This collection includes a photocopied diary written by Wilhelm Julius Grahn from 1870-1873, a partial translation of the diary, and a biographical sketch about Grahn written by his granddaughter in 1965.
Wilhelm Julius Grahn was born November 15, 1840, in Schloppe, West Prussia, and immigrated to the United States in 1869. The biographical sketch locates Schloppe in the State of Bohemia, Austria. His trip to America took four months due to stormy weather, which he mentions in the first pages of his diary. He arrived in New York, and soon moved to Wisconsin where he enlisted in military service in 1871. During his five years of military service, he was sent to Newport, Rhode Island, to Camp Douglas in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Mississippi, and to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On July 4, 1879, he married Caroline Freimuth Trimpe and the couple moved onto 80 acres of prairie land in Clay County, Illinois.
The collection consists of a photocopied diary, a partial translation of the diary, and a biographical sketch. The diary was written by Wilhelm Julius Grahn from 1870-1873, during the first three years of his military service. In his diary, Grahn recounted his everyday life, with an emphasis on reading scripture, prayer, his faith, and thankfulness to God. He also described camp life, problems with Native Americans leaving their reservations, and the garden he and other soldiers maintained at Camp Douglas. The translation of this diary is partial, with most, but not all, lines of the diary being translated. The biographical sketch of Grahn was recounted by his daughter Lena Prahl and written by his granddaughter Erma Koehn in 1965.
Erma Koehn, of Mansfield, Illinois, donated these items to the Illinois Historical Survey, predecessor to the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, in 1967.