University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The items in the Digital Collections of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library contain materials which represent or depict sensitive topics or were written from perspectives using outdated or biased language. The Library condemns discrimination and hatred on any grounds. As a research library that supports the mission and values of this land grant institution, it is incumbent upon the University Library to preserve, describe, and provide access to materials to accurately document our past, support learning about it, and effect change in the present. In accordance with the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement, we do not censor our materials or prevent patrons from accessing them.

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Wilhelm Julius Grahn Diary and Note (Digitized Content)

The digitized content of the Wilhelm Julius Grahn Diary and Note consists of a photocopied diary written by Grahn from 1870-1873, a partial translation of the diary, and a biographical sketch about Grahn written in 1965.

Wilhelm Julius Grahn (1840-1930) immigrated to the United States in 1869 from German-speaking central Europe. He arrived in New York, and soon moved to Wisconsin where he enlisted in five years of military service in 1871. He was sent to Newport, Rhode Island, to Camp Douglas in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Mississippi, and to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1879, he married Caroline Freimuth Trimpe and the couple moved onto 80 acres of prairie land in Clay County, Illinois.

The digitized content contains a photocopied diary, a partial translation of the diary, and a biographical sketch. The diary was written by Wilhelm Julius Grahn from 1870-1873. In his writing, there is an emphasis on his faith in God through reading scripture, especially the New Testament, and singing hymns. He also describes camp life, problems with Native Americans leaving their reservations, and the garden he and other soldiers maintained at Camp Douglas. The biographical sketch was written in 1965.

The Illinois History and Lincoln Collections unit at the University of Illinois Library manages the physical items of the Wilhelm Julius Grahn Diary and Note (MS 658). The collection was completely digitized in 2019. For more information, contact an archivist at