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HISTORY TOPICS

Harriet E. Bishop

Harriet E. McConkey Bishop by Andrew Falkenshield. Location no. AV1984.21.1In 1847, Harriet Bishop traveled from Vermont to the small but growing city in the West, St. Paul. As part of a program led by educational reformer Catharine Beecher to send women teachers to help educate and civilize frontier children, Bishop was the first of her class to volunteer to go West. She came to the area that would soon become the Minnesota Territory to both educate the children of St. Paul and to exert her moral influence on the rough frontier town. Convinced that women were capable of teaching morality, Bishop became active in many moral issues such as temperance, educational reform, and women's suffrage. She is credited with starting the first public school in St. Paul and the first Sunday school, which led to the first Baptist church in the area.

GET STARTED WITH SECONDARY SOURCES:

  • "Harriet Bishop, Frontier Teacher," by Zylpha S. Morton.
    In Minnesota History vol. 28, no. 2 (June 1947): pp. 132-141.
    MHS call number: Reading Room F601.5 M66 v28, or view an electronic version of the article (PDF).
  • "Harriet Bishop: A Doer and a Mover," by Norma Sommerdorf.
    In Minnesota History vol. 55, no. 7 (fall 1997): pp. 320-323.
    MHS call number: Reading Room F601.5.M66 v55:7, or view an electronic version of the article (PDF).
  • "Harriet Bishop: St. Paul's First Teacher."
    In Roots, vol. 2, no. 1 (fall 1973): p. 12.
    MHS call number: Reading Room F602 .A28 v.2:1.
  • Literature: Minnesota: 'Floral Home, or, First Years of Minnesota' is the title of a book by Harriet Bishop, published by Sheldon, Blakeman & Co., …
    1-page review of Bishop's book [see Primary Resources for the book itself].
    In Life Illustrated: A Journal of Entertainment, Improvement, and Progress, vol. 4 (new series), no. 20 (Sept. 12, 1857): front page [p. 153].
    MHS call number: FOLIO F609 .B6213 1857.
  • "No Grass Beneath Her Feet: Harriet Bishop and Her Life in Minnesota," by Norma Sommerdorf.
    In Ramsey County History, vol. 32, no. 2 (summer 1997): pp. 16-21.
    MHS call number: Reading Room F612.R22 R3 v32:2.
  • Two Bold Women: Shaping the Course of the State.
    This filmstrip takes a look at the roles played by women in the development of Minnesota, concentrating on the work of Harriet Bishop and Jane Grey Swisshelm.
    Brimson, Minn.: Midwest Visuals, 1974.
    MHS call number: Library Kit 12.
  • Women of Minnesota: Selected Biographical Essays, edited by Barbara Stuhler and Gretchen Kreuter.
    Harriet Bishop is discussed on pages 7-19.
    St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1998.
    MHS call number: Reading Room HQ1438.M6 W65 1998.

PRIMARY RESOURCES:

  • Floral Home, or, First Years of Minnesota: Early Sketches, Later Settlements, and Further Developments, by Harriet Bishop.
    New York: Sheldon, Blakeman and Co., 1857.
    MHS call number: F609 .B62.
  • Frank B. Cressey Reminiscences.
    20-page typed manuscript, including recollections about Harriet Bishop.
    MHS call number: P223.
  • "History of the First Baptist Church of St. Paul, and Societies," by Harriet Bishop.
    In the "Parish Records" of the First Baptist Church, St. Paul.
    MHS call number: Alpha Manuscripts First Baptist Church (St. Paul, MN); see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of boxes (this "History" is in Box 1, location number: 149.I.20.5B).
  • Ladies Christian Union Records, 1867-1937.
    Contains minutes, accounts, reports, records of residents, and letters from the Ladies Christian Union, an organization that Harriet Bishop helped to found and whose mission was to help the less fortunate, specifically the homeless.
    MHS call number: BK1.2/.L155; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of boxes (there are 2 boxes of material).
  • Minnesota, Then and Now, by Harriet Bishop.
    St. Paul, Minn.: D.D. Merrill, Randall & Co., 1869.
    MHS call number: PS1099.B78 M5.
  • Newspapers that may be useful for this topic:
    • St. Paul Minnesota Democrat (use Babcock's newspaper index, M588)
    • St. Paul Minnesotian (use Babcock's newspaper index, M588)
    • St. Paul Pioneer Press
    • Minneapolis Journal (Mar. 9, 1901; Mar. 27, 1903)
  • Visual Resources Database subjects that may be useful for this topic:
  • Check the library catalog for other materials.