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Fred and Emma (Sittner) Nelson Collection—World War II Correspondence

 Unprocessed Material — Multiple Containers
Identifier: H2019-075

Content Description

The collection consists of letters sent between Fred Nelson and Emma Sittner during Fred’s service in World War II. The collection is unique as it includes the letters not only sent by Fred, but also those written and sent by Emma. The letters date from 1942 to 1945. The main body of letters begin in 1942 during the winter months leading up to Fred’s enlistment in the US Army and continues through his basic training at Camp Polk, Louisiana, in the Mohave Desert in California, and on to Fort Benning, Georgia. Fred and Emma were married on Christmas Day, 1943. The marriage took place in Lemmon (S.D.). The letters follow Fred to Camp Shanks in New York and his trips to New York City to visit his sister Clara. The letters continue from England and the invasion of France and 2,260 miles of combat in the European Theater through France, Holland, Belgium and into Germany, concluding with Fred’s discharge in August of 1945 following the defeat of the Germans. These letters written during the War years present a day by day description of the activities and training of the men of the 7th Armored Division who later defeated the Nazi Army on the Western Front. They also give insight into Emma’s life as a country schoolteacher at the Comstock School south of Thunder Hawk in northwestern South Dakota. The letters illustrate how religious these two were, Fred a Lutheran and Emma a member of the Pentecostal Church of God in Lemmon. Their son Jim Nelson had the letters transcribed in 2012. An introduction to the letters, written by Jim Nelson, was also included with the letter transcripts. Within the transcripts are notes made by Jim concerning various events or individuals of which he was aware. The collection also includes an audio tape from Fred Nelson’s funeral in 1990, transcripts of other Nelson family letters and scans of Nelson family Naturalization records from the National Archives.

Acquisition Type


Restrictions Apply



  • 1942-1945
  • 1990
  • 2012



1.75 Cubic Feet

749 Megabytes