WW1 Daybook

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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.

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WW1 Daybook

Everyone Can Help in the War Effort

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 18, 2017


Before antibiotic treatments were developed for tuberculosis, patients were sent to sanatoriums, or long-term care facilities. In the case of Glen Lake Sanatorium, some of the female patients sought any way to help the war effort, despite their condition. They offered their service to the Red Cross in the form of any sort of sewing, as their work could be sterilized and used as needed. “I hope you will be able to find work for them because they want to help so much, and that will make them feel that they can really do something worth while and are of some use in the world after all,” wrote a representative. The Red Cross responded that they did not have any sewing jobs for the women of Glen Lake Sanatorium but they were hoping to organize knitting soon and would inform Glen Lake when that was developed.

 


April 18th,
1917.
[...]
Dear Miss Patterson:
It has been suggested that some of th ewomen patients could do some work for the Red Cross, such as sewing, making aprons etc. Things of course would have to be sterilized before they left the institution. I hope that you will be able to find work for them because they want to help so much, and it will make them feel that they can really do something worth while and are of some use in the world after all.
Trusting that you will help them, I remain
Very truly yours,
Ernest S. Mariette
Secretary & Superintendent.

Citation: American Red Cross, Northern Division, records, 1915-1921. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. [P781]

"U-Boat Fires on U.S. Destroyer" and "German Submarine 100 Miles off New York" - The Duluth Herald. April 17, 1917.

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 17, 2017

"Tired of Sitting Still"

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 16, 2017

Lucy Hallett, a junior in high school in Tracy, Minnesota, sent this letter to the Minneapolis branch of the Red Cross offering her services. As an eighteen-year-old, Hallett felt that she could not simply wait around for the raging war to end. She attained her parents’ consent and offered her transport to Minneapolis at the Red Cross’ convenience. This restlessness among young adults was not uncommon.

Tracy, Minn.
Apr. 16, '17.

Gentleman:
I am a girl, eighteen years of age and am in the Junior Class in High School. But I am tired of sitting still and letting some other girl take my place under, so I wish to enlist my services to aid Uncle Sam. I have my parents consent and can come to Minneapolis any time convenient.
Please answer by return and give me full particulars.
Yours respectfully
Lucy Hallett

Citation: American Red Cross, Northern Division, records, 1915-1921. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. [P781]

Letter from the American Red Cross to Camp Fire Girls Representative

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 15, 2017


On April 13 this letter was sent by the Minneapolis branch of the American Red Cross to Miss Ruth Dale, the representative of a relatively new organization: the Camp Fire Girls. Founded in 1910, the Camp Fire Girls sought to serve and care for themselves, and their surroundings. Dale, who ran a group of Camp Fire Girls, ages 14-16, in Renville, Mesota, wrote a letter offering assistance to the Minneapolis branch of the American Red Cross. Instead of offering to send instructional pamphlets for making supplies, the Red Cross responded with a plea for two representatives of the Camp Fire Girls to attend a certificate program in bandage-making.

 


13 April 1917
Minneapolis, Minn.

Miss Ruth Dale,
Roseville, Minn.

My dear Miss Dale:
Thank you so much for your kind offer of assistance. We have no pamphlets or government bulletins for distribution, but we are instructing classes in teh art of bandage making, etc., at our headquarters in Minneapolis. This course consists of 8 lessons after which the pupil passes an examination and receives a certificate. These skilled workers are empowered to supervise work of others. I would suggest that you send one or two representatives of the Camp Fire girls to take this course.
In reply to your inquiry regarding materials, we prefer to have you raise the money for the same and let us buuy since we can purchase in larger quantities and to better advantage.
Yours very truly,
Secretary.

Citation: American Red Cross, Northern Division, records, 1915-1921. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. [P781]

"Large Enrollment for Military Training Camp." and "An Appeal" - The Twin City Star. April 14, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 14, 2017

A Suggestion for How to Deal to German-Americans

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 13, 2017


For many German-Americans, the declaration of war with Germany was devastating news. Their German sympathy made many other Americans skeptical of German-American allegiance to the United States. One such skeptical individual was E.J. Lynch of the Treasury Department. In his letter to Senator Knute Nelson, Lynch explains that there are disloyal German-born Minnesotans that pose a threat to national security and morale. His suggestion for protection of the government is the confiscation of German-American property. He says the confiscation of land would be much more effective to “keep them in line,” and explains, “a great many of them would not particularly mind a jail sentence, but the loss of a house or farm would be an entirely different matter.”
 


Hon. Knute Nelson,
c/o United States Senate,
Washington, D.C.

My dear Senator,-
In these trying times, when the country is upon the brink of war with Germany, it is only natural that our German-American citizens should be distressed and grieved because of the fact that the United States has declared war upon the Fatherland. As a matter of fact, in some cases which have been brought to my attention, our German fellow-citizens are more than distressed and grieved. They are ugly and apparently not at all loyal to the country of their adoption.
As Congress is at this time enacting laws to protect the government from treason and sedition, I would suggest that one of the penalties imposed be confiscation of property. You are somewhat of a physiologist yourself and recognize the fact that the great majority of the German-American citizens are very thrifty. There is nothing that would tend to keep them in line to a greater extent than fear of losing their property. A great many of them would not particularly mind a jail sentence, but the loss of a house or farm would be an entierly different matter. I put this matter up to you for your consideration.
With best personal wishes, I am,
Very truly yours,
E.J. Lynch

 

Citiation: Knute Nelson Papers, 1861-1924.

Dr. and Mrs. Robbins Offer What They Have

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 12, 2017


Dr. and Mrs. Robbins of Minneapolis contacted the Minneapolis Branch of the American Red Cross offering to donate a work room between the hours of 1 and 5pm with electric sewing machines, tables, chairs, and other necessary supplies. The Robbins had already offered clinical and x-ray services to the Navy and Minnesota Infantry, and make it clear that they would happily provide any service that is needed and is in their power. The Red Cross responded in gratitude and appreciation that they will keep the offer in mind.

 


April 11, 1917
The Minneapolis Branch
The American Red Cross Society
Eighth Stree and Marquette Avenue
The City

To whom it may concern.
If it will be of service to the Minneapolis Branch it is my wish that acceptance be made of a work room equipped with two electric driven sewing machines, which Mrs. Robbins and I shall be glad to furnish, any make of machine together with work table, chairs, scissors and such other mechanical things as may be needed. [...] This is offered without cost to the Red Cross Society, providing the work be done between one o'clock and five. [...]
Very respectfully,
Mrs. & Dr. D.F. Robbins
Twenty Two Hundred Six
Hennepin Avenue
April the eleventh

 

Citation: American Red Cross, Northern Division, records, 1915-1921. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. [P781]

Copy of a telegram from Edward C. Gale to raise money for a new Hospital - April 11, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 11, 2017


This is a copy of a telegram sent out by Edward Gale requesting money to be donated in the name of the University of Minnesota to the American Red Cross, who would then donate it to the United States War Department for a new Military Base Hospital. Among the donors were William and Charles Mayo, who donated $15,000 of the estimated total cost of $30,000 for the hospital, which was to have 500 beds. The rest of the money was to be donated by Minneapolis businesses.

 

Transcript:

April 11, 1917.
Mayos of Rochester offer government one half cost equipment military base hospital five hundred beds provided Minneapolis constitute other half namely Fifteen Thousand Dollars Doctor Law chief staff Gift designated University Minnesota Hospital Twelve Thousand already raised Contributions from fifty to five hundred dollars Shall we put you down?
Edward C. Gale

Citation:

University of Minnesota Base Hospital Committee records, 1917-1918. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. [P2173]

Letter from Mrs. Horace Lowry of the American Red Cross to Mrs. J.E. Reyerson - April 10, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 10, 2017

Transcript:

 


April 10, 1917.
Mrs. J. E. Reyerson,
Dawson, Minn.
Dear Mrs. Reyerson:
We appreciate very much your offer to help us and we feel that all Minnesota should have their share in supplying materials for our own Minnesota Base Hospital. What type of work would your ladies like best? Would they prefer sewing by machine, sewing by hand, or making bandages and surgical supplies? In the latter case it would be necessary either for several of your ladies to come to Minneapolis and take our course of lessons in making surgical supplies, or to have one of our instructors go to you and give class instruction in the same.
Thanking you for your offer of help,
Very truly yours,
(Mrs. Horace Lowry)
Chairman Supplies Committee.

Citation:

American Red Cross, Northern Division, records, 1915-1921. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. [P781]

Letter to Knute Nelson from A.H. Vernon - April 9, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 9, 2017


Just days after President Wilson asks Congress to declare war with Germany, Little Falls lawyer A.H. Vernon writes Senator Knute Nelson for a recommendation to be appointed as an officer in the army. Also referring Mark Buckman, Vernon describes that his qualifications as a political reporter for the Pioneer Press and a practicing lawyer. He describes Buckman as having more practical skills in mechanics and pharmacology. However, Vernon’s main reason for requesting a position in the army is for integrity’s sake. He explains that he feels he can be an example, “as [he] has done a good deal of patriotic talking, and [doesn’t] believe talk without action amounts to very much if a fellow is at an age where he can do some active work.”
 

 

 

Partial Transcription:

April 9, 1917

Hon. Knute Nelson,
U.S. Senate,
Washington, D.C.
My Dear Senator:-
Since writing you regarding the military training camps for civilians, I see by the papers that on account of the war they will be discontinued, and training camps for reserve officers held instead. I therefore thought I would make application for a comission as reserve officer, and would write to see what is the proper procedure. [...] I don't know what the situation is , and while it will be a great sacrifice for me to close up shop here, as I have just got my practice well established, I feel that I should do so, and that the example would be worth something, as I have done a good deal of patriotic talking, and don't believe talk without action amounts to very much if a fellow is at an age where he can do some active work. [...]
Yours sincerely,
A.H. Vernon
 

Citation:

Knute Nelson Papers, 1861-1924

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