During the last years of the great war, the Lindsborg Record began to feature letters from “Over There.” These letters were sent to the newspaper from the families that received them and a were featured in their own section of the paper almost every in the last few months of 1918.  The image featured above is an excerpt from one of these such letters (this one in particular, is from Walter K. Hawkinson and is found in the August 16th, 1918 edition). From this letter, as well as a few others, there is evidence of letter censorship.  The censorship of letters in World War One and even later can be used to both maintain morale and also to limit details that could be useful to the enemy.

In the letter in the above image, the use of the Swedish language has evidently been deemed unreasonable. The people of Lindsborg at the time of WW1 were almost 78% Swedish, coming either directly from Sweden or having been born with at least one Swedish parent. Some of the Lindsborg soldiers going off to war at this time could have very possibly still been speaking Swedish as their main language. In time of war, foreign languages may have as well been deemed secret code by the officers censoring letters. Given that WW1 can be researched through letters such as these, this censorship could at least have a small impact on just how much could have been learned about what was going on during the war at this time.

Sophomore Instrumental Music Education Major/Honors Student at Bethany College