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New Year’s card

Monday, December 31st, 2012

New Year's card

New Year’s holiday card illustrated and signed by Vernon V. Green.  The black and white cover illustration shows Father Time, holding an hourglass and scythe and dressed in a robe marked “1936,” turning away from Baby New Year, who sits on a throne and wears a crown markerd “1937.”  A handwritten message inside reads, “Happy New Year / Vernon.”

For details, view the card in our online collections database.

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“Very Latest: General Grant Falling Back to Memphis, “Emancipation Triumph!” and “The Minnesota First in the Battle of Fredericksburg,” St. Paul Press – December 31, 1862

Monday, December 31st, 2012

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Diary entry by Matthew Marvin – December 30, 1862

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Diary entry by Matthew Marvin, Corporal in the 1st Minnesota Regiment, written from the 1st Minnesota’s camp at Stafford Hills near Falmouth, Virginia. As 1862 come to a close, Marvin continues life as usual in camp. On Tuesday the 30th he writes:

On drill once Recd Orders to have 3 days rations in haversack and 6 days in wagon[.] 60 rounds catridge[.] Wrote to Jim[.] Weather AM pleasant Pm rain[.]


Citation:  December 30-31, 1862 Diary entries by Matthew Marvin, Diary notes and memos. Matthew Marvin Papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [P2355 box 1]

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Diary entry by Matthew Marvin – December 29, 1862

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Diary entry by Matthew Marvin, Corporal in the 1st Minnesota Regiment, written from the 1st Minnesota’s camp at Stafford Hills near Falmouth, Virginia. This week Marvin observes that “Christmas is very dull in camp”.  Throughout the week, he makes out muster rolls, writes letters, and hears a rumor that the Regiment will be sent to Washington.
On Monday the 29th he writes:

Took an inventory of the company property[.] Was on drill once[;] the company drilled twice[.] Weather pleasant[.]


Citation:  December 24-29, 1862 Diary entries by Matthew Marvin, Diary notes and memos. Matthew Marvin Papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [P2355 box 1]

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Victorian coat

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Late Victorian coat

Coat owned and worn during the 1890s by Martha Aurelia Langdon Truesdale, daughter of Minnesota engineer Robert Bruce Langdon (1826-1895) and wife of Arizona Territory Supreme Court Justice Hiram C. Truesdale (1860-1897).  The silk winter coat is lined with angora wool and features a paisley-like motif popular during the Aesthetic Movement.

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“The Indian Executions, ” “Confession of the Prisoners” to Reverend Riggs, and “The Awful Spectacle at the Gallows,” St. Paul Press – December 28, 1862

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Two days ago, December 26, was the 150th anniversary of the hanging of thirty-eight Dakota men in Mankato, Minnesota, the largest mass execution in United States history–an event that continues to reverberate in Minnesota history to this day.

Local interest in the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War overshadowed news on the Civil War and dominated newspaper coverage for a time. The Saint Paul Press newspaper published this more extensive report on what happened that day two days later, on December 28, likely because news did not travel as quickly as it does today.

This is a particularly difficult topic and a dark chapter in Minnesota’s history. The purpose of the Daybook is to use primary sources and first person accounts to show what was happening in the Civil War and on the homefront 150 years ago to the day.

For more on the Dakota perspective, please see the U.S.-Dakota War website and this Item of the Day post.

[Please remember: to make the text large enough to read click on it twice. Thanks! -ed.]


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Navy seaman’s trinket box

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Navy seaman's trinket box

Ditty box owned by United States Navy Seaman Edward R. Stensrud.  The wooden box, originally painted red, white and blue, is now yellowed from varnish.  The box fastens with an iron clasp and contains a removable tray.  It also contains souvenirs relating to Stensrud’s WWI service and subsequent life; see 1976.28.B – 1976.28.S.  One of Stenrud’s dogtags (1976.28.S) is attached to the front of the box.  The brass hinged lid and side of the box are carved and painted with details of Stensrud’s military service, including: “E.R. / STENSRUD SK-2C / EASTLEIGH, ENG. AVN. / WORLD WAR I / 1917-1918″, “U.S. NAVY”, and  ”E.R. STENSRUD / U.S. NAVY / APRIL 19,1917 / OCT. 21, 1919 / SK 2C”.  Railway tags have been pasted on each end of the box.  One reads “London and South Western Ry / TO / GOSPORT”.

For details and additional images, view the box in our online collections database.

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“The Gallant First in the Battle–Casualties and Incidents, ” Indian Excecutions: The Preparations”, and “Latest News: Negro Soldiers at the South,” St. Paul Press – December 27, 1862

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

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Anniversary of Mankato executions

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

1862 Sung Ite Ha

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the largest mass hanging in United States history, carried out in Mankato, Minnesota on December 26, 1862.  On that day, 38 Dakota men were executed for their alleged participation in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

This fall, Minneapolis’ All My Relations Gallery presented Ded Unk’unpi: We Are Here, an exhibition of artworks by contemporary Native American artists.  Many of the artworks, like James Star Comes Out’s mixed media horse mask sculpture “1862 Sung Ite Ha” (above), comment on the execution of the 38, and on the grief, diaspora and exile of the Dakota people that followed.  The artist writes in a statement included in the exhibition:

The horse is respected as it is sacred and empowers the Lakota/ Dakota with its connection with the Wakinyan Oyate (which is important in Lakota/ Dakota belief). In that respect, the sacredness and utilization of the horse is vital in Lakota/ Dakota culture, as representation of honor, pride and value that are used for such ceremonies like a giveaway, honoring, or memorial of a loved one. In past, our ancestors expressed honor and pride by decorating a horse in their finest and given away as a gesture of generosity in honor of loved ones.

With this in mind, I created this piece with the date “1862” in honor and memorial of the 38 Dakota that were hanged in 1862. I have utlized floral designs that represent the Dakota Oyate. Overall, this art piece is a representation of the values and way of life of the Dakota, which defines who we are as a people. But most of all, honoring and remembering what the 38 Dakota went through so our people can live and exist.

For Every Great Man, There is a Great Woman

Avis Charley’s drawing “For Every Great Man, There is a Great Woman” (above) was also featured in Ded Unk’unpi. In her artist’s statement, Charley writes:

The Dakota War killed many warriors and chiefs. Behind every great man killed was a great woman. During this tragic period in history, the women had to stay strong while ugliness was rampant in their everyday lives from the downhill battle of losing their land and livelihood.

The women represent different generations and the virtues of our Dakota values. These values are courage, honesty, perseverance, and generosity and the message will be about healing, moving forward, and empowering ourselves as Dakota women despite the trauma in our history.

These pieces and more are on exhibit at the Hill House Gallery until January 13, 2013.

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“How Men Act in Battle,” “Secret Military History,” and “The Indian Convicts” St. Paul Pioneer and Democrat – December 26, 1862

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Today is the 150th anniversary of the hanging of thirty-eight Dakota men in Mankato, Minnesota, the largest mass execution in United States history–an event that continues to reverberate in Minnesota history to this day.

Local interest in the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War overshadowed news on the Civil War and dominated newspaper coverage for a time. The Saint Paul Press newspaper published only a short letter from President Lincoln to Congress in relation to the condemned on December 26, 1862, likely because news did not travel as quickly as it does today. A more elaborate reporting of the hangings from the same newspaper appears on December 28th.

This is a particularly difficult topic and a dark chapter in Minnesota’s history. The purpose of the Daybook is to use primary sources and first person accounts to show what was happening in the Civil War and on the homefront 150 years ago to the day.

For more on the Dakota perspective, please see the U.S.-Dakota War website and this Item of the Day post.

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