Laurence Jensen and Linnea Schonstedt Papers
Description of Contents
Correspondence, cards, photos, newspaper clippings, paper money from Buchenwald, newspapers (war publication of the Star Journal), notice of award of bronze star medal, (April 13, 1945) and school autograph book.
Comments pulled from Laurence’s correspondence to Linnea 1942-1945
- Feb 23, 1942
- “I just had a little discussion with one of the fellows I’m sure what he thinks of me. I told him that I wasn’t mad at either the Japs or Germans but rather at the big shots of this country of a few years back. If those men had just listened to General Mitchell when he was begging for a larger air force, for if they had the axis powers would never had dared to attack us…Of course I realize right now there is no other way out now but to win the war now but no matter what anybody tells me, I still have no desire to fight and its not that I’m afraid…”
- March 1942-April 1942
- "Studying to take specialists test –suppose to be stiff would come out as a sergeant with a pay of $125/month. Shooting range made marksman and sharp shooter (expert is better)..we had gas mask drill to-day I sure hope I never have to use one of them especially if it gets warm… went to Galveston is a poor town the buildings and three night clubs bowling alleys pool hall are of a very poor class…most of the fellows here live in the past or the future and not the present…"March 14th"…this is my fifth week here…"March 25th "you should be able to write three times a week…I feel better with this off my chest." March 31 "I guess we are going to get a raise to 42 dollars but that won’t go into effect until June 30th."...love letters…April 19 "It’s getting harder waiting not knowing what is happening…."April 21st "now I’m the oldest man in my platoon (everyone else has shipped out)…"April 26th "I do wish you would write more often then you did last week…" April 29th "do wish I knew what they were going to do with me send me to school or what…"
- March 1944
- New country - Laurence initially didn’t like England March 24, 1944 “ Your last v-mail I received Saturday dated the 8th and today I received the small paper dated the 25th of Feb and March 1st so I guess V is the best. I don’t know how good air mail is but it might be worth a try. Two weeks is the best time your letters have made so far.”March 27th v-mail “I received both of the papers you’ve sent and enjoy them. I expect the longer I’m over here the better they’ll look.”
- August 1944
- Linnea worked at Pillsbury Flour Mill, Laurence would be able to make pancakes with Pillsbury Flour.
- September 24, 1944
- "First time had dry feet in three or four days…moving a lot"
- October 7, 1944
- "I much prefer the small edition of the 'Stars' than the 'Fighters Digest""
- October 9, 1944
- "There is a lot of discussion going on about this discharge plan but all I’m worried about is when is Germany going to stop…"
- November 1, 1944
- "They issued us some warmer clothes combat pants and jacket."
- December 5, 1944
- "I’m really surprised how well [things] are going…"
- January 7, 1945
- "I just haven’t had any desire to write. We have been moving a good deal…"
- January 28, 1945
- He has an airplane mechanic position.
- April 8, 1945
- "Anyway we’ve seen a lot of Germany and it has turned out to be a beautiful country and why they should be wanting more is beyond me, course right now they don’t have so much.”
- April 8, 1945
- Received Award of Bronze Star Medal for serving as battalion air mechanic, he maintained the planes in perfect condition regardless of weather or hardships. On several occasions he refueled and serviced planes under direct enemy fire.
- April 18, 1945
- "Taking correspondence class in automobile and math, 10 years since math class."
- May 25, 1945
- First letter uncensored since I left the states…I’m or was a little self conscious about what I was writing…
- June 3, 1945
- Notes that he won’t be able to get out of the service soon because he only has 84 out of 85 points. Notes his views about the Germans. He says “I don’t believe I’ve said two pleasant words to any German yet and further more have no intentions of it either. I believe we are letting them off much too easily.” Comments about the 2 Rm Buchenwald paper money (paper money filed separately).
- June 16, 1945
- Located four miles from Weimar.He carries the “color” in the parades (the flag). “in his words, I should be a civilian again shortly. It’s hard to believe and till I reach Ft. Snelling again I’m not going to put too much faith…I don’t even know what I want to do when I get home…being a woman hater but I believe it only applies to women on this side of the ocean.""This afternoon I was in a warehouse and picked up some more tools which will go home as soon as I can find a box to put them in. One feels a little odd going in a place of that nature taking what you want and then walking out. . ."pg. 5. "If don’t get out our combat stars are still coming really all I’m happy for is that I don’t end up in China…"
- June 27, 1945
- "It does get under my hide to think that anyone who has been in three months gets the same benefits as myself." Pg 3"Maybe the educational benefits are better, that remains to be seen."
- June 28, 1945
- "Won’t be home for six or twelve months. Transfer men under 85 (he had 84) to the 6th Division. If transferred will go to 3rd Armored Division, division’s pilots are going." His division may back 150 miles and the Russians will take over—Germans afraid of Russians. "Left 212th Division now with 3rd Armored 'Spearhead Division' the 6th transferred all men"
- July 10, 1945
- "Yesterday was the first time I’ve done any flying for a long time and I surprised myself as I thought I’d forgotten a lot but my judgment was still fair." Pg 1"I heard Jack Benny’s program tonight and it brought back memories when it was listened under more favorable conditions namely being with you."
- July 30, 1945
- "This may be putting the cart before the horse but I was wondering if you had planned on working for the Red Cross when I get home. I still expect to be a civilian when I get home and I’m going to demand a good deal of your time as I expect to be rather restless as first and certainly will need a person of sterling quality to help me along…"pg. 7 & 8
- "I have never had a strong liking for the stuff and see no reason that I should develop one." Pg 1.
- August 18, 1945
- Crailsheim town in north Wurtemberg, Germany. Bombing and severe fighting here towards end of Second World War. Destroyed most of old city and historic buildings. Chartered in 1338
- Located a short distance from Crailsheim (airbase) a displaced persons camp.
- August 28, 1945
- "There is really the letter you have been waiting for in that I should be home or the very least in the states next month." Pg 2
- September 2, 1945
- "This is quite a hole we are living in, it’s a small farming town with millions of flies and they are about to drive me nuts."
- September 7, 1945
- Germany going to France "They issued a small booklet on G.I. Bill of Rights and other articles concerning our coming discharge…"pg 2
- September 12, 1945
- in France
- September 16, 1945
- "I have every intention of trying Civil Service fact is the only way that I can see for us to get off to an early start." Pg. 2""... I won’t mind going to school but that would postpone things too long..."
- Creation: 1927 - 1977
- Jensen, Laurence Edward (Person)
The physical collection is available for use in Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library during the department's open hours. Most photographs from this collection are available in Small Collections in the Hennepin County Library Digital Collections.
During World War II, Laurence Jensen entered the Army as a private and was stationed at Camp Wallace Texas Battery (A) 29th Coastal Artillery Training Base (C.A.T.B.). His first correspondence to Linnea was from February 1942. It appears that Laurence served as an airplane mechanic. He was promoted while at Camp Hulen, Texas in September 1942. While in Europe, he had a dog called Butch who rode on his jeep.
During the 1940s, Linnea Schonstedt worked at Pillsbury Flour Mills and later for the Red Cross (she may have been volunteering for them). Laurence and Linnea married in 1948. They continued to live in Minneapolis, where Laurence worked for Minneapolis Moline. Laurence Jensen died May 30, 1986. Linnea Jensen died July 26, 2002.
Biographical Information from the Minneapolis City Directories
- Earl M. and Jennie Jensen lived at 3410 46th Ave S in 1942 Earl was a salesman with Upjohn Co. Laurence is listed at same address with employment noted as United States Army.
- In 1942 Linnea was a clerk and lived at 4250 Bloomington Ave which was where Erik (brother) and her parents Olof G. and Esther lived. Olaf was a carpenter.
- In 1944, Linnea was a stenographer at Pillsbury Flour Mills Co. Erik was not listed in 1944 at the same address.
- Laurence E Jensen auto mechanic Albin J. Weston. Laurence living at 3338 40th Ave S.
- Linnea is listed at the 4250 Bloomington Avenue S. and was working as a stenographer at Pillsbury Flour Mills Co.
- Laurence E. mechanic for Northwestern Auto body Shop, home at 3909 24th Ave S. Northwestern Auto body Shop managed by Norman P and Swen Jones: “We specialize in front end-rebuilding, aligning and wheel balance.” Located at 2503 E 38th St.
- Linnea lived at 4250 Bloomington Ave S. and worked at Pillsbury.
- Laurence E. and Linnea E. Jensen lived at 3909 24th Ave S. No occupation listed for either of them.
- Laurence E. and Linnea E. Jensen lived at 3911 24th Ave S. Laurence's occupation listed as pattern maker for Minneapolis Moline. The house they lived in was renumbered to 3911. Their stucco house and garage had been built in 1927.
Chronology of countries where Laurence Jensen was stationed while serving in the Army
- February 1942
- USA - Camp Wallace, Texas
- July 1942-September 4, 1942
- USA - Camp Hulen, Texas
- September 23, 1942-December 4, 1942
- USA - Fort Sill, Oklahoma
- December 29, 1942-January 1944
- USA - Desert Maneuvers, Los Angeles, California
- February 9, 1944
- USA - He states he is somewhere on the east coast
- March 1, 1944 –August 1944
- September 24, 1944 – December 1944
- January 19, 1945
- January 28, 1945
- March 6, 1945-September 7, 1945
- September 12, 1945-September 16, 1945
0.83 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
Language of Materials
Materials purchased at an estate sale by Miriam Yamour Odegard and John Odegard and donated to Special Collections in 2003 as accession 2003.05.
- Laurence Jensen and Linnea Schonstedt Papers
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Part of the Hennepin County Library Special Collections Repository
Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis MN 55401 U.S.A.