Item of the Day

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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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Item of the Day

American Red Cross knitting pattern book, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 18, 2018

This American Red Cross booklet contains instructions for knitting sweaters, mufflers, helmets, socks, wristlets, washcloths, and bottle covers. It was used on the home front for making these for soldiers during World War I, 1917.

Needle Book, 1861 - 1865

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 17, 2018

This green velvet needle book with beadwork decoration was used by Bessie Cambell of St. Cloud, during the Civil War. Sewing kits such as this were often called a “housewife.”

Jackson School teenagers on a hayride, 1945

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 16, 2018

This photograph of students from Jackson School on a hayride was taken in 1945.

Farmers Market, 1905

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 12, 2018

This photo show men seated by baskets of squash and potatoes at the Minneapolis Farmers Market in 1905.

Fort Snelling Map, 1835

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 11, 2018

Lawrence Taliaferro created this incredibly detailed manuscript map of the Fort Snelling area in 1835. He was the St. Peters Indian Agent between 1820 and 1839 at Fort Snelling; in this role he attempted to negotiate between Dakota, Ojibwe, fur traders, settlers, and the government. He also owned the largest number of enslaved people in the area. 

See it in Collections Up Close.

Learn more about Lawrence Taliaferro.

Men's pocket watch, 1918

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 10, 2018

This pocket watch survived the fire that started one hundred years ago today on the railroad line between Duluth and Hibbing. The fire raged for the next three days, reaching Duluth on the thirteenth. Thirty-eight communities including the cities of Cloquet, Carlton, and Moose Lake burned and 435 people died. 

Minnehaha Lithograph, 1858

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 9, 2018

This hand-colored lithograph comes from Whitefield's Series of Minnesota Scenery, No. 3., done between 1856 - 1859. It shows an autumn landscape with a group of people in the foreground viewing Minnehaha Falls and a small homestead in the background.

See it in Collections Online.

The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 8, 2018

In honor of Indigenous Peoples Day we are highlighting the delicious and beautiful new book by Sean Sherman, "The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen." It's available in our Library, gift shop, and book stores near you!

October, 1974

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 5, 2018

This signed 'second proof' is a woodblock print on paper by Charles Beck done in 1974. 

Do not miss the exhibit Charles Beck: An Artist for All Seasons, which opens at the James J Hill House on Saturday, October 6! More than 40 prints will be on view and all will take your breath away!

Legal brief filed by Thomas P. Burnett, October 1835

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 4, 2018

This legal brief, filed in October 1835 by Thomas. P Burnett on behalf of Alexis Bailly, describes how Lawrence Taliaferro confiscated alcohol from Bailly and his crew in July of 1834. Bailly seeks $5000 in damages in the suit.


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