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Woolworth, Alan R.

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



Alan Woolworth was born on 19 August 1924 in Clear Lake, South Dakota. He attended local schools and graduated from high school in 1942. Alan entered military service in February 1943 at Ft. Snelling, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, completed Basic Training, and joined the artillery battery of the 6th Armored Division. In February 1944 this unit was sent to Europe to prepare for the upcoming invasion of France. When this unit did not participate in the D-Day invasion, but continued training in England, Alan transferred to the infantry, and became a member of a machine gun crew. In fall 1944 he was posted as a replacement to Co B, 314th Regiment, 79th Infantry Division. In November 1944 this unit was moved to France, and up to the line. By the end of the war in May 1945 Alan had seen action with this unit in western France, in Alsace-Lorraine; Belgium; the Netherlands; and western Germany. From May to August 1945 he served on occupation duty in western Czechoslovakia, near the city of Cheb, overseeing the movement out of the country of ethnic Germans. After some months of waiting, in November Alan was rotated back to the US and in December 1945 discharged with the rank of private first class. Alan returned home safely, but his twin brother had been killed in action in July 1944 while serving with the US Army in Italy. Again a civilian, Alan worked in his father’s construction business for a year, used GI Bill benefits to obtain his AB degree in History and Anthropology in 1950 from the University of Nebraska, and then completed an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota. Alan’s career included positions at the State Historical Society of North Dakota (1952-57); the Dearborn, Michigan, Historical Museum (1957-60); and the Minnesota Historical Society (1960-98). With the Minnesota Historical Society, Alan’s positions included museum curator (1960-1967), head of Museum and Historic Sites Department (1967-1968), and chief archaeologist (1969-1979).


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Alan Woolworth - Transcript.pdf (754 kB)
PDF Transcript of Interview with Alan Woolworth