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Melvin Roy Swensen Prisoner of War Postcards

Identifier: M/A 0385

Description of Contents

Newspaper clippings and postcards sent by First Lieutenant Melvin Roy Swensen to his family in Minneapolis. Swensen was a Japanese prisoner of war from 1942 to 1945. The postcards are forms issued by the Imperial Japanese Army with short messages from Swensen.


  • 1942 - 1945


Access Restrictions

The collection is available for use in Special Collections during the department's open hours.


Melvin Roy Swensen was born in 1914. The oldest son of Peder and Hilda Swensen, Melvin grew up in south Minneapolis and worked as a paper carrier for the Minneapolis Morning Tribune. Swensen studied business administration at the University of Minnesota, where he also joined the Army ROTC.

After graduation in 1939, Swensen was sent ot Illinois for coast artillery training. In 1941, he became a lieutenant in the army air corps. Swensen served in the Pacific, first in Manila and then Corregidor.

In May 1942, he was imprisioned by Japanese forces when they captured Corregidor. Swensen was held in Philippine Military Camp No. 1 until 1945. While a prisoner, Swensen corresponded with his family in Minnesota through brief postcards.

Swensen died in 1945 when the unmarked hospital ship he was on was bombed by the U.S. Navy. It is unclear whether he drowned or was shot by Japanese soldiers after reaching shore.


0.21 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Donor Information

This collection was donated by Hilda Swensen, mother of Melvin Roy Swensen, in April 1972 as accession 2022.01.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jenna Jacobs in January 2022.

Melvin Roy Swensen Prisoner of War Postcards
Jenna Jacobs
January 2022
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.