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Photographs - Collections - 751-800 - #00753

Title: Fern L. Kurtz

Dates: 1940

Collection Number: 00753

Quantity: 2 items

Abstract: Two 2 ¼ x 2 3/4" black and white copy negatives and prints of Harold Bachman’s Million Dollar Band. Organized for the Second North Dakota Infantry during World War I, the members include Frank Joseph Risovi, father of Fern L. Kurtz. One image shows the band in their uniforms posing with their instruments in a formal studio portrait; the second image shows the band in their uniforms in formation on the steps of the Bismarck Post Office.

Provenance: Fern L. Kurtz allowed the images to be copied by the State Historical Society of North Dakota on June 30, 1985. Original Accession number 89AV020.  Todd Strand originally added the collection in 1989, Sharon Silengo scanned and added item level descriptions and wrote a finding aid for the collection on December 03, 2015.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights: Copyrights to materials in this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.

Related Collections:
10241 Al Thal
10269 Frithjof Holmboe
32348 North Dakota National Guard

Biographical Sketch:

Frank Joseph Risovi
Frank Joseph Risovi was born in Casselton, North Dakota of Bohemian parents, Bernard and Matilda Risovi on November 6, 1898. He was employed as a farm laborer on his father’s farm in Norway Lake, Wells County North Dakota before he joined the armed forces. He enlisted in Headquarters Company, 2nd Infantry, North Dakota National Guard at Harvey, North Dakota on July 5th 1917. Was called into federal service in World War I on July 15, 1917, served in Headquarters Company, 2nd Infantry, North Dakota National Guard to October 10, 1917, Company E, 116th Engineers to January 5, 1919, and Headquarters Detachment, 116th Engineers to discharge. Was a Musician 3rd Class, July 28, 1917; Private October 9, 1917; Private 1st Class October 10, 1917; Corporal September 17, 1918; Private October 31, 1918; Musician 2nd Class, October 31, 1918. He served overseas from December 15, 1918 to February 26, 1919. Discharged at Camp Dodge IA on March 11, 1919 as a Musician 2nd Class.

After his return to North Dakota he married Lena Amalia Hagen in 1922, and lived in Hamberg, Wells County, North Dakota.  The family moved to Devils Lake, Ramsey County, North Dakota in 1926 where he worked as a carpenter building homes. They had two daughters, Fern L. Risovi born December 30, 1925 in Hamberg, Wells County, North Dakota and Joyce Fay Risovi born October 20, 1927 in Devils Lake, Ramsey County, North Dakota. Frank Joseph Risovi died in Ramsey County, North Dakota on January 13, 1986.
               
Fern LaNorma Risovi Kurtz
Fern LaNorma Risovi attended school, graduating from Devils Lake Central High School in 1944. She attended Mercy School of Nursing in Devils Lake from 1944 to 1946. She was a member of the Cadet Nursing Corps in World War II. She married Michael Kurtz in Devils Lake on September 12, 1946. The family moved to the Bismarck-Mandan area in 1980. She and Michael had six children, Patricia, Linda, Cindy, Brenda, Keith and Douglas. She died on January 9, 1999 in Bismarck North Dakota.

Million Dollar Band
“Of all the groups that grew up in North Dakota prior to 1930, none was more famous than Harold Bachman's "Million Dollar Band." This aggregation was spawned by the band that Bachman, a bandmaster at Harvey, organized for the Second North Dakota Infantry during World War I. Bachman was a former student of Dr. C. S. Putnam of North Dakota Agricultural College who evidently recommended to Governor Lynn J. Frazier that the former member of the "Gold Star Band" had the talent and experience to form a musical group. The North Dakota unit was amalgamated with others and became the official band of the 116th Engineers, 41st Infantry; it obtained its nickname at a Christmas Day concert in 1917 in southeastern France when the American general Hunter Liggett said its music was "worth a million dollars" to the army. After the war, Bachman formed a private ensemble under the name, and it quickly gained national recognition. Bachman's thirty-piece concert band was comparatively small. Yet, it enjoyed consistent popularity after 1919, playing for American Legion conventions, chautauquas, fairs, races and halls large and small. For five winter seasons the band had engagements in Florida t West Palm Beach and Tampa. But, by 1927, it was apparent the concert band era was over. The band decided to disband after playing a farewell tour of North Dakota. Arguably, Bachman's band was the most famous result of the heyday of town bands in North Dakota.” (Huey, William G. Making Music: Brass Bands on the Northern Plains, 1860-1930. North Dakota History Journal 54.1: 12-13)

Sources:
Huey, William G. Making Music: Brass Bands on the Northern Plains, 1860-1930. North Dakota History Journal 54.1: 3-14
Ancestry.com U.S. Public Records, U. S. Social Security Index, U. S. Census Records, North Dakota Military Men 1917-1918, Find-A-Grave, U. S. Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 2.
Kurtz, Fern Obituary. Bismarck Tribune online January 9, 1999.

INVENTORY

00753-00001 Harold Bachman's Million Dollar Band 2nd North Dakota Infantry World War I posing with instruments 1917-1918
00753-00002 Harold Bachman's Million Dollar Band 2nd North Dakota Infantry World War I on steps in front of Post Office Bismarck ND 1917-1918

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