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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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Dakota Removal from Fort Snelling, 1863

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 4, 2017

In response to a federal law mandating that all Dakota be removed from the state as punishment for the U.S.-Dakota War, on this date in 1863 Dakota captives at Fort Snelling, mostly women and children, were loaded onto two steamboats to be transported to a reservation on Crow Creek in southeastern Dakota Territory. The total number of people removed was 1,310; many would die of disease and hunger soon after arriving at the reservation.

Huldah Bryant Wishes to Knit Socks for Soldiers - May 3, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | May 3, 2017


Huldah Bryant, an elderly woman from Monticello, Minnesota, wrote a letter to the American Red Cross on May 4, 1917. In the letter, she confesses that she is an “old lady” and does not have money to contribute, but she would be happy to spend her time knitting socks for American soldiers if the Red Cross could provide the wool. Notably, Bryant has a long history of contributing to war efforts. She notes that in 1862, she worked for “the soldiers,” though it is unclear whether these soldiers served in the U.S. - Dakota War of 1862 or the Civil War. Unfortunately, the Red Cross turned down Bryant’s request the next day, telling her that they only offer wool to be purchased and cannot provide it to her free of charge.
 


Monticello Min
May 3, 1917
Mrs Horace Lanery
Red Cross Com -
I am an old lady would be glad to knit some socks for our Soldiers. If the yarn was furnished would knit two Pairs[.] If you wish for Reference my Pastor is Rev Henry Holmes[.] I worked for the Soldiers in 1862[.] Huldah E. Bryant
Monticello Min
 

Citation: American Red Cross, Northern Division, records, 1915-1921. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. [P781]

Water Skiing

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 3, 2017

This photograph is of a crowd at Lake City watching Ralph Samuelson water skiing behind a World War I era Curtis Flying Boat, 1925. Samuelson was known as the "father of water-skiing," which started with him on Lake Pepin in 1922.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this photograph in our collections database.

French military issue gas mask and case

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | May 2, 2017


World War I was a conflict of unpleasant “firsts”: the first widespread use of trench warfare, the first use of long-range artillery, and the first use of tanks. Today’s artifact bears witness to yet another gruesome first, that of chemical warfare. The world’s first recorded use of chemical weapons agents occurred on April 22, 1915, during the 2nd Battle of Ypres, when the German army fired chlorine gas cylinders at French troops. As the war progressed, all major belligerents made use of poisonous gas, and to the best of their ability, they took pains to protect their own soldiers from it. This French-issue protective mask and case was carried by a soldier circa 1917. The bulk of the mask is made of rubberized fabric, and it features two circular eyeholes with celluloid lenses. It's accompanying cotton bag has a shoulder strap for easy transport.
 

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society Collections, PUID 1981.38.37.A,B

"U.S. Turns Over German Ships to Allies" and "Question of Sending Troops to Fight in France Undecided," The Duluth Herald, May 1, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | May 2, 2017

DQ Sign

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 2, 2017

A promotional poster advertising "Dairy Queen Malts and Shakes". Manufactured by Dairy Queen National Development Company, 1959.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this sign in our collections database.

May Day, 1937

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 1, 2017

Happy May Day!

This photograph is of a May Day/Labor/Union parade in downtown Minneapolis on May 1, 1937.

This image forms part of our Minneapolis and St. Paul Newspaper Negative collection. Additional photographs in this series may be available in the library, please view the finding aid.

 

Help Can Come from All Ages - April 30, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 30, 2017


"I am past 71 years of age, and not able to do much in any other way, but I do want to help in this time of need," says Mrs. Fenlason to Mrs. Lowry of the American Red Cross. In her letter, Mrs. Fenlason displays great desire to help in any way she can, so she asks the Red Cross if she can knit for them. She requests details about yarn and other particulars so she can offer her best service. The Red Cross responded a couple days later that they would greatly appreciate her knitting as contribution to help the war effort. They suggested that she could knit washcloths and sponges, and explain that the yarn is five cents a ball. Mrs. Fenlason serves to demonstrate that people of all ages offered to help in the war effort in any way they could.

 


April 30, 1917
[...]
Mrs Horace Lowry,
Dear Sister,
I am writing you a letter of inquiry concerning an article published in yesterday's Tribune, namely, "Knit for Jackies if you would serve the nation at war". I would be very glad to do so, as I am able to knit. I am past 71 years of age, and not able to do much in any other way, but I do want to help in this time of great need, as best I can. [...]
Awaiting your reply,
I am Truly Yours,
Mrs. W.P. Fenlason.

Citiation: American Red Cross, Northern Division, records, 1915-1921. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. [P781]

"Selective Draft Bill Passed by Congress" and "Nation's Life is in Peril" The Daily People's Press - April 29, 1917.

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 29, 2017

"Mothers" for the Soldiers - April 28, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 28, 2017


In this letter, Mrs. Charles Jerome offers Mrs. Lowry of the Minneapolis Branch of the American Red Cross the suggestion of vetting applications from women who would want to serve the soldiers by writing letters to them. Specifically Mrs. Jerome suggests that these “true women” serve as “mothers” for the soldiers abroad who do not have their own wives or mothers. The purpose of the letters would be to give “cheer and moral uplift to one who would otherwise be without this sympathy.” Attached to the letter, Mrs. Jerome included a draft of the application the women could fill out, including name, age, religious preference, language, and a pledge to write at least once a week to their soldier.

 


April 28, 1917
Mrs. Horace Lowry,
Red Cross Society,
Minneapolis.

My dear Mrs. Lowry:
We are all asking what we can do to help in this crisis. There is a service that many women could render at this time, - a service of no mean importance, as any one acquainted with the social needs of youth will recognize. It is to take, in a certain sense, the place of mothers towards boys who have enlisted and who have neither wives nor mother to write to them while they are in the field or on the sea. [...] The woman would assume the kindly duty of writing frequently to her soldier or sailor boy, of sending him newspapers and shoe strings and the like, - of giving cheer and moral uplift to one who would otherwise be without this sympathy except as it came from his comrades in camp, [...]
Very truly yours,
Mrs. Charles Jerome.

Citation: American Red Cross, Northern Division, records, 1915-1921. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. [P781]

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