Online repository offers treasure trove of local history

It was the day that forever would “live in infamy.” On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, killing 2,403 U.S. personnel, including 68 civilians, and destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Navy ships, including eight battleships.
This week, we take a look back at the front page of The Progress Review on December 11, 1941, and with it, the proclamation made by then Iowa Governor George A. Wilson.
Consider the words of Professor Penelope J. Corfield: “Communities speak languages that are inherited from the past. They live in societies with complex cultures, traditions and religions that have not been created on the spur of the moment. People use technologies that they have not themselves invented. So understanding the linkages between past and present is absolutely basic for a good understanding of the condition of being human. That, in a nutshell, is why History matters. It is not just ‘useful’, it is essential.”
Want to learn more about La Porte City’s history? Back issues from 1930-1969 of The Progress Review are now available online, courtesy of Hawkins Memorial Library, The Progress Review and a number of generous local donors. Explore La Porte City’s past by logging on to or


State of Iowa Executive Department
The United States of America is at war. Hostilities have been commenced in the Pacific ocean and this fact dwarfs all that has previously happened.
Our sovereignty has been challenged and our national integrity violated by armed assault upon our ships and harbors at the command of aggressors, who would enslave those who uphold liberty and preserve peace. It is with deep sorrow and righteous indignation that we recognize the plot to dethrone law and reason by turning civilization back many centuries and destroying the fruits of the toil and suffering by which the spiritual growth of mankind has been accomplished.
The impact of actual war, secretly planned and cowardly directed, imposes upon everyone who believes in government by the people the duty, regardless of any and all differences, to join in all out defense of our State and our Nation, and all that they mean to us and to freedom loving people everywhere.
It is highly gratifying that the vote of our Iowa members of Congress, in both branches, was unanimously for pledging all our strength and devoting all our resources to meet the challenge and to carry on to complete victory.
The most favorable position of Iowa near the heart of the continent and endowed with geographic, physical, social, economic and spiritual advantages, enables us to face the crisis with calm and deliberate judgment; and because of this fact we are in duty bound to dedicate ourselves and all that we possess to that which is today the common cause of every loyal American.
We offer without reservation the vast resources of our soil and climate and the output of our industrial equipment, the genius and capacity of our men of business and the professions, the skill and tireless zeal of our manpower, the kindly sympathy and willing hands of our women, our ability to produce abundantly the food and fuel and fibre to maintain leadership in all things, and the willingness to make whatever sacrifices that may be necessary. On this occasion, as on every other of national danger, Iowa is ready.
To the end that people generally shall have opportunity to personally manifest their loyalty and to renew their pledge to uphold the right of self government, I, Geo. A. Wilson, Governor, do hereby designate and proclaim IOWA DEFENSE DAY, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1941.
I feel free to ask and to urge that on that day, or as soon thereafter as may be convenient, the people meet in arranged programs, in churches, public halls, schools or elsewhere, to freely consider what is the duty of each and every one, to refresh patriotism and fit it to the needs of the present world crisis, and to make plans in whatever way may seem best for doing our part under the leadership of the commander-in-chief of our army and navy in resistance to the evil forces that are seeking to destroy our great republic.
In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Iowa. Done at Des Moines, this 8th day of December, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and Forty-One, of the State of Iowa the Ninety-Fifth, and of the Independence of the United States the One Hundred and Sixty-Sixth.
(SEAL) Governor.