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February 5, 2015

Three MNHS Press books are Minnesota Book Award Finalists!

Filed under: Awards — Alison Aten @ 10:00 am

Congratulations to our Minnesota Book Award finalists: Brenda J. Child for My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks in the General Nonfiction category, Larry Millett and Matt Schmitt for Minnesota’s Own in the Minnesota category, and Lori Sturdevant for Her Honor, also in the Minnesota category. Finalists were announced this past weekend, and the winners will be revealed April 18 at the Minnesota Book Award Gala at St. Paul Union Depot.

My Grandfather's Knocking Sticks

Minnesota's OwnHerHonor_FINAL_rev.indd

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January 14, 2015

Book Launch Celebration for Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota

Filed under: African American, Event, Literary — Alison Aten @ 7:04 pm

Blues VisionPlease join us Thursday February 5, 2015 from 6-9 pm at the Minnesota History Center to celebrate the publication of  Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota edited by Alexs Pate with co-editors Pamela R. Fletcher and J. Otis Powell‽.

Blues Vision is a surprising and compelling anthology that reveals complex realities—beautiful, infuriating, painful, and uplifting—as described by African American writers in Minnesota over the past century.

The book is co-published with the Minnesota Humanities Center, sponsor of this anthology, which was made possible in part by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2004.

Book Launch Celebration
Thursday February 5, 2015 from 6-9 pm
Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Ave. W. St. Paul, MN
6-7 pm Refreshments & cash bar
7-8 pm Book Talk and Readings by Contributors
8-9 Book Signing
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December 12, 2014

Where was Santa on December 13, 1961?

Filed under: Children, History — Alison Aten @ 3:12 pm

From Wishing for a Snow Day by Peg Meier

From Wishing for a Snow Day by Peg Meier

What was Santa doing in Minneapolis fifty-three years ago? Why spreading cheer in the Sky Room at Dayton’s in Minneapolis, of course! Here he is at the store’s children’s breakfast on December 13, 1961.

This photograph, along with many other charming images of children in Minnesota, is featured in Wishing for a Snow Day : Growing Up in Minnesota by Peg Meier. Digging through letters, diaries, reminiscences, newspaper columns, and plenty of photographs, Meier unearthed a wealth of material left by Minnesotans who took the time to write, whether as children in the moment or as adults looking back.

Also by Peg Meier: Bring Warm Clothes and Too Hot, Went to Lake.

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December 11, 2014

Crafty Kids

Filed under: Arts, Children — Alison Aten @ 2:30 pm

9780873519199Do you have a crafty kid on your holiday gift list? Keep them busy with our new craft book for kids:

Making History: Have a Blast with 15 Crafts

The book features projects that celebrate Minnesota’s history and people. It includes crafts at four different skill levels, step-by-step instructions, free templates, and 180 color photos.

Imagine soldiers on the Civil War battlefield as you assemble a “housewife” sewing kit like those made by wives and mothers. Re-create the drama of a midwestern tornado when you build an automaton that actually spins, and celebrate the invention of water-skiing with a boat and skier that really glide.

Step-by-step instructions carefully guide you to make your own marionette, but it’s up to you to stage the puppet show. The playful miniature scene of a Day of the Dead nicho offers a way to honor a loved one. A woodland hike will provide the twigs and leaves to make a troll. A walking stick in the tradition of folk artist Maurice Carlton inspires you to create art out of what you can find.

These projects and more generate hours of fun, not to mention useful pieces you’ll want to share with your family and friends.

north-woods-troll-from-making-history-have-a-blast-with-15-crafts twister-tornado-from-making-history-have-a-blast-with-15-crafts paul-bunyan-action-toy-from-making-history-have-a-blast-with-15-crafts minnesota-trapper-hat-construction-from-making-history-have-a-blast-with-15-crafts minnesota-trapper-hat-from-making-history-have-a-blast-with-15-craftsmetal-foil-repousse-pendant-from-making-history-have-a-blast-with-15-crafts

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December 3, 2014

Calling all rock hunters!

Filed under: Children — Alison Aten @ 2:27 pm

9780873519502 Rhoda’s Rock Hunt by Molly Beth Griffin with illustrations by Jennifer A. Bell explores a child’s first experience of camping in the the north woods and hiking with her aunt and uncle. Rhoda wants to bring home every beautiful rock she finds. But soon, her pack gets too heavy. Rhoda has to decide what to keep and what to leave behind, if she ever wants to see her soft bed again.

The book recently made the Pioneer Press’s list of best picture books by Minnesota writers! Here is what others have to say about Rhoda and her dilemma:

“Young nature lovers and hikers will celebrate Rhoda’s creative solution.”
Kirkus

“The resolution that she arrives at independently (building cairns) speaks to the importance of memories over materials, a message Griffin delivers with a light touch.” Publishers Weekly

“There are surprisingly few picture books in which a girl goes hiking, and this is a particularly nice one. The story is not only told with a winning combination of empathy and humor, it also acknowledges that backpacking involves effort as well as enjoyment. The expressive illustrations clearly depict Rhoda’s shifts from energetic and cheerful to tired and crabby to unburdened and happy again. Suitable for reading aloud, this picture book depicts a resourceful child who creates a problem but solves it on her own. ” Booklist

“Young children will love the woods and water illustrations, the fast-paced text and Rhoda herself, with whom all of us lake-loving rock pickers can identify.” Lake Superior Magazine

Molly and Jennifer will be signing copies of the book this Saturday, December 6, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm at the Minnesota History Center Museum Stores. (MNHS members receive a double discount in the stores this Thursday-Sunday!)

rhodaspread_10_x_5_aa

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October 29, 2014

Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes

Filed under: Event, Videos — Alison Aten @ 11:45 am

In this video, architectural historian and award-winning author Larry Millett and photographer Matt Schmitt walk us through the Lawrence S. Donaldson house in Minneapolis, one of the twenty-two homes profiled in their new book, Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes. The home was the recipient of a 2014 Minnesota Preservation Award.

Join us for the book launch celebration at the American Swedish Institute next Wednesday, November 5, at 6:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended.

Also of interest: Historic Preservation Tour at the American Swedish Institute with architect Laura Faucher. This special tour begins at 5:00 pm, before the Minnesota’s Own book launch. The tour is $10 for ASI and MNHS members/$12 for nonmembers. Registration is required and space is limited.

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October 23, 2014

Stolen from the Garden: The Kidnapping of Virginia Piper

Filed under: Book Excerpt, True Crime, Uncategorized, Videos — Alison Aten @ 10:01 am

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. After her husband, a prominent investment banker, paid a $1 million ransom, an anonymous caller directed the FBI to a thickly wooded section of a northern Minnesota state park. There, two days after her nightmare began, Ginny Piper––chained to a tree, filthy and exhausted, but physically unharmed––awaited her rescuers.

Stolen from the Garden: The Kidnapping of Virginia Piper by William Swanson recounts the inside story of the shocking Piper kidnapping: from the abduction and recovery, through the grueling investigation and trials, and into the Pipers’ haunted final years.

Below is a clip from the press conference with Virginia Piper on July 30, 1972, just a day after her rescue. However, this is only the beginning of the story. As Swanson writes:

“But whatever the intentions of their preemptive statements, the Pipers’ nightmare is not over, nor does the story belong to them. The case is now a million-dollar whodunit driven by the US Attorney in Minneapolis and FBI personnel here and in Washington. The black-and-white patrol cars stationed at the bottom of their driveway will be gone in a few days, when the family is no longer deemed in imminent danger, but the lives of the Pipers and many of their friends, neighbors, and associates, not to mention innumerable strangers who may or, more likely, may not have had anything to do with the case, will be changed forever.”

For author events and more information, please click on the title’s hyperlink, above.

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October 7, 2014

Fractured Land: The Price of Inheriting Oil

Filed under: Authors, Book Excerpt, Event, Scandinavian Studies — Alison Aten @ 1:20 pm

Photo by Lisa Peters

Photo by Lisa Peters

Fractured Land: The Price of Inheriting Oil by Lisa Westberg Peters begins with the passing of the author’s father and the questions his estate will raise:

“When my father dies, my mother will inherit his mineral rights. Eventually my siblings and I will inherit hers. At that point, I will benefit from drilling techniques that require millions of gallons of water, dozens of chemicals, some of them unknown even to regulators, and the safe disposal of toxic wastes.

It would make quite a headline:

Environmentalist Rakes in ND Oil Profits

And so I sit on an uncomfortable fence. On one side is a sea of oil that fouls beaches and birds and contributes to climate mayhem. On the other side is a sea of oil—my family’s oil!—that provides jobs for thousands of people, financial breathing room for my parents, and wealth for the long-suffering state of North Dakota.

Nope. You can see, I’m sure, how a hospice room is not exactly the place for that kind of discussion.

My dad sees the picture of an old North Dakota oil well—or it’s going to be an oil well as soon as they hit pay dirt—and does a thumbs-up.” –from Fractured Land

Join us this Thursday, October 9, at 7 pm at Common Good Books to hear Lisa Westberg Peters talk about the dilemma we all face–how our personal lives intersect with the energy industry and the environment–and her new book, Fractured Land.

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September 24, 2014

C-SPAN’s BOOK TV & American History TV Visit St. Paul

Filed under: History, Interview, Literary — Alison Aten @ 10:51 am

stpaul_lcv-1

C-SPAN’s Cities Tour recently visited St. Paul, profiling various literary and historic sites and interviewing local historians and authors. Featured segments were broadcast on BOOK-TV and American History TV and can be viewed via the hyperlink above.

Minnesota Historical Society staff as well as MNHS Press authors Paul Maccabee, Dave Page, and Adam Scher helped C-SPAN share the stories of the Capital City’s rich historical and literary past.

BOOK-TV features include:

F. Scott Fitzgerald in St. Paul with Dave Page, co-editor of The St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Cultural History of St. Paul via the  Minnesota Historical Society’s Gale Family Library with Patrick Coleman, acquisitions librarian

The Nazi and the Psychiatrist by Jack El-Hai

The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Story by Kao Kalia Yang

A profile of indie bookstore Common Good Books

Poet Laureate Carol Connolly

American History TV stories include:

The Minnesota State Capitol with historic site manager Brian Pease

Gangster History in St. Paul with Paul Maccabee, author of John Dillinger Slept Here

Early Life and Career of F. Scott Fitzgerald with Dave Page

Toys of the ’50s, ’60s, & ’70s with author and curator Adam Scher

Tours of the Alexander Ramsey House, James J. Hill House, and Historic Fort Snelling

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September 8, 2014

Slouching Toward Fargo–Back in Print!

Filed under: Authors, Event, Sports — Alison Aten @ 10:59 am

SlouchingTowardFargo.KarlenSMALL

Slouching Toward Fargo

A Two-Year Saga of Sinners and St. Paul Saints at the Bottom of the Bush Leagues with Bill Murray, Darryl Strawberry, Dakota Sadie, and Me

By Neal Karlen
With a Foreword by Mike Veeck

The Casey Award–winning account of life in the minor leagues, celebrating the game, the characters who love it, and the magic that can happen when a town, a team, and a ball player get a second chance.

Meet the author!

Tuesday September 16, 2014 at 7 pm
Subtext Bookstore, St. Paul

In his classic account of two years with the most audacious bush league ballclub ever to plumb the bottom of the pro sports barrel, Neal Karlen presents a dizzying collection of characters: co-owners comedian Bill Murray and sports impresario Mike Veeck; baseball’s former winningest pitcher Jack Morris; outfielder Darryl Strawberry, on his way back to the majors; the back-rubbing Sister Rosalind; baseball’s first woman player Ila Borders; frantic fans, a ball-carrying pig, a blind sportscaster, and a host of others. They all prove the credo of the Saints: Fun is Good.

“Hilarious, insightful, touching, informative, Neal Karlen’s baseball account delivers a world of vivid characters and ironic redemptions. Karlen is simply one of the best, most sophisticated, and literate practitioners of journalism we have. He goes out and gets the full story, while turning himself into a wonderfully self-mocking, truthful, and likable narrator. I loved every page of this book.”
Phillip Lopate, author, essayist, and film critic

“Two things make it great: characters and story line. The tale is rendered in hilarious fashion, mixing plenty of baseball with plenty of laughs.”
Rocky Mountain News

“A fun-is-good book  . . . [with] enough oddballs to make Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland seem like a straightforward account of a schoolgirl’s visit to a theme park.”
Sports Illustrated

“The funkiest team in baseball.”
The New York Times

Neal Karlen, who has written for the New York TimesNewsweek, and Rolling Stone, is the author or co-author of seven books, including Augie’s Secrets from the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

$17.95 paper, available September 2014
384 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4, 51 b&w photos, index, 978-0-87351-951-9

Available September 2014 from Minnesota Historical Society Press

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