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.
Gold Star Roll of First Class Private Louis Sayer. Included is a letter misdated 3/9/1917 as it is from his time in the hospital after he was gassed in the Battle of Toul on February 28, 1918. He was in the hospital until March 10th and then returned to war. Sayer was killed in action in June, 1918, by an exploding gas shell, and buried in a Paris cemetary.
Mar. 9 1917
Rec'd your letter of the 2 of Jan a few days ago. and was glad to hear from you. I have been in the Hospital the last 10 days or so or would have answered sooner. I got some of the Boche gas the last time we were up to the front, but I don't think it will hurt me any as I didn't get very much. am feeling as fit as ever now. Things were pretty lively up there lately. you probably read about it in the papers. Two of my old Bismark chums got killed. Well how is Clem & Hank[?]
Citation: "Sayer, Louis C." Minnesota Public Safety Commission. Gold Star Roll. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. 114.D.4.6F
On this day in 1848, schoolteacher Harriet E. Bishop formed Minnesota's first temperance society. This oil painting of her is attributed to Andrew Falkenshield, ca. 1880.
See it in Collections Online.
"Men and Women Will Hold Equal Power in New National Party" and Russian Troops Strike Back at Teutons, Who Agreed to Hald Advance, and Retake Jamburg" - The Duluth Herald. March 8, 1918
"American's Hold 8 Miles of Trench" and "Year's Draft to Total 800,000 Men" - Freeborn County Standard. March 7, 1918
Fire Insurance maps are amazing tools for house and neighborhood history, showing street details and types of building material used. MNHS has more than 950 Insurance maps and atlases for Minnesota towns and cities (1870s-1970s), as well as online access to digital versions in our Reading Room.
On March 6th, 1918, the funeral for Theodore Petersen was held. He was a member of the 151st Field Artillery in the medical detatchment; he died on March 5 from an abdomen wound he received in action. He was cited as one of General Pershing's Hundred Heroes for continuing to care for his comrades after being mortally wounded. Peterson received the Croix de Guerre and Distinguished Service Cross for his brave actions.
Citation: "Petersen, Theodore" Minnesota Public Safety Commission. Gold Star Roll. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. 114.D.4.5B
In this letter home, Sabra Hardy tells mer mother about life at Camp Travis. She thanks her for the cookies and candy she sent, stating that the other girls there throughly enjoyed them. Hardy also updates her mother about what is going on in the ward, stating that a new ward with 800 beds is being built, and comments several times about how hot is is in Texas. While this letter may seem a bit mondane, it gives detailed insight as to what it was like for women during the war. They faced many of the same challenged that the men did, battling with heat and illness, though these things are not often recognized. Women took on many leadership roles during the war, and wanted to serve their country just as the soldiers did. In this letter it is clear that Hardy was very patriotic and that she was extremely proud of the work she was doing.
Mar. 5, '18
[...] The sun just scorches. I never saw such a place in my life. I can't wear any coat but very seldom & then in the evening when I ride or drive with Lieutenant. Walking a coat is unendurable. I've completely lost my appetite, it's too hot to eat & I'm just getting over earaches that have gone along c my bronchitis & the bronchitis is getting a little better this wk. I hunted up a new doctor & he gave me the right medicine & told me what to do and its working already. I've lost from 186 to 168 lb. since I came here but I was too fat and can afford to. [...] I'm not working too hard this last two wks. We transfered a lot of pts. to other wards & are only going to keep type II of pneumonia in this ward now. So we only have 19 patients yet & they all but 4 are convalescing & we are 3 nurses & 3 ward men. They haven't decided who goes across yet, so no telling. We have 10 nurses here now & are to have 140. They are building wards with 800 beds now in addition & we have 38 or 39 wards already. [...]
Citation: "Hardy, Sabra R." Minnesota Public Safety Commission. Gold Star Roll. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. 114.D.4.3B
On this day in 1852, farmers in Benton County formed the state's first county agricultural society. County agricultural society members shared information about stock, seeds, fruit, and farming practices. Oliver H. Kelley, who would later found the National Grange, was one of ten charter members. This ballot box was used by the Minnesota State Grange starting in 1869.
See it in Collections Online.
Visit Oliver Kelley Farm starting April 1!