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Collecting pieces of Minnesota's past for the future

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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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"Enemy Attacks are Repulsed" and "Yankee Raiders Annoying Enemy" - Rochester Daily Post and Record. September 24, 1918

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | September 24, 2018

Defense Against Gas

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | September 24, 2018


This bulletin from the Headquarters of the 88th Division of the American Expeditionary Forces describes the "Standing Orders For Troops For Defense Against Gas", vital knowledge for any doughboy. The main points of the bulletin are how vital it is to have your gas mask on in time and how important it is to keep the gas mask on, even if it feels uncomfortable. It notes that in case of a gas attack “Stop all work and sit quietly, If you have gotten your respirator on in time, you are safe.”


 

Citation: 
U.S. Army, 350th Infantry Regiment, Co. G, records 1917-1919. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. BG6/.U584/350th
 

On the Way to France!

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | September 24, 2018


This diary entry from James Thomas Hughes marks the beginning of his journey to France. Hughes mentions passing the Statue of Liberty and the number of other ships that sailed with them on their passage. He would be in France until July 16th, 1919. For his courageous efforts in France Hughes received the Bronze Victory Medal, which is known today as the WW1 Victory Medal.

 
 
 


September 22 Left Camp Upton 4 a.m to Hoboken. Climbed aboard U.S.N.T. No 75, “Magnolia,” Sailed at 12:30 P.M. Down East River past “Statue of Liberty” with convoy. 8 ships + 4 protectors, Gun boats, aviation, ect.

Citation: James Thomas Hughes Diary. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. D640.H84

The Role of a YMCA Secretary

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | September 24, 2018


Alonzo Carlyle served in France as a YMCA secretary with the American Expeditionary Forces. In letters to his family on this day, Carlyle describes his work as a YMCA secretary and the asset his work is to the soldiers in his regiment. Carlyle wrote about the duties he performs on a daily basis for the men, how happy he is with his living requirements and mentioned that he stays with the men at all times to give them anything that they may need or desire like smokes, sweets or water when they are fighting. Over the time of his service Carlyle distributed numerous packages of cigarettes, chocolates and cookies. He also held many services on Sunday for the men and was available to talk about anything personal regarding religion.

 


Sept 22nd, 1918
Dear Burt:
[…] Just now I am located in a dugout on the top of a high hill and can look down upon the valley and the boche lines. There is shelling going on both night and day and we can see their shells land as well as our own, it is a wonderful sight. Many things of much importance happens daily but I am not allowed to write regarding them. […] I have done everything the men do except go over the top or make a raid. As I am writing boche shells are bursting within three and four blocks but I am quite safe in a good dugout. […] I do not like to talk up my own work but we surely are a big asset to the army, and if you could hear a few of the good things said about us it would make you feel very proud to belong to such an organization. I have had men and officers say repeatedly that they do not know what they would do without me. The same is said of our other secretaries. The different units which are without secretaries complain about it all the time. […] We stay with the men at all times and give them smokes and sweets- when they are fighting in the lines. We also hold services on Sun. and act like a brother to the men […]
With love to sister and yourself.
Your brother,
Lonz

Citation: Alonzo Carlyle Letters. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. P127

Wicker Basket

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | September 24, 2018

This shallow basket made of a greenish-brown wicker is an occupational therapy project made by a soldier at the United States 29th General Hospital, Fort Snelling before the end of 1919. 

It is currently on view in the Weaving Wellness display in the lobby of the Gale Family Library at the History Center.

See it in Collection Online.

La Roca Series #2, St. James, 1998

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | September 21, 2018

Chinese-ness, the great new show of Wing Young Huie's most recent work, just opened in our Irvine Community Gallery. We have been collecting and preserving Huie's work over the last 20 years; this week's Item of the Day will feature some of those pieces.

This photo is titled “La Roca Series #2, St. James” and was taken in 1998. Huie took it as part of the Minnesota 2000 Documentary Photography Project, which ran from 1997-1999, documenting the "state of the state" at the end of the twentieth century through photographs.

"So Little We Are Allowed to Write"

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | September 20, 2018


In this letter written on September 19th, 1918 to his parents, Eber Berquist, mentions how he isn't allowed to talk about what he is doing/where he is. The letter was more so that his parents still knew he was okay rather than telling them about his daily routine. When he enlisted, Berquist was a saxophone player for the Army Band.

 


Somewhere in France
Sept. 19, 1918.
Dear Folks,
Will write you a few lines you know that I am well and everything O.K. I received my first mail over here last week and it sure seemed nice to get a letter. […] I surmise that this last draft has taken quite a few more men, So I suppose old Parker’s is getting quite empty now. […] As there’s so little we are allowed to write will have to wind up. Hoping to hear from you very soon.
O.K.
Eber

Citation: 
Eber Berquist Papers. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. P2786

 

Two boys Carrying Laundry, St. James, 1999

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | September 20, 2018

Chinese-ness, the great new show of Wing Young Huie's most recent work, just opened in our Irvine Community Gallery. We have been collecting and preserving Huie's work over the last 20 years; this week's Item of the Day will feature some of those pieces.

This photo is titled “Two Boys Carrying Laundry, St. James” and was taken in 1999. Huie took it as part of the Minnesota 2000 Documentary Photography Project, which ran from 1997-1999, documenting the "state of the state" at the end of the twentieth century through photographs.

Maurice Masterson's Letter to His Father

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | September 19, 2018


Corporal Maurice E. Masterson, resident of Barnesville, Minnesota, was a member of the 151st Field Artillery, 42nd "Rainbow" Division. In this letter to his father Masterson talks about the destruction that he has seen and his thoughts about christianity being a failure. He also mentions his thoughts about upcoming peace moves by others because of the recent peace move by Austria. Corporal Masterson was killed in action on November 1st, 1918.

 


France
Sept. 19th, 1918
Dear Father,
As we pulled out of the (censored) district and I gazed out upon that vista of total destruction the thot that came over me was this. "Is Christianity a failure? No, but masonry and architecture are all shot to hell!" Pretty much the truth too, for only once besides have I seen such complete havoc wrought by shell fire. And I might truthfully apply the same statement to my own case. I've never yet been gassed or wounded, tho I have had "spare parts" otherwise shell fire fragments bounce off my frame. My nerves however, are a thing of the past, literally all "shot to hell". A rest will put me back soon, but we can't think of rest as long as fair weather holds out. Too many Huns to hunt and the hunting is too good. [...] The recent peace move by Austria will no doubt be followed by other moves. It will be interesting to note how the thing is handled. Some there are who will herald any sort of peace. Others on our side cry blindly for a continuation of the war with no thot of an end. They are as dangerous as the first. To my mind there is no reason for the allied cause to adopt vandalism as a plank in its platform. The insane demand for a peace from Berlin should be silenced. We need not conquer the German capitol, but the German will. As a soldier of the first line I know the terrible cost of this game to every soldier of the line. We are willing to pay the price as far as good need arises. Beyond that, for the war of conquest or the mere glorification of arms we have not one drop of blood we are willing to shed. [...]
Your loving son
Maurice
Corp. M.E. Masterson
F. Battery 151st. F.A.

Citation: 
"Masterson, Maurice E." Minnesota Public Safety Commission. Gold Star Roll. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota 114.D.4.4F

 

Pow Wow Festival, Mountain Lake, 1999

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | September 19, 2018

Chinese-ness, the great new show of Wing Young Huie's most recent work, just opened in our Irvine Community Gallery. We have been collecting and preserving Huie's work over the last 20 years; this week's Item of the Day will feature some of those pieces.

This photo is titled “Pow Wow Festival, Mountain Lake” and was taken in 1999. Huie took it as part of the Minnesota 2000 Documentary Photography Project, which ran from 1997-1999, documenting the "state of the state" at the end of the twentieth century through photographs.

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