Category World War I

Bethel yearbook dedicated to the memory of Olivia Johnson

The “Spanish Flu”

One of the more curious sections of Windows of Memory, the 1961 memoir by Henry Wingblade (Bethel president from 1941-1954, after having taught at the Academy and Junior College for many years), is his chapter on Bethel and world missions (no. 25). Instead of simply telling the stories of five Bethel alumni who entered the missions field, […]

The Bethel Academy Class of 1917

“Are You Loyal?”: Bethel as an Immigrant School in 1917-18

Because of their widespread pro-German sentiments at the beginning of the European conflict and outspoken support for American neutrality, up to April 1917, the Swedes and other Scandinavians in the United States faced a highly uncomfortable situation, causing many to overreact—or to keep quiet. – H. Arnold Barton, A Folk Divided, p. 248 Both responses — overreact […]

Charles Lindbergh, Sr. and Charles Lindbergh, Jr. in 1917

“A Folk Divided”: Swedish-Americans and WWI

The Swedes have always been considered desirable additions to American citizenry, perhaps for the reason that they leave a less noticeable trace in the fabric of our society than any other non-English-speaking stock. Their spirit, if not their costume and language, is American before they bid farewell to their friends at home. While their love […]

Detail of a map of where Bethel Academy graduates (1909-1919) were born

Where Did Early 20th Century Bethel Students Come From?

Next week I’ll have lots more to say about how the people of Bethel and other Swedish-Americans experienced World War I, in light of the “100 percent American” nativism of that time. But while I was working on those posts, it occurred me that I could pretty easily visualize just how much of an immigrant […]

"Remember! The flag of liberty" - 1918 propaganda aimed at recent immigrants

“100 Percentism”: Nativism in WWI America

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism…. The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or […]

Cover of Persevere, Lasare, Clarion

Silence in History: Bethel’s War Historiography?

I’ve spent much of the day writing the first of a three part series on the Baptist General Conference’s response to the Vietnam War. Before the first part of that series debuts on the blog sometime this weekend, I wanted to pause and reflect on something Chris and I noticed at the outset of this […]

Gavrilo Princip captured, moments after shooting Franz and Sophie Ferdinand

Two Shots

When this post goes live, it will have been exactly one hundred years since Gavrilo Princip fired two shots into a 1911 model Gräf & Stift touring car, killing Archduke and heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie. Princip, who was not quite a month shy of his twenty-first birthday at […]

Photo of the Bethel Academy Commercial Class of 1918

Prophecies from 1918

A regular feature in early Bethel yearbooks is the “Class Prophecy,” a lighthearted look into the future of graduates. For the 1918 issue, the prophecy for the Commercial Department (the section of Bethel Academy that trained young people for clerical work with courses in bookkeeping, typing, and shorthand) looked mere months into the future to […]

Calvin College student in military uniform, 1918

War and Americanization at Immigrant Schools: Bethel and Calvin

Not long after the United States entered the First World War, Bethel Academy graduated its class of 1917, fifteen strong. It had been sixty-five years since Swedish Baptist immigrants founded their first American congregation, yet still one in three of the school’s graduates were natives of Sweden or Norway, and almost all the rest had Scandinavian surnames. That last […]

Gateway from the old Memorial Stadium, now part of the McNamara Alumni Center

A Bethel War Memorial?

In the last two years I’ve developed an interest in the history of war commemoration, writing about it from time to time at my personal blog and even keeping — very irregularly — a photoblog on the subject. So as I’ve started to research how Bethel and other colleges and universities here in the Twin Cities experienced […]