The Evangelical Lutheran Churches annually hold a conference where many important figures within the Lutheran Churches across Kansas get together and discuss many issues. In 1918 a very important year in the war, this conference was held in Lindsborg, Kansas. Before this conference the church had heard many people saying that Lutherans do not support the war, so in this conference they decided to write an official letter to the President showing the support for the war. It was received by the President and they did get a response that was thankful for their showing of support and loyalty for the country.
By the time the United States actually entered the war, our allies were facing near starvation. One way that the folks back home could help contribute was by rationing. The less waste there was and the more food being eaten local, as opposed to imported, the more there was to send overseas.In the United States, food rationing during World War 1 became prevalent around the time the U.S Food Administration became established on August 10th of 1917.
Lindsborg is a small, Swedish town in central Kansas. The land was settled on in 1869 by Swedish immigrants, and became a city the following year. To this day, one-third of the townspeople are Swedish. Around the time of WW1, most of the city was still speaking Swedish as their first language, as the majority of the citizens were first- or second-generation Americans.
In an advertisement in the “Lindsborg News Record” I found that $10 in gold was being offered to the Lindsborg child who could grow the best garden from an anonymous donor. Food prices were becoming so high that average income families could barely afford to eat and the garden was a necessity for many families already. It was already suggested that families grow gardens in order to provide for themselves, but this new contest upped the ante.
Thomas E. Green was a professor at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas back in 1915. He was also elected Vice President of the Peace Society after returning from a trip around the world where he met with people of influence and discussed the conditions in Europe and how they threatened global peace. Green delivered an address on campus educating the public and students on what he believed were the four major causes of the first World War. The information he presented was primarily from personal investigations and observations he had made while traveling.
William Gabrielson grew up on a farm just east of Lindsborg. He joined the US Army on Sep. 5, 1918, and served with the Signal Corps until early 1919. Gabrielson never traveled overseas, making it only as far as Camp Meade in Maryland before the war ended.
An earlier post of mine showed an advertisement in the local Lindsborg newspaper for Lundquist Studio, which offered to take photographs of soldiers before they left home. At least one man took up the offer. The photograph below of Gabrielson was taken at the Albert N. Lundquist Studio located at 119 N. Main in Lindsborg.
Amidst the Draft Board tending to its business of selecting men to serve in the war, a local photographer offered to capture the image of them before they headed toward their uncertain future. This ad is from the Lindsborg News Record on August 3, 1917.
This blog entry is the first of many that will document the history of Lindsborg and Bethany College during World War I. The posts are part of a sophomore Honors class on World War I at Bethany College where students are researching the effects of the Great War on one community.