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Collecting pieces of Minnesota's past for the future

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The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.

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Wall Telephone

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 20, 2020

This oak wall telephone with silver metal transmitter and dial was manufactured by the Stromberg-Carlson Telephone Manufacturing Company in Rochester, 1915. This was one of the first dial sets installed in the Twin Cities; it was in continuous service in Saint Paul until 1937.

Bed warmer

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 19, 2020

This is a pine cage-style bed warmer, in which an electric light bulb could be placed. Katherine Dreves had it made and used it during her work as a nurse to heat patient's beds, circa 1920.

Photo of Capitol Approach, 1953

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 18, 2020

This photo show the Capitol Approach in 1953. It seems so much less crowded back then, but perhaps that's due to the angle of the photo.

Happy Presidents' Day!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 17, 2020

Okay, so Humphrey wasn't a president, but he ran for it! In observance of the day we are featuring Hubert H. Humphrey promotional cuff links. This pair of gold-colored metal cuff links were likely used during his 1968 United States presidential campaign. Cuff links are one of the many items for sale in Humphrey-Muskie campaign promotional material booklet from that era.

Valentine

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day!
This Valentine postcard was given to Chester Bruvold of Minneapolis, circa 1920.

Still Life With Roses

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 13, 2020

Today's Item of the Day is a gentle reminder that Valentine's Day is tomorrow. 
It is an oil on canvas painting of roses by Reathel Keppen, created in 1939 as part of the Works Progress Administration.

"The Stars and the Blackness Between Them"

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 12, 2020

Happy Black History Month! Throughout February we will feature as Item of the Day books in our collections written by African Americans across many genres.
Today's book is by Junauda Petrus, a creative activist, writer, playwright, and multi-dimensional performance artist who is Minneapolis-born, West-Indian descended, and African-sourced.

This book is up for a Minnesota Book Award this year.

Pen Wiper

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 11, 2020

Given that Valentine's Day is later this week, we've been thinking about love letters, and therefore pens. While this may not be romantic it is interesting; an American flag pen wiper used by Nancy Hall Neill during the Civil War, 1861 - 1865. Note the flag has 35 stars on a blue canton and is tied to a wooden support. Pen wipers were used to clean ink from a pen while writing so it would remain in good working order.

"Alan and his Perfectly Pointy Impossibly Perpendicular Pinky"

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 7, 2020

Happy Black History Month!
Throughout February we will feature as Item of the Day books in our collections written by African Americans across many genres.
Today's pick is the children's book "Alan and his Perfectly Pointy Impossibly Perpendicular Pinky," written by Justice Alan Page and his daughter Kamie Page in 2013.
In addition to being a children's author, Justice Page formerly served on the Minnesota Supreme Court and played for the Vikings.

Dress, 1890s

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 6, 2020

This is a pearl gray brocade satin dress, made by dressmaker Mrs. George F. Hall of St. Paul, circa 1890.
See more like this in our Minnesota Dressmakers page! 
 

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