Researcher's Notebook weblog

July 8, 2010

Mission Sunday at Lac qui Parle July 11

Filed under: Colleagues, Events — Kathie Otto @ 3:09 am

On Sunday, July 11, guests are invited to join descendants of missionaries and the Dakota at Lac Qui Parle Mission (6 miles north of Montevideo) for a day of unity and worship. The Dakota Choir will sing during a worship service beginning at 10:30 a.m. The service will include the traditional hymn “Lac qui Parle.” A potluck picnic will follow at noon. An afternoon program at 1 p.m. will include talks by Alan Woolworth, Jeff Williamson, and Elwin Rogers. Lac qui Parle Mission is owned by the Minnesota Historical Society and managed by the Chippewa County Historical Society.

Bookmark and Share

May 10, 2010

“North Country” Book Readings

Filed under: Books, Colleagues, Events — Kathie Otto @ 7:10 am

Mary Wingerd will read from North Country: The Making of Minnesota starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 11, at the Minnesota History Center, and at Magers and Quinn Booksellers on Thursday, June 24, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

A nice article on the book appeared in the Saint Paul Pionner Press last Sunday, May 2. You can read the article online. An excerpt follows:

“When Wingerd accepted the university’s commission in 2006, she and her editors thought her book would replace Theodore Blegen’s thorough Minnesota: A History of the State, published in 1964. Instead, North County ends in what most of us think of as the middle — with the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. ‘The U.S.-Dakota War and its aftermath mark the forceful closure of (an) era of cultural mingling, a sharp divide between the familiar Minnesota story of settlement and the neglected history of the multicultural borderland that preceded it’ Wingerd writes.”

Bookmark and Share

April 29, 2010

Nina Archabal to Retire

Filed under: Colleagues, Interesting Information — Kathie Otto @ 2:50 am

Nina M. Archabal will retire after 33 years of service to the Society, 23 as its director. Read more in a letter from Archabal and in the official press release, both posted on the Society’s web site.

You may participate in a discussion about what’s important to the local history community for her replacement on the Local History blog.

Bookmark and Share

March 9, 2010

KFAI Broadcasts “Women in Saint Paul Politics”

Filed under: Colleagues, Interesting Information — Kathie Otto @ 1:49 pm

KFAI celebrates International Women’s Day with women in Saint Paul politics: Ruby Hunt remembers Rosalie Butler / Rhoda Gilman discusses Emily Gilman Noyes / Jane McClure talks about Constance Currie. Listen to the KFAI Evening News (scroll down to 3/8/2010).

(This is the same talk that is mentioned in the March 1 posting on this blog.)

Bookmark and Share

March 1, 2010

Women in Saint Paul Politics Talk March 5

Filed under: Colleagues, Events — Kathie Otto @ 1:42 pm

Rhoda Gilman will be one of the speakers on the subject of “Stories of Womenemily-gilman-noyes in Saint Paul Politics” at the Landmark Center this coming Friday, March 5. It is one of the lunchtime (12:00-1:30) programs in the Preservation Talks for Women’s History Month, sponsored by Historic Saint Paul and the League of Women Voters of St. Paul.

Gilman’s subject will be Emily Gilman Noyes, suffrage leader and women’s rights advocate. Other speakers will be Ruby Hunt on Rosalie Butler and Jane McClure on Constance Currie.

Emily Hoffman Gilman Noyes, ca. 1930  
MHS Photo and Art Database

Bookmark and Share

February 10, 2010

Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum Programs

Filed under: Colleagues, Events — Kathie Otto @ 12:17 pm

Two Research group members have presentations coming up:

  • February 27: “Historic Churches of Southeast Minnesota” by Nancy Powell.
  • March 27: “Minnesota’s African Americans and Their Struggle with the Civilian Conservation Corps,” by Barb Sommer.

Both will be at the Hosmer Library, 36th St. and 4th Ave. in Minneapolis at 10:30 a.m.  All Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum programs are free and open to the public.

Bookmark and Share

June 30, 2009

Lucile Kane Memorial

Filed under: Colleagues, Events — @ 2:17 pm

Colleagues and friends will commemorate Lucile Kane’s life and career at a gathering organized by her friends to be held Monday, July 6, 3:00 p.m., at the James J. Hill House in Saint Paul. Please tell others who knew her and may want to attend.

If you would like to submit a one - two paragraph statement about Lucile Kane for the memorial program, send to Mary Bakeman by July 2.

The Hill House is closed on Mondays, but will be open for those attending this event.

Bookmark and Share

June 5, 2009

Lucy Kane and John Wood Died This Past Week

Filed under: Colleagues — @ 11:24 am


Lucile M. Kane died May 30, 2009, at the age of 89 at the St. Paul Elder Services in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. She was born March 17, 1920, in the Town of Salem (near Plum City) in Pierce County, Wisconsin, the daughter of Emery and Ruth (Coaty) Kane. Lucile graduated from Ellsworth High School and in 1942 received a bachelor of science degree from River Falls College. She taught for a while at Osceola High School, 1942-1946, and received her master’s degree in history from the University of Minnesota in 1946.

She also worked for the University of Minnesota Press, 1945-1946, and was a research fellow and editor for the Forest Products History Foundation in Saint Paul from 1946-1948. She was curator of manuscripts at the Minnesota Historical Society from 1948 to 1975, and Minnesota state archivist from 1975 until retiring on July 1, 1979. Lucy was then a senior research fellow at the Society from 1979-1985, and a senior research fellow emeritus from 1985-2003.

Lucy edited and translated a substantial book entitled Military Life in Dakota: The Journal of Philippe Regis de Trobriand (1951). She contributed to The Public Lands: Studies in the History of the Public Domain, which was edited by Vernon Carstensen (1963). In 1966 she published The Waterfall that Built a City: The Falls of St. Anthony in Minneapolis, which was later updated and published as The Falls of St. Anthony: The Waterfall that Built Minneapolis (1987). She helped edit The Northern Expeditions of Major Stephen H. Long (1978), and with colleague Alan Ominsky co-authored Twin Cities: A Pictorial History of Saint Paul and Minneapolis (1983). She authored various articles that appeared in such periodicals as Minnesota History, Wisconsin Magazine of History, Business History Review, Agricultural History, and The American Archivist. She also wrote the influential A Guide to the Care and Administration of Manuscripts.

Lucille is survived by her two sisters, Dorothy (Shafi) Hossain of Sherwood and Audrey (Kenneth) Cernohous of New Richmond, sister-in-law, Lennis Kane of Plum City, brother-in-law Robert Eder of Amery, many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.  Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, June 6, 2009, at St. John’s Catholic Church in Plum City; burial will be in the church cemetery. Friends may call one hour prior to services at the church on Saturday. Memorials proffered to the Alzheimer’s Association, Women’s Shelters, and the Humane Association.

Bruce White wrote this about Lucy on his Minnesota History blog:

Lucile M. Kane died on May 30, 2009. In terms of the profession of history in Minnesota, she was truly one of the “Greatest Generation.”  A historian and archivist, she was committed to collecting and making available to the public the manuscript records of Minnesota’s history, for today and for tomorrow. During her years as Curator of Manuscripts at the Minnesota Historical Society, and as Minnesota State Archivist, she collected many important groups of records and started the ambitious program of microfilming through which the MHS has helped preserve its collections and disseminate the information contained in them. She also wrote and edited several important books on Minnesota history, continuing the legacy begun by earlier generations of curators and archivists at the Historical Society, who combined collecting and cataloging with a vital interest in the history of this state.

Lucile Kane was a modest, pleasant, good-humored, and intelligent person, and a dogged researcher. Through her work she inspired several generations of historians and archivists at the MHS and throughout the country. The best honor that the Minnesota Historical Society can give her is to continue to carry out the important mission of the Historical Society to collect the manuscript records of Minnesota’s past and make them available to present and future generations.


John J. Wood, former deputy director of the Minnesota Historical Society, died June 1, 2009, at age 82 in West St. Paul. He is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Delores; sons James and Robert, sister Margaret, and several grandchildren. He was born April 21, 1927, on a farm near Newton, Iowa, and attended Humboldt High School and Hamline University where he played varsity basketball and baseball, graduating in 1950. John was a World War II Veteran (U.S. Army) and a life member of V.F.W. Post #10424.

Much of his working life was spent at the 3M Company and the Minnesota Historical Society. He joined the Society in July 1966 to serve as business manager.  In 1973 he became the Deputy Director for Finance and also acted as the Society’s chief representative at the Legislature. John retired on December 31, 1991. He was then elected to the MHS honorary council.

Quoting from the article on his retirement in the January/February issue of Minnesota History News: “There are several accomplishments of which Wood is particularly proud. One was his introduction to the Society, in the late 1960s, of the then relatively new conceptat least to public institutionsof the management-by-objectives planning process. ‘This kind of planning helped us to redefine how we planned our work and presented ourselves to others,’ Wood says. ‘It enabled us to describe to the public and the Legislature, in an organized way, the goals and objectives we hoped to accomplish.’

“Wood is also proud of the role he played in drafting and gaining legislative approval of Minnesota Statutes 138 that are the foundation of the Society’s service to the people of Minnesota. ‘These statutes are important because, in essence, they mandate and define the institution’s responsibilities as the keeper of the state’s past,’ says Wood. ‘Without such a statutory mandate, the Society’s influence in effecting the cause of history would be greatly diminished.’”

John also served on various other boards, foundations, and commissions, including the national Association of Accountants, Hamline Alumni Board, State Services for the Blind, and the Mississippi River Parkway Commission. John had a great love for his family and friends. They were the focal point of his life. He enjoyed outdoor activities particularly those that involved his family. He took great pride in being a part of his grandchildren’s lives. Visitation is 4:00-6:00 p.m. Sunday at Willwerscheid West-Heights Chapel, West St. Paul; a memorial service is 11:00 a.m. Monday at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 1575 Charlton St., West St. Paul. In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to St. Stephen’s Foundation or donor’s choice.

Bookmark and Share

June 19, 2008

Rhoda Gilman Honored

Filed under: Colleagues — @ 2:41 pm

Rhoda Gilman and her daughter, Betsy Raasch-Gilman, have won the Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation Honorary Award for Peace and Justice. They will be honored at a public event sometime in November.Congratulations, Rhoda, on winning this honor for your accomplishments in fostering peace and justice in our society.


Bookmark and Share

April 15, 2008

Helen White

Filed under: Colleagues — @ 10:03 am

Helen McCann White, writer, editor, and archivist, died peacefully on April 3, 2008, at home in St. Paul. A memorial gathering will take place at the Taylors Falls Memorial Community Center in the old train depot in Taylors Falls on Sunday, April 20, at 1 PM. Memorials preferred to the Democratic Party and to the Minnesota Historical Society.

During her long and productive life, Helen aimed to show that “the general public would read and support any amount of scholarly historical writing, if it were written in an interesting manner.” She was born in Minneapolis on October 16, 1916, the daughter of Edward and Elizabeth McCann. Her father was a Methodist minister, and she lived in nine small towns in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa during her youth. As a student at Hamline University (1935-39), she worked at the Minnesota Historical Society as an assistant archivist. While attending graduate school at the University of Minnesota, she met Henry Gilbert White; they married in 1941 and had three children, Barbara, Timothy, and Bruce. Gilbert’s work as a resource economist took the family to cities across the U.S. and to Tokyo, Manila, and Paris. During these years, Helen researched, wrote, and taught. They spent many summers in Minnesota, living on the family’s vacation property near Almelund.

In 1965, when the Whites moved back to Minnesota, Helen returned to work at the Minnesota Historical Society. There she pioneered a program of microfilm publication for important manuscript collections; she supervised the Society’s acquisition of the Northern Pacific Railroad papers; she conducted oral history interviews of North Shore fishermen; and she worked on early applications of computers in indexing history.

In 1970, three years after her husband’s death, she left the Society, moved to Taylors Falls, and began publishing The Dalles Visitor, an annual newspaper highlighting the history of the Upper St. Croix Valley. In hundreds of solidly researched, well written articles, she presented the history of these communities to broad audiences of residents and tourists, enriching the lives of many who were surprised to discover how interesting history can be. “People don’t see the connection between their roots and themselves,” White once said. “But when you can relate history to the lives of everyday people, then they begin to understand it, to appreciate it.” The paper is still published by Joanne Frank and well supported by the businesses of the area.

White’s first home in Taylors Falls was the Schottmuller Building. While restoring that building, she hired local craftsmen and artisans to renovate a modest side building, the former Taylors Falls Jail, into the one of Minnesota’s first bed-and-breakfast operations. Described by Minneapolis Tribune columnist Dave Wood as “a lockup worthy of a former Watergate criminal,” the Jail demonstrated that a run-down building of historical merit could become an object of local pride-and contribute to the community’s tax rolls. After living in St. Paul for a few years in the 1990s, she moved back to Taylors Falls to take on the renovation of a nondescript, small, old house on Main Street. Her book about that experience, A Little Yellow House, was published in 2001.

White wrote several other books. Ho! for the Gold Fields, about the expeditions from Minnesota to Montana, won an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. The Tale of a Comet and Other Stories tells the eight stories of fascinating characters and unusual events that she uncovered in unlikely places. Saving the River is a history of the St. Croix River Association. She wrote about Minnesota in the 1830s in Henry Sibley’s First Years at St. Peters or Mendota.

Her work as a community activist brought her into areas of controversy. After learning of the destruction of important early records in the Stillwater courthouse, she lobbied for state legislation to reform the state’s historical records preservation process. She raised the ire of some when she protested the burning of a historic building on Angels Hill.

She served on the State Historic Records Advisory Board from 1976 to 1982. In 1984 White was named Independent Scholar of the Year by the Minnesota Humanities Commission. In 2003 the Chisago County Historical Society recognizes her as Historian of the Year and in 2007 she was honored by the Polk County Historical Society as History Woman of the Year.

She is survived by siblings Phyllis Caine, Rosemary Banta, and Edward McCann; children Barbara Wright, Timothy, and Bruce; and grandchildren Ralph, Richard, and Robert Wright and Edward White.

Bookmark and Share