WWI Community Organizations

In my previous posts, I have highlighted some interesting archival documents that tell stories of Northfield experiences during World War I both at home and abroad. Today, I’ll provide more examples of community organizations that arose during and after the war. Entertainment at the home front was militarized for a short time during the war. You can see evidence of it in the formation of the Dundas Band and Military Company. Prior to 1917, the Dundas Military Company and the Dundas Brass Band existed separately. The two organizations...

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Food and the War

Today I am continuing to highlight some of the new resources available online that highlight the Northfield experience during World War I. In the last post, I shared some aerial photographs from France kept in a scrapbook by Irwin Smith, who served in the Intelligence Division “over there” during the war. Closer to home, the households of the Northfield area were also heavily involved in wartime activities. Since Rice County is a very agricultural area, many local citizens were encouraged to contribute to the production and...

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More Digitized Resources Available Online

Over the last few months, I have been busy with my World War I digitization project for the Northfield History Collaborative. To see all 460+ and counting unique items online, go to http://northfieldhistorycollaborative.org and click on the “World War I in Northfield” link near the bottom of the page. The stories that can be found among the digitized materials of the NHC are set in locations both near and far. For example, Northfield-area serviceman Irwin F. Smith, a sergeant in Division Intelligence of the 88th Division, was...

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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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