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Minnesota Dressmakers Resource

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Visually stunning women’s formal wear is a highlight of the MNHS costume collection.   Minnesota Dressmakers:  The Business of Dressmaking is expanded research about costume in the MNHS collection dating between 1880-1920. About 100 garments are identified by the label of the dressmaker’s business sewn into the garment and represent 25 different prominent businesses operating in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Dressmaking by 1900 had become the third most important occupation for women.  These business owners and the seamstresses they hired supplied custom-made fashion to their clients at a time when ready-to-wear was an emerging concept.   Enjoy this new resource   that provides business histories and biographical information on the women engaged in this work.

The research to identify these businesses took on a life of its own as staff, volunteers and interns combed city directories, newspapers, census data, death records, birth records, family papers, photographs, maps, and probate records.  Occasionally, we found family members to interview. We looked at every possible source of information for clues into these women’s lives in order to imagine their relationships as proprietors, workers or clients.

This project was supported by The Bean family grant for business history, the Ken and Nina Rothschild Endowment fund for business history and women’s history, and support from Art and Cultural Heritage Funding.

Linda McShannock, Associate Curator

Minnesota Dressmakers:  The Business of Dressmaking



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Army Glider

Friday, December 16th, 2016

A photograph of a Northwestern Aeronautical spokesman showing off the MN made US Army CG-4A Transport Glider at an April, 1943 show in Minneapolis.

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.

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3M Lint Removers

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

A package of six Scotch brand lint remover pads, made by the 3M Company in the 1960s.

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

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Space Race

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

A “Satellite Space Race” card game in original box made by Ed-U-Cards Manufacturing Corporation of Long Island City, New York. circa 1957-1965.

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

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A Close Call

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

The Civil War is chock-full of tales of tragedy narrowly averted, often in the form of a bullet being stopped by a bible residing in the chest pocket of some fortunate soldier.  However, such occurrences aren’t always accompanied by documentation to substantiate their authenticity, making this sword belt worn by Lt. William Paist of the Eighth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry an especially intriguing artifact.

A native of Ohio, Paist moved to Saint Paul in 1855 and started a real estate business, which prospered until the financial panic of 1857.  In 1862 he enlisted as a private in Company H of the Eighth Minnesota, which served nearly two years in the U.S.-Dakota War until the unit was transferred to the Civil War’s Western Theater.

In December, 1864 the Eighth Minnesota Regiment participated in the Third Battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where they fought against Southern troops for the first time.  On December 7, William Paist, now a lieutenant, was leading his company in battle when he was wounded.  Like many Civil War soldiers, Paist was a prolific writer and penned this account two days later in a letter to his family:

“I was struck once with a grape shot – it is a cast iron ball about as large as a small walnut.  My belt plate saved my life as it struck it & bent & mashed it all up…could not speak for 10 minutes & when I did come too supposed the ball was in my belly but a faithful corporal by the name of Josiah Lothrop was beside me with the ball in his hand. I have it now & intend to string it to my sword.”

Lt. Paist survived the war and returned to Minnesota where he became a successful farmer and a founding member of the North Star Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry.  The Minnesota historical Society holds the papers of William Paist and his family, and now the ball and sword belt from that fateful day in 1864.

Adam Scher, senior curator

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Breakfast

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

A postcard showing a group of men eating breakfast(?) in the cook shack in a logging camp near Bemidji in 1908.

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

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Remembering Miles Lord

Monday, December 12th, 2016

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Judge Miles Lord last Saturday. He was born on the Iron Range and became a towering legal figure in Minnesota and the nation. Prior to being appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, he served as Minnesota’s Attorney General from 1955 – 1960 and U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota from 1961 – 1966. He was known for issuing rulings in favor of those regularly disenfranchised, such as minorities, women, consumers, and environmentalists.  His friend Hubert Humphrey called him “the people’s judge.”

Learn more about this important figure here:

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Beaded Gloves

Monday, December 12th, 2016

A pair of Ojibwe leather gauntlets decorated with floral beadwork. Dated circa 1900-1950.

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

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The Tall and Short of it

Friday, December 9th, 2016

A photograph of a tall high jumper standing next to a short judge at a May 1937 track meet at the University of Minnesota.

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.

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Lawn Tennis Trophy

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

A sterling silver trophy from the 1907 Minnesota State Lawn Tennis Championship for women’s doubles, won by Marguerite Davis.

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

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