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Summer Weather Jargon, Explained!

Posted byAlison Aten on 14 Jul 2015 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Minnesota Weather AlmanacMark Seeley’s Minnesota Weather Almanac, Second Edition, takes into account the state’s new thirty-year normals (1981-2010), presenting a breadth of scientific facts and fascinating stories.

In recognition of summer storm season, here are a few excerpts from the book explaining weather jargon that will have you talking like a weather expert.

Heat Index

The Heat Index, also known as the Comfort or Temperature-Humidity Index, evaluates the combined effects of temperature and humidity on the body’s ability to cool itself. According to the Heat Index, an air temperature of 85°F with a relative humidity of 60 percent feels the same as a temperature of 90°F with a humidity of 30 percent. For nighttime combined values of 75°F or above and daytime values of 105°F or more expected for 48 hours or longer, the National Weather Service usually issues an excessive heat advisory to warn about health risks, including fatigue, heat cramps, sunstroke, or heat exhaustion.

Dog days

The dog days of summer are usually associated with the greatest heat of the year, characterized by thunderstorms and high dew points. The phrase’s origin is both ancient and astrological: the Greeks and Romans observed that one of the brightest stars, Sirius the Dog Star—located in the constellation Canis Major, Latin for “greater dog”—rose in conjunction with the sun during the six weeks of midsummer. The usual hot and sultry weather, which depleted people’s energy and wilted vegetation, was attributed to the evil effects of Sirius. In the United States, the dog days occur between mid-July and early September; in western Europe they run from July 3 to August 11.

Doppler radar

Doppler radar is a type of weather surveillance that takes advantage of the Doppler effect. Based on the frequency change between outgoing and reflected radar signals, it determines the velocity of atmospheric targets moving directly toward or away from the unit. Doppler radar allows meteorologists to interpret wind speeds accompanying thunderstorms and to view rotating winds associated with funnel clouds.

Heat lightning

The term heat lightning is derived from a mistaken belief that lightning is produced by an excessively heated atmosphere, based on observations of lightning under otherwise clear summer skies. What is viewed as heat lightning is actually a reflection of distant lightning flashes off the horizon. All lightning technically produces heat: a single stroke can warm the surrounding air to more than 50,000°F. The air’s rapid expansion causes sound waves, which are later heard as thunder. Sound travels approximately a mile every five seconds: to gauge the distance of the lightning flashes, count the number of seconds that pass between the flash and the resulting thunder, assuming about one-fifth mile for every second. Thus a 15-second interval between observed lightning and the sound of thunder indicates that the flash occurred about three miles away. Lightning strokes from more than ten miles away are rarely heard as thunder.

Four basic thunderstorm types

Thunderstorms occur in a variety of forms.

An isolated cumulonimbus or anvil-shaped cloud, known as a single-cell storm, is usually a convective cloud containing one updraft and one downdraft segment. Single-cell storms may produce some heavy rain, hail, or even a weak tornado, but they are usually short lived, lasting 30 or fewer minutes.

In a multicell cluster, a group of convective clouds moves together as a single unit, bringing multiple updraft and downdraft segments, highly variable rates of rainfall, and moderate hail. These systems may last for hours and can produce flash flooding or weak tornadoes.

A squall line is a row of convective clouds that share a common gust front along the leading edge, sometimes visible as a wall cloud. They can move at rapid speeds and produce heavy rainfall, moderate hail, and even tornadoes, occasionally leading to flash flooding.

A supercell, the most damaging type of thunderstorm, is a massive convective system of clouds that rotate as one unit, contain embedded strong updrafts and downdrafts, and produce large hail, frequent lightning, flooding, and moderate to severe tornadoes. Such storms may last for hours and travel across multiple states.

Only One More Day for the True Crime E-book Sale!

Posted byMary Poggione on 29 Jun 2015 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Explore the seamy side of Minnesota with these popular true crime titles from the Minnesota Historical Society Press, on sale for $3.99 through the month of June from your favorite e-book vendor.

9780873519939f

Stolen from the Garden: The Kidnapping of Virginia Piper

by William Swanson

On a July afternoon in 1972, two masked men waving guns abducted forty-nine-year-old Virginia Piper from the garden of her lakeside home in Orono, Minnesota.

Drawing on closely held government documents and exclusive interviews with family members, investigators, suspects, lawyers, and others intimately connected to the case, William Swanson provides the first comprehensive account of the sensational Piper kidnapping.

Sale price $3.99

Amazonbn.comGoogle, iTunesKobo




Secret Partners

Secret Partners: Big Tom Brown and the Barker Gang

by Tim Mahoney

Among the most dangerous criminals of the public enemies era was a man who has long hidden in history’s shadows: Tom Brown. In the early 1930s, while he was police chief of St. Paul, Minnesota, Brown became a secret partner of the infamous Barker gang. He profited from their violent crimes, he protected the gang from raids by the nascent FBI—and while he did all this, the gangsters gunned down cops and citizens in his hometown.

Sale price: $3.99

Amazonbn.com, Google iTunesKobo,


Augie\'s Secrets by Neal KarlenAugie’s Secrets: The Minneapolis Mob and the King of the Hennepin Strip

by Neal Karlen

A treasury of family secrets exposes the seamy underbelly of Minneapolis—gangsters, gambling, brothels, and the social life of organized crime.

Sale price $3.99

Amazon,    bn.com,    Google,    iTunes,    Kobo,




The Rockwell Heist by Bruce RubensteinThe Rockwell Heist: The Extraordinary Theft of Seven Norman Rockwell Paintings and a Phony Renoir—and the 20-Year Chase for Their Recovery from the Midwest through Europe and South America

by Bruce Rubenstein

When a small midwestern gallery is burgled, artworks by an American icon disappear into the international market for stolen art, but the gallery’s owners refuse to give up the search.

Sale price: $3.99

Amazon,    bn.com,    Google,    iTunes,    Kobo,



Black White BlueBlack White Blue: The Assassination of Patrolman Sackett

by William Swanson

A white police officer is assassinated in a troubled St. Paul neighborhood. Thirty-six year later, two African American grandfathers are convicted in controversial trials that force a city to relive a contentious past.

Sale price: $3.99

Amazon,   bn.com,    Google,    iTunes,    Kobo



Dial MDial M: The Murder of Carol Thompson

by William Swanson

A haunting re-creation of the brutal death of an American housewife, the conviction of her husband, and the family trial at which their children determined for themselves how their father should be charged.

Sale price: $3.99

Amazon,    bn.com,    Google,    iTunes,    Kobo




Crossing HoffaCrossing Hoffa: A Teamster’s Story

by Steven J. Harper

A forthright teamster faces off with Jimmy Hoffa in this true saga of corruption, betrayal, intrigue, and courage.

Sale price: $3.99

Amazon,    bn.com,    Google,    iTunes,    Kobo










True Crime E-book Sale through June!

Posted byMary Poggione on 05 Jun 2015 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

9780873519472fStock up on summer reading with our true crime e-book sale during the month of June. Titles are available from your favorite e-book sellers!

Curiosity’s Cats is a “CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title”

Posted byAlison Aten on 17 Feb 2015 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Curiosity's Cats

The January 2015 issue of CHOICE Magazine features its annual list of  Outstanding Academic Titles, chosen by the editors for their excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contribution to the field, and their value as important treatment of their subject. We are honored to have Curiosity’s Cats: Writers on Research edited by Bruce Joshua Miller as one of this year’s selections.

“In bringing together 13 riveting, informative essays on the thrills, pitfalls, and minutiae of documentary research, Miller (a writer and independent publishing industry representative) illuminates how writers convey the truth about the life of their subjects. Contributors explain how they succeeded (or failed) in various writing projects throughout their careers, working in traditions spanning historical and ethnographic research, biography, journalism, fiction, and film. . . . A well-crafted, well-conceived volume, deserving an index. Summing Up: Highly recommended.” CHOICE (link to the full review here)

Bruce J. Miller and Ned Stuckey-French will be signing copies of Curiosity’s Cats at the AWP Annual Conference in Minneapolis on Thursday, April 9, 2015, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Minnesota Historical Society Press booth. If you are attending, please stop by!

Our Northern Plate Series

Posted byAlison Aten on 29 May 2014 | Tagged as: Cooking, Food, Uncategorized

Rhubarb Renaissance Modern Maple by Teresa Marrone Sweet Corn Spectacular Smitten with Squash The Northern Plate

Farmers market season is here! Looking for inspiration on how to use fresh, seasonal produce? Check out these titles in our Northern Plate series—each celebrates the bounty of the Upper Midwest by focusing on a single ingredient, exploring its historical uses as well as culinary applications across a range of dishes.

Rhubarb Renaissance by Kim Ode

Modern Maple by Teresa Marrone

Sweet Corn Spectacular by Marie Porter

Smitten with Squash by Amanda Paa

Homemade with Honey by Sue Doeden (available May 2015)

Minneapolis Somali Independence Day Festival June 30

Posted byAlison Aten on 25 Jun 2013 | Tagged as: Event, Immigration, Uncategorized

Celebrating Somali Independence Day (from Somalis in Minnesota, photo by Bill Jolitz) Dancing to a popular Somali traditional beat, young Somalis celebrate Independence Day (from Somalis in Minnesota, photo by Bill Jolitz)

You know it’s summer in the Twin Cities when there is at least one street festival somewhere in town. Head on over to Lake Street between Blaisdell and Pleasant in Minneapolis to experience the Somali Independence Day Festival this Sunday, June 30, from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Here is Ahmed Ismail Yusuf, author of Somalis in Minnesota, on Somali Independence Day:

“Other than the religious holidays, Somalis gather for one major event: Somali Independence Day. The date celebrates Somalia’s independence from colonial British and Italian rule and the founding of the Republic of Somalia in 1960. Though Djibouti commemorates the event on May 27, northern Somalia on June 26, and southern Somalia on July 1, in Minnesota Somalis from Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and beyond join others from the mainland to celebrate on the weekends between June 20 and July 1. They gather together, dance, and compete in soccer games to honor the memory of their motherland and her independence.

“On June 26, 1960, the first Somali flag was hoisted to float and flap in the air. Then on July 1, it was raised in the south of Somalia, and Somalis everywhere sang, danced, and composed ceremonial poems for the occasion.”

Writing the Biography of Frederick Weyerhaeuser, 1834-1914

Posted byAlison Aten on 03 Jun 2013 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Frederick Weyerhaeuser and the American WestToday’s post is by Judith Koll Healey, author of Frederick Weyerhaeuser and the American West. Weyerhaeuser was one of the great industrialists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and founder of the international timber corporation the Weyerhaeuser Company.

Judith will be reading and signing at Common Good Books in St. Paul on Wednesday, June 5, at 7 p.m.

*****

Biography is the stepchild of history and the first cousin to fiction. The history is necessary for accuracy: the details of the times, the sights, the immediate background to set the scene. The reader has to enter the period with the writer as guide. Even more important, the writer must be as accurate about the subject’s life as possible. So the questions continually arise: What to  put in? What to leave out? How to tell the honest story as closely to how it happened as possible?

But certain elements important to fiction must also inform the story. What was the main character like? How did he feel? What was he thinking in his youth that changed later in life? How was he with his family? His grandchildren? His tough-minded associates? Did he ever doubt himself? Was he generous or close fisted? Quick to decide or careful? The fiction writer must create these details that bring a character to life. The biographer must chase down the material that allows the honest creation of the character as a living human being, of interest to others.

We were fortunate in the Frederick Weyerhaeuser project to have an unprecedented amount of primary material from which to work. As the Weyerhaeuser family office moved from the First National Bank building in St. Paul, Minnesota, to a new space, many letters surfaced that had been long forgotten. Some were business letters, others far more personal. There were letters between Frederick and his wife Sarah when they were separated by his long winters in the Wisconsin forest. There were later letters to the sons, and the grandchildren.

And there were diaries from the early years in the long Wisconsin winters and later reflecting his anguish when his honor was challenged publicly by an associate who wanted a favor that Frederick refused to grant.

An astonishing and valuable cache of letters kept by one branch of the family was stored in multiple boxes in an attic at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. These were freely offered and the biographer was delighted. In those boxes rest a century of Americana, letters from the 1880s and 1890s that drew a fine picture of Frederick and Sarah’s later years through the correspondence of their daughter Margaret–who lived with them–and her husband Richard, who was teaching in a foreign land.

Even more wonderful were letters discovered in Saulheim, Germany, Frederick’s birth village. The family was given all of his letters, and those of the villagers in return make a composite picture of Frederick’s warm, funny, and personal relationship with his childhood friends and their now-grown children.

The Weyerhaeuser Company in Tacoma also had material, as did the Laird Norton group office in Seattle.

Finally, there was a remarkable resource created in the 1930s by Frederick and Sarah’s youngest son, also called Frederick but referred to in the family as F.E.  This man, the youngest of the seven children, collected letters and recollections from many friends and associates of his father and put them into a five-volume work called A Record of the Life and Business Activities of Frederick Weyerhaeuser, 1834-1914. He added many of his own recollections, and there are many amusing anecdotes sprinkled among more serious stories and letters. In the interest of gentlemanly behavior of the times, some of the anecdotes involving others were crossed out in the work, apparently with the feeling that someone might take mild umbrage. An example is the description of Frederick’s brother-in-law and first partner, F.C.A. Denkmann, as having a “peppery disposition.” As the reader might imagine, these excised parts were among the more descriptive of the work and are a welcome resource to the later biographer. Many are included in this biography.

With this plethora of material and trips to east and west coast and eventually to Saulheim, Germany,  to meet the descendants of Frederick’s childhood friends, a one-year project turned into four years. The result was satisfying. The book does its best to present a fascinating character in all of his stages, his business accomplishments and challenges and his family life.

This writer was grateful for the support of the family in opening archives and resources, in correcting my early misunderstandings of the differences among timber, logs, and lumber and, most of all, in never asking me to alter the text or remove personal  anecdotes. This allowed me not only to get to know this fascinating nineteenth-century character but to draw freely a literary picture of him in this biography that is honest, accurate, and, in all of its humanity, real.

Before Gatsby

Posted byregana on 09 May 2013 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Guide to FSF\'s St. PaulSt. Paul Stories of FSF

The Great Gatsby is on the big screen, once again reminding us of the fabulous and tragic Jazz Age–and the author who was its best-known chronicler.

Minnesotans have a special connection to this famous American author: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s St. Paul is around us. The elegant neighborhoods where he grew up as “a poor boy in a rich town” are still the city’s finest, beautiful to discover and enjoy. And the best way to do that is with A Guide to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s St. Paul, by John J. Koblas. You can explore the neighborhoods that shaped him and provided the scenery and plots for many of his most successful short stories. Handy maps, 35 featured buildings, and notes on 71 others make for fascinating self-guided walking tours.

And then, with The St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Patricia Hampl and Dave Page, you can read many of those stories as well. Introduced with a graceful essay by Patricia Hampl, the book includes several of the Basil Duke Lee stories as well as some of Fitzgerald’s lesser-known classics. Brief introductions provide names and locations that you can find during your tour.

See the movie, read these books, and get to know the home-town author!

A Warm Welcome to Researchers

Posted bypennefesm on 12 Feb 2013 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

library-shot1

by Debbie Miller, MHS Reference Specialist

The MHS’s Gale Family Library welcomes researchers with new and expanded hours, which became effective December 1, 2012.

–Tuesday, 12 noon to 8 p.m.

–Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

–Closed Sunday and Monday

Scholars and other authors now have a chance to work all day on a project, and those visiting from out of town can plan a trip that uses their limited time more efficiently.

Remember that the library houses all levels of government records for Minnesota, as well as vast collections of manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, and books.  Maps, photos, films and videos, oral histories, and music are all available. Reference staff are happy to help with any questions you have about your research and to suggest related sources, if you like.  More and more manuscript and archives collections have finding aids online.  Try this site, or when you find a collection that interests you in the library catalog, check to see if there’s a link to a finding aid.

Rebirth of a Nation

Posted bypennefesm on 08 Feb 2013 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

The United States officially recognized the government of Somalia on January 17. In a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and new Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the secretary called for a new chapter to begin. The people of Somalia, a country ravaged by civil war and once considered the most failed state on the globe, have “fought, and sacrificed to bring greater stability, security, and peace to their nation.”

images1The African Development Center of Minnesota is hosting public and community forums with Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, former prime minster of Somalia, who will share stories about developing a road map to Somalia’s future.  On Friday, February 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cowles Auditorium, Dr. Ali will offer remarks and facilitate an open discussion in English. On Saturday, February 9, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Dr. Ali’s remarks and the ensuing discussion will be in Somali.  Join in this celebration of nation building in our time.

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