Frances Densmore

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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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Frances Densmore

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 22, 2018

Ethnologist, musician, and author Frances Densmore was born in Red Wing, Minnesota in 1867. Her professional interest was in Native American music; she spent her life traveling the country and recording on wax cylinders nearly 2,500 songs of the Dakota, Ojibwe, and other tribes. Her recordings are preserved at the Smithsonian; her papers are at MNHS. These images are of one of the books she authored and a gramophone she used to make recordings dated 1897.

See her papers in the Library.