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Report from quartermaster of the MN 1st regiment addressing the reports of inadequate food and supplies for the 1st regiment – July 31, 1861

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Report from  George H. Woods, Quartermaster of the 1st MN Regiment, to MN Adjutant General Col. John B. Sanborn.

[…]  “Second – as to food –
The Army Regulations allow as a ration ¾ of a lb of pork or bacon or 1 & ¼ lbs of fresh or salt beef, 1 lb & 2 oz of flour or bread, or 12 oz of hard bread, and at the rate to 100 rations of 8 qts of peas or beans or in lieu thereof 10 lbs of Rice, 10 lbs of Coffee, 15 lbs of Sugar, 4 qts Vinegar, 1 ½ lbs of Candles, 4 lbs Soap & 2 qts of salt.  Our Regt has always had, since one just came to Washington, the full amount of the above rations.  They, having been drawn for 5 days at a time, with the exception of fresh bread and fresh beef, which are always drawn upon the day of consumption.  Whenever the Regt has been so situated that it could be done the Regiment has had fresh bread every morning which has been about ½ of the time as near as I can ascertain from a hasty examination of the provision returns.  Fresh beef is intended and is generally issued twice a week.  Upon an examination of the above you will perceive that the Government furnishes a liberal supply of food and in some of the companies when they have been prudent and economical they have saved quite a Company fund.” […]

Citation:  July 31, 1861 Official Report from the  Quartermaster of the First Regiment,  Letters Received–1st Reg. 1861. Minnesota: Governor: Ramsey. Records. Minnesota Historical Society. State Archives.

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Two letters to Governor Ramsey describing lack of adequate clothing – July 30, 1861

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Letter from Lt. Col. Stephen Miller to Governor Ramsey.

“Washington, July 30, 1861.
My Dear Govr: Your favor of the 22nd just at hand, in regard to the clothing of this Reg’t,
There have been in the Reg’t many cases of individual hardship, a few amounting to almost nakedness; nut I think that of the following facts there is not a doubt.
First.  That the best temporary and partial uniform that could be obtained promptly, in our poor and sparsely settled State, was provided for the Regt at the time of its organization.
Second. That about the middle of last May Col. Gorman made the proper requisition for the full U.S. Uniform for all our men, and he and our Quarter-Master and messengers to N York and Phil’a have been urging and laboring for its delivery ever since.
Third.  Notwithstanding these exertions the clothing was only procured last week.  It was immediately delivered and nearly all our men are now in possession of excellent suits.  The few exceptions will be provided for in a few days.
I do not go into this matter more largely because Col. Gorman will write you officially upon this subject very soon.
Ever yours truly, Stephen Miller”

Citation: July 30, 1861 Letter from Stephen Miller to Alexander Ramsey,  Letters Received–1st Reg. 1861. Minnesota: Governor: Ramsey. Records. Minnesota Historical Society. State Archives.

Letter from Colonel Gorman to Governor Ramsey

[…]  “This Reg’t was as well provided as any Regiment brought into the service of the U.S. from the West.  The clothing delivered at Fort Snelling was, although of an inferior quality in most part and condemned by a board of inspection, yet necessity knows no Law & it was received because no other could be procured owing to the great distance we were from the manufacturing cities.” […]

July 30, 1861 Letter from Willis A. Gorman to Alexander Ramsey, Letters Received–1st Reg. 1861. Minnesota: Governor: Ramsey. Records. Minnesota Historical Society. State Archives.

See full text: 1861-07-30_full_text

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Those were the days, indeed

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Please forgive my lack of diligence and attention to the blog listing Minnesota’s 150 best books. It has been over four months since I have posted any new titles and my poor excuse is that small emergencies, such as lack of a functional government, occasionally intruded. I promise to get back on track with regular updates. If you stopped looking for new postings please give me another chance. Keep in mind that I love (and occasionally reward) feed back. I also appreciate the forwarding and circulation of my posts to any potentially interested parties. By my count, we have listed 60 books so far and have 90 fabulous books to go so lets get re-started…

William Hoffman. Those Were The Days. Minneapolis: T. S. Denison and Company,1957.

Those were the days cover

By the time the list of 150 best Minnesota Books is finished I am sure we will have mentioned many of the ethnic, immigrant, and religious communities that have made us the rich state that we are. One very important part of our heritage is the Jewish community which was occasionally concentrated into tightly knit communities such as the Mississippi River flats on the West Side of St. Paul across from downtown.

Documenting this neighborhood of Jewish immigrants with the attention to detail of the social worker that he was, and the humanism of the columnist which he also was, was William Hoffman. Whether Hoffman is giving you the history and successes of “Neighborhood House” (which opened initially through the work of Rabbi Isaac L. Rypins and quickly became non-sectarian), describing Texas Street which was the wrong side of the tracks of the wrong side of the tracks, or listing the family names like an incantation, he brings the early twentieth century community back into existence.

From Those Were the Days:

Contrary to some popular impressions, Adam and Eve were not from the West Side, but many of Abraham’s descendants did find their way there after a stormy trip across the ocean below deck in steerage. Your parents will assure you, if they have not already done so, that this was not their conception of a first class trip. But arrive here they finally did, even if the legendary pot at the end of the rainbow turned out to be a different kind of pot altogether.

Surely you must know by this time that they left their little dorfs (villages), their close friends, and even some of their family, not to see the “guldeneh” (golden) land of America for themselves, but for you, their children and grandchildren. They came that you might sleep soundly through the night and walk upright during the day with the dignity of free people.

My grandfather, Abraham Levenson, lived in this neighborhood and I am now terribly sorry I did not pay attention to his stories. Those were the Days is a good reminder that, unless you are Native American, we are all immigrants and had at core similar reasons for coming to America and settling in Minnesota. For more of his writings see Tales of Hoffman and More Tales of Hoffman.

Allow me a quick note and thank you to St. Paul’s Mayor. He purchased this book with its all important dust jacket [lacking on the MHS copy; click on the image above for a better view] for the Society at the Antiquarian Book fair in June. Forty other books were purchased at the Fair for the collections by MHS members who had a preview of the books.

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Two teapots by Richard Bresnahan

Friday, July 29th, 2011

The Minnesota Historical Society houses a small but important collection of Richard Bresnahan pottery including these two early teapots. Bresnahan has been artist-in-residence at St. John’s University outside St. Cloud and now operates the largest wood-fired kiln in North America. After apprenticing to Nakazato Takishi Pottery in Japan, Bresnahan returned to Minnesota in 1979 to run the St. Johns pottery program. He is well known for combining sensitivity to nature and a commitment to using local, renewable resources. This is reflected in all his pottery; the clay is gathered from an old abandoned road-bed, the fuel for the wood-fired kilns is collected in a sustainable fashion from the St. John’s grounds or obtained from the waste of local manufactures, and even the glazes are made from local straw, sunflower hulls and quartzite dust.

Bresnahan’s teapots are his signature work. Derived from traditional Japanese shapes and techniques they often have rattan handles made by Minnesota artist Paul Krueger.


A classic shape for both traditional Japanese pottery and Richard Bresnahan, this Double-Gourd teapot features a spiral decoration made of blue slip. The serendipitous nature of a wood fired kiln is seen in the differing coloration on the left side view.


This flat teapot was fired in a kiln configuration called Tagnegashima which reaches 2500° F and gives the pot a soft brown/black color. It also features unusual Silicon Dioxide stone feet and lid handle.


The Minnesota Historical Society also has cups, platters, bowls and jars by Richard Bresnahan in the collection. They will be available for viewing using Search Our Collections soon.

Jason Onerheim, Collections Assistant, Minnesota Historical Society

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Edwardian taffeta dress

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Lavender taffeta dress (side)Lavender taffeta dress (front)

Taffeta dress made by Minneapolis dressmaker Madame Rose H. Boyd between 1906 and 1910.  The dress is two pieces and has a matching belt.  The bodice has tucks and lavender lace decorating the front, with lace trimming the sleeves and high neck.

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2 letters: letter from Colonel Gorman requesting 150 men to replace those wounded or killed at Bull Run; letter from US Senator Morton S. Wilkinson containing list of men killed at Bull Run – July 29, 1861

Friday, July 29th, 2011

First Entry: Letter from Colonel Gorman to Governor Ramsey

“Head Quarters 1st Minn Vols, Camp Minnesota Washington
July 29, 1861
Sir, I have the honor to request that you send to me from your State one hundred and fifty able bodied men to fill up the ranks of the 1st Min Regiment occasioned by our loss at the Battle of Bull Run on the 21st inst and those who will necessarily be discharged. Your Obt. Servant,
W. A. Gorman, Col 1st Regt Min
To His Excellency Alex Ramsey Gov of Min “

Citation: July 29, 1861 Letter from W.A. Gorman to Alexander Ramsey, Letters Received–1st Reg. 1861. Minnesota: Governor: Ramsey. Records. Minnesota Historical Society. State Archives.

Letter from Senator Morton S. Wilkinson to Governor Ramsey.

“Hon Alex Ramsey,
Dear Sir, Upon recei[ving] your dispatch requesting me to telegraph the condition of our Regiment, I went to the officers to obtain the correct information.  Gorman told me that you had requested him to telegraph the number of lost & he seemed anxious to do it…”

Citation:  July 29, 1861 Letter from M.S. Wilkinson to Alexander Ramsey,  Letters Received–1st Reg. 1861. Minnesota: Governor: Ramsey. Records. Minnesota Historical Society. State Archives.

See full text here: 1861-07-29_full_text

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Jerome Liebling

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Young girl W. [i.e. West] St. Paul, 1956 The Reverend Jesse Jackson, Democratic-Farmer-Labor state convention, St. Paul, 1968

Jerome Liebling photographed Minnesotan people and their landscapes throughout the 1950s and 1960s, during a time when the social, political, and demographic landscape was rapidly changing both here and nationally. Recently, Mr. Liebling donated to the Minnesota Historical Society nearly 200 black-and-white gelatin silver print photographs taken during this time period, the majority of which document activities of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.

Migrant, Green Giant, LeSueur, Minn., 1953U.S. Senate candidate Eugene J. McCarthy and U.S. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, Memorial Stadium, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1958

Jerome Liebling passed away yesterday, July 27, 2011. As an artist, educator, and documentarian, he has both presented Minnesota to others and left a legacy of compassionate art within our state.

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Political Landscape: Jerome Liebling’s Minnesota Capitol Photographs, 1956 – 1969

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Jerome Liebling began his career as a photographer in New York in the 1940s. In 1949, his move to Minnesota shifted his work to a more rural landscape. His art, however, maintained its focus on people and the spaces that they occupy. During the late 1950s, a time when Minnesota was becoming nationally known for its politics, Liebling began photographing Minnesotan politicians. Recently, Jerome Liebling donated to the Minnesota Historical Society nearly 200 black and white photographs of these images, the majority of which are documenting activities of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. During his years in Minnesota, he trained countless artist photographers in the Fine Arts department at the University of Minnesota. In this way, as did the politicians in his photographs, Jerome Liebling has left his own legacy in our state.  He passed away on July 27, 2011.

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“Lieut. Raguet.,” Saint Paul Daily Press – July 28, 1861

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

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Ceremonial silver trowel

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Ceremonial silver trowel
On this day (July 27th) in 1898, former territorial governor Alexander Ramsey laid the cornerstone for the new Minnesota state capitol building, designed by Cass Gilbert. This silver-plated trowel commemorates that occasion. The engraved text on the trowel reads:

Presented to Alexander Ramsey, the First Governor of the Territory and Second Governor of the State of Minnesota by his fellow citizens as testimonial of affection and respect. With this trowel the corner stone of the new state capitol was laid at St. Paul, Minnesota, July 27, A.D. 1898.

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