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State Historical Society of Iowa

Language Proclamation Correspondence #2, June 3, 1918

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A letter from Maurice Colbert, mayor of Danbury, Iowa, to Gov. Harding asking for advice in implementing Babel Proclamation.
Courtesy of State Historical Society of Iowa, "Letter from Mayor Maurice W. Colbert C.A. to Iowa Governor W.L. Harding," 3 June 1918


This is a 1918 letter from Maurice W. Colbert, mayor of Danbury, Iowa, which is located on the western border of the state. Colbert is asking Iowa Governor William Harding for advice in implementing the Babel Proclamation, which was a language proclamation during World War I. 

Transcript of Language Proclamation Correspondence #2

Source-Dependent Questions

  • What do you feel would motivate the mayor to ask for guidance instead of just acting on his ideas? What does this communicate about the culture of the country at this time? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
  • According to the text, what actions are being asked of “ordinary” citizens during this time? How would having citizens engage in these actions affect interactions among neighbors?