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SHSND Home > Archives > Archives Holdings > Archives & Manuscripts > Family/Local History > 11134
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Manuscripts by Subject - Family / Local History - #11134

Title: Menge and Anderson Family

Dates: 1905-2003             

Collection Number:  MSS 11134

Quantity: 1.5 feet

Abstract: This collection consists of the papers of Jean Anderson Graves, her mother Alma Menge) Anderson, and a manuscript by Christ Menge, Jean's grandfather. Alma (Menge) Anderson's records include her birth register (copies), diploma, transcript from the State Teacher's College, Valley City, legal documents, a telephone book, and funeral announcement. Christ Menge's manuscript, "My Story," delves into farming conditions in North Dakota from 1905-1910, Menge’s analysis of World War I and its effect on his local business, the Depression in the Midwest, and Menge’s personal history. Jean Anderson Graves' papers include scrapbooks that she compiled as a girl going to junior high school in Valley City, ca. 1940-1944, funeral program, notes, and family photographs.

Christ Menge (1872-1967) married Ida Hagenston (1878-1966) and had four children: Alma (1899-1972), Verna (1902-1961), Arnold Clifford (1903-1976) and Marjorie (1916-). Alma Menge married Anton Anderson (1892-1960) and they had three daughters: Jean (1931-2003), Shelby, and Patricia. Jean married Don Graves in 1952 and had four children: Eric, Kathy, Sheila and Gary. Christ Menge and his family lived in Bisbee, Mylo, Westhope, McVille, Valley City, and Fargo, where Christ farmed and managed hardware stores. Jean Anderson Graves moved from Alaska to North Dakota (Valley City and Fargo) as a girl in the early 1940s with her mother and sisters because of the militarization of Alaska. She completed Junior High in Valley City.

Provenance: Kathleen Wilson, daughter of Jean Anderson Graves, donated the papers to the State Historical Society of North Dakota on August 24, 2012. Emily E. Schultz processed the collection and created this inventory in August 2012.
Property Rights:  The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.
Copyrights: Copyrights to this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs. Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code or an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.                         
Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Citation:  Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.       

Transfer: No materials were transferred from this collection.


Christ Menge was born February 9, 1872. His family immigrated to America from Germany in 1878, farmed in Blomenthal Township and then in Red Wing, MN, until March of 1882, when Christ’s father filed for a homestead in Lockhart Township, MN. He was educated in Ada, MN, where he also farmed. He attended a St. Paul Park Business College for one term, then taught school for several years. He quit teaching and began farming on his own in 1896. Christ Menge married Ida Hagenston on November 13, 1897. They had three daughters and one son: Alma Florence (born August 17, 1899), Verna (born February 16, 1902), Arnold Clifford (born October 21, 1903) and Marjorie (born August 17, 1916). They sold the farm in 1901 and moved to Lockhart, where Christ took charge of the C. C. Allen & Company lumber yard and hardware store.

The family moved to Bisbee, ND, where Christ took care of the lumber yard for the St. Anthony Lumber Company. The family moved to Mylo, ND, where Christ started a hardware store with Charles Stenson. The partnership dissolved and Christ ran the store and farmed. He was active in the community of Mylo (and subsequent communities in which he lived): he was President (and Janitor) of the school board, Justice of Peace, Secretary of the local telephone company and manager of the Mylo Hall Company. He also held positions in the Woodman Lodge, conducted a Sunday School, and was bookkeeper for the Farmers’ Elevator Company.

The family stayed in Mylo until the spring of 1921. Christ bought a hardware store in Westhope, and the family lived there until March 1924. They moved the store and family to McVille and then to Finley in 1930. The family moved to Valley City briefly and then to Fargo, where Christ worked for Scheel’s Hardware from 1943 to 1949. Christ retired and he and Ida lived in McVille and Fargo until Ida’s death on June 30, 1966 and Christ’s death on November 10, 1967.

Source: “My Story” by Christ A. Menge. State Historical Society of North Dakota, State Archives MSS 11134.


Jean Anderson was born January 24, 1931, the daughter of Alma (Menge) and Anton Anderson. She grew up in Anchorage, AK, but moved to North Dakota in August, 1941, because of the dangers of increasing militarization of Alaska. Jean, her mother, and sisters Shelby and Patricia lived in Valley City and with her grandparents Christ and Ida in Fargo. Jean attended junior high in Fargo, and graduated from Queen Ann High School in Seattle. In 1952, Jean married Don Graves. The couple had four children: Eric, Kathy, Sheila and Gary, before divorcing in 1964. She graduated from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in 1953 with degrees in history and political science and elementary education.

“She was librarian for the Bellevue School District until 1978. She then returned to Alaska and took a position with the Iditarod School District in McGrath where she was responsible for setting up libraries in villages from the Arctic Slope to Bristol Bay. She retired to Anchorage in 1988 and began the Alaskan Yukon Library based in her home. It was dedicated to preserving books and other information concerning indigenous cultures of Alaska and the world. She traveled widely and had friends from many cultures… She served on the boards of Radio for Peace, UAF Alumni and the Bartlett Democratic Club, and was a member of the Unitarian Church” (from Graves’ obituary in the Anchorage Daily News, October 29, 2003).

Jean Kathleen Anderson Graves passed away on October 26, 2003 at Providence Horizon House in Anchorage, a service was at Anchorage Senior Center.

Source: Biographical/Autobiographical Sketch by Jean Anderson Graves and Sharon Bushell. State Historical Society of North Dakota, State Archives MSS 11134.


Box 1:
1 Alma Menge Anderson diploma, State Normal School, Valley City, May 22, 1942
Legal and real estate documents of Alma Anderson, 1946-1954
“My Story” by Christ A. Menge. 17 pages (missing page 4), written on December 10, 1953.  The reminiscence delves into farming conditions in North Dakota from 1905-1910, Menge’s analysis of World War I and its effect on his local business, the Depression in the Midwest, and Menge’s personal history.
Copy of Alma (Menge) Anderson’s transcript from the State Teacher’s College, Valley City, 1956
Certified copies of birth register, Alma Menge, 1961 (two)
Funeral announcement, Alma Anderson, February 16, 1972
Funeral program of Tracy J. Anderson (November 13, 1962-October 29, 1978)
Biographical/autobiographical sketch by Jean Anderson Graves (granddaughter of Christ and Ida Menge) and Sharon Bushell, intended for publication in the Alaska Daily News, August 2003
Miscellaneous notes, n.d.
2 Scrapbook of Jean Anderson, ages 9-11 while in school in Anchorage (AK), or Valley City (ND), 1940-1942. Documents her activities mostly with magazine clipping illustrations, writings, correspondence, printed material, a list of Christmas gifts, song lyrics, and post cards)
3 Scrapbook of Jean Anderson, ages 9-13, while in school in Anchorage, AK, Valley City, ND, and Bellingham, WA, ca. 1940-1944. Documents her activities with photographs, issues of the Junior Hi-Liner (Valley City Junior High), post cards, greeting cards, clippings, girl scout badges, and correspondence.
4 Telephone book/directory of Alma Menge Anderson, ca. 1964

Box 2:    Photographs
11134-01 Bird’s eye view of Mylo, ND, 1910
11134-02 Portrait of Christ A. Menge, probably 1905
11134-03 Photograph of two unidentified women, ca. 1970s

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