Minnesota Moment: Letters depict lives of Minnesota couple separated during WWII

Updated: February 14, 2020 11:34 AM

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that the letters will not be on display for the public, but rather for research purposes.

A wartime love story for the ages is coming soon to the Minnesota Historical Society.


Letters provided to the MHS give a glimpse into the lives of Robert and Marion Thorstensen during World War II. The couple wrote each other nearly every day while they were separated during the conflict.

Robert wrote about his experiences in the Navy while he was stationed in California and the Pacific, and Marion wrote about life back in Minnesota.

Kate Hujda with the MHS says the letters are a window into the couple's relationship, as well as daily life during the war.

"She reports back on their daughter, their aging parents, arts and cultural events in the Twin Cities. They talk about books that they're reading. And so you really get a sense of what life was like in Minnesota in 1943," Hujda said.

Robert and Marion were married for 65 years before he passed away in 2008. Marion died six years later.

The letters will be available to researchers in the Minnesota Historical Society's Gale Family Library in a few months. Researchers can request the material to look at from storage. 

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