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Manuscripts by Subject - Military - #10704

Title: Irene (Overholser) Gordon

Dates: 1941-1945

Collection Number: 10704

Quantity: .25 foot

Abstract: Consists of letters received by Mrs. Gordon, a teacher in Butte and Grace City, ND, from friends and former students serving in the military in WWII.

Provenance: The State Historical Society of North Dakota acquired the Irene Gordon collection from Spencer Overholser in June 1995.

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

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.


Historical Sketch

“These letters were written to my sister who taught school in Butte North Dakota 1929-1933. Niles [Lark Lalka] and I were graduated in the class of 1933. The Lalka family lived across the street from my parents, the J. G. Overholsers in Butte so Niles and I grew up together, spun tops and played marbles and did the things boys do growing up together in a small town. Niles changed his surname to LARK sometime after graduating from Butte high school.
The names Spen and Don appear in these letters. Spen was my nickname and Don was Donald Nabseth of Butte. During the war Don became Squadron surgeon in the U.S. Air Force and I was with the 90th Infantry Division engaged in the Battle of the Bulge. About the end of December 1944 Don had his jeep driver drive him up to Luxembourg and was able to locate me despite being in a raging snowstorm. I do not recall where Don was stationed at that time.
Recently I have reread the letters and I believe they give such a good view of the life of a G.I. especially one in a foreign country, that they should be made available for research or pleasure reading. For this reason I am donating them to the North Dakota Heritage Center.
Irene M. Overholser was born in Balfour May 29, 1906 to James G. and Clara Overholser. The family moved to Dogden ND in September 1907. Irene had one sister, Mabel, and two brothers, Lyle G. and J. Spencer. Irene attended Dogden Public School and graduated from Balfour High School in 1922. She graduated from Jamestown College in 1926 with a bachelor’s degree.
She taught in the Willow City public school from 1926 to 1929 and then taught four years at Butte public school. Beginning in September 1933 she taught four years at Willow City High School.  She married Fraser Gordon of Willow City on June 12, 1937 and lived on the Gordon farm south of Willow City since that date. They had one son, Robert Donald.
From 1938 until 1946 she spent about half the time in the Tuberculosis Sanitarium at San Haven. The letters in this collection were written by Irene’s former students from Butte and Willow City schools while they were serving in World War II. Irene Gordon died on May 20, 1952. These letters were given to me by Irene’s son Robert about 1980.” --Written by J. Spencer Overholser in January 1995.

Box / Folder Inventory

Box 1:
1 Anderson, Alfred 1941-1944 - 303 Service Squadron, 34th Service Group Chandler AZ, Tunisia, Sicily
2 Anderson, Howard     1940-1944 – Air Force Technical School Lowry Field CO, “somewhere in E. India”
3 Dreyer, Leonard  1943-1944 – 299 M.P. Co. North Africa
4 Lalka, Niles          1944-1945 - India
5 Lee, Earl              1942-1944 – 41st Infantry Division, Australia, New Guinea
6 Lee, Grant           1942-1943 – 420 Night Fighter Squadron, Lincoln Airbase NE, Dunnellon Air Base FL
7 Sanderson, Alvin  1943-1944
8 Sanderson, Carl   1944 – USAF 10th Weather Squadron, India
9 Sanderson, Charles    1944 – 557 Bomber Squadron, London
10 Sanderson, Gerald   1941-1944 2nd Battalion Medical Detachment 164th Infantry Australia, South Pacific
11 Schulz, Herold    1943-1944 Co. A 182nd Infantry Americal Division, South Pacific

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