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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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Some Friendly Competition

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | December 19, 2017


On December 19, 1917 the Omaha Chapter of the American Red Cross extended an invitation by telegram to the St. Paul Chapter to join them in a friendly challenge. The Omaha Chapter reports that only Denver and Dallas have accepted their challenge to secure the most new members compared to population between December 17th and 25th, and extends this challenge to St. Paul. It is unknown if St. Paul accepted this challenge and the opportunity to generate contributions through competition.


 


Western Union Telegram
RECEIVED AT 332 ROBERT STREET, ST. PAUL MINN.
OMAHA NEBR 18
AMERICAN RED CROSS CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE
ST PAUL MIN
OMAHA HAS ISUED THE CHALLENGE THAT SHE WILL SECURE MORE RED CROSS MEMBERS PER THOUSAND POPULATION FROM DECEMBER SEVENTEENTH TO TWENTY FIFTH THAN ANY OTHER AMERICAN CITY OF OUR SIZE OR LARGER ONLY DENVER AND DALLAS HAVE' ACCEPTED THIS FRIENDLY CHALLENGE WHATS THE MATTER WITH ST PAUL
HENRY DOURLY
CHAIRMAN CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE.

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

Dayton's Christmas Windows

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 19, 2017
Crowds looking in windows
window display

Christmas window displays were an eagerly anticipated event at the Dayton's flagship downtown Minneapolis store. One photo is of the huge crowds gathered around the windows in 1923; the other is of the Twelve Days of Christmas window display in 1956. 

See more Christmas window photos in Collections Online.

The University of Minnesota Goes to War

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | December 18, 2017


The University of Minnesota Base Hospital (Base Hospital No. 26 under the American Expeditionary Forces) was officially established in the summer of 1917, but preparations for its formation by the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic began as early as October 1916. In December 1917, the War Department mobilized Base Hospital No. 26, and this unit was assigned to active duty at Fort McPherson, Georgia.

On this day in 1917, the Chairman of the fundraising committee for the Hospital sent out this update to contributors. The letter describes the total contributions and the use that was made of them in purchasing equipment, medical supplies, shipping, and other preparation expenses. It also describes non-monetary contributions, including ambulances, cars, and some "miscellaneous instruments." This letter reports that the doctors of the Mayo clinic contributed almost half of all monetary contributions, and also describes the involvement of the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Rochester Chapters of the Red Cross.

 


To the Contributors to the University of
Minnesota Base Hospital No. 26:

In view of the fact that the University of Minnesota Base Hospital No. 26, to which you made generous contribution some months since, has been mobilized and ordered to Ft. McPherson, Georgia, the Committee in charge of the gift desires to make the following report at this time.

The total cost of the Hospital to date is $32,345.59, of which the Doctors Mayo of Rochester contributed $15,000.00 and citizens of Minneapolis $17,345.59. This money was forwarded to the Red Cross at Washington and placed by them to the credit of Dr. L. B. Baldwin of the University Hospital, Minneapolis, as disbursing officer for the purchse of the proper equipment. The Base Hospital has a capacity of 500 beds. [...]

[Signed]
Chairman of Committee.

Citation: University of Minnesota Base Hospital Committee records, 1917-1918. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. P2173

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Runes of the North by Sigurd Olson

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 18, 2017
book cover

Minnesota author Sigurd Olson was a passionate leader in conservation and wilderness preservation, with a particularly strong connection to the Boundary Waters. This book of essays was originally published in 1963, the same year he became vice-president of The Wilderness Society.

Runes of the North by Sigurd Olson. New York: Knopf, 1963.

"Teutons Keep Up Drive On Italians" and "U.S. War Council Created" - Freeborn County Standard. December 17, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | December 17, 2017

"Allies Form Naval Council" and "Two Lightless Nights" - The Daily People's Press. December 16, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | December 16, 2017

"To Enroll Men for War Work" and "The Negro in the War" - The Twin City Star. December 15, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | December 15, 2017

Victorian Christmas Ornament

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 15, 2017
ornament

This ornament is made of tinsel and wire in the shape of a woman with an umbrella. She has a molded glass head; the body and umbrella are made of wire covered with tinsel. The manufacturer is unknown; it was used in Minneapolis, circa 1890.

See more ornaments in Collections Online.

David Backus Looks Forward to A Promotion

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | December 14, 2017


David Backus describes an uneventful day of training in his diary, but looks forward to officially accepting and taking the oath for his position as First Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He also describes target practice and the arrival of a comrade, Stuffy, from his pilot training at Tours, France.

 

Backus diary page


Friday Dec. 14-1917,
Well went out to traps[,] did rotton - 4 out of 15 - then got 10 goose eggs - worse - will have to [ba...]. Laid around all aft. Got [...] from War Dept First Lieutenacy in USA. We take our Oaths and accept tomorrow. Rained this aft. Stuffy [...] came in from Tours.

Citation: David Backus Collection. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. 123.D.10.6F

Early Candleight: a novel

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 14, 2017
book cover

This book by Maud Hart Lovelace is not part of the well-known and much-loved Betsy-Tacy series, but rather an historical novel about life at Fort Snelling. 

Learn more about Maud Hart Lovelace.

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