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Manuscripts by Subject - Family / Local History - #11304

Title: J. Spencer and Ruth Overholser
 
Dates: 1938-2001

Collection Number: MSS  11304

Quantity: 4.5 feet

Abstract: Consists of correspondence between J. Spencer Overholser, Ruth (Schell) Overholser, and family and friends, while J. Spencer served in the army during World War II, diaries maintained by J. Spencer and Ruth between 1940-1949, diplomas, commencement programs, newspaper clippings and a scrapbook that document Overholser's service, and photographs.

Provenance: The J. Spencer and Ruth Overholser papers were donated to the State Historical Society of North Dakota by Ruth Overholser on November 21, 2016.

Property rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to the 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.  Permission to use any radio or television broadcast portions of the collection must be sought from the creator.

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.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

James Spencer Overholser was the son of the late James Galt Overholser and Clara Minerva Groff. He was raised in Butte (N.D.) and graduated from Jamestown College in 1937.  He joined the U.S. Army on September 25, 1941, and went overseas in March 1944. Overholser attended basic training at Fort Francis E. Warren at Cheyenne, Wyoming. He was a Master Sergeant in the 790th Ordinance Light Maintenance Company of the 90th Division. He fought in the Falaise Gap Operation, over to Metz, up to Battle of the Bulge, ending up in Czechoslovakia on VE Day. His division suffered more than 20,000 casualties and took more than 83,000 prisoners of war.

Spencer married Ruth Schell on June 15, 1942 in San Antonio, Texas. They had met at Butte Public School where they were both first-year teachers and assigned to rooms across from each other. Ruth, an Underwood (N.D.) native, also graduated from college in 1937. She earned a two-year teaching certificate from Minot State Teachers College where she was also a member of the Minot State Orchestra. She taught elementary school for five years in Butte, Max and Granville (N.D.). They had two children, Josephine and Christopher.

After completing his military service, Spencer returned to North Dakota. Eventually the family moved to Maryland, where Spencer worked in the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, D.C. Ruth continued her education, studying music education at the University of Maryland and ultimately earning a Bachelor of Science degree. She then taught music in elementary schools in Prince George's County, Maryland, for 12 years. They then resided in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.  Spence was President of the Overholser Family Association from 1956 to 1986, the fifth and longest running President. Spence died April 16, 2009.

Spencer and Ruth established the Ruth Schell Overholser Music Scholarship Endowment for undergraduate students, the Ruth Schell Overholser Endowed Fellowship for graduate students and a gift annuity. They have also made generous gifts to the McFarland Auditorium Campaign, the Gordon B. Olson Library and the MSU general endowment.

Sources:

"The J. Spencer and Ruth Overholser Display" and Overholser Family Association bulletin (Vol. XXXI, No. 2). Both in the collection case file.

BOX / FOLDER INVENTORY

Box 1:
1 Correspondence to Frasier and Irene Gordon (Spencer's sister and brother-in-law) from J. Spencer Overholser, 1938-1941
2 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 10/1938-12/1938
3 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 1/1939-6/1939
4 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 7/1939-12/1939
5 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 1/1940-6/1940
6 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 7/1940-12/1940
7 Correspondence from J. Spencer to his parents, 1941-5/1942
8 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 1/1941-2/1941
9 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 3/1941-5/1941
10 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 5/28/1941-10/1941
11 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 11/1941-12/1941
12 Correspondence to Frasier and Irene Gordon from J. Spencer Overholser, 1942
13 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer while at Normoyle (Tex.), 1/17/1942-2/20/1942
14 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer while at Camp Barkley (Tex.), 2/21/1942-3/20/1942
15 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 4/24/1942-7/2/1942
16 Correspondence to J. Spencer from miscellaneous, 5/1942-12/1942
17 Correspondence from J. Spencer to his parents, 8/1942-1943
18 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer and others, 9/1942-10/1942
19 Correspondence to J. Spencer from Ruth, 10/1942

Box 2:
1 Correspondence to J. Spencer from Ruth, 11/1942-12/1942
2 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 11/1942-12/1942
3  Correspondence to Frasier and Irene Gordon from J. Spencer Overholser, 1943-1945 
4  Correspondence to J. Spencer from Ruth, 6/1943-9/1943
5 Correspondence to J. Spencer from Ruth, 10/1943-12/1943
6 Correspondence to the Overholsers, 1/1943-2/5/1943
7 Correspondence to the Overholsers, 2/1943-6/1943
8 Correspondence to Ruth from miscellaneous, 7/1943-12/1943
9 Correspondence to J. Spencer from Ruth, 1/1944                                                         
10  Correspondence from J. Spencer to his parents, 1944-1945
11 Correspondence to Ruth from miscellaneous, 1944
12 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 1/1944-3/1944
13 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 3/1944-6/9/1944
14 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 6/29/1944-10/1944
15 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 10/9/1944-1/31/1945
16 Correspondence to Ruth from J. Spencer, 2/1945-9/1945
17 Correspondence to Ruth from miscellaneous, 1945

Box 3:
1 Ruth Schell (Overholser) diaries, 1940 and 1945-1949
2 J. Spencer Overholser diary, 1940
3 Diplomas and commencement programs: J. Spencer Overholser, 1930-1937
4 Photographs from exhibit of J. Spencer's uniforms and military artifacts at Minot State University, 7/12/2001 (11304-00001-11304-00015)
5 Newspaper articles about J. Spencer Overholser, 1979
6 Miscellaneous: Ruth Overholser reminiscence, teachers contracts, certificates, 1937-2000

Box 4:    Photographs: 11304-00017 - 11304-00190
Includes an album of portraits of men, women and children (Butte school children and residents) taken by Spencer Overholser, ca. 1937-1939

Box 5:    Photographs: 11304-00191 - 11304-00232
Includes an album of portraits of Butte (N.D.) students and pupils, taken by Spencer Overholser,              ca. 1937-1939

Scrapbook of correspondence, wedding congratulations, Wartime publications, printed materials, photographs, ca. 1942-1945

PHOTOGRAPHS INVENTORY

11304-00001 - 00014        Exhibit of J. Spencer's uniforms and military artifacts at Minot State University, July 12, 2001
11304-00014       Exhibit of J. Spencer's uniforms and military artifacts at Minot State University, July 12, 2001
11304-00015       Exhibit of J. Spencer's uniforms and military artifacts at Minot State University, July 12, 2001
11304-00016       Portrait of J. Spencer and Ruth Overholser, ca. 1945
11304-00017       Portrait of Roslyn Jennerjohn, 1935
11304-00018       Portrait of students seated at desks in the first school house in Underwood (N.D.), includes Delia and Emma Schell, ca. 1911
11304-00019 – 00020 "Patty" Sohn, ca. 1945
11304-00021 – 00022 Dorothy Huseby, ca. 1945
11304-00023 – 00024 Bill Skorvik, ca. 1945
11304-00025 – 00026 Delphine Kasper, ca. 1945
11304-00027 – 00028 Helen Louise Kasper, ca. 1945
11304-00029 – 00030 Clifford Slavsky, ca. 1945
11304-00031 – 00032 Joe Kasper, ca. 1945
11304-00033       Ardell Pailing, ca. 1945
11304-00034       Vacant 
11304-00035       Ardell Pailing, ca. 1945
11304-00036 – 00037 Donald Pailing, ca. 1945
11304-00038 – 00039 Mavis Ward, ca. 1945
11304-00040 – 00041 Ruth Donahue, ca. 1945
11304-00042 – 00043 Edith Boyko, ca. 1945
11304-00044 – 00045 Jimmy Pfahl, ca. 1945
11304-00046 – 00047 Art Bauer, ca. 1945
11304-00048 – 00049 Melbourne Kocher, ca. 1945
11304-00050 – 00051 Margarette Krupsky, ca. 1945
11304-00052 – 00053 Arlene Strika, ca. 1945
11304-00054 – 00055 Elsie Verbitsky, ca. 1945
11304-00056 – 00057 Miss Whitt, ca. 1945
11304-00058 – 00059 Mrs. Donahue, ca. 1945
11304-00060 – 00061 Doris Field, ca. 1945
11304-00062 – 00063 Evelyn Field, ca. 1945
11304-00064       Hazel Jacobson, ca. 1945
11304-00065       Hazel Jacobson, ca. 1945
11304-00066 – 00067 Agnes Kankovsky, ca. 1945
11304-00068 – 00069 Harold Covlin, ca. 1945
11304-00070 – 00071 Ralph Skorick, ca. 1945
11304-00072 – 00073 Maxine Heringer, ca. 1945
11304-00074 – 00075 Edith Boyko, ca. 1945
11304-00076 – 00077 Lena Spelevoy, ca. 1945
11304-00078 – 00079 Martin Aanrud's wife and baby, ca. 1945
11304-00080 – 00081 Dorothy Huseby, ca. 1945
11304-00082 – 00083 Lloyd Navratil, ca. 1945
11304-00084 – 00085 Walter Pfahl, ca. 1945
11304-00086 – 00087 Amelia Boyko, ca. 1945
11304-00088 – 00089 Edith Boyko, ca. 1945
11304-00090 – 00091 Bennie Sandhofner's baby, ca. 1945
11304-00092 – 00093 Irene Skorick, ca. 1945
11304-00094 – 00097 Bohum (first name unknown), ca. 1945
11304-00098 – 00099 Paul Novak's son, ca. 1945
11304-00100 – 00101 Mike Perekrestenko's son, ca. 1945
11304-00102 – 00103 Joy Postovit, ca. 1945
11304-00104 – 00105 Darlene Lindteigen, ca. 1945
11304-00106 – 00107 Mike Perekrestenko's daughter, ca. 1945
11304-00108 – 00109 Delphine Kasper, ca. 1945
11304-00110       Irene Skorick, ca. 1945
11304-00111 – 00112 Art Dislevey's baby, ca. 1945
11304-00113 – 00114 Joe Kasper, ca. 1945
11304-00115 – 00116 Clifford Slavsky, ca. 1945
11304-00117 – 00118 Ardell Pailing, ca. 1945
11304-00119 – 00120 Luvern Pfahl, ca. 1945
11304-00121 – 00122 Irene Skorick, ca. 1945
11304-00123 – 00124 Helen Louise Kasper, ca. 1945
11304-00125       Lorraine Begordis, ca. 1945
11304-00126       Dell Anderson, ca. 1945
11304-00127 – 00128 Lorraine Begordis and Dell Anderson, ca. 1945
11304-00128       Lorraine Begordis and Dell Anderson, ca. 1945
11304-00129 – 00130 Ruth Donahue, ca. 1945
11304-00131 – 00132 Lillian Dalos, ca. 1945
11304-00133 – 00134 Walter Dalos, ca. 1945
11304-00135 – 00136 Walter Pfahl, ca. 1945
11304-00137 – 00138 Oliver Bauer, ca. 1945
11304-00139 – 00140 Emma and Alina Pritel, ca. 1945
11304-00141 – 00142 Ray Jacoskenk, ca. 1945
11304-00143 – 00144 Neil Heringer, ca. 1945
11304-00145 – 00146 Palma Dalos, ca. 1945
11304-00147 – 00148 Ruth Norberg, ca. 1945
11304-00149 – 00150 Helen Senchuk, ca. 1945
11304-00151 – 00152 Agnes Kankovsky, ca. 1945
11304-00153 – 00154 Ella Kankovsky, ca. 1945
11304-00155 – 00156 Hazel Jacobson, ca. 1945
11304-00157 – 00158 Marjorie Norberg, ca. 1945
11304-00159 – 00160 Arlene Strika, ca. 1945
11304-00161 – 00162 Ralph Slavsky, ca. 1945
11304-00163 – 00164 Gladys Nachatelo, ca. 1945
11304-00165 – 00171 Stelter (first name unknown), ca. 1945
11304-00172       Christ Jesz, ca. 1945
11304-00173 – 00174 Mrs. Martin Jesz, ca. 1945
11304-00175 – 00176 Martin Jesz, ca. 1945
11304-00177 – 00178 Steve Boyka, ca. 1945
11304-00179 – 00180 Mrs. Steve Boyka, ca. 1945
11304-00181 – 00182 T. Covlin, ca. 1945
11304-00183 – 00184 Mrs. Matt Dasenka, ca. 1945
11304-00185 – 00186 Mrs. Stanley Krupsky, ca. 1945
11304-00187 – 00188 Stanley Krupsky, ca. 1945
11304-00189 – 00190 Leon Krupsky, ca. 1945
11304-00191       Lyle G. Overholser, Amos O. Nabseth, James Galt Overholser, Clara G. Overholser, Irene Overholser, Eunice Nabseth and Don Nabseth at Christmas vacation, 1937
11304-00192       Clara Overholser, Mrs. Nabseth, Mabel, Lyle, Irene Overholser, Mr. Nabseth, James Overholser, 1937
11304-00193       Helen, Lyle, Don, bill Elznic, Ruth R., Mabel, Irene, Niles Lalka, ca. 1937
11304-00194       Vacant number
11304-00195 – 00196 Butte Ladies Aid, including: Mrs. Fred Rigge, Eleanor Lunas, Lydia Panelanko, Mrs. John Lunas, Mrs. Geo. Covlin, Viola Covlin, Mrs. Lloyd Gower, Eva Walker, Mrs. Overholser, Mrs. Kasper, Mrs. L. Brown, Ethel Walker, Mrs. Schulstad, Mrs. Wicham, Mrs. Masteller, Brutelson, Pfeifer, Mrs. Nabseth, Martindale, Mrs. Heringer, Mrs. Ruesink, Mrs. Silverstein, Christine Suelzie, Mrs. A. A. Gower, Mrs. Berg, Mrs. Halvorson, Mrs. Begordis, Mrs. Preisinger, Mrs. Person, Irene Overholser, Mathews, Harold Covlin, ca. 1937
11304-00197       Lake Metigoshe, ca. 1937
11304-00198       View of Butte (N.D.) from nearby buttes, ca. 1937
11304-00199 – 00200 Toys under Christmas tree at Congregational Church (Butte, N.D.), 1937
11304-00201       Mr. and Mrs. Nabseth , ca. 1937
11304-00202       Ole Overbo and E. J. Albrecht, high school teachers, Butte (N.D.), ca. 1937
11304-00203       Primary pupils with Emma Efimenko, teacher, Butte (N.D.), ca. 1937
11304-00204       Grade 1-3 pupils with Emma Efimenko, teacher, Butte (N.D.), ca. 1937
11304-00205       Intermediate pupils with Ruth Schell, teacher, Butte (N.D.), ca. 1937
11304-00206       Grades 4-6 with Ruth Schell, teacher, Butte (N.D.), ca. 1937
11304-00207       Grades 7-8 with Ruth Schell, teacher, Butte (N.D.): Roger Pfahl, Alfred L., Ralph Bigham, Luke Nachatelo, Ralph Skorick, Donald Pailing, Irene S., Delphine K., Ella K., Annie E., Evelyn Z., Helen Louise Kasper, Emma Mae Pritzel, Irene N., Vivian Pfahl, Helen Tarasenko, Janet, Emma Pritel, Rose Eisenreich, ca. 1937
11304-00208       Grades 7-8 with Ruth Schell, teacher, Butte (N.D.): Spencer Overholser, Helen Louise Kasper, Irene Skorick, Vivian Pfahl, Ella Kankovsky, Emma Pritel, Helen Jane Zorasenko, Emma Mae Zavalney, Irene Noomich, Annie Eisenreich, Evelyn Zavalney, Delphine Kasper, Rose Eisenrich, Roger Pfahl, Donald Pailing, Ralph Zavalney, Luke Nachatelo, Ralph Bighaus, and Alfred Lulka, ca. 1937
11304-00209 – 00210 High School students with teachers Ole Overbo and E. J. Albrecht, Butte (N.D.), ca. 1937
11304-00211       "Old Maid's Club" actors: Mavis Ward, Barbara Bauer, Mrs. Pfahl, Mabel Berg, Ruth Donahue, Cassie Stewart, Doris Field, Meil Heringer, Dorothy Huseby, Marlynn Scholstad, Virginia Norberg, Nick Orluck, Viola Covlin, Emma Efimenno, Mary Moseanko, Mrs. Lunas, Mrs. Gower, and Mrs. Donahue, 1937
11304-00212 – 00213 Emil Skorick family: Mr. and Mrs. Emil, Bill, Eugene, Irene, Lila, and Ralph, ca. 1937
11304-00214       Emil Skorick family: Mr. and Mrs. Emil, Bill, Eugene, Irene, Lila, Ralph and unidentified, ca. 1937
11304-00215 – 00216 "Grand Old Darling," junior play, actors: Ole Overbo, Director, Lloyd Navratil, Elvin Fedorenko, Russell Karpenko, Quentin Schwenke, Geo. Berg, Arlene Strika, Grace Wickam, Clara Pankow, Ruth Donahue, Mavis Ward, Butte (N.D.) , March 11, 1938
11304-00217       Klokono's Service Station, Butte (N.D.), August 1938
11304-00218       Schoolhouse, Butte (N.D.), August 2, 1938
11304-00219       Boys dumping garbage behind bank building and Ralph Rigge's Cream Station while S. Silverstein looks on, Butte (N.D.), August 1938
11304-00220       S. Silverstein outside bank building, Butte (N.D.), August 1938
11304-00221       S. Silverstein outside bank building  and Ralph Rigge's Cream Station, Butte (N.D.), August 1938
11304-00222       Employee inside Ralph Rigge's Cream Station, Butte (N.D.), August 1938
11304-00223       Roger Pfahl, Ralph Skovick and Clarke Shelton playing at W. P. A. playground, Butte (N.D.), ca. 1938
11304-00224       Arlowene Kocher, Ralph Skovick and Clarke Shelton playing at W. P. A. playground, Butte (N.D.), ca. 1938
11304-00225 – 00226 Primary room pupils with Emma Efimenko,teacher, Butte (N.D.), ca. 1938
11304-00227 – 00228 High School students, Butte (N.D.), ca. September 1938
11304-00229       Grades 7-8, Butte (N.D.): Spencer Overholser, Vivan Pfahl, Lucille Shevchenko, Emmae Zavalney, Kay Steward, Sylvia Berg, Helen Louise Kasper, Rose Eisenreich, Emma Pritel, Helen Jane Tarasenko, Roger Pfahl, Ralph Zavalney, Clarke Shelton, Ralph Skorick and Donald Pailing, ca. September 1938
11304-00230       Butte b-man football team: Albert Novak, Levern Pfahl, Bob Miller, Russel Karpenko, Walter Pfahl, coach J. Spencer Overholser, Joe Kasper, Virgil Novak, Clifford Slavsky, Walter Dolas and Ardell Pailing, 1938
11304-00231 – 00232 Standard Oil Kings, musicians, on stage. Includes Clarence Johncon, leader, with clarinet, Butte (N.D.), ca. 1938

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