Harriet Mills McKay was born on November 6, 1896. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Mills. She graduated from Park River High School and later from the University of North Dakota in 1920 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Harriet married Douglas McKay soon after her graduation. Harriet died on August 13, 1949, and is buried in San Francisco. Harriet won national recognition for her poetry and at the time of her death her poems were in high demand by magazines with a national circulation.
Douglas McKay was born on August 21, 1894, in St. Thomas, North Dakota. He graduated from UND in 1917 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He was inducted to the military on September 19, 1917, and was discharged February 2, 1919, as a 2nd Lieutenant. In 1937 he and his family (wife Harriet and children Mary and Robert) moved to the Philippines and he became the manager-director of a gold mine. They fled at the outbreak of WWII and went into hiding with guerillas in the jungle for nearly two years, returning to the U.S. in 1944. In 1947 they returned to the Philippines but were forced to once again return to the U.S. in 1948 due to poor health. Douglas died on May 28, 1949, and is also buried in San Francisco.
Olive Mills, Harriet’s older sister, graduated from UND in 1917 with a Bachelor of Arts in teaching. She taught in Wisconsin and Washington. In 1928 she married F. G. Dawson, a prominent business man, who died young. After the death of her husband she remarried to Dr. G. G. Moe and they lived in Vancouver. She died in 1986.
Donation; Acc.# 2005-2730
The Harriet Mills McKay and Douglas McKay Papers date from 1911-1981. It consists of four folders. The first folder consists of UND documents containing Douglas McKay’s membership certificate in Sigma Chi, pages and photocopies from The Dacotah with pictures of Harriet McKay and information about the UND football team, as well as photocopies from The Alumni Review with information about the lives of Harriet and Douglas McKay, as well as Olive Mills Moe. The second folder consists of the program from Douglas McKay’s High School Graduation as well as several programs from UND events ranging from school dances to graduations. The third folder consists of photocopies from The Grand Forks Herald, with updates on Harriet McKay’s life, and Walsh Heritage with a summary of the McKay family, as well as printouts from Ancestry.com containing Douglas McKay’s military record and Harriet McKay’s entry in the California Death Index. The final folder contains four photographs of Harriet McKay’s UND drama career.
Also separated was one oversized folder containing articles from The Grand Forks Herald, The Industrial Collegian, The Student, The Fargo Daily Courier-News, and The St. Paul Pioneer Press. These articles relate to the UND football team on which Douglas participated. The oversize folder was placed in the Oversize File Cabinet.