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WWI Trunk

Monday, August 1st, 2016

A trunk from World War I. The top of the lid is painted with the words “NO 16 / SGT ICL ERNEST B.L.ECKBERG / DIVISION DET / NO16 HQRS. 79 DIV” in black. On the left side there is a rectangular sheet of aged-yellow paper with a handwritten label that reads “E.B.L. Eckberg / Micalleh, Minn.”

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

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Dress Tail Coat

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

A United States Navy pay corps lieutenant’s bluish black wool flannel full dress uniform cutaway tail coat. Used in 1918.

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

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Chauchat Machine Gun

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

A French armed forces Model 1915 Chauchat 8 mm Light Machine Gun C.S.R.G. with a detachable crescent-shaped magazine that hold twenty rounds in line. The buttstock, scales for the pistol grip, and turned handle between the trigger and magazine are all walnut. Barrel housing has air-cooling perforations and the muzzle has a flash suppressor. Gun is mounted with a folding bipod that is painted olive drab; other metal parts are painted white. Left side of frame has two sling swivels. Rear of receiver and left side of frame are stamped “C.R.S.G. No. 148190″. From World War I.

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

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US Army Wings

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

United States Army aviator’s non-regulation “wings” badge (.1) in box (.2). The wings are hand-made of cast silver with a pin fastener on the back, which is stamped “STERLING / WING”. The box exterior is black leather, with black velvet interior. Worn by Major Harold Melville Clark of Saint Paul, Minnesota, for whom Clark Field in Luzon, Philippines is named. Circa 1918.

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

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100th Anniversary of the Nonpartisan League!

Friday, December 18th, 2015

This year, 2015, is the centenary of the foundation of the Nonpartisan League (NPL). The NPL was founded in the American Midwest and arose out of the cooperative movement popular here. It was a farmer-based movement offering an alternate vision of capitalism, one in which the state would compete with the monopolies that were exploiting the small producers.

The NPL practically invented grass roots organizing, and would support candidates from either party who supported its platform (hence “nonpartisan”). The League advocated for economic reforms to help farmers who were being exploited by business interests, such as grain elevators, stockyards, and other middlemen. “We’ll stick” was the group’s rallying cry, as seen on the pennant below.

The NPL was in operation in 13 states as well as Canada, but it met with its greatest success in North Dakota and Minnesota. This is an image of Minnesota members in 1917.

Pamphlets and newspapers played a hugely important role in the development of the movement, leading to corresponding anti-NPL pamphlets. While not as immediate as our instant commentaries of today, these pamphlets were a quick way to make arguments heard. The rise of the NPL was also one of the earliest political movements to be heavily photographed; seen here are members with The Nonpartisan Leader.

World War I brought about suspicions of the potentially socialist nature of the NPL, which was followed by prosperity in the 1920s for farmers. These two occurrences took away much of the need for the NPL. It eventually developed into the Farmer-Labor party in Minnesota, which later merged with the Democrats. The Democratic Party in Minnesota is still known as the DFL.

Learn more at the Minnesota Historical Society Research Guides and MNopedia!

Come see NPL materials on display in the Library Lobby, on view until mid-January!

Lori Williamson, Acquisitions & Outreach Coordinator

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Matchbox

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

A brass matchbox holder depicting the applied insignia of Imperial Germany including the inscription “GOTT MIT UNS” (God with us). This military souvenir was collected by a Sergeant with the 45th Engineers while serving in France during World War I.

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

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Toy Tank

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

A model of an amphibious tank made of light-weight metal, possibly tin cans, and painted olive drab. The inscription reads “Made in 72 Camp”, and it features a 12-pointed star in white with red circle. Made around 1918.

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

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Trench Knife

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

A United States Army Model 1918 trench knife features a brass knuckle handle with individual finger loops and a double-edged dagger blade. Knives like this were used during World War I for close fighting in trenches.

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

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U.S.S. Maumee Pennant

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Dark blue and gold felt pennant of the U.S.S. Maumee (AO-2), which was commissioned in 1916 and refueled destroyers at sea during World War I. The pennant reads “U S N [United States Navy] / U.S.S. MAUMEE”.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this pennant 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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WWI Boots and Spurs

Monday, November 24th, 2014

A pair of non-regulation United States Army officer’s leather calf-length boots worn by Dr. James Martineau of the U.S. Army Medical Corps. The pull-on type boots are equipped with U.S. Army-type German silver (nickel alloy) jack spurs.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view these boots 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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An Ounce of Preservation: A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs