Gordon Olson, former City Historian, did a fascinating program last night on his new book, A Michigan Polar Bear Confronts the Bolsheviks. The book is Godfrey Anderson’s memoir of his experience in north Russia in 1918. This is a little known chapter of World War I history. Godfrey Anderson returned to Grand Rapids after the war, married, raised a family and had a career in the furniture industry. After his retirement he wrote his memoir of his harrowing experience as a member of the American “Polar Bears” medical corps in Archangel, Russia.
Olson met Anderson shortly after he became Grand Rapids’ City Historian, and promised him that he would see that his memoir was published. Some 30 years later, Olson kept that promise. Olson included photos from the archives here at the Grand Rapids Rapids Public Library as well as photos from other sources, including the Library of Congress. William B. Eerdmans published the book.