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June 24, 2011

Michael J. Dowling Silent Film

Filed under: Podcasts and Slideshows — Adam Harris @ 12:04 pm

The Minnesota Historical Society is pleased to make available a silent film clip featuring Michael J. Dowling (1866-1921). Dowling, a Minnesota politician, newspaper publisher, businessmen, and spokesperson for those with physical disabilities lost both legs, most of one arm and part of another to frostbite when he was young. During and after World War I Dowling crusaded for the rehabilitation of veterans disabled during the war. This film clip, first shown at a meeting of the American Medical Association in 1918, graphically demonstrates how Mr. Dowling was able to function very successfully in spite of his handicap. He is shown driving a car, traveling, and conducting regular business operations. This film when fully cataloged will become part of the Dowling family papers and available for research use in the MHS Library.

A quote from Mr. Dowling after the film premiere: “Now, an arm being gone is a mere bagatelle, two arms don’t amount to anything, and I can assure you from personal experience that it doesn’t mean anything to have both legs and both hands gone. There is just as much fun in living. What the so-called cripple needs is not charity but a chance.”

Duane Swanson
Manuscripts Curator

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