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Roseville police found a box with letters from WWII. Now they’re looking for the owner

The family seems to have had roots in Yreka as well as locations in Oregon and Washington.
The family seems to have had roots in Yreka as well as locations in Oregon and Washington. Roseville Police Dept.

Roseville police are looking for the owner of a vintage box containing a trove of family letters, photos and birth announcements that was discovered by a city worker while cleaning a homeless encampment.

The ivory-colored box contains about 30 letters dating from the 1920s to the 1970s, said Roseville Police Department Spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther. “There are a bunch of letters from (World War II), including days before and after Pearl Harbor.”

An officer at the Roseville Police Department looked up Dr. Alstrup Nordahl, James Baldwin Johnson and Hilda Johnson, the names found in the letters, but was unable to find a living relative, Gunther said. The officer did learn, however, that many of the names are connected to cities along the West Coast such as Yreka, Roseburg, Ore., and Kelso and Longview, Wash. The letters also show that a few of the family members were doctors and a nurse.

The box was found at the camp clean and dry, with the letters in excellent condition, Gunther said. “It’s hard to believe someone would just leave it behind.”

The Roseville Police Department is spreading the word through social media in the hopes of returning the box to a relative of the Nordahl and Johnson families, Gunther said. The box has also been posted in the police bulletin in case it was taken in a burglary.

Molly Sullivan: 916-321-1176, @SullivanMollyM

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