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Archive for April, 2010


Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Mairs screen

A curator’s favorite piece in the collection is often the most recent addition. A perfect example of this is this newly-arrived folding screen created by the influential and enigmatic St. Paul art couple Clara Mairs (1878 – 1963) and Clement Haupers (1900 – 1982). Painted in 1937 and signed only by Mairs, the four-panel screen depicts several species of waterfowl from hooded mergansers and mallards to wood ducks and a loon. It was a gift from Clara and Clem to her brother, Samuel Mairs, an avid hunter and outdoorsman who hunted regularly on Lake Christina near Alexandria, Minnesota.

A gift to the Historical Society from Clara’s nephew Thomas Mairs and his children, it is an especially welcomed addition to the collection—a unique and functional work of art!

Brian Szott, Curator of Art

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Five year fireman’s certificate

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Minneapolis Firemen's Certificate

According to legislation passed in 1873, Minneapolis firemen who had served five years as active firefighters were entitled to be exempt from jury duty and from paying the poll tax (a requirement for voting).  This fancy certificate testified that Patrick Daly had served his five years and therefore was exempt from these obligations.  Patrick Daly had been born in Ireland in April 1836, had lived in Australia and New Zealand, and emigrated to Minneapolis in 1870.  In addition to his stint as a firefighter, he served as a liquor dealer and a policeman, attaining the rank of Captain.  He died in April 1887 and is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Minneapolis.

The Society has an existing collection of Patrick Daly papers to which this new item will be added.

Duane Swanson, Curator of Manuscripts

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Stillwater Prison Industries

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Charles Rodgers, Government Records Specialist, takes a look at Stillwater Prison Industries. Since the 1890s, inmates have manufactured everything from twine to office furniture. The Society’s collections include records, reports, photographs, and sample products that illuminate this unique enterprise.

icon for podpress  Stillwater Prison Industries: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download
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Images from the Walter F. Mondale Papers

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Walter Mondale in Office

KSTP-TV photo editor Skip Nelson shoots from an unusual angle in the office of Senator Walter Mondale in Washington, D.C. while filming the Channel 5 documentary “Mondale of Minnesota.”

What’s New?  We’re thrilled to feature hundreds of never-before-seen photographs from the Walter F. Mondale Papers now available online.  Walter Frederick (“Fritz”) Mondale, a native Minnesotan, spent most of his life in public service, at the state, national, and international levels. This selection of images from his papers offers exciting new looks at his life and political career.  Included are the work, travels, people, places, and events that shaped his experience and that of the country during the latter twentieth century.

These newly cataloged photographs are part of a larger project to process the Walter F. Mondale Papers.  The project was funded in part with a two-year grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

A valuable component of the Society’s extensive public affairs collections, the Walter F. Mondale papers document Mondale’s service as United States Senator from Minnesota (1964-1976), Vice President of the United States (1977-1981), presidential candidate (1984), Ambassador to Japan (1993-1996), and Special Envoy to Indonesia (1998). Along with his official records as state Attorney General (1960-1964, also held here in the Minnesota State Archives), the papers cover Mondale’s six-decade career, including all of his public offices, campaigns, and Democratic Party and other non-official activities. In addition to the breadth they add to the Society’s public affairs collections, the Walter F. Mondale Papers now enrich the Society’s photograph collection. By highlighting almost 500 images from the more than 7,000 contained in his papers, we deepened the political and governmental content of our Photo & Art Database and provided you greater access to the story of this important Minnesotan.

Walter Mondale’s wife Joan is also an integral part of the story.  An artist and craftswoman with many ties to the arts community, Joan Mondale was appointed ambassador for the arts during the Carter administration. She carried out numerous functions aimed at raising the public profile of art and artists and served as honorary chair of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities–the first time a vice presidential spouse was given a specific role and duties. We feature several photographs of her activities as well.

What else can be seen in these newly visible images?  Not surprisingly, there are insights to Walter Mondale’s work with a variety of constituents across the country, key political leaders through the decades, international initiatives, local communities, and national events.  We also catch a glimpse of celebrities, holidays, family and leisure activities. We encourage you to explore the selection, reminisce, gain new insights and enjoy!

Diane Adams-Graf, Curator

Mondale Family, 1965

Mondales, Walter, William, Joan, Eleanor and Ted

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