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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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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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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