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Archive for 2007

28th Virginia Infantry Battle Flag Captured at Gettysburg

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Objects Curator Matt Anderson takes a look at the Virginia battle flag captured by the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry during Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. (3 min. 15 sec. / 8.42 MB)

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Andersen Corporation Archives

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Boxes of Andersen Corporation materialThe long anticipated donation of the Andersen Corporation Archives has arrived at the Minnesota Historical Society. The collection consists of more than 240 cubic feet of manuscript records and three-dimensional objects! We are thrilled to add this major Minnesota company to the many businesses represented in our collections.

Danish immigrant Hans Jacob Andersen and his family founded Andersen Lumber Company in 1903 in Hudson, Wisconsin, where the logs arrived via the St. Croix River. In 1905, Hans introduced an innovative “two-bundle” method of designing and shipping unassembled window frames. By producing bundled pairs of horizontal and vertical window frame sections, Andersen streamlined frame production and simplified mass distribution. This was the first of many innovations for Andersen Corporation. Hans Andersen sold his lumber business in 1908 to focus on window frames, but returned to the retail lumber industry in 1916. The privately owned business moved across the St. Croix River in 1913 to South Stillwater (now Bayport), Minnesota.

017.jpgToday the Andersen Corporation remains headquartered in Bayport and employs more than 9,000 people across the United States. The company celebrated its centennial in 2003 with a pledge to build 100 homes with Habitat for Humanity. Andersen finished its 100th home this year.

The manuscript portion of the Andersen collection contains Andersen family papers and corporate records from the 1870s-2005. The records include employee newsletters, product catalogs, price lists, advertising, legal files, trade mark and patent documents, sales information, product installation manuals, photographs, audio-visual materials and much more. Together these records document the people and facilities of Andersen Corporation, its predecessors and its subsidiary companies.Andersen window sales sample, apron, tools and sign

The object portion of the collection features a number of important pieces including – naturally – windows.  Two pairs of early 20th Century “two-bundle” frames represent Andersen’s first innovation. One double-hung window, complete with frame, represents the most widespread window style. A sales sample of a Fibrex® window – made from a composite of vinyl and wood fibers reclaimed from the manufacturing process – characterizes one of the company’s more recent innovations.

Other three-dimensional pieces include a set of drafting tools used by Fred C. Andersen (son of Hans), a carpenter’s square, a shop apron, and an Army-Navy “E” Award pennant presented in recognition of Andersen’s substantial production of ammunition boxes during World War II.

Molly Tierney, Curator of Manuscripts

Matt Anderson, Objects Curator (who spells it “s-o-n”)

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Franzman Altar: 03 Installation

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Watch Minnesota Historical Society staff members as they move the altar from the basement Conservation Lab and install it in the MN150 gallery. (2 min. 40 sec. / 13.1 MB)

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Franzman Altar: 02 Object and Textile Treatments

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Watch Conservators Tom Braun and Ann Frisina clean and repair the altar to prepare it for display in MN150. (6 min. 5 sec. / 30.2 MB)

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Franzman Altar: 01 Introduction and Unpacking

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Senior Curator Marcia Anderson shares the story behind the church altar carved by John Franzman and now on display in the MN150 exhibit. Objects Conservator Tom Braun is seen unpacking the altar’s components as they arrive at the Minnesota Historical Society. (3 min. 10 sec. / 15.4 MB)

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Looking Back/Moving Forward

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Brian Szott, Curator of Art, shares five of his favorite new additions to the Minnesota Historical Society’s fine art collection. (3 min. 38 sec. / 2.08 MB)

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I-35W Bridge Resources at the Minnesota Historical Society

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Shawn Rounds, Government Records Specialist, describes plans, photographs and records from the Interstate 35W bridge across the Mississippi River that collapsed on August 1, 2007. (3 min. 33 sec. / 17.3 MB)

Find more on the bridge at the Minnesota Historical Society Library’s I-35W Bridge Resources page.

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Pulp Fiction

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Acquisitions Librarian Patrick Coleman takes a look at the seamy, steamy and entertaining world of Minnesota pulp fiction. (5 min. 12 sec. / 26 MB)

Explore more books from the 1930s through the 1950s with the Books of an Era timeline at the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation In Their Words web site.

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County School Records

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

County school recordsThis collage depicts selected records of the King School, which was located in Belfast Township in Murray County. The items pictured are souvenir booklets (1930s) presented by the teacher to her students, teachers’ contracts from the school board clerk’s book (1890s), and a page from a school attendance register. Seventy years ago, in the 1930s, more than 8,000 school districts existed in Minnesota, many of which were one-room schoolhouses. In the 1950s and 1960s the “country schools” consolidated or merged with larger independent school districts, and state-wide all school districts were renumbered. Now there are just over 400 school districts in Minnesota. School records are a valuable resource not only for family history research, but also for local history. Often the schoolhouse was a community center, and several generations in a family would attend the same school.

While not all school district records in the State Archives collection are as colorful as these, the information a researcher can find about students, teachers, and school buildings is rich. The State Archives currently preserves records of about 3,000 rural and independent school districts. Many of the records are the official records (meeting minutes, school board election results, summaries of receipts and expenditures) of the school district clerk and treasurer, but there are also teachers’ class record books and attendance registers, school censuses, photographs, and much more. There is lots of information listing the kids who attended individual schools, who their teachers were, what subject the pupils were taught, and the books they read.

Learn More:

Search the Library Catalog by:

1. the county name and school district number,
2. the name of the school, or
3. the township or city name and the term “school,” plus the county name if the township or city is a common name.

Search the Visual Resources Database to find individual photographs of schools by:

1. the county name and school district number,
2. the name of the school, or
3. the township or city name and the term “school,” plus the county name if the township or city is a common name.

Schoolhouses of Minnesota By: Photography by Doug Ohman

Family History Resources: School Records

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Walter Mondale Memorandum to Jimmy Carter

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Walter Mondale and Jimmy Carter sitting at desk“In an otherwise masterful document, the Founding Fathers created the vice presidency with almost no thought as to how it would fit into the structure of the new federal government.”

With these words, Richard Moe, chief of staff to Walter Mondale during the latter’s term as Jimmy Carter’s vice president (1977-1981), begins “The Making of the Modern Vice Presidency: A Personal Reflection” (Minnesota History, volume 60, Fall 2006). His essay describes a crucial memorandum from December 1976 in which Mondale, at Carter’s invitation, spelled out his recommendations for making the office an engaged and significant part of the Carter administration.

Mondale and Carter shared the opinion that the vice presidency was, in Moe’s words, a “wasted national asset,” and that there were opportunities for a real partnership with a president willing to delegate authority. Mondale’s memo outlined his thoughts on the role the vice president could play, some specific contributions that he personally could make, and the degree of involvement in the Carter administration that such a relationship would require. Moe’s essay describes how that relationship became a reality.

A copy of that landmark memorandum resides in the Walter F. Mondale Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society. It is reproduced here in two PDF files; one is a searchable transcription of the memorandum, the other presents scanned images of the actual document.

Other documents in the Mondale Papers include subsequent staff reviews and analyses of this new type of vice presidency. The Mondale Papers are scheduled to be publicly accessible in January 2007.

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An Ounce of Preservation: A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs