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Fargo-Moorhead Life in Wartime


War weary Americans in the 1940s here in the heartland were like the rest of the nation in the habit of following not only the WWII overseas battles, but also local entertainment and events of civic pride.  For example, this week in 1942, the Fargo Forum told of Japan being bombed, the beginning of a massive air offensive, but it also told of Fargo Mayor Fred Olsen announcing the annual clean-up campaign sponsored by the Fargo Junior League Chamber of Commerce.  The mayor said, “In this worthy movement of cleaning, painting, planting, repairing, and general rehabilitation and rejuvenation, I urge every citizen to do his or her best to make our community clean, healthy, thrifty, safe and beautiful!” 

The Stars and Stripes newspaper, first published in World War I, was written for GIs away from home. It was this week that the popular and famous Stars and Stripes was printed again for 1942 service personnel. The new Stars and Stripes was designed with more information, news stories and photographs, with continued words of support for military service personnel.  

The paper also recognized the birthday of William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, with events at 

Concordia College and the North Dakota Agricultural College – the NDAC. Concordia presented Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors with keen interest on the clothing of the Elizabethan Age. Great attempts were made to represent the patterns and weapons of the 1592 play.


At the NDAC, the creator of the Little County Theatre, Alfred Arvold, devised a theatric birthday tribute to the Bard, held in the original theatre of the Old Main building. Arvold’s birthday bash for Shakespeare included short stories about the world’s best-known playwright. Additionally, a troupe of student thespians performed “Queen Victoria” a story told in seven-scenes.

From the theatre of war to the theatre of the stage, this date is part of our rugged and fascinating history.

Dakota Datebook written by Steve Stark

Source: Fargo Forum newspaper, April 18, 1942

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