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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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"Determined Fight on Drafted Army Certain in House" and "Great Offensive Brings New Gains to Allied Troops", The Daily People's Press - April 20, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 20, 2017

Minnesota Red Pepper

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 20, 2017

A Jordan's Pure Spices Red Pepper tin. Distributed by Jordan Stevens Company, Minneapolis. Circa 1940-60.

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

Edward Stensrud enlists as Navy Seaman

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


For soldiers serving in the U.S. Navy, personal space was an extremely scarce resource, and personal storage even more so. Soldiers often kept what few personal items they owned in small wooden chests called ditty boxes. The ditty box pictured below once belonged to U.S. Navy seaman Edward Stensrud, who may have served during all or part of the United States’ involvement in World War I (1917-1918). Stensrud put a great deal of effort into personalizing his ditty box. In addition to decorating its lid with a large, meticulous carving of his name, Stensrud attached a dog tag to the outside of the box. The tag contains his name, birthdate, enlistment date, and most impressively, a cast of his thumbprint.

 

Citation: 976.28.A US Navy seaman's trinket box; Minnesota Historical Society.

Survey Crew

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 19, 2017

A cyanotype photograph of Harold Foster’s survey crew somewhere in Northern Minnesota in the early 1910s.

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

Everyone Can Help in the War Effort

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


Before antibiotic treatments were developed for tuberculosis, patients were sent to sanatoriums, or long-term care facilities. In the case of Glen Lake Sanatorium, some of the female patients sought any way to help the war effort, despite their condition. They offered their service to the Red Cross in the form of any sort of sewing, as their work could be sterilized and used as needed. “I hope you will be able to find work for them because they want to help so much, and that will make them feel that they can really do something worth while and are of some use in the world after all,” wrote a representative. The Red Cross responded that they did not have any sewing jobs for the women of Glen Lake Sanatorium but they were hoping to organize knitting soon and would inform Glen Lake when that was developed.

 


April 18th,
1917.
[...]
Dear Miss Patterson:
It has been suggested that some of th ewomen patients could do some work for the Red Cross, such as sewing, making aprons etc. Things of course would have to be sterilized before they left the institution. I hope that you will be able to find work for them because they want to help so much, and it will make them feel that they can really do something worth while and are of some use in the world after all.
Trusting that you will help them, I remain
Very truly yours,
Ernest S. Mariette
Secretary & Superintendent.

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

Hand-Made Gloves

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 18, 2017

A pair of hand-knit white gloves with beaded designs, made by Katherine Alma Stelzer, a pioneer in Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Minnesota, 1825.

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

Ojibwe Bandolier Bag

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 17, 2017

An  Ojibwe black wool bandolier bag with loom-woven geometric beadwork panel sewn to the lower half of the front panel; the top half is black velvet with spot-stitched with a symmetric floral and leaf pattern of beads. Circa 1880.

See more bandolier bags in the new MNHS Press book by Marcia Anderson, A Bag Worth a Pony, coming out next month!

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

"U-Boat Fires on U.S. Destroyer" and "German Submarine 100 Miles off New York" - The Duluth Herald. April 17, 1917.

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

"Tired of Sitting Still"

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


Lucy Hallett, a junior in high school in Tracy, Minnesota, sent this letter to the Minneapolis branch of the Red Cross offering her services. As an eighteen-year-old, Hallett felt that she could not simply wait around for the raging war to end. She attained her parents’ consent and offered her transport to Minneapolis at the Red Cross’ convenience. This restlessness among young adults was not uncommon.

 


Tracy, Minn.
Apr. 16, '17.

Gentleman:
I am a girl, eighteen years of age and am in the Junior Class in High School. But I am tired of sitting still and letting some other girl take my place under, so I wish to enlist my services to aid Uncle Sam. I have my parents consent and can come to Minneapolis any time convenient.
Please answer by return and give me full particulars.
Yours respectfully
Lucy Hallett

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

Letter from the American Red Cross to Camp Fire Girls Representative

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


On April 13 this letter was sent by the Minneapolis branch of the American Red Cross to Miss Ruth Dale, the representative of a relatively new organization: the Camp Fire Girls. Founded in 1910, the Camp Fire Girls sought to serve and care for themselves, and their surroundings. Dale, who ran a group of Camp Fire Girls, ages 14-16, in Renville, Mesota, wrote a letter offering assistance to the Minneapolis branch of the American Red Cross. Instead of offering to send instructional pamphlets for making supplies, the Red Cross responded with a plea for two representatives of the Camp Fire Girls to attend a certificate program in bandage-making.

 


13 April 1917
Minneapolis, Minn.

Miss Ruth Dale,
Roseville, Minn.

My dear Miss Dale:
Thank you so much for your kind offer of assistance. We have no pamphlets or government bulletins for distribution, but we are instructing classes in teh art of bandage making, etc., at our headquarters in Minneapolis. This course consists of 8 lessons after which the pupil passes an examination and receives a certificate. These skilled workers are empowered to supervise work of others. I would suggest that you send one or two representatives of the Camp Fire girls to take this course.
In reply to your inquiry regarding materials, we prefer to have you raise the money for the same and let us buuy since we can purchase in larger quantities and to better advantage.
Yours very truly,
Secretary.

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

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