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Collection 451 - Chester A. Bower Diary, 1915-1918

Creator: Bower, Chester A., 1892-1919

Provenance Note: An original diary kept by Chester A. Bowen of Ennis, Montana was loaned to Montana State University for photocopying and transcription by Chester B. Schendel, Three Forks, Montana on September 6, 1966. After duplication and transcription, the original was returned and its present location is unknown.

Historical Note: Chester A. Bower was born in 1892 on his family's farm in Madison County near Jeffers, Montana. He attended local schools and worked in a variety of agricultural jobs. An enthusiastic hunter and fisherman, Bower also filed for his own homestead claim before the outbreak of World War I. Bower was rejected by the U.S. Marines on his first attempt to enlist due to an undisclosed physical disability, but he was later accepted by the U.S. Army and placed into the 9th Hospital, Veterinary Corps, organized at Camp Lee, Virginia in 1918. Bower was then sent to France where he died of illness in March 1919.

Content Description Note: The Chester A. Bower diary is a photocopy of the original volume containing brief one or two sentence summaries of his daily life from January 1, 1915 until July 5, 1918 when he began his military service in Virginia. Activities such as hunting, fishing, irrigating, haying, livestock care, and wood cutting are recorded, along with social interactions with neighbors and cooperative work exchanges with them. Bower's entries include mention of his performance of household chores such as cooking and washing. Bower also records some local news and reactions to reports of the European war. A typed transcription of the diary, prepared by MSU library personnel, is also included.

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Updated: 10/10/11