The Minnie Dole Collection at Denver Public Library
A complete listing of 18 boxes of papers from Charles Minot ("Minnie") Dole (1899-1976) will soon be accessible on the internet. The on-line Finding Aid will give researchers the capability of searching this great collection anytime, from anywhere!
The copious correspondence of Minnie Dole is preserved in this collection, showing how he formed the National Ski Patrol and the 10th Mountain Division and kept both operating when another, less-dedicated person would have given up. In some of the correspondence we learned of a little dispute about who had the original idea for each - Roland Palmedo or Dole. However, there is no doubt about whose persistence and hard work brought those ideas to fruition.
As the 10th Mountain Division was being formed in 1941-1942, the National Ski Patrol recruited soldiers. Many of the letters from soldiers, as well as their letters of recommendation, are in this collection and will be searchable by name. Also, Dole saved many of the press releases from the Fifth Army describing the actions of soldiers who received medals in the Italian Campaign. These materials will also be searchable by name.
After World War II, Dole continued corresponding with many 10th Mountain veterans. He also continued to try to persuade the U.S. Army to train soldiers in mountain and winter warfare, though with less success this time (there is correspondence about how useful the training would have been during the Korean War). Writing articles and giving speeches, Dole attended many 10th Mountain reunion activities, remaining close to many veterans until his death in 1976.
Dole also continued with his National Ski Patrol correspondence after WWII. When he was no longer as physically active as he had once been, Dole depended upon letters to promote and govern the organization. Minnie actively worked with many returning 10th veterans who joined the NSP and others who helped develop the ski industry in the United States.
I was struck by how easily Minnie made friends. He hated formality even if he had never met the person he was writing to and it only took a couple of letters before he was addressing the recipients with friendly nicknames.
Despite the incredible volume of letters he wrote over the decades, Minnie was in his own way deeply private. He could be intensely open about the matters at hand for the organizations, his own skiing and even his own health, but he rarely mentioned his family or his religion and scrupulously kept confidences for his friends. From this amazing collection of papers, I truly came to admire Minnie Dole.
Watch the Denver Public Library Website for this and other 10th Mountain Division collections to appear in the Western History Manuscript Catalog.
Ann Brown ~ Archivist
Denver Public Library
10 West 14th Avenue Parkway
Denver CO 80204