Category Archives: Minnesota History

Business as Usual

Well, yeah, I guess.

Today I went to the museum in town to watch the World War I documentary that they made last year. Colm told me about it ages ago, though I forgot about it; he reminded me that it existed when we were both doing research over there on Friday.

I decided I might as well get around to watching it. Even though I’m focusing on the WCSA specifically, I figured it was a good idea to know what was going on in the county during the Great War period. I mean, the WCSA is apart of Stevens County…also, I figured I might find some useful information.

A lot of the information presented in the documentary was as I expected, just from my general knowledge of Minnesota history during the war and what I’ve been hearing from Colm about his research. I did find out a few useful things to add to my portion of the site. For one, the WCSA hosted a HUGE patriotic rally in August 1917 after the U.S. joined the war. There was a huge push for patriotism through Minnesota specifically with the Commission of Public safety, and a few local names associated with the Commission also had connections at the school. People from all over the county came and it was a big deal. Furthermore, I was made aware of Florence Hulett, the registered nurse at the WCSA before the war. A graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, she enlisted to serve overseas as a nurse once the U.S. joined the war. I’m going to get in touch with museum to see if they have a picture I could use for her on the site, since I would like to insert a little bit about her into the War narrative since she was a WCSA staff member.

Generally speaking, I’m glad I went to watch the documentary today. It gave me a bit more confidence as I dive into more writing tonight and I did discover some useful information. Really, I should have gone to watch it ages ago!

Now, on to more writing…

Because all Research Begins Somewhere…

I admit that I feel a little behind in my research.

As I was browsing through some of my fellow classmates’ blogs, I was astounded by how much some of them have already done. I was getting a little down on myself for not having done even have of that research.

Truthfully, I’ve been quite busy. I work for the Office of Residential Life as a student hall director here at Morris and in the week before classes started, I was busy with winter training. Since classes started, I’ve been trying to figure out my schedule and how to make everything work this semester. I haven’t had the opportunity to spend an extensive
amount of time researching as I would have liked.

That being said, I do consider myself quite fortunate. I am a student worker at my campus archives so I already have quite a bit of knowledge of what is available there. I have had the opportunity to talk to the archivist–who also happens to be my boss–about what’s available and he has given me some tips in moving forward with my research. I intend to really dive into some research at the archives later this week, and when I do, I’ll know where to look.

I also know that I have easy access to pretty much everything in the archives. Generally speaking, our campus archives doesn’t have a whole lot of constrictions in gaining access to the archival materials; as a student worker, I also have an upper hand in knowing the archives and having connections to the archivist. I just received permission
from my boss to go in there after hours when other researchers wouldn’t be allowed, since I work there…so thankful I am able to do that!

I am eager to get my hands on the WCSA yearbooks from the World War I era. Our archives have a plethora of old yearbooks, particularly from the WCSA era, and I want to see if there is any commentary on the war from the student perspectives inside the yearbooks. I also have some fantastic resources on the Non Partisan League–an active political organization in the upper Midwest that exhibited anti-war sentiments during the period–that I am excited to look further into. I know the archives has materials. It’s just a question of getting in there and really looking.

The Stevens County Museum in town also has a lot of information. The employees there already know me from a local research project I did last spring in my completion of the honors program here at Morris. I know they have newspapers dating back to the early years of Morris and I know they allow researchers to look at them–because I utilized them from my honors project. I also know they have a lot of materials relating to World War I.

Unfortunately, the museum isn’t open during the weekends, so Colm and I must juggle our schedules during the week with getting over there to research. In an ideal world, it would have weekend hours and I would have spent half of this last weekend getting acquainted with all the materials.

Thank goodness Colm was able to get in there today. I couldn’t join him because I have class for the majority of the afternoon.  When I got done with class, we were Facebook messaging for a little bit while he was still there, and he told me was looking through so much stuff and that he’s been photocopying a lot of documents. Look for more information on that in his own post.

I need to get into the Museum at some point soon, but first I want to tackle to archives on campus.

Colm and I have so many resources at our fingertips. We are lucky to have such a plethora of resources in town.

I still feel a little behind right now, but I’m not going to worry too much.

Together, we have a lot to look at and we will certainly be able to put together a well-thought out and well-constructed project with everything we’ll find.

It’s still the early days of the semester and we have so many materials to look through.

We’ve got this. It’ll just take some time.