Soldiers Wartime Letters Donated

Minot, ND - The letters are addressed to women in Napoleon and Hebron, North Dakota.
They were written by a soldier fighting in World War One in France.

Lester Hartnett wrote to his sisters back in North Dakota, almost 100 years ago, describing his war experiences.

Today, Minot State University's Harnett Hall bears his name.
It was christened in his and his wife's honor in the 1970s, recognizing their 30-plus years of teaching at MSU.

Now, his grand-niece has donated the Hartnett war letters to the university.

(Mary Murphy, Grand Niece of Lester Hartnett) "He talked about the bugs and the mud and the people dying around him and he talked about the fact that they didn't know where they were going to be tomorrow, were they going to be here or injured. So it was fascinating to get the view not from a history book written 20 or 30 or 50 years later but someone who was actually in the mud, in the trenches and lived it."

MSU officials say they're glad to have the letters - especially since the 100th anniversary of America's involvement in World War One is upon us.

(Dr. Joseph Jastrzembski, MSU History Professor) "These letters give us a real glimpse at what war meant at a very human level and what missing a loved on meant at a very human level also and so that's why I think these letters are really important."

The letters will be preserved by the university, and converted to digital images.

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