Jane Grey Swisshelm is born

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Collecting pieces of Minnesota's past for the future


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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Jane Grey Swisshelm is born

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 6, 2017
Portrait of Swisshelm

On this date in 1815 Jane Grey Swisshelm was born near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While she only lived in Minnesota for six years, she left a lasting and complicated mark on the state. She founded a newspaper in St. Cloud which she used to advocate for women's rights and argue for the abolition of slavery, yet she also promoted violence against the Dakota after the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. During the Civil War she moved to Washington, D.C. and became a nurse, dying in 1884.

See this portrait in Collections Online.