Friday the 13th during World War I

If you think that Friday the 13th is an unlucky date, you are not alone. 99 years ago, Northfield resident Homer Mason agreed with you in principle, but his experiences during World War I made him begin to think that perhaps Friday the 13th was not such a bad thing, after all. Homer served in the Signal Corps in Tours, France, south of Paris during the fall of 1918. As a radio operator, he was well aware of news from the front as well as from home. In two of his letters, he makes reference to the unluckiness of Friday the 13th, but considering...

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Propaganda Posters from World War I

Propaganda posters from World War I have very striking, sometimes disturbing designs and messages. Today’s audiences might laugh them off but at the time they were very successful at uniting the American home front to support the war. Check out some of my favorites from the Rice County Historical Society‘s collection here and also on the...

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Defeat of Jesse James Days through the years

It’s that time of year again, when Northfield celebrates the defeat of the James-Younger Gang when they dared to rob the First National Bank! Over the years, the community has commemorated this event by hosting reenactments of the famous 7-minute street fight – many of which were photographed and included in the historic collections of our town. Here are some of the highlights: Also, somehow we got Tony Oliva of the Minnesota Twins to visit during DJJD in the 1980s, wear a cowboy hat, and pose with the re-enactors! Somebody get on...

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St. Olaf College and World War I

Highlights of the World War I digitization project, part 3 Today I am continuing to share with you some of the great resources I have been able to digitize as a part of this World War I project. Another uniquely Northfield experience during World War I that I have been exploring was the Student Army Training Corps. The War Department created units of these corps at both St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges. The idea behind these units was to create a group of student-soldiers who continued in their academic pursuits but also received military...

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Homer Mason in the Signal Corps

Highlights of the World War I digitization project, part 2 Today I am continuing to share with you some of the great resources I have been able to digitize as a part of this World War I project. I have been able to scan and share more details of individual soldier experiences through the letters and photographs of Northfield resident Homer Mason. Through Homer’s letters, we can learn from his experiences at training camp, traveling to Europe, and serving in the Signal Corps of the U.S. Army. Homer Mason, a 1918 graduate of St. Olaf...

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