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Paul Wellstone memorial button

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Paul Wellstone memorial button

Pinback button worn by Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party chairman Mike Erlandson to acknowledge the death of United States senator Paul Wellstone in a plane crash in northern Minnesota on October 25, 2002.  Today marks the tenth anniversary of the crash. Text on the button reads, “The future will belong to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”  Manufactured in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2002.

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

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Letter from Mead to Donnelly regarding how the 1st Regiment voted – October 25, 1862

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Partial transcription of the letter:

“Our Regiment, I fear, has seen its best days.  Sully, as you know, has been made a Brigadier and now Morgan will probably be put in command.  The boys don’t say much–they have learned to keep quiet–but you can see that they have no confidence whatever in the .  Dana or Sully they would have followed anywhere, for they believed in them; but Morgan they know to be incompetent and many accuse him of cowardice.  At any rate, he is not the man to lead the 1st.       Under a General Order from the Department, Volunteers, if dissatisfied, can be transfered to any branch of the regular service they may choose. More than half the regiment yesterday made application and were admitted to the 1st and 2nd Cavalry.”

Citation:  October 25, 1862 Letter from Frank J. Mead to Lieutenant Governor Ignatius Donnelly, Correspondence October 16-31, 1862. Ignatius Donnelly and family papers, 1812-1973. Minnesota Historical Society. [146.C.19.5B]

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Pleating iron

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Pleating iron

Pleating iron consisting of two elements:  a handled roller and a base.  Pleating or fluting irons were used during the nineteenth century to press permanent, decorative pleats into cloth.  Made in Geneva, Illinois in 1866.

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

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Excerpt from a letter written by Captain Andrew R. Kiefer of the 2nd Minnesota Regiment, to Ignatius Donnelly – October 24, 1862

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

“Camp near Lebanon Ky.
October 24, 62. […]
Dear Gov. if it is possible for you to do something in the way of an appointment in one of our new Regiments I should be exceedingly thankful.  I have been the first German who undertook to raise a German company to surpress this wicked Rebellion and am now the 3rd Ranking Capt. in the Minnesota Army and believe that I am to be entitled to some consideration from the hands of my personal as well as political friends. […]
A. R. Kiefer Capt Co “G” 2nd Min.”


Citation:  October 24, 1862 Letter from A. R. Kiefer to Lieutenant Governor Ignatius Donnelly, Correspondence October 16-31, 1862. Ignatius Donnelly and family papers, 1812-1973. Minnesota Historical Society. [146.C.19.5B]

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In memoriam

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

AIM button

Pinback button, 1990 (1991.139.8)

Russell Means (1939-2012)

Oglala Lakota activist, actor, and tribal leader Russell Means died yesterday (October 22) at the age of 72.  Means was a key figure of the American Indian Movement (AIM, originally based in Minneapolis) and participated in its most significant actions, including the occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1973.

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George McGovern (1922-2012)

Campaign poster, 1972 (J2 1972 b1)

George McGovern (1922-2012)

Former United States Senator George McGovern died on Sunday, October 21 at the age of 90.  McGovern was the Democratic party’s nominee for president in 1972 but lost the election to incumbent Richard Nixon.

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Ded Uŋk’uŋpi—We Are Here Art Exhibit at the James J. Hill House

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Ded Uŋk’uŋpi—We Are Here art exhibit opened at the James J. Hill House last weekend. 2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the largest mass execution in the history of the United States. On December 26th, 1862, 38 Dakota warriors were sentenced and hung as a result of the U.S./Dakota war.  This timely and important group exhibit features works by 20 Native American artists whose work responds to the legacy of these events.


Work by eight of the artists has been selected for purchase as part of the Minnesota Historical Society’s permanent collection. The painting above is titled “The Crow is to Die For!” by Dwayne Wilcox.

Featured Artists:
Joe Allen, Angela Babby, Karen Beaver, Todd Bordeaux, Julie Buffalohead, Avis Charley, Gordon Coons, Jim Denomie, Michael Elizondo Jr., Evans Flammond, Charles Her Many Horses, Dakota Hoska, Henry Payer, Charles Rencountre, James Star Comes Out, Maggie Thompson, Jodi Webster, Gwen Westerman, Dwayne Wilcox, Bobby Wilson

Dakota Artist and Scholar Gwen Westerman Wasicuna said the following about the exhibit:

“With a stunning mix of humor and anger, hope and despair, this collection expresses the array of complicated responses to a brutal history.  While the thirty-eight executed Dakota are prominent, other essential aspects of culture and tradition are also present, including the strength of Dakota women, the role of horses and honor, and the ever-present landscape of the homeland. Whether incorporating new interpretations of traditional forms of beadwork, winter counts, and horse masks, or employing diverse contemporary techniques in glass, found objects, and photography, the messages here are as diverse as the artists themselves.  The stories depicted contribute to a broader understanding of the impact of these historical events and the power of art to tell a difficult story.  Abstract, realistic, and representational, these pieces help us see the transformative capacity of trauma and healing, destruction and regeneration, and above all, representation and memory.”

This exhibit will be on view during Hill House hours until January 13, 2013.

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Letters from Charles Goddard and Edward A. Stevens of the 1st Minnesota Regiment from Virginia – October 23, 1862

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Letter from Charles Goddard to his mother:
“Bolivar Heights Va Oct 23d 1862
Dear Mother  You would be surprised and would scold me I am afraid if I tell you that I have recd. 4 letters from you since I last wrote[,] but the deed is done and I am at your mercy[.] I have no excuse to offer, only negligence on my part. I have felt very ancious about that money ever since I started it off[,] for the day after I sent the letter thare was a man cought robbing the mail. I consider my self very lucky. I do not eat tobbaco as you supposed but I will confess I smoke and I find my pipe a companion I would be very sory to lose[.] at Fair Oaks when we wer on picket in those tall pines I found my pipe to be my best friend. I have not bought me boots and gloves yet, because it is not near aneugh winter[.] we will be paid before it is cold aneugh to ware gloves. You want my picture again but you will have to wait untill some future time for the degariaus* room is so crowded evry day that it is so hard to get one as you like. My health is very good[.] I could not wish for better health. I am not much afraid of hurting myself by long marches nor heavy duty at least I [evene] in the army to stand my chances with the rest and now I am going whole hog or none[.] You wanted to know how I felt when I went in to an engagement[.] I will not tell you now but when I get home you shall know all about it for I am afraid[,] Mother[,] you would not feel any the better for it[.] some things would seem prety hard[.]
You want me to write long letters when you know it is not my nature to set down for a couple of hours and write a long let. if you insist on it I shall have to reduce the number[.] I cant stand the pressure[.] if I was at home I would make an effort[.] I dont mean at home but if I was living like a white man. You want to know if I want to leave the Army now[.] I would like to very much but I have setled my mind to never leave until I am discharged and the war is settled[,] unless I am crippled[.] then I could not stay anyhow if I wanted to. I know that thare is friends to you thare that would never allow you to suffer but I dont like to be in debt so I would rather yould take the money I send home and buy your self and Brother Orren such clothes for winter as that mony weill buy[.] The boys are all geting long fine[.] none of them are sick except Stebbins[.] he is away in the Hospital. it is a hardy crew that came from your house. I like this Camp very well. that is I like the ground sight around here for a camp but it seems that the men in comand pick out the very worst place to camp an they have don so this time
My love to Brother Orren and Respects to all of my friends Chas. E Goddard’
Give my respects to Benny Low”

*definition of daguerreotype from http://www.merriam-webster.com: an early photograph produced on a silver or a silver-covered copper plate; also : the process of producing such photographs

Citation: October 23, 1862 Letter from Charles Goddard to his mother, Correspondence 1853-1862. Smith, Orrin Fruit and Family Papers, 1829-1932. Minnesota Historical Society. [P1434 box 1]

Excerpt from a letter written by Edward A. Stevens to Ignatius Donnelly, regarding the location of 1st Minnesota Regiment and the upcoming election:
“[…] Early yesterday morning two pedestrians “might have been seen” wandering their way along crooked roads and muddy streams in this pleasant valley(?)–thence across the pontoon bridge that lies upon the bosom of ye great Potomac—up through Harper’s Ferry and Bolivar to Bolivar Heights to a spot known as the camp of the 1st Minnesota Regiment; not finding the parties they were in quest of[,] they traveled farther and soon came upon “the boys” who were on picket. [...]“


Citation: October 23, 1862 Letter from Edward A Stevens to Lieutenant Governor Ignatius Donnelly, Correspondence October 16-31, 1862. Ignatius Donnelly and family papers, 1812-1973. Minnesota Historical Society. [146.C.19.5B]

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Hmong story cloth

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Hmong story cloth

Story cloth illustrating the participation of Hmong people in the Laotian Civil War (1953-1975), also known as the Secret War, and the subsequent Hmong genocide, resistance, exile in Thailand and emigration to the United States.  The scenes depicted on the cloth include the CIA-operated Laotian town of Long Chien as it appeared from 1967-1974; the flight of the Hmong from Laos into Thailand across the Mekong River; the refugee camp at Vinai; Hmong people studying English at Phanat Nikhom; and their arrival at and departure from a Bangkok airport.  The cotton cloth’s figures are embroidered; its border is appliqued.  Made in 1985.

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

Hmong story cloth (detail)

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“The Battle of Antietam,” “Mother look up to your son,” and the news, Rochester Republican – October 22, 1862

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

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“Those who Hate the Proclamation,” “Col. Sanborn at the Battle of Iuka,” and “From Fortress Monroe,” Stillwater Messenger – October 21, 1862

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

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