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...

read more

Rice County World War I Soldier Records

Highlights of the World War I digitization project, part 1 Today I would like to share with you some of the great resources I have been able to digitize as a part of this World War I project. One of our partners, the Rice County Historical Society, is home to an amazing collection of World War I records created by the Rice County War Records Committee. This committee was formed while World War I was underway primarily to create a historical record of those who served in the war from Rice County. The RCHS’s collection includes a basic...

read more

Pvt. John Fredrickson and the 54th Pioneers

Item of the Week: Here is Private John Fredrickson’s handwritten poem about his unit in World War I: Company L of The 54th Pioneers, who were cross-trained in combat engineering and infantry tactics, and often were responsible for building the roads for their fellow troops – all while under heavy bombardment. Apparently the Pioneer Infantry units were often overlooked in stories about the war, and Fredrickson felt the need to laud their efforts when he wrote: We read about the dough boys and their valor, which is true, And of the...

read more

The St. Olaf Victory Viking Yearbook

In the spring of 1919, St. Olaf College published an annual yearbook commemorating the classes of 1919, 1920, 1921, and the Freshmen. It was a special year for St. Olaf students, since many of them in these classes had participated in World War I service at home, on military bases, and in Europe. For this reason, the yearbook was dedicated to those who served in the cause of world freedom. They called it the Victory Viking. Hints of war service appear on many of the pages within this yearbook. Illustrations of tanks and ships appear below...

read more

Service and Sacrifice

Two of the major themes we are exploring at the Northfield Historical Society for our centennial commemoration of World War I are service and sacrifice, both at home and abroad. While going through some of the individual soldier records in the Rice County War Records Commission collection at the Rice County Historical Society (2 file cabinets full!) I have already found a few examples of both service and sacrifice from Northfield-area citizens. Miss Delphine Carpenter is one of the few women included in the files. She was from Northfield and...

read more

Company D from Northfield

Even though the Great War had been raging in Europe since 1914, in 1916 most Northfielders were more interested in what was going on at the border with Mexico. Why? Because their friends and relatives were serving in Company D of the 2nd Infantry Regiment of the Minnesota National Guard. After Mexican leader Pancho Villa started raiding in Texas and New Mexico, President Wilson called National Guard units into federal service to guard the border, and Northfield’s Company D was officially mobilized.┬áThe mobilization point for...

read more