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James G. Smith Correspondence and Photographs

Identifier: M/A 0040
James G. Smith Collection in the Hennepin County Library Digital Collections
James G. Smith Collection in the Hennepin County Library Digital Collections

Description of Contents

The collection contains World War II correspondence and photographs organized chronologically. It documents a US soldier's life during World War II, beginning as an enlistee in the US Army in March 1942 and ending with his return home and release from duty in October 1945. Included are letters to his wife and parents detailing his everyday life and concerns while being acutely aware of the need to censor his letters for privacy and national security concerns. Also included are personal photographs from his time in the military. The collection includes biographical information, and each box in the collection also contains a detailed container list.


  • Creation: 1942 - 1945


Access Restrictions

The physical collection is available for use in Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library during the department's open hours. All correspondence and photographs from this collection are available in the James G. Smith Collection in the Hennepin County Library Digital Collections.


James G. Smith was born in Minnesota in 1909. Prior to enlisting in the Army during World War II, James was co-owner/operator of the Goal Line which sold beverages at 1506 E. Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis. His wife Melba worked at the Red Owl Store at 900 4th St. N. His parents worked at Greenwood Lodge in McGregor, Minnesota, in the summers. At March 1942 at the age of 32, James enlisted in the Army. His battalion left for Europe in early March of 1944.

Smith spent most of his military career as a Technical Sergeant with the 519th AAA Gun Battalion in Europe. He received bronze stars for service in the France campaign at Normandy (Utah Beach), German campaign at Rhineland, and in the Belgium campaign at the Battle of the Bulge. In May 1945, he was promoted to 1st Sergeant and was stationed at a large prisoner of war camp. He had two noncombat injuries during his military career, including serious injuries from a jeep accident that resulted in hospitalization in France. He returned to the United States in October of 1945. Smith later worked as an insurance agent in Minneapolis. He died in 1995.


0.83 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


James G. Smith Correspondence and Photographs
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Hennepin County Library Special Collections Repository

Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis MN 55401 U.S.A.