Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
The Minnesota Historical Society has a very extensive sheet music collection, focusing on Minnesota subjects, publishers, and composers. They are an emotional, celebratory, sometimes funny, and usually graphic representation of the State’s history.
Our new favorite piece of sheet music is an 1844 abolitionist song we recently acquired at an auction in New York. It was written by Jesse Hutchinson, of the famous Hutchinson Family singers. The Hutchinsons were super stars, an internationally famous family of itinerant singers, known for their four-part harmonies and abolitionist views. This song, “Get Off the Track,” may have been their most well known anti-slavery tune.
Minnesota has an important and unique connection to the Hutchinson Family Singers. Eleven years after this music was published three of the brothers, John, Asa, and Judson, homesteaded in Minnesota establishing the town of Hutchinson, on the banks of the Crow River.
This one piece of sheet music gives us a glimpse into both the cultural significance of popular music and political debate in the era just preceding Minnesota’s establishment as a Territory and the outbreak of the American Civil War.
See the article in Minnesota History for more details on the Hutchinsons’ story.
Our most recent Huffington Post post on the new music display in the Library Lobby is now available! Take a look at Minnesota Music and come see it in person. Find out what these keys are all about!
Minnesota has a long and storied history of music making. From the Hutchinson Family Singers during the Civil War to Dylan, Prince, punk, and beyond, the creation of music is central to our cultural life here.
See a small sample of some of the fun musical items in the Collection, including Prince’s gloves from Purple Rain; Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to “Temporary Like Achilles”; Karl Mueller’s Chuck Taylors; and Vixen leader Jan Kuehnemund’s guitar and jacket.
Know that there is more to discover – this is just a starting point! The Library Lobby is open the same hours as the Library. Come visit and enjoy!
The Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. asked us to participate in an innovative and exciting project to commemorate the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago. Institutions from around the country contributed digital versions of collection items, showing personal responses to the news of the President’s death. As we at the Minnesota Historical Society have been scouring the Civil War manuscript collections for our Civil War Daybook, this project was a perfect fit.
These unique items, from the MNHS Collection and many others, will be available to a worldwide audience. Be sure to see our contributions of the Wheelock letter; the St. Paul newspaper announcing Lincoln’s death; a diary entry by Senator Ramsey; and a letter by Moses Lightning Face, one of the Dakota captives at Davenport, concerning the President.
Check out all this and more at Remembering Lincoln: Responses to the Lincoln Assassination.
Another new entry over on the Huffington Post – enjoy!
As we enter into March Madness, take a moment to check out our post Basketball Before March Madness over at the Huffington Post!
He dreamed of being a big league baseball player, but destiny had other plans for Minnesota Vikings legend Paul Krause. In the early 1960s the Flint, Michigan native was a two-sport star at the University of Iowa, excelling at both baseball and football. A dozen major league teams had their eye on the gifted outfielder, but a shoulder injury sustained in a gridiron match against Michigan permanently damaged his throwing arm. The 6’3” Krause refocused on football, playing defensive back for the Hawkeyes starting in 1962. Blessed with remarkable athleticism and an uncanny ability to read the opposing offense, Krause made 12 pass interceptions in his final two seasons.
Drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1964, Krause finished his inaugural season in the NFL with a league-leading 12 interceptions and was a close second in the voting for Rookie of the Year. Krause played four seasons with Washington, racking up 28 interceptions before being traded to the Minnesota Vikings in 1968. “In 1968, we decided to go almost exclusively to the zone, which was a radical change in the league,” recalled Vikings head coach Bud Grant. “What we really needed was an intelligent, far-ranging free safety with great hands; in other words, a super athlete. After surveying the league, we decided that Paul Krause had all those qualities.”
Toiling alongside a celebrated defensive line dubbed the Purple People Eaters, Krause wielded his masterful talent for anticipating plays and became one of the league’s most intimidating safeties. “I try to keep everything in front of me,” he explained, “watching the quarterback, the movement of the backs and the flow of the linemen.” Krause spent 12 seasons with the Vikings, appearing in three Super Bowls and six Pro Bowls, and retired in 1979 as the NFL’s all-time interception leader with 81 steals. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
Adam Scher, Senior Objects Curator
More MNHS Collections on the Huffington Post! This time, ice fishing.
To see more images like the one below check out our newest post, Ice Fishing Fun!
Once again, our Collections are featured in the Huffington Post, and just in time for the end of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival!
To see more images like the one below check out our newest post, Saint Paul Winter Carnival!
“Phenom” is a well-worn idiom in the creative arts, but it’s an apropos expression of Laurie McNeil’s extraordinary talent. Starting with a sheet-rock knife and no formal training, the Minneapolis native burst onto the scene in 1985 and within a year went from virtual obscurity to international best-in-show winner. Most of McNeil’s decoys, which take about 500 hours for a life-sized work, are crafted from a block of tupelo, a wood favored by decoy carvers for its softness and buoyancy. A cardboard template is used to trace an outline onto the wood, which is then cut out with a band saw. Rotary tools and wood-burning pens are then used to further define the decoy and create fine details like feathers.
Video: Common Loon Decoy from Start to Finish – Less Than Two Minutes (courtesy: Laurie McNeil)
A critical step in the creative process is weighting the figure so it floats – a judging requirement in gunning decoy competition and a necessity for hunting use (a rarity since McNeil’s decoys often sell for thousands of dollars). This exquisite specimen, McNeil’s first life-size rendition of Minnesota’s state bird, was executed in 1987 and proved an especially challenging figure to self-right. Opting to forgo a keel, McNeil hollowed the body and head and used lead weights for ballast. Uncertain of the efficacy of her engineering, McNeil concealed a rueful message inside the bird’s head which reads, “If you are reading this note, something serious has happened to my Loon!” Miraculously, the decoy took to water like the proverbial duck and won best-in-show that year at the prestigious Pacific Southwest Wildlife Arts California Open. McNeil became the first woman to win the open-class competition at that event, a singular honor which garnered the admiration of wildfowl carvers and collectors nationwide.