Home / Collections / Podcast & Blog » Search Results » minnesotan

Collections

Collections Up Close

June 14, 2016

History is Now: Remembering Prince

Filed under: What's New — Lori Williamson @ 1:53 pm


The Minnesota Historical Society is seeking to document the tragic passing of Prince by placing a call for personal photos at memorials and celebrations dedicated to the talented musician and cultural icon.

Prince memorial at the Minnesota Historical Society, April 2016

First Avenue, April 23, 2016

Our goal is to collect 100 photographs to illustrate how Minnesotans celebrated and grieved after the news of his death, whether it was a purple flower beneath his First Avenue Star, attending an all-night dance party, or making the trek to Paisley Park.

Please consider sending us one digital image based on the criteria below. If your photo is selected, you will be sent an official donor form and your image will become part of the Minnesota Historical Society permanent photograph collection and included in our Collections Online database.

Specifics:

  • Please submit only one digital photo. File format must be JPEG or TIFF, with a preferred resolution between 300-600 pixels per inch.  The date and location of the image must also be included.
  • The image must have been taken between April 21, 2016-May 5, 2016.
  • You must submit contact information for follow up, and be willing to sign a donor agreement form that includes granting copyright to the Minnesota Historical Society.
  • Please email the image to collections@mnhs.org with the subject line History is Now.
  • Images should be emailed no later than July 15, 2016.

The MNHS Curatorial Staff will select up to 100 images.  Thank you for your consideration!

January 19, 2016

World War I Daybook Update!

Filed under: Civil War Daybook — Lori Williamson @ 12:08 pm

Hello! My name is Lisa Matson and I have been working as the World War I Daybook Research Assistant Intern this fall. I graduated in May from St. Olaf College with a History major and a Women’s and Gender Studies concentration. Over the last few months I have been continuing the research started by the first two World War I Daybook interns, Molly and Mary. I spent most of my time during the internship in the Gale Family Library reading through manuscript collections. These collections were largely in the form of letters, journals, and other accounts of the war written by men in military service, or men and women serving overseas with other organizations such as the Red Cross and YMCA. There were also a few collections relating to the role of Minnesotans at home during the war. Many of the manuscript collections that I researched will be included in the World War I Daybook blog.

One interesting source that I researched consisted of letters written by Willard W. Bixby, a Minnesota man who worked as a Red Cross ambulance driver in Italy beginning in June 1918. Bixby’s work driving ambulances as a Red Cross volunteer involved moving injured soldiers between hospitals and working on the front lines removing injured soldiers from the battlefields to hospitals where they would be treated. Bixby’s letters to his family describe Italy and his life as an ambulance driver. These letters provide an interesting and unique insight into the war as Bixby served in Italy, while most of the other collections I researched were written by people serving in France, and he was the only ambulance driver in the manuscript collection that I encountered.

In a letter from June 16, 1918, Bixby describes driving an ambulance in the midst of an attack that started the day before and (as he states in later letters) lasted for eight days. It was written from “somewhere on the Piave” in Italy. Here is a selection from Bixby’s letter:

“The anticipated attack started yesterday morning about 1 A.M. I have been on the go every minute and have had about 6 hrs. sleep in the last 48. I am well and safe but have certainly seen the thick of it. . . . I have a machine now so we all have to be on duty as it is a night and day affair. . . . I can see shrapnel bursting from my window and believe me it is not the most pleasant of sounds.”

In later letters, Bixby describes his work throughout the following months and his role in the “grand advance” at the end of the war. See more posts about Willard W. Bixby’s life as a Red Cross ambulance driver in the World War I Daybook blog!

These are two types of ambulances driven by the Red Cross ambulance men. This photo is captioned, “The Fiats carry twice as many wounded as do the Fords. The contrast in size is plainly to be seen here.”

Citation: Willard W. Bixby and Family Papers. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. [A/.B624]

Don’t forget to check out the World War I Daybook when the blog launches in April 2017 and keep up to date with the research process blog posts until then!

Lisa Matson, World War I Daybook Intern

January 15, 2016

“You’re a Saint or you ain’t!”

Filed under: What's New — Lori Williamson @ 1:27 pm

Although ice hockey has been played in Minnesota at the amateur and scholastic level since the 1890s, Minnesotans had to wait until 1967 for its first professional team, the North Stars, to emerge from a National Hockey League expansion.  In 1971 the World Hockey Association was formed to compete with the NHL and Minnesota garnered a second professional team, the Minnesota Fighting Saints.

Based in Saint Paul, the Fighting Saints were actually two distinct teams.  The first squad, which rallied fans with the catchphrase “You’re a Saint or you ain’t!” played four seasons beginning in 1972 and boasted a winning record of 30-25-4 before folding in 1976.  The Saints’ second incarnation came in 1976 when the WHA’s Cleveland Crusaders moved to Saint Paul.   The “New Fighting Saints”, as they were sometimes known, also fared well on the ice and had a winning record (19-18-5) through their first 42 contests.  Yet despite their success and a devoted following the Saints could not compete financially with the North Stars, which benefited from a favorable television contract.  Unable to secure a buyer, owner Nick Mileti was forced to fold the franchise on January 20, 1977.

Among the Saints’ star players was Canadian-born Dave Keon, who used this stick during the 1976-77 season.  Keon spent 15 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs before joining the WHA, where he also played with the Indianapolis Racers and the New England Whalers. One of the greatest two-way centers in professional hockey, Keon scored 498 career goals and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986.

Adam Scher, Senior Curator

January 6, 2016

World War I Artifacts Digitized

Filed under: Civil War Daybook, What's New — Lori Williamson @ 12:54 pm

For the past several years the Minnesota Historical Society’s staff have been digitizing our World War I related artifacts. This collection comprises approximately 1,800 objects including United States military uniforms, equipment and supplies, as well as foreign military items (most of which were brought home as souvenirs), trench art, Red Cross materials, and more. The project was undertaken in anticipation of the centennial of the Great War and two major World War I programs planned for spring of 2017: an exhibit focusing on the home front currently in development; and the World War I daybook blog launching in April, 2017.

With the digitization project now complete, all World War I artifacts in the MNHS Collection are available to view on the Collections Online database. Here are some highlights from this incredible collection:

Victory medal awarded to Tela B. Burt, an African-American from Minneapolis who served as a supply sergeant with the 809th Regiment of Pioneer Infantry in France, circa 1919. After the war ended, Burt returned to the Minneapolis and had a career with the post office, played music for several dance bands, and eventually became one of the first African Americans in the Twin Cities area to enter the real estate field.

A length of barbed wire from Verdun, France, found by Miss Frances Rogers of Minnesota, who was part of the American Fund for French Wounded.

German military field telephone inside oak case, circa 1915.

A United States Army Model 1917 steel helmet. This classic World War I “doughboy” helmet was worn by Private Clarence Ervin Ohmann of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

A ditty box owned by United States Navy Seaman Edward R. Stensrud of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It contained souvenirs relating to Stensrud’s WWI service, including postcards, German and Swedish matchboxes and an address book. Railway tags have been pasted on each end of the box.

Coat for an American Red Cross overseas uniform, worn by Margaret MacLaren of Saint Paul, Minnesota, while serving in France circa 1918.

British military issue gas mask and cloth case, circa. There were many types of gas masks used during the war, and this is known as a Small Box Respirator.

French Croix de Guerre medal awarded to Minnesotan John Bowe. When the war began Bowe was the mayor of Canby, Minnesota. He abandoned his position and went to Canada to join the military, where he was rejected due to age. He then went to England and tried to enlist, but was informed he would have to renounce his United States’ citizenship. He then went to France where he joined the French Foreign Legion in 1915.

Minnesota service flag created for the Victory Liberty Loan Campaign in April, 1919. The approximately 1,200 gold stars represent the servicemen from Minnesota who died during the war. It is 18 feet high, and 28 feet long.

Stephanie Olson, Collections Assistant

September 11, 2015

Progress on the World War I Daybook!

Filed under: Civil War Daybook — Lori Williamson @ 4:10 pm


Hello everyone! My name is Mary Lesher. I’m a senior History major at Vassar College and I was this summer’s World War I Daybook Research Assistant Intern. I followed up on some of the great research the previous intern, Molly, did into the various kinds of World War I collections items the Minnesota Historical Society has acquired. I spent the majority of my internship in the Gale Family Library examining the Minnesota Gold Star Roll, which was compiled by the Minnesota Public Safety Commission in the years just after the close of the war. The Gold Star Roll is a record of every Minnesotan who died during the war from combat, plane, train and automobile accidents and influenza, which affected soldiers domestically and abroad. These records were filled out by close family members- mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, wives and children- and include various details of these men and women’s lives, from their place of birth to their schooling, character, vocation and military service. Family members often sent in photos, letters they received during the war and newspaper clippings about their loved one who died to give a more complete understanding of who that person was. I combed through every single record to find stories, primary sources and photos to share with you in the World War I Daybook.

One of my favorite Gold Star Roll records is that of Miss Sabra R. Hardy, a nurse in the United States Army Nursing Corps. She was from Minneapolis and worked as a nurse in Minneapolis Hospitals before enlisting for service in WWI. Hardy trained at Camp Travis in Texas before shipping out to New York to finish her training and await her journey to Europe. When she reached England she wrote a brief note to her parents alerting them that she had arrived safely overseas, and told them she would write again once she was permanently located at a hospital near the French Front. This was the last her family ever heard from her, as Hardy contracted Influenza-pneumonia and died about a week after reaching France.

New York
Aug 23-18
Dearest Mother and Dave:

I am here at last and, I just can’t wait till I’ve got my gov’t. outfit together & my Red cross suit on. They are such a good looking blue serge suit [symbol] & U.S.A. emblems worn on lapels beside the Caducci [plural form  of caduceus] which stands for the medical dept. & a black sailor hat & heavy brown army shoes. The duty uniform is grey crepe & white (No. 2) aprons & bibs & caps…”

Citation: “Hardy, Sabra R.” Minnesota Publc Safety Commission. Gold Star Roll. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota [114.D.4.3B]

Be sure to join us for more incredible stories from World War I when the blog launches in April, 2017!

July 10, 2015

Cultural Traditions in Minnesota

Filed under: What's New — Lori Williamson @ 4:46 pm

Minnesota’s culture reflects its diverse population, with influences beginning with Minnesota’s Dakota and Ojibwe population, moving through waves of European immigration, and more recently by communities of Latin American, African, and East Asian immigrants.

Currently on display in the Library Lobby is a small selection of some of these cultural traditions. Beautiful and telling, these items give an idea of all the talent in our fair state through time.

The display also in includes the recently acquired work of Ricardo Gómez (see above), who became the first Minnesotan of Puerto Rican heritage to be represented in the MNHS’s Collection. We are thrilled to have these examples of traditional yet contemporary work, documenting an incredible artist and his vibrant community.

November 7, 2014

Murder Scene

Filed under: Item of the Day — Jason Onerheim @ 12:01 am

A photograph of a shooting victim outside the Panther Room at the Minnesotan Hotel on December 27, 1950.

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/)

October 24, 2014

Lutefisk or Ludefisk?

Filed under: What's New — Lori Williamson @ 3:48 pm

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


May 14, 2014

New Library Exhibit – From the Closet to the Altar: a Modern History of LGBTQ Communities in Minnesota

Filed under: What's New — Lori Williamson @ 1:46 pm

Come to the MNHS library lobby during library open hours and take a walk through the recent history of LGBTQ politics, activism, and controversy in Minnesota.

The idea for the From the Closet to the Altar exhibit was in part prompted by a recent acquisition of organizational records from Project 515. Project 515 has the unique standing as being probably one of the only organizations in Minnesota pleased to be closing their doors in 2014. Their mission, “to achieve equal rights for same sex couples under the law”, was accomplished on May 14, 2013 when Governor Mark Dayton signed HF 1054 into law. This law changed the definition of civil marriage from “between a man and a women” to “between two persons”, while striking language designating lawful marriage as “only between two persons of the opposite sex”.  Minnesotans have a range of thoughts regarding same-sex relationships, love, and marriage but the fact remains that our state has a long and colorful history surrounding our LGBTQ populace.

While some of the content in this exhibit may be disturbing to modern viewers, the Society is proud to showcase materials from our collections reflecting the varied and sometimes contentious history of LGBTQ communities and interested parties in Minnesota.

The exhibit will be on view until July 7, 2014.

Shelby Edwards, Assistant Manuscript Curator

January 30, 2014

Remembering Matthew Little

Filed under: Our Favorite Things — Lori Williamson @ 4:07 pm

The Collections Department is proud to highlight two notable manuscripts collections that document the work of civil rights activist and long-time Minneapolis NAACP president, Matthew “Matt” Little (1921-2014).

Matthew Little, circa 1981.
From Little’s papers related to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Matthew Little was born in North Carolina in 1921 and found himself living in the Twin Cities by the end of the ‘40s. He would spend the next 70 years in Minnesota, building on a reputation as a leader in the civil rights and social justice movements.  Little’s chairmanship of the Minnesota March on Washington Committee in the early 60’s and his long tenure as president of the Minneapolis NAACP are documented in two separate manuscripts collections in the Minnesota Historical Society’s Library.

The Society’s collection of papers related to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom includes materials compiled and created by Matthew Little while Chair of the Minnesota March on Washington Committee. These manuscripts document the efforts of the Committee to organize, enlist support for, and fund a Minnesota delegation to the March on Washington held August 28, 1963. In addition to agendas and minutes, organizing manuals, press releases, publicity fliers, event programs and itineraries, and petitions (July-August 1963), there are circular letters, such as this request for contributions to the Committee.

Circular letter, undated
From Little’s papers related to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Little’s March on Washington papers also include a variety of outgoing and incoming correspondence, such as this congratulatory letter from then Senator Hubert H. Humphrey.

Correspondence from Humphrey, September 11, 1963, featuring this quote: “Leadership in Washington depends on leadership by people in Minnesota like you.”
From Little’s papers related to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Little’s long tenure as President of the Minnesota NAACP and continuing Civil rights advocacy work is reflected in the Society’s collection of files relating to the Minneapolis NAACP. Little continued work with the NAACP on behalf of Black Minnesotans long after his presidency ended in 1993. These files include correspondence, reports, and legal briefs pertaining to Minneapolis school desegregation lawsuits (1970-2007); the Hollman public housing planning process case, which involved the Sumner Field Homes in north Minneapolis (1993-2000); the purchase of WCCO-TV and WCCO and WLTE radio by CBS Inc. and a minority internship program at the stations (1991-1993); and papers relating to the Roy Wilkins Memorial in St. Paul (1991-1997). These issue files contain a variety of materials including speeches, court documents and legal briefs, as well as statements made by Little.

Statement of Matthew Little, President of the NAACP, October 12, 1992
From Little’s files relating to the Minneapolis NAACP.

While Little’s work related to both the Minnesota March on Washington Committee and the Minneapolis NAACP are represented in the Society’s collections, he holds a much larger place in Minnesota’s social justice and civil rights historical narrative. I will end this brief introduction to Matthew Little’s papers here at the Society with the following quote by Little, made after the March on Washington in 1963. He writes:

“I think, then, that the true meaning of the march on Washington was to say this: America, we have waited 100 years with patience. We can wait no longer—we must have total freedom now in all phases of our American Society.”

Shelby Edwards, Manuscripts Collections Assistant

Next Page »


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