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Mni Sota Makoce Wins 2014 Hognander Award

Posted byAlison Aten on 07 Mar 2014 | Tagged as: Authors, Awards, MHS Author in the News, MHS press, Native American

Gwen Westerman and Bruce White (courtsey of The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library)

Photo credit: Laura Truett, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

We are delighted to announce that Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota by Gwen Westerman and Bruce White is the winner of the 2014 Hognander Minnesota History Award.

The Hognander Minnesota History Award recognizes the most outstanding scholarly work related to Minnesota history published during the preceding two years. The award, funded by the Hognander Family Foundation, is presented every two years.

This award stems from the Hognander family’s belief in the importance of studying and preserving history. As Joe Hognander notes, “We established this award because of our relationship with the Minnesota Historical Society. Its commitment to excellence is noteworthy in promoting scholarly research and writing. We hope this award will inspire more activity by recognizing and rewarding the finest work in the field.”

Much of the focus on the Dakota people in Minnesota rests on the tragic events of the 1862 U.S.–Dakota War and the resulting exile that sent the majority of the Dakota to prisons and reservations beyond the state’s boundaries. But the true depth of the devastation of removal cannot be understood without a closer examination of the history of the Dakota people and their deep cultural connection to the land that is Minnesota. Drawing on oral history interviews, archival work, and painstaking comparisons of Dakota, French, and English sources, Mni Sota Makoce tells the detailed history of the Dakota people in their traditional homelands for at least hundreds of years prior to exile.

Published by Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2012, the book went on to win the 2013 Minnesota Book Award in the Minnesota category last year.

Westerman and White will be honored for their latest achievement at the upcoming Book Awards Gala on April 5 at the Saint Paul Union Depot. Gwen Westerman is professor of English and Humanities at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Bruce White is author of We Are at Home: Pictures of the Ojibwe People.

Love at the Soda Shop

Posted byAlison Aten on 05 Feb 2014 | Tagged as: Authors, Awards, Cooking, History

The Soda Fountain, February 1921Soda Shop SalvationWhen Prohibition shuttered saloons, thirsty law-abiding citizens turned to soda fountains for sustenance and entertainment. Parlor owners developed concoctions to suit every taste—and to keep their counters and tables full.

Soda Shop Salvation: Recipes and Stories from the Sweeter Side of Prohibition (a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award) gives readers a taste of this turbulent time, and a few recipes for romance.

Excerpt from Soda Shop Salvation:

Love at the Soda Shop

“The soda fountain often plays an important part in fanning the flame of love . . . Many fountain owners are finding there is a great demand for drinks with names like kiss me again, some day, soul kiss, lover’s delight [. . .] what better could quicken a bashful lover than to have his coy companion say I would like a soul kiss wouldn’t you, John?” —The Soda Fountain, December 1921

Cupid Delight Sundae

1 (1/2-inch) slice vanilla ice cream
3 tablespoons crushed pineapple
3 cubes canned or fresh pineapple
4 maraschino cherries
3 tablespoons crushed strawberries
2 Thin Walnut Wafers (see book for recipe)

Cut the ice cream in half across the long edge and place the two slices side by side on a plate. Pour the crushed pineapple over one slice and top with the pineapple cubes arranged in a circle with 1 cherry in the center. Pour the strawberries over the other ice cream slice and arrange the remaining 3 cherries in a circle on top of it. Put the wafers on the side and serve with two spoons.

Cupid’s Garden

1 large scoop vanilla ice cream
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) strawberry syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon heart-shaped candies

Put the ice cream in a sundae dish and pour the syrup over the top. Sprinkle with the cinnamon candies.

Have-a-Date Sundae

1 large scoop maple nut ice cream
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Hot Chocolate Fudge Sundae Sauce
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
whipped cream for topping
walnut-stuffed date for garnish

Put the ice cream in a sundae dish. Drizzle with the chocolate sauce and sprinkle with coconut. Top with whipped cream and garnish with the stuffed date.

“In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, while the young woman’s fancy yearningly turns to ice cream sodas. Better cater to her fancy.” —The Soda Fountain, March 1921

Spring 2014 Titles

Posted byAlison Aten on 10 Jan 2014 | Tagged as: Authors, Children, Cooking, Fiction, Food, History, Literary, MHS press, Native American, Scandinavian Studies, Travel

Augie\'s Secrets by Neal Karlen The Brides of Midsummer When I Was a Child Her Honor Keystones of the Stone Arch Bridge Curiosity\'s Cats

Conflicted Mission Hungry Johnny Toys of the \'50s, \'60s, and \'70s Scoop Smitten with Squash

Minnesota Historical Society Press Spring 2014 Titles

Augie’s Secrets: The Minneapolis Mob and the King of the Hennepin Strip (Paperback, February 2014)
Neal Karlen

The Brides of Midsummer (First English Translation, February 2014)
Vilhelm Moberg

When I Was a Child: An Autobiographical Novel (February 2014)
Vilhelm Moberg

Her Honor: Rosalie Wahl and the Minnesota Women’s Movement (March 2014)
Lori Sturdevant

Keystones of the Stone Arch Bridge (April 2014)
Carolyn Ruff

Curiosity’s Cats: Writers on Research (April 2014)
Edited by Bruce Joshua Miller

Conflicted Mission: Faith, Disputes, and Deception on the Dakota Frontier (April 2014)
Linda M. Clemmons

Hungry Johnny (May 2014)
Cheryl Minnema, Illustrations by Wesley Ballinger

Toys of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s (May 2014)
Kate Roberts and Adam Scher

Scoop: Notes from a Small Ice Cream Shop (May 2014)
Jeff Miller

Smitten with Squash (July 2014)
Amanda Paa

Give a Signed Book for the Holidays!

Posted byAlison Aten on 12 Dec 2013 | Tagged as: Authors, Event, Kevin Kling

A signed book makes a great gift! Meet some of our authors at these delightful indie venues, and get a signed book for everyone on your holiday list.

Big Little Mother On Stage with Kevin Kling Minnesota in the \'70s Minnesota Bug Hunt Augie\'s Secrets by Neal Karlen Original Local

Saturday December 14

1:00-2:30 pm Kevin Kling signs  Big Little Mother and On Stage with Kevin Kling at Birchbark Books

Noon-1:00 pm Dave Kenney and Thomas Saylor sign Minnesota in the ’70s at Magers & Quinn

Sunday December 15

1:00-3:00 pm Bruce Giebink and Bill Johnson sign Minnesota Bug Hunt at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Shop

6:00 pm Neal Karlen shares his book Augie’s Secrets at Grand Cafe in Minneapolis as part of their Fork in Forum progam ($45 and requires reservation)

Wednesday December 18

7:30-8:30 pm Heid Erdrich shares Original Local at Black Dog Cafe as part of the St. Paul Almanac ’s Lowertown Reading Jam

Saturday December 21

Noon-1:00 pm Kevin Kling signs  On Stage with Kevin Kling and Big Little Mother at Magers & Quinn

1:00-2:00 pm Dave Kenney and Thomas Saylor sign Minnesota in the ’70s at Common Good Books

Sunday December 22

Noon-1:00 pm Kevin Kling signs  On Stage with Kevin Kling and Big Little Mother at Subtext

Original Local by Heid E. Erdrich

Posted byAlison Aten on 21 Nov 2013 | Tagged as: Authors, Cooking, Event, Native American

Original LocalHeid E. Erdrich, photo by FRESH Photography & Media Spirit Plate by Aza Erdrich

Local foods have garnered much attention in recent years, but the concept is hardly new: indigenous peoples have always made the most of nature’s gifts. Their menus were truly the “original local,” celebrated here in 135 home-tested recipes paired with stories from tribal activists, food researchers, families, and chefs.

Heid E. Erdrich shares family and community recipes in her new cookbook, Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest.

Join us tomorrow, Friday, November 22, at 7 pm at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (1917 Logan Avenue South) in Minneapolis at the book launch hosted by Birchbark Books to sample recipes from the book prepared by Chef Jason Champagne.

Click here for more info, recipes, and interviews with Heid!

Memoir for Grown-ups: An essay

Posted byAlison Aten on 15 Nov 2013 | Tagged as: Authors, Literary

Kevin FentonToday’s post is by Kevin Fenton, author of Leaving Rollingstone.

Patricia Hampl calls Leaving Rollingstone “the most important memoir to come out of the Midwest (or anywhere) in years, an indispensable work of American autobiography.”

*****

When people learned that I was publishing a memoir, some of them asked me: Are you old enough to write a memoir?  My first impulse was to tell them that a) I am fifty-four and that b) when cardiologists see me, they often weep with despair. So, yes, I’m old enough. Then I realized that “Are you old enough to write a memoir?” is a polite way of asking their real question, “Are you famous enough to write a memoir?” To them, the word “memoir” triggers a very particular set of associations. Memoirs are written by those of us who’ve waged wars, negotiated peace, cured diseases, transformed societies, or, at the very least, married a Kardashian. Regular people do not write memoirs. I might as well have told them, “I’m thinking of having a statue made of myself. Know any good parks where I can put it?”

But I’d argue that what’s been called the literary memoir — in other words, a memoir by someone who is unexceptional except for their ability to write about their experience — is essential and valuable. The advent of the literary memoir is an extension of some big trends in literature and the humanities. We have moved from writing about God in the bible to writing about kings in Shakespeare to writing about regular people in the novels of George Eliot and Charles Dickens. In fact, we read novels precisely because we believe that a human life which might otherwise be unnoticed by history is worthy of attention. It’s not that big of a jump to care about real people.

The word “memoir” itself doesn’t do me any favors. It does, after all, start off with me, which tends to reinforce the perception of narcissism that surrounds the genre. But good literary memoirs aren’t just about their author. They are about that portion of history which the author has witnessed. They are about the estuary where larger historical trends mingle with the individual human life. No other genre can give us the particular insights that come from that intersection.

If Leaving Rollingstone were just about me, it would be a very different book. In the book, there are four lines about the most traumatic romantic relationship of my life — a relationship which left debris strewn over an entire decade — and there are about twenty lines about Spirographs. There’s a single brief flashback acknowledging four happy years at Beloit College — and an essay-length meditation on a book I read in 1995 and didn’t much care for. (It illuminated the book’s themes.) Leaving Rollingstone is about me but it’s also about family farms, small towns, and Catholic schools and their surprising legacies.

It’s useful to replace “literary memoir” with “personal history.” “Literary memoir” has always bothered me because it over-emphasizes the aesthetic. In its sometimes impressionistic way, my memoir was history. It spoke to the closing of schools, the loss of farms, the distinctiveness of a culture, and the influence of a zeitgeist. It spoke for a particular place and time and, most importantly, for particular people. If a president talks smack in his memoir about his secretary of state, the secretary probably has some recourse. But my record of my parents and friends and neighbors in Rollingstone is probably the only extensive record that will be left of their lives.

So while I wrote with the fallibility of personal witness, and the urge to create a shapely story, I evolved some rules for myself. First, you don’t have to be a neurologist to know that memory is tricky. I tried to write in a way that reflected that understanding without belaboring it. With the exceptions of some particularly vivid memories, I tried to report routines rather than events and ongoing impressions rather than momentary experiences; I tried to make it clear when I was passing on anecdotes which might have been rubbed smooth by retelling. I included very little dialogue and flagged the dialogue I did include as conjecture. When I presumed to record what my mom and dad might have been thinking on a particular morning, I used language that made it clear I was making an educated guess.

And you don’t have to be a French theorist to know that, even if memory is a perfect record of the past, human speech is twisted by our relentless agendas and alibis and limited by what Frank Bidart called our “proximate and partial” relation to truth. Given this, I tried to understand the perspective of others and to perforate my own self-justification. I tried to get the main historical facts right. Another way of saying all this is that I tried to act like a grown-up. And that brings me back to the question I started with. Am I old enough to write a memoir? The answer is yes, but just barely.

Circles of Tradition Dakota/Ojibwe Family Day 9/28

Posted byAlison Aten on 27 Sep 2013 | Tagged as: Authors, Children, Event, Native American

Photo from Powwow Summer by Marcie Rendon with photos by Cheryl Walsh Bellville

Enjoy free admission on Saturday September 28 from 12 noon to 4:00 pm at the Minnesota History Center during Circles of Tradition Dakota/Ojibwe Family Day featuring speakers and artists from the Dakota and Ojibwe communities who will share traditions of their rich and vibrant history. Visitors can enjoy music, dancing, demonstrations, displays, language exchange, games and art activities.

Powwow Summer authors Marcie Rendon and Cheryl Walsh Bellville will share their book, see details, below.

This program is offered in conjunction with the Smithsonian Museums Day Live! -an annual free admission event.

Schedule of Events:

Levels 1 & 4
Ojibwe and Dakota artifacts from the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections

Level 2
Beadwork demo with Cheryl Minnema (Waabaanakwadookwe), a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe  (Her work is featured in the Ojibwe Shoulder Bag Kit!)

Play “Splat” and learn Dakota words and place names with Dakota Wicohan (Noon, 1:00, 2:00 pm)

Decorate a fabric shoulder bag inspired by the designs and symbols of traditional Ojibwe bandolier bags

Level 3
Traditional Dakota songs, dancing, and drumming with Cansa’yapi Oyate (Redwood People) featuring the Lucio Family Dance Troupe (12:30 & 3:00 pm)

Birchbark demo with artist Pat Kruse, a member of the Red Cliff Band of Ojibwe

In Focus: Photography display created by the History Center’s American Indian Teen Portrait Project

Beadwork demo with Walter LaBatte, an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate

Play “Name that Otunwe” (city or place) with Jewell Arcoren (Sisseton/Sicangu) an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe

Inside the Then Now Wow Exhibit, Level 3
Dogsled adventures on the North Shore with History Player John Beargrease, an Ojibwe mail carrier (Noon, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 pm on the Paul Bunyan stage)

Ask the Curator!
Learn about the Society’s collection of Dakota and Ojibwe artifacts with independent curator, Marcia Anderson. (1:00-3:00 pm)

Powwow Summer authors Marcie Rendon and Cheryl Walsh Bellville share photos and stories from their book (1:30 &2:30 pm on the Paul Bunyan stage)

Gettysburg/Vicksburg Anniversary Commemorations

Posted byAlison Aten on 28 Jun 2013 | Tagged as: Authors, Event, History

Last Full MeasureOne Drop in a Sea of Blue

In the summer of 1863, nearly simultaneous Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg marked the beginning of the end for the Confederacy. Their forces never regained enough strength to seriously threaten the North.

For information on programs and events commemorating the 150th anniversaries of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, please visit the Minnesota Historical Society’s Minnesota and the Civil War Programs and Resources page.

Two MHS Press authors will share their Civil War research next week at the Minnesota History Center and James J. Hill House:

Monday July 1, 7:00 p.m.
Minnesota History Center
Last Full Measure: Remembering the First Minnesota at Gettysburg
A special lecture in honor of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg with author and historian Richard Moe.
Richard Moe is the author of Last Full Measure: The Life and Death of  the First Minnesota Volunteers and the new short e-book excerpted from Last Full Measure, The First Minnesota Volunteers at Gettysburg: The 150th Anniversary ($1.99).
$12 ($10 MHS members) Tickets here.

WATCH the live stream video

Wednesday July 3, 6:30-9:00 p.m.
James J. Hill House
Surviving the Civil War
Enjoy Civil War Scholarship, fashion, music and presentations by John Lundstrom, author of One Drop in a Sea of Blue: The Liberators of the Ninth Minnesota.
$12 ($10 MHS members) Tickets here.

Below is a list of our other Civil War related titles:

Minnesota and the Civil War: The War That Touched Us All e-book short by Annette Atkins. ($1.99)

Brother of Mine: The Civil War Letters of Thomas and William Christie Edited by Hamton Smith

Go If You Think It Your Duty: A Minnesota Couple’s Civil War Letters Edited by Andrea R. Foroughi

Brackett’s Battalion: Minnesota Cavalry in the Civil War and Dakota War By Kurt D. Bergemann

Minnesota in the Civil War: An Illustrated History By Kenneth Carley

Pale Horse at Plum Run: The First Minnesota at Gettysburg By Brian Leehan

This Business of War: Recollections of a Civil War Quartermaster By William G. Le Duc, Foreword by Adam E. Scher

No More Gallant a Deed: A Civil War Memoir of the First Minnesota Volunteers By James A. Wright, edited by Steven J. Keillor

Living Here, Loving Minnesota with Marie Porter

Posted byAlison Aten on 27 Jun 2013 | Tagged as: Authors, Food, Interview

Living Here, Loving MinnesotaAn occasional series highlighting local authors and their favorite ways to spend a Minnesota weekend.

Marie Porter is the author of the newest title in our Northern Plate series, Sweet Corn Spectacular.

Win a copy of Sweet Corn Spectacular by entering Marie’s Corn Haiku Contest!

Marie Porter

Sweet Corn Spectacular

What is a typical weekend for you?

Oh, man, I’m not sure we have anything resembling typicality in our LIVES, never mind weekends!  I guess the closest thing to typical we’ve had lately is that weekends usually involve a lot of work on the house.  We had our house smashed badly in the 2011 tornado, were under-insured by $60k+, and have been picking away at DIY-ing a lot of it.

What are some of your favorite local Friday night activities?

When the weather is nice and cool, I like getting out for scenic walks or drives.  When the weather is too hot, we become about as local as possible—holed up in our house, watching movies.

What/where do you eat on weekends? What’s a typical Sunday breakfast at your house?

Well, aside from renovation stuff, I like to use weekends to hash out recipe ideas I have, whether for my blog or for upcoming cookbooks.  What we eat varies wildly depending on what I’m working on at the time, and it isn’t necessarily seasonally “appropriate” at all times, either.  Due to the nature of publication schedules, we may eat a full Christmas dinner in early summer!

Lately, I’ve taken to making a batch of muffins almost every Sunday. It’s a great weekend breakfast and works for easy to-go breakfasts for my husband for the week.

What’s your weekend reading like?

When I have time to read, it’s usually catching up on blog entries and/or reading up on DIY techniques. (Like teaching myself to demolish and tile our bathroom!)

What is your top Minnesota getaway?

Duluth!  I’ve lived here for seven years and only recently made it up to Duluth.  We’re looking at maybe making it a monthly thing—sitting on a rock by the shore does a world of good for me, reminds me of home.  It’s great for de-stressing!

An Excerpt from Augie’s Secrets by Neal Karlen

Posted byAlison Aten on 16 Apr 2013 | Tagged as: Authors, Book Excerpt, Event

Augie\'s Secrets by Neal Karlen Neal Karlen, photo by Sarah Buckley

Here’s an excerpt from Augie’s Secrets: The Minneapolis Mob and the King of the Hennepin Strip by Neal Karlen. Meet Neal this Thursday at 7 pm at Mill City Museum to hear more of Augie’s secrets. Click on the book title, above, for more information and events.

*****

There were two words too powerful, too terrible, too ugly for my grandmother to pronounce fully aloud. She approached the first one in a normal timbre, then at the last second dropped her tone to sotto voce and whispered, in the heavy accent of her native Odessa, “kan-suh.”

The effect was mighty and dramatic. She would be sitting at the dining room table, with her almost-perfect son, my father, hiding behind the newspaper box scores and wax fruit, and she would say loudly, to no one in particular, in a full Merman-esque voice, “Mr. Anderson, I heard he has a throat full of”—then she’d whisper—”kan-suh.”

She said the offending word barely audibly, like she wanted no one in the room to hear it but my father, as if she expected him personally to cure malignancy forever: kan-suh.

The second ghastly word was what she deemed the vocation of her misbegotten younger brother, Augie, who to my father’s mind was the only interesting person in the entire family. She would say, as a prelude to damning her damnable brother, that “Augie is a no-goodnik” or “My brother is a scandal to the family!” which he sort of was, to a few, because of that place he ran, Augie’s Theatre Lounge, or maybe that speakeasy for drunken shikkers he had earlier, the White Swan.

She would conclude her sermon of fire and damnation, just saying his name, “Augie”—then dropping her voice an octave and—shhh!—say it: “geng-steh.”

“Geng-steh,” she’d whisper again, saying the word twice in overstated understatement, evoking images of gangland slayers like John Dillinger, Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, Ma Barker and her boys, and Pretty Boy Floyd, whose name she’d translate from the newspaper, her English primer, as “Handsome Fegel”—and the later ones, Davie “the Jew” Berman and Isadore “Kid Cann” Blumenfeld. Amazingly, my father became aware over time, Augie knew all of them and liked almost all of them—and they all knew and liked Augie.

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