State Historic Site
BORN IN SHERIDAN in 1898, Donovan Frederick "Don" Hurd was the son of a printer and a doctor (his mother - Anna Glenn Hurd - was a physician who once operated a live-in women's clinic at the family home on West Kilbourne in Sheridan).
Donovan went into his father's line of work: he was employed as a pressman at The Sheridan Enterprise in 1916, and later worked as a newspaper printer in Sacramento and Oakland, California. He capped his career by serving as secretary-treasurer of the International Typographer's Union, a position he held until his death in 1959.
In September 1918, twenty year old Donovan was one of fifteen local enlistees selected by the army for special training. As a member of the Student Army Training Corps, he was sent to Colorado College in Colorado Springs where he entered radio operator school. The following letter to Sheridan Enterprise employees was sent from Colorado Springs on September 29, 1918.
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I supposed you think I am never going to write, but I really haven't had the time. This is sure a roller skating job - on the go all the time. We are learning to be radio operators. That means more than you might think. We have to be electricians, both senders and receivers in two different codes; mathematician, semaphore and wigwag signalmen; trained to drill and a few more things, all in two months and will not be out of quarantine for at least one week and maybe two. There is some talk of a two-weeks' furlough when we get through here, but I don't know whether it is true or not.
Tell everyone "hello" for me because I haven't time to write to very many. Things are not so bad here as they might be at that, but we won't get rich here very soon. I am enclosing my address and would sure like to hear from you fellows if you care to write.
I am getting along fine and have been put in an advanced class with the former electricians and telegraph operators, and I never knew a thing about either before I got here, so I am doing good. Some of the men from here will go to big eastern colleges and some to officers' training camps; some will be put in wireless stations immediately after leaving here, and some of the brainless wonders will go to regular training camps such as Camp Lewis. I don't suppose I will get to Yale or Harvard for more intensive training, but if I don't, I will most probably get to go to officers' training camp. That will be about as good. The chances are that it will be something pretty good if I can keep up with the advanced class.