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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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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!

Sabra Hardy part 5

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | October 4, 2018

Sabra Hardy was a Red Cross Nurse from Minnesota. On this day she died of pneumonia, one week after arriving in France. It is believed that she contracted the illness on the boat over while caring for soldiers on board. She had sent her parents a note upon her arrival to inform them she had landed safely. Hardy was the first Minneapolis Red Cross nurse to give her life overseas.


Dear Mother and Dave:-
Have just arrived safely in Eng. I will write more later when located. Had a wonderful voyage. Have been feeding some beautiful Eng. horses crackers & I have a victrola I must investigate.
Loads love. Sabra

"Hardy, Sabra R." Minnesota Public Safety Commission. Gold Star Roll. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota 114.D.4.3B


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.

Minnesota Sergeant killed at the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge when helping dress his men's wounds

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | October 3, 2018

Sergeant Hugh Kidder of the U.S. Marines was killed on this date during the Battle of Blanc Mont, while helping dress one of his mens wounds after he had led them successfully to their objective. Kidder was honored for his heroic sacrifice with the Croix de Guerre and the American Distinguished Service Cross and Navy Cross. He also had a U.S. destroyer named after him, the destroyer Kidder.


While leading a patrol in the enemy trenches he occupied two machine gun positions, which had been a serious menace to his company. On Oct 2, 1918 he lead his section during the attack of Blanc Mont. After having reached his objective he went to where 2 of his men were lying wounded. He dressed their wounds and was killed while doing so by an Austrian 88. (Taken from Croix de Guerre citation).

 Citation: "Kidder, Hugh P." Minnesota Public Safety Commission. Gold Star Roll. Minnesota Historical Society, St Paul, Minnesota. 114.D.4.4F


St. Charles after cyclone of October 3, 1903

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 3, 2018

A cyclone hit St. Charles 115 years ago today; this photo is of the aftermath.

The Importance of Gas Masks

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | October 2, 2018

This memorandum was given out on this date by Headquarters of the 350th Infantry, then stationed in France. It pertained to concerns involving gas instructions and notes that any man who may not know about gas or how to wear/adjust gas masks must be taught immediately. The list of men included more than just soldiers themselves, cooks, medical works, mechanics and clerks were also instructed to be taught these important instructions. Additionally this memorandum reports that "there are a great number of men in the regiment who can put respirators on but who know nothing about the dangers of gas because they do not speak English." These men were to be taught by the end of the week about gas warfare through an interpreter. On this day as well the Battle of the Argonne Forest was underway.


Citation: U.S. Army, 350th Infantry Regiment, Co. G, records 1917-1919. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. BG6/.U584/350th

General Mills Microwave Popcorn, 1991

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 2, 2018

This photo shows what must be a "food scientist" testing out microwave popcorn at General Mills - with computers! 

Fears of Illness in Saint Paul

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | October 1, 2018

The wartime diaries of Mary T. Hill, wife of railroad magnet James J. Hill, give insight into the Minnesota home front of the First World War. She talks about illness the entry for this date, as those on the home front were worrying about illness just as the soldiers on the front lines were. Hill was worried about an epidemic of Spanish Influenza in Saint Paul.


October Tuesday 1st 1918
A clear sunny windy day- Went to town this morning to attend to several things. [...] Rachel has a cold and Tudie was not well. Every one alarmed at reports of influenza [...]

Citation: 1915-1920. Mary T. Hill Papers. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota 64. C.5.6

Ojibwe maple sugar candy

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 1, 2018

This is a piece of maple sugar candy that has been molded into the shape of a maple leaf. It comes from the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and was made between about 1960 - 1985.

See it in Collections Online.