have served during all or part of the United States’ involvement in World War I (1917-1918). Stensrud put a great deal of effort into personalizing his ditty box. In addition to decorating its lid with a large, meticulous carving of his name, Stensrud attached a dog tag to the outside of the box. The tag contains his name, birthdate, enlistment date, and most impressively, a cast of his thumbprint.
Citation: 976.28.A US Navy seaman's trinket box; Minnesota Historical Society.