Historians/Commanders, District 3,
Greetings Ladies & Gentlemen. I send this message to introduce myself. I am Al
Smith, Historian, Patrick Leo Hanlon Post 55 of Albion. I have been appointed as
District 3 Historian for 2022-2023.
I will make no grand claims to my knowledge or abilities as a historian but will say
I have been assisted by our past historians, our city historian, and the Albion
Historical Society (I am a sitting board member) as to how to best handle and
archive the vast records and memorabilia of Post 55.
I/we are being asked to compile the history of the 3rd District of The Department of
Michigan. At this point I do not know what exists in physical form and what is
merely anecdotal. I say I/we because I am going to need the help of each and every
one of you to pull it off.
I do look forward to visiting each post in the district to see what you may have and
to seek your knowledge in the best way to perform this job and to offer my
assistance in any way I can.
I can be reached by phone at 248-917-6527, email at email@example.com or on
Facebook at Al Smith. I can also be reached through the District Commander.
I am attempting to like and friend each post as I find them on FB so let me know if
you have a page.
Again, please contact me if you have any questions or suggestions. Like Red Green
says,” We’re all in this together.”
Historian, Patrick Leo Hanlon Post 55, American Legion
Historian District 3, Department of Michigan, American Legion
I’m the Post Historian. Now What?
Written by: Al Smith, 3rd District Historian
Like I have said before. I don’t really know much more about this than anyone else, but I know how to methodically think things through and act accordingly. That’s what I base this off of.
First things first. What do you have to work with? I have talked to some that are the first post Historian and really have nothing to work with. Ok. Start with today. Talk to each officer in the post, the Adjutant & Finance Officer should be first. Be sure you get a copy of the minutes from each meeting and financial reports if available. During your meetings (I am basing this off of our post meetings) the Commander might end the meeting by reading any correspondence he may have received or thank you notes from families your post may have touched. These are gold! Get them, date them and squirrel them away in your archives. Be sure you get either the original or a copy of every piece of paper that passes through your post. This is your history.
Pictures, pictures, pictures! Take as many pictures as you can of anything your post is involved with. With today’s phones this should be a no brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten so involved in what’s happening that I forget. Knowing that I do this is the first step to recovery. I now have at least two other members and members of our Auxiliary that back me up and email their pics to me. Download your pics to your laptop or desktop and build files for each event, these can be transferred to a disc for safe keeping.
Speaking of pictures. If you have attended District 3 meetings at Post 55 you may have noticed that I/we have been blessed with a very rich history of our post back to the beginning. The most frustrating part is to find a large box of misc. photographs dating from who knows when and showing who knows who doing who knows what at who knows which event. Seriously, if I weren’t already bald, I would be pulling my hair out. So, I am working with our local town historian, the local historical society and quite frankly any senior person I can find that may recognize someone in a photograph. Do what you gotta do.
For those that have nothing to start with, do the start today mentioned above. Second find out as much as you can about your posts’ namesake. Who was he/she, what was his/her life before during and after service? Build a story in words and pictures and put it into a nice presentation. Third, talk to your longest serving members. Get their stories from days gone by at your post, see if they may have any pictures at home. Talk to past members, they may have some knowledge to impart. From there it’s on to your city library and (if available) local history room. Seek out your city historian, they can be a wealth of information. Do you have a city or village newspaper? Bingo! They will usually have an archive of everything they every published and are usually very helpful in plowing through all of the past editions. Lastly, just talk to the people of the town. You can find out a lot and just might make a few friends along the way.
These are a few of my ideas. Like I said, I don’t know it all. If you have any suggestions to share, PLEASE, contact me or write it down and send it to the District 3 Commander and she can add it here. This Historians Locker is for all Historians to add to not just me.
My contact is cell – 248-917-6527 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your time and thank you for your service.