Letter from Charles James McLaren to Northern Pacific Railway Company (1936)

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Letter from Charles James McLaren to Northern Pacific Railway Company (1936)

Alternative Title

Letter from McLaren to Northern Pacific Railway Company (1936)


World War, 1914-1918



A letter of correspondence from Charles James McLern (1891-1988) to the Northern Pacific Railway Company in 1936. When he initially applied to work for the company, McLaren claimed he was two years older than he was in order to be eligible for an apprenticeship. However, in 1936, he wrote a letter admitting to his correct birth date in order to gain addition employment. His mother went before a public notary to verify his birth date.

Born on May 17, 1891, in Seattle, Washington, McLaren grew up in Minnesota before moving to Spokane, Washington, to work for the Northern Pacific Railway Company. He spent decades working for the company, eventually becoming a master mechanic. He enlisted in the United States Navy on May 27, 1918, serving as a Machinist’s Mate, First Class. He remained in the Navy until his discharge on September 30, 1921. After the war, he returned to work for the Northern Pacific Railway. He married the former Anne E. Thomas and fathered a daughter, Carol. He later returned to Washington State, living in both Seattle and Spokane during the 1940s and 1950s. Eventually McLaren and his wife moved to Brevard County, Florida. McLaren died on September 20, 1988, and is buried at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell.

In 2017, the University of Central Florida was one of three universities selected to launch the National Cemetery Administration’s Veterans Legacy Program Project. The program engaged a team of scholars to make the life stories of veterans buried in the Florida National Cemetery available to the public. The project engages UCF students in research and writing and fosters collaboration between students, faculty and local Central Florida schools to produce interactive curriculum for k-12 students. The corresponding website exhibit uses RICHES Mosaic Interface to create a digital archive of related data. The public can use the project-developed augmented-reality app at more than 100 gravesites at the Florida National Cemetery, where they can access the UCF student-authored biographies of veterans.


McLaren, Charles James


Digital reproduction of original 1-page typewritten letter from Charles James McLaren to Northern Pacific Railway Company, 1936.

Date Created

ca. 1936




791 KB


1-page typewritten letter






St. Paul, Minnesota

Accrual Method



History Teacher


Originally created by Charles James McLaren.

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Connolly, Lehman
Cravero, Geoffrey

External Reference

Abney, Barb. "VA Selects UCF Historians to Archive Stories of Deceased Veterans Veterans." UCF Today, March 13, 2017. Accessed August 9, 2017. https://today.ucf.edu/va-selects-ucf-historians-archive-stories-deceased-veterans/.