Collections Up Close

collections up close Blog

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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Ladies' Brimmed Hat

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 10, 2019

This ladies' hat is made of cream haircloth braid trimmed in pastel shade flowers.

It was worn by Cornelia Saunders Stott of St. Paul at her daughter Mary's wedding to Mr. P. C. Richter on April 16, 1929.

April Day

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 9, 2019

This oil painting is titled "April Day." It was created by Knute Heldner in 1921.

Log Drive

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 8, 2019

This photo is of logs at a river landing waiting for the ice to thaw in order to start the log drive. It was taken in 1920. 

April Fashion

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 5, 2019

We close out umbrella week with this lovely cover of the April 1928 issue of "H. A. Waner and Son's Fashion News." This self-proclaimed "Store of Honest Values" was based in Cresco, Iowa. This advertising pamphlet highlights new spring and summer styles available for sale.

Woman with Umbrella

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 4, 2019

This photo of a woman holding an umbrella was taken by Charles Chamblis, sometime between 1975 - 1985.

Green Giant Umbrella

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 3, 2019

This is a promotional umbrella for the Green Giant Company of LeSueur, Minnesota, from 1968.

Please note the giant hand and the tag line of "Ho Ho Ho."

Snow Umbrella

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 2, 2019

This photo shows two women hiding under an umbrella at a news stand during an early April 1937 snowstorm.

Hopefully we will not repeat this scene this year!

Horse buying Defense Bonds

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 1, 2019

Happy April Fool's Day! 
For today's silliness we present this photo of a horse purportedly buying war bonds, taken in April 1942.

Bess Stiegler

By: Lori Williamson | Collections Up Close | March 29, 2019

Minnesota Historical Society Collections staff have successfully completed another digitization project: items from the shop of Bess Stiegler. Born near Riga, Latvia, in 1892, Stiegler’s family fled to England when she was a young child to escape pogroms against the Jews. At age 18, Bess came to the United States and moved to the Twin Cities to be near her sister.


When Stiegler settled in Saint Paul, she began working for prominent local milliner, Miss Jackson, and eventually was able to open a shop of her own: Vogue Hat Shop. The main location was on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis  and because all of the hats were hand-sewn, it had a reputation for quality. Business went well until the tall hair styles of the 1960s caused most women to abandon their fashionable headwear. While other stores closed, Stiegler managed to stay in business by producing fur hats, a necessity in wintertime, and the occasional men’s hat. Stiegler retired in 1978 after nearly forty years of owning and operating the Vogue Hat Shop. When she died a decade later, her family donated a variety of items from the Shop to MNHS, including hats, supplies, and more. These items, along with a variety of photographs, can be now be viewed on Collections Online

Stephanie Olson

Collections Associate

Environmental, Native Rights - Winona LaDuke

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 29, 2019

For the rest of Women's History Month, we will be highlighting a few Minnesotans who have worked to make our state and the world a better place.

Winona LaDuke is an environmentalist, economist, and writer, known for her work on tribal land claims and preservation as well as sustainable development. She helped found the Indigenous Women’s Network, Honor the Earth, and the White Earth Land Recovery Project. She was also active in the Standing Rock Protests and ran for vice-president in 2000.