MS – 153: The Fritz Draper Hurd ’16 Papers

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(7 boxes, 4 cubic feet)

Processed by: Amy Lucadamo, Archivist, October 2013 Danielle Jones ’18, Fortenbaugh Intern, April 2017

Inclusive Dates: 1912-1970s

Bulk Dates: 1917-1920


Gifts of Dr. Richard A. Hurd, son of F.D. Hurd, 2012-2016.


Fritz Draper Hurd was born August 6, 1894 in Clear Springs, Maryland. At age six, he and his family moved to Williamsport, Maryland, where he lived until college. Hurd attended high school until his sophomore year when he dropped out to work in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. After a few months, he decided to go back to school.. He attended Valpariso University in Indiana from 1910 to 1912.

In 1912, Hurd returned to home and enrolled in Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He played club football and baseball and pledged the Theta Chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity his sophomore year.  Hurd describes his junior year at Gettysburg as completely uneventful; however, during that year, he and two friends did try to fire a cannon on Seminary Ridge, the monument to the Battle of Gettysburg exploded in the process.  Hurd, who had chosen to watch the firing from afar, did not get into trouble, unlike his friends. In 1916 Hurd was supposed to be one of the Commencement speakers but was expelled by the Dean of the College the morning of graduation for stealing furniture off the porches of local Gettysburgians and then throwing it out the windows of his dorm room in South Hall (now McKnight Hall.) Hurd would receive his diploma in December of 1916 after petitioning the faculty for intervention.  After receiving word of his son’s expulsion, Hurd’s father kicked him out of the house.

Hurd traveled to Philadelphia, where he got a job at the Remington Arms Company. He started out in the body shop and was moved to a clerking position for the superintendent within the year.

Hurd had attempted to get into the Red Cross Ambulance Corps before the United Stated entered World War I, but did not have sufficient funds to do so.  After the United States declared war on April 6th, 1917, Hurd enlisted as a private in the Medical Reserve Corps of the U.S. Army.  He received his orders for deployment May 15th, and headed to France on May 19th, first landing in England, for two weeks of training.  After training, they were stationed at La Treport, near Rouen, at Base Hospital 10.  Hurd was originally assigned to the penetrating chest wound ward, and then transferred to the amputation ward.

By the end of 1917, Hurd sought a transfer in order to be involved in the fighting.  He attended the Saumur Artillery School of Instruction, and received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery, American Expeditionary Force on July 10th, 1918. He joined the 103rd Field Artillery, 26th Division, then stationed near Chateau-Thierry. His unit was involved in fighting at Champagne Marne, Aisne Marne, St. Mihiel, and Meuse Argonne. In November 1918 he was hospitalized for chlorine gas exposure. His duties included running communications wires from trench to trench as well as organizing recreational sports for men behind the lines.

After returning home in 1919, Hurd spent a few months in Williamsport before deciding to go to medical school. Hurd applied and was accepted to Harvard Medical School and in 1921 traveled to Boston. After suffering from medical issues, Hurd dropped out and transferred to the University of Minnesota Medical School. Hurd did his medical residency at the University Hospital, and graduated December of 1924. His first job was at the Rood Hospital in Hibbing, Minnesota. In the fall of 1924 Hurd moved to the hospital in New Ulm, Minnesota until 1925 when he moved to Tolley, North Dakota to become the local doctor. He was married to Genevieve Bernett in 1927, and in addition to raising a family, was elected to the school board, assisted with town improvements, and in 1935, was elected to the North Dakota House of Representatives, and served a session in January and February in Bismarck. 

After serving as a state representative, Hurd traveled back to the University of Minnesota for an Ear, Nose, and Throat fellowship, which lasted from November 1935 to May, 1939. Upon completion, he moved to Great Falls, North Dakota and went into private practice. During this time, he was involved in the local Boy Scouts, became Grand Praetor of what is now the Big Sky Province for Sigma Chi Fraternity, and served as a member of the Great Falls Receiving Home, a temporary shelter for children removed from their homes. Hurd eventually passed away in Great Falls in 1981.

Scope and Content Notes

 This collection consists primarily of materials produced by F.D. Hurd himself. The collection includes a memoir draft, photographs of his college experiences, diaries from his college and war time, and various artifacts and memorabilia from Hurd’s time in the military. The collection focuses heavily on Hurd’s college activities and his war service. While the collection does not provide much official information on Hurd’s military service and Gettysburg College experience, it does contain extensive anecdotal information from Hurd’s diaries and remembrances, dictated to his son in the 1970s.  There is also a significant amount of information about his time in medical school.

Series Description

This collection is divided into three Series.  Series 1: Memoir, including various copies;  Series 2: College Life, including photographs, notebooks, daily diaries for 1913, 1914 and parts of 1916, diplomas, and alumni correspondence; Series 3: World War I, including photographs, documents, artifacts, and a daily diary 1916-1920.

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