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Ojibwe dance costume shirt

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Ojibwe dance costume shirt

Ojibwe dance costume shirt (sleeve detail)

Ojibwe velvet dance costume shirt probably made for Kay-zhe-baush-kung (Otto Bismark) of Walker, Minnesota in 1920 and later purchased by Neal Barnard at the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.  It features both Ojibwe-style and Dakota-style beadwork lazy-stitched in two eight centimeter-wide bands that extend from the front of the shirt over each shoulder and down the back.  Each sleeve has a similar band extending the length of the sleeve to the cuff.  The cuffs are spot-stitched with a multicolor floral pattern on a white background and fringed with leather thongs covered with white beads.  Each thong terminates in a metal cone.  Either side of the front-slit neckline and center back has an applique of black velvet spot-stitched with floral beadwork.  All beadwork bands are outlined with flat metal disks, each sewn with a blue or red bead at the center.  A satin ribbon binds the edges of each band.  See also dance costume items 1984.156 and 1984.157.

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

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“Norfolk News,” and “Humors of the Campaign,” Monticello North-Western Weekly Union – May 31, 1862

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

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Autochthonous Minnesota

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

I am just back from a hike in the Bandelier National Monument where one can climb a series of ladders and enter cliff dwellings, go down a ladder into a kiva, or walk along ledges littered with prehistoric pot shards. The vacation reminded me of my neglected work duties and how long it has been since I posted another of Minnesota’s best books and the magical place reminded me of one of the indisputably best Minnesota books for this list.

Winchell, Newton Horace. The Aborigines of Minnesota: A Report on the Collections of Jacob V. Brower, and on the Field Surveys and Notes of Alfred J. Hill and Theodore H. Lewis / Collated, Augmented and Described by N. H. Winchell. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1911.

Minnesota is blessed with [if not confused by] three geologists named Winchell. Our author [and collator, augmenter, and describer] N. H. Winchell was the Minnesota State Geologist for the last 28 years of the nineteenth century before he became the head of Archaeology at the Minnesota Historical Society. And sorry but I have to sneak this in a biographical tidbit – N. H. also rode with Custer on the General’s first expedition to the Black Hills!

Aborigines is a monumental book of 761 pages, fifty years in the making, and a publishing nightmare. It is lavishly illustrated with thirty-six halftone plates, twenty-six foldout inserts and six hundred and forty-two figures that accompany the text. Clark Dobbs in his A Brief History of Archaeology in Minnesota calls Aborigines “the most comprehensive published collection of information on the mounds, earthworks, and other early archaeological information from Minnesota, as well as the ethnography of the Ojibwe and Dakota.” The work documented the quickly disappearing pre-White contact archaeological landscape of Minnesota. N. H. Winchell played down his hard work in producing this volume, saying “Mr. Hill plowed the field where Mr. Lewis sowed the seed, the fruit of which Mr. Brower garnered.”

There was a time that this book was so common and so cheap that the MHS was giving them away as premiums to anyone who became a member for $5. An old time book dealer told me that they were used as doorstops at the MHS and eventually the many unsold copies were sent off to Horner-Waldorf to be recycled into Wheaties boxes. Now the book is findable but rarely in very good condition and often at prices exceeding one thousand dollars.

This loss of the book was just fine in most people’s eyes because it is so comprehensive that unscrupulous, unethical, and unlawful pot hunters were using it to locate, unearth, and remove the archaeological record. For the armchair archaeologist this “Best Minnesota Book” will provide hundreds of hours of pleasurable browsing.

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Two Constitutions?

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Minnesota is governed by two constitutions – why? Watch this short video to learn more. Hint: politicians not getting along is nothing new.

 
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Learn More:

Music credit:

“Indiana Polka” By Edmund Jaeger, arranged by J. Schatzman, originally published 1856. From the Library of Congress, Civil War Band Music site.

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Herz gas hand iron

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Herz gas hand iron

Help Mate gas hand iron made of cast iron with a chromed finish and wood handle grip.  Made by the Herz Manufacturing Company of St. Paul, Minnesota circa 1910.

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Letter from very unhappy soldier – May 30, 1862

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Letter from Sergeant David A. Piercy of Brackett’s Battalion, Minnesota Cavalry in Tennessee to Ignatius Donnelly regarding Piercy’s illness and disenchantment with his regiment. He’s been ill for 3 month, denied a furlough and won’t apply for discharge because they “won’t let anyone go out of the Regiment.”

“Ft Henry Tenn May 30th /62
Dear Friend it is a long time since I have riten to you or heard from you so I think that I will try and send you a few lines. I have been sick and in the Hospital at Paducah and I am not will now by a good deal and I dont think that I shall ever be the same as I was when I left Minn.  I had the Tifoid [Typhoid] feavor and one of my lungs is efected and I have not done any duty for three months. and I tried to get a furlough but the surgeon of our Regiment would not give me one. but I think that I am entitled to a Discharge but I have not applied for one for it is no use for [they] wont let any one go out of the Regiment. I tell you Mr Donnelly this is one of the greatest swindels that has ever been got up. the Regiment dont amount to a row of pins.  The officers are just robbing Government, there aint more than half of us that have got arms and horses. we are staying here at the mercy of the enemy. the Colonel has a steam boat so that [they] can get away and [they] will leave the rest of us to look out for our selves.
Our Company is in a bad state[.] our Captain has been taken Prisoner and fifteen of the company and our first Lieutenant is in St Paul sick. and the 2nd is not the right kind to get along here, so we have rather hard times. when our Capt was with us we got along very well, but since that it has been a up hill affair. I am perfectly disgusted with the regiment and company[.] if I could get out of it I would.  I supose that thare is no use of me telling you about the skirmishes at the [Obisse] for you have heard all about it long before this. I was sick in the Hospital at the time or else I should have ben in it to. […]“

Citation:  May 30, 1862 Letter from Sgt. David A. Piercy to Lieutenant Governor Ignatius Donnelly, Correspondence Apr-May. 1862. Ignatius Donnelly and family papers, 1812-1973. Minnesota Historical Society.

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Brooch and earring set

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Brooch and earring set

Jewelry set owned by the wife of Moses K. Armstrong (1832-906), U.S. congressman and surveyor of territory in what is now Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.  The dyed horsehair brooch is woven into a flower shape with six petals.  The petals and center are woven separately and then tied together at the back.  The matching pendant earrings consist of three-petaled top segments attached to larger, six-petaled bottom segments.  Used in the 1870s.

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“The News–A Reverse,” and “Our War Correspondence,” Taylor Falls Reporter – May 29, 1862

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

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Happy Memorial Day

Monday, May 28th, 2012

World War II officer's insignia

Collection of military insignia awarded to First Lieutenant LeRoy A. Bell during World War II. At the center of the frame is a color photograph of Bell in uniform. The surrounding insignia include, clockwise from top: a service cap device; a first lieutenant’s bar; U.S. collar insignia; cavalry insignia; a distinguished unit citation ribbon bar; World War II Victory, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign, and American Campaign service ribbons; 761st Tank Battalion insignia; a 761st Tank Battalion shoulder patch; cavalry insignia; U.S. collar insignia; and a first lieutenant’s bar.

From Bell’s obituary published in the Star Tribune on June 3, 2008:

Born in Carroll, Iowa on March 20, 1920. LeRoy was a graduate of South High School, class of 1938. LeRoy served his country proudly in the U.S. Army 27th Calvary, Fort Riley, Kansas and 761st Tank Battalion in Northern France during World War II, retiring as a First Lieutenant. He continued as a member of the Minnesota Buffalo Soldiers in the Twin Cities. He worked and retired as a Computer Programmer from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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“Latest News,” Rochester Republican – May 28, 1862

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Remember: click twice to make larger and easier to read! [ed.]

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