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Archive for 2014

“Another Glorious Victory in the Shenandoah” and “A Cloud of Galiant Witnesses”, The Stillwater Messenger – October 25, 1864

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

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Lutefisk or Ludefisk?

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Whether one calls it lutefisk or ludefisk, whether one smothers it with melted butter or cream sauce, or whether one considers it an epicurean delight or a gelatinous mass of something to be feared, lutefisk holds a special place in the hearts of many Scandinavian-Minnesotans.  With the approaching holidays, food connoisseurs may be interested in knowing more about its history.

The Minnesota Historical Society recently received a collection of records of the Kildall Company, a Minneapolis-based firm that manufactured and distributed lutefisk and related fish products, vegetables and breads.  At one time purportedly the largest wholesaler of such products in the nation, the Kildall Company was founded in 1897 and established plants on the near north side of Minneapolis.  It also invested heavily in the growing and canning of pickles.  The Griffith family continued to run business until about 1954.

The collection contains advertising samples, price lists, correspondence, and other business records documenting the production, sale, and use of its various products.  When cataloged, the records will be available for study or simple enjoyment in the Minnesota Historical Society Library.

The following recipe for Old Style Ludefisk was recommended by the Kildall Company about 1949:

  1. Wash fish in cold water (Ludefisk may be stored in cold water until ready for cooking).
  2. Drop fish in BOILING water that has been well salted. (A cheesecloth bag helps hold the fish together).
  3. Cook to a brisk boiling point.
  4. Drain fish and remove any skin and bones.

Serve with drawn butter or cream sauce (and “for a truly delicious and unusual meal” it can be “accented by lingonberries or cranberries, boiled potatoes and possibly pickled beets and rice custard”).

When cooking any sea food, the most important thing is don’t overcook.

Duane Swanson
Manuscripts Curator


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Diary entry by Thomas Montgomery of the 7th Minnesota Regiment, Company K – October 24, 1864

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Clear and warm[.] Preparing old C.C. & G.E. to be inspected. Cos. Drilled in forenoon, Battalion drilled in afternoon. Good drill. Major Losey drilled. Lewis Lerrill returned to Co. Attended School in Regulations at 6 ½ [P. cll.]


Citation: October 24, 1864. Diary entry by Thomas Montgomery, Diary, 1864. Thomas Montgomery and family papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [P2812 box 1]

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Consulting the Oracle

Friday, October 24th, 2014


I do not consider myself a person who scares easily. That being said, when I came across a Ouija board and planchette in the storage space at the Minnesota History Center, under the watchful glass eyes of a Great Horned Owl and around the corner from the collection of death masks, it gave me pause.

The Ouija board is one of the most iconic board games in America. The first patented game was created by the Kennard Novelty Company of Baltimore, Maryland, in 1891 in response to a growing fascination with spiritualism and the paranormal. To play, participants place their fingertips on the planchette and watch as messages are spelled out on the board, allegedly by the influence of spirits.

During most of the 20th Century the Ouija board was little more than an intriguing novelty toy, frequently played at parties and gatherings across the country. The game was mass produced in various styles, such as this board created by Parker Brothers, Inc., circa 1967. While there were certainly people who took it more seriously than others, the game was generally considered harmless fun.

That changed with the release of horror movies in the 1970’s and 80’s that portrayed Ouija boards at instruments of evil spirits and demons, such as The Exorcist in 1973 (this is also the year the board was donated to the Minnesota Historical Society). People began to view the game as frightening, while religious groups across the country condemned it as in tool of the devil, a practice that has continued even into the 21st Century.

These days, Ouija boards remain popular everywhere from slumber parties to pop culture, and there are all sorts of stories floating around about chilling experiences and revelations from using them. And even though scientists have established that the messages are created by the unconscious movements of the participants and not spiritual interference, the mysterious nature of the Ouija board lives on.

Seeing the board in the museum certainly makes me wonder…what stories would it tell?


Stephanie Olson
Collections Assistant

Learn more about the history and science of the Ouija board in the Smithsonian Magazine.

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Overturned Car

Friday, October 24th, 2014

A crowd gathers around an overturned car on a Minneapolis street on July 26, 1937.

This image forms part of our Minneapolis and St. Paul Newspaper Negative collection. Additional photographs in this series may be available in the library, please view the finding aid here.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this photograph in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

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Letter from James Madison Bowler to his wife, Elizabeth, about food and living quarters – October 23, 1864

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Letter from James Madison Bowler, stationed in Little Rock, Arkansas,  to his wife, Elizabeth, providing an interesting and detailed look at purchases of food supplies as well as his current living quarters.

A partial transcription of the letter:

Little Rock, Ark.
October 23rd, 1864

My Dear Lizzie:
[…] My camp is just on the opposite bank of the river from Little Rock. Have just got some new quarters built. They are 16 by 18 feet built of split logs, chinked with wood and clay, and covered with shakes and have a good cheerful fireplace. Furniture consists of three narrow beds three chairs, a table, and a desk. The walls are hung thick with clothing, swords, sashes, and belts. Altogether it is quite pleasant and comfortable. We have a colored woman to do our cooking and washing. By “we” I mean Lt. Gustafson,  [Adjut…] Jenks, and myself. Yesterday we replenished our larder with 1 bbl flour ($11.55) 200 lbs onions ($15.00) 20 lbs sugar ($6.00) 1 ba. meal ($2.00) 4 gales pickles ($2.00) 2 gales molases ($2.00) 20 lbs white fish ($2.00) 10 lbs Coffee ($4.50) 50 lbs pork $6.00 – besides sundry other things too numerous to mention. […]
Ever your husband,
Madison



See entire letter here: 1864-10-23_Bowler_combined

Citation: October 23, 1864, Letter from James Madison Bowler to Lizzie, Correspondence, undated, 1829-1865. Bowler, James Madison and Family, Papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [P1330]

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Tableware Set

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

A tableware set made of black glazed porcelain consisting of a dinner plate, soup or salad bowl, and a cup with saucer. Made by Monica Rudquist of Minneapolis, MN in 1993.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this set in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

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Diary entry by Matthew Marvin – October 22, 1864

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Diary entries by Matthew Marvin, Corporal in the 1st Minnesota Regiment who was wounded at Gettysburg. Marvin has been discharged, and is now home at his family’s farm in St. Charles, Illinois where he spends his time helping his family and visiting friends. On October 22 he writes simply, “Weather pleasant”. Earlier that week on October 20 he wrote, “Wrote to Sam & J P Non[.] Weather unpleasant Snow[.] Arose in the morning to find the snow coming down in large flakes[.] the first of the season[.] After partaking of pancakes I went out to inquire after the welfare of Nellie, found her better[.]”


See a week’s worth of entries: 1864-10-22_Marvin_combined

Citation: October 17 – 24, 1864 Diary entries by Matthew Marvin, Diary, January 1- December 31, 1864. Volume 3. Matthew Marvin Papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [P2355 box 1]

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MN Soul

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

“MINNESOTA SOUL” T-shirt designed and produced by Lee Jordan. Sold at the 1990 Juneteenth celebration, Minneapolis, MN.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this T-shirt in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

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“From Sheridan’s Army”, “From the South” and “Guerilla Operations Near Washington”, The Saint Paul Pioneer and Democrat – October 21, 1864

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

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