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Believe Me True: Victorian Valentines, 1840 – 1900

Posted byLori Williamson on 07 Feb 2013 | Tagged as: Podcasts and Slideshows

This episode features Victorian valentines from the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections, dating from 1840 to 1900. While the designs are vintage, the feelings expressed are timeless.

icon for podpress  Podcast Video [1:49m]: Download (1114)

Produced by Lizzie Ehrenhalt

For more valentines, see Collections Online.

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Weather or Not: Winter in Minnesota

Posted byLori Williamson on 23 Jan 2013 | Tagged as: Podcasts and Slideshows

As Minnesotans, we love to talk about the weather. Talk about it, obsess over it, live in it, love it. Or love hating it, at least. Since the Saint Paul Winter Carnival and Crashed Ice start soon, we thought this a good time to look at a variety of winter weather from images and film in our Collection, including an Easter snowball fight, winter swimming, -20 degrees, and blizzards. Enjoy the misery of others and maybe watch it again come July!

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Produced by Sondra Reierson

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Season’s Greetings!

Posted byLori Williamson on 18 Dec 2012 | Tagged as: Podcasts and Slideshows

View a selection of holiday greeting cards from the Minnesota Historical Society’s extensive collection. These are dated between 1878 – 1967. Enjoy!

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Walter Mondale and the Public Affairs Collection

Posted byLori Williamson on 21 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Podcasts and Slideshows

The Minnesota Historical Society holds the Walter F. Mondale Papers and has one of the nation’s premier collections of government, politics, and public affairs materials. Watch to learn more about the collections and how to use these fabulous materials.

 
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Shoes on Parade: Highlights from the Minnesota Historical Society’s Footwear Collection

Posted byLori Williamson on 17 Oct 2012 | Tagged as: Podcasts and Slideshows

View footwear highlights from the Minnesota Historical Society’s Collection featuring styles from the 18th century, through the 1920s, into the 1960s, and beyond.

Created by Lizzie Ehrenhalt

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Firefighting in Minnesota: A Salute to the Fallen

Posted byLori Williamson on 27 Sep 2012 | Tagged as: Podcasts and Slideshows

On September 30, 2012 a memorial for Minnesota’s fallen firefighters will be dedicated on the State Capitol grounds.  This podcast highlights both the memorial and the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections related to firefighting in Minnesota.

Sondra Reierson, Collections Assistant

 
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The Road to Prohibition

Posted byLori Williamson on 29 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: Podcasts and Slideshows

 
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In 1919 the Eighteenth Amendment was passed, banning the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol in the United States.  Just a year before the law went into effect, Minnesota could boast 37 breweries producing over a million barrels of fermented liquors and distributing them to over 3,000 retail liquor dealers.  In Minnesota, as in the nation as a whole, Prohibition was hardly established through consensus.

At the turn of the 20th Century, about 70% of Minnesota’s population was either first or second generation American, so ethnic attitudes toward alcohol were very influential.  Much of the state’s population favored moderation rather than total abstinence, but each group had some kind of temperance tradition.

The national temperance movement had been gaining steam in the United States since the 1870s, spurred by the growth of temperance organizations such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, or WCTU, the Anti-Saloon League, and the Prohibition Party.

The Minnesota Prohibition Party first entered a State gubernatorial race in 1869 and saw a surge in popularity in the 1880s, when Minnesota began enacting licensing fees for saloons as a way to encourage temperance.  The Party began gaining real momentum after the turn of the twentieth century, winning its first seats in the Minnesota House in 1906.  By 1915 a “county option” bill was passed by the Minnesota legislature, allowing entire counties to  vote themselves dry.

World War I also facilitated prohibitionists’ goals. Wartime rationing led to the Food and Fuel Control Act, passed in August, 1917, which prohibited the use of foodstuffs in the manufacture of liquor across the country.  And anti-German hysteria fueled by the Great War was channeled against German brewers, including Minnesota’s own Schell’s, Hamm’s, Yoerg, and Schmidt.  The Anti-Saloon league went so far as to declare that “German brewers [...] have rendered thousands of men inefficient and are thus crippling the Republic in its war against Prussian militarism.”

The War Time Prohibition Act was passed in 1918 in order to save grain for the war effort.  Meanwhile, in December 1917, a constitutional amendment resolution was passed and sent to the States for ratification.  Minnesota’s 1918 referendum on the amendment failed narrowly but on January 17th, 1919, the Minnesota Legislature ratified the federal Prohibition Amendment, making Minnesota the 39th State to ratify the Eighteenth Amendment, which went into effect on January 17, 1920.

Congress passed the National Prohibition Act to enforce the 18th Amendment.  The law was sponsored by Minnesota’s Republican Congressman from Granite Falls, Andrew Volstead.  Volstead was not a radical prohibitionist but sponsored the Act because, as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, he was expected to do so.  The Volstead Act, while established the legal definition of intoxicating liquor and the penalties for producing it, was poorly enforced.

The ban on alcohol not only lacked popular consensus, but was difficult to enforce because of the public demand for illegal alcohol, which made criminals of producers and consumers.  The nation would soon face the unintended consequences of prohibition: bootlegging, gambling, prostitution, organized crime, and corruption. While prohibition was in effect, Minnesota’s capitol city became a haven for gangsters such as John Dillinger, Babyface Nelson, Alvin Karpis, and the Barker gang.  See the podcast “St. Paul: Gangster Haven” for details.

By 1933, widespread disrespect for the law led to the passage of the 21st Amendment, which remains the only constitutional amendment approved for the explicit purpose of repealing another amendment.  Prohibition officially ended December 15, 1933, to the delight of many Minnesotans, who waited in long lines at local breweries to enjoy their first legal beer in thirteen years.

Sondra Reierson, Collections Assistant

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Inventions of Champions: How Minnesota Changed Breakfast

Posted byLori Williamson on 18 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: Podcasts and Slideshows

For many Americans, the word “breakfast” conjures up images of hearty bowls of cereal and toasters popping out slices of golden-brown bread. But it hasn’t always been this way.  Explore how breakfast has changed over time and learn about Minnesotans’ impact on this most important and delicious meal of the day!


 
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Have Sticker, Will Travel: Minnesota State Park Stickers

Posted byLori Williamson on 20 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: Podcasts and Slideshows

A recent acquisition of the State Archives came from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Included in this was a complete set of State Park Entrance Stickers. This podcast provides a brief history of use of Minnesota State Parks entrance stickers. State Archives collections are available through the Minnesota Historical Society’s Library.

 
icon for podpress  Have Sticker, Will Travel: Minnesota State Park Stickers [4:34m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download (1236)
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Music Credit: Jason Shaw, Travel Light, at http://audionautix.com/(CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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Two Constitutions?

Posted byLori Williamson on 30 May 2012 | Tagged as: Podcasts and Slideshows

Minnesota is governed by two constitutions – why? Watch this short video to learn more. Hint: politicians not getting along is nothing new.

 
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Music credit:

“Indiana Polka” By Edmund Jaeger, arranged by J. Schatzman, originally published 1856. From the Library of Congress, Civil War Band Music site.

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