What do you do when you find an old St. Christopher medal mounted on a plaque reading “Presented by the City of Santa Clara” in a box of WWII momentos? A resourceful woman from Oregon in this situation contacted local history librarian Mary Hanel. Mary and volunteer Josie LeRoy did some research on St. Christopher’s medals in WWII and discovered that not only did men wear them on chains, but chambers of commerce often supplied them for military vehicles, such as tanks. Josie was able to search through digitized copies of Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce scrapbooks, finding a mention of two articles about the donation of the St. Christopher medal to a unit from Camp Beale. (Ironically, the scrapbooks were digitized with funding by the Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends several years ago.)
Using a new digital microfilm scanner, funded by both the Foundation & Friends and the Genealogy Society, Mary was able to pull the old articles from the San Jose Mercury Herald on microfilm, crop them and email them to the Oregon woman all in one step. The woman was so excited to learn more about her father’s past. Thank you to Mary and Josie for solving the mystery and sharing the story with us!