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Manuscripts by Subject - Military - #11127

Title: Arthur Melby

Dates: 1935-2011

Collection Number: MSS 11127

Quantity: 4 feet

Abstract: Papers consist of materials from Melby’s service in the Navy (1935-1945) and in the North Dakota Legislature (1978-1991), including celestial navigation tools and charts, a book of barometer readings from the USS Tennessee, materials from reunions of the USS Hilbert, newspaper clippings, campaign material, certificates, an obituary, papers from the 2011 memorial service held for former representatives, artifacts, and photographs. The photographs include portraits, legislative composites, group and individual photographs from Melby's time in the legislature, USS Hilbert reunions, a 1935 panorama of servicemen at the US Naval training station, 1935 graduating class portrait, and print of the USS Tennessee.
Provenance: The collection was donated by Art Melby’s niece, Charlotte Goldade, on June 4, 2012. It was processed, and this inventory was created by Emily E. Schultz in June 2012.

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.

Transfer: Several items were offered to the Museum Division in June 2012. Please see case file for details.

From Melby’s obituary in the Minot Daily News, December 5, 2010

Arthur Melby, 92, of Harvey, died Friday, Dec. 3, 2010, at the St. Aloisius Nursing Home of Harvey.

Arthur was born on Aug. 30, 1918, in Western Township, rural Harvey. He was the son of Magnus and Sigrid (Mark) Melby. He lived with his family on the family farm until October 1935, when he enlisted in the United States Navy where he trained at Great Lakes, Ill. Art was on the USS Tennessee battleship from 1936 until 1941. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in July 1941 and that same month he married Clara L. Moser. They settled in San Francisco, where Art became employed at the Southern Pacific Railroad's Mission Bay Roundhouse, transferring after a few months to their office building as a stationary fireman. In July 1942 Art re-enlisted in the Navy and served as chief quartermaster on an attack transport in the Atlantic, taking part in the invasion of North Africa and eight months later the invasion of Sicily. After Sicily, Art was transferred and served the remainder of World War II on the USS Hilbert (Destroyer Escort 742) in the western Pacific area. After World War II ended, Art was honorably discharged from the Navy in September 1945 and returned to his job at the Southern Pacific office building.

They returned to North Dakota in 1950 and began farming near Harvey. In 1977 Art sold the farm and moved to Harvey. In 1978, Art was elected State Representative from District 14 and served as a state legislator until 1991.

Clara died on October 8, 1993. Art married Florence (Christensen) Meckle on Oct. 10, 1994.
Art was a member of First Lutheran Church of Harvey. Art served a term as Commander of Wells County Post 1868 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and was also a member of the Frank E. Curry Post 28 of the American Legion. He was also a member of the Sons of Norway and Harvey Senior Citizens.

Art is survived by: his wife, Florence, of Harvey; sister, Neola Melby, Minneapolis.
Art was preceded in death by: his parents; wife, Clara; sister, Ada Melby; brother, Martinus Melby.

Funeral services were held December 7,  2010 at the First Lutheran Church of Harvey.

From “Veterans Remember End of WWII,” 1995 (MSS 11127 box 1 folder 5)

“…Melby was in the Navy, serving as Chief Quartermaster... Melby grew up listening to his mother talk about Norway and the Fjords around her hometown. Ships got into his blood.

There were no jobs in the 1930s, Melby said, so when he was 17, in 1935, he joined the Navy. He intended to spend his life at sea.

But he returned to civilian life to get married. In 1941, the Navy informed him that if he returned, he could come back one rate higher than he left.

He left as a Quartermaster-2nd Class, and returned as 1st Class, but because there was no Chief Quartermaster on his ship, he was tested and passed for that position. He knew virtually everything the navigator knew, and served at the navigator’s right hand.

He began his war years on the battleship Tennessee, and was at the invasions of North Africa and Sicily. The rest of the war he spent in the Pacific, on destroyer escort.

Melby was half way between Guam and Japan when they heard the news the war was over in Europe, but knew the war would continue in the Pacific…”



Box 1:
1 Celestial navigation: tools and charts, ca. 1935-1945
2 Barometer readings book, ca. 1942-1945
3 USS Hilbert Reunion material, 1995 and 1997
4 Material related to Melby’s service in the ND Legislature: campaign cards, newspaper clippings, and material related to the March 23, 2011 memorial service for former representatives, ca. 1979-2011
5 Miscellaneous: newspaper clipping about Melby’s service, membership cards, obituary, certificate recognizing Melby’s service, and printed material related to care of the U.S. flag, 1936-2011

Box 2:    Photographs (5x7 and smaller)

Box 3:    Photographs (8x10 and smaller)

Box 4:    Photographs (11x14 and smaller)

Box 5:    Photograph (16x20)
(Oversized) Panorama – Co. C 2nd battalion US Naval Training Station Great Lakes, ILL, 10/31/1935

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