Item of the Day

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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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Item of the Day

Taylor's Falls

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 18, 2021

This is a birdseye view of an intersection in Taylor's Falls with houses, stores, and other buildings. It was made in 1928 by Alexander Masley.

Sunday is Black Poetry Day

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 15, 2021

 

On October 17, 1761 poet, writer, and preacher Jupiter Hammon became the first Black author published in America. To celebrate his work and the contributions of Black poets thereafter, October 17th is Black Poetry Day.

We have multiple examples of the work of Black Minnesotan poets in the Library collection. These are just a few examples. 

 

An early example is this one from 1918, written on Armistice Day after World War I. It is part of a set of ten poems by A.V. Hall, a “long-time prominent resident of St. Paul’s Black Community.” [Quote from a letter accompanying these poems.] These are housed within the MN Black History Project papers and were compiled by David Taylor from A.V. Hall's scrapbook after Hall died in 1982.

Guild Press of Robbinsdale was focused on publishing the work of Black poets during the 1970s and 1980s. We have 19 examples of these works in the collection, including Survival: Cycle of a Black Woman, one of the titles from 1985.

 

And finally, we’d like to highlight a contemporary work: Danez Smith’s book Homie. This book of poems about the necessity of friendship and much more was released in January, 2020. It won the 2021 Minnesota Book Awards for Poetry and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and 2021 NAACP Image Award for Poetry.

 

Wash Your Hands

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 14, 2021

Tomorrow is Global Handwashing Day!
Always a good practice; especially important now.
Here we see a photo of a child washing their hands in bowl of water outdoors in 1920.

Constitution(s) Day!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 13, 2021

On this date in 1857, 164 years ago, the Minnesota State Constitution was ratified by popular vote. 
Oh, but we have not one, rather two State Constitutions!
During the constitutional convention to found our state, the Democrats and Republicans refused to meet together. After bitter debate, the whole (yet separate) constitutional conventions agreed to the same proposed language; however, they still refused to sign the same official document. In order to make it happen, two version of the final, formal document were created, as seen above.
Some things never change, alas.
Learn more here: https://www.mnopedia.org/event/minnesota-constitutional-convention1857

Silver comb, 1860 - 1880

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 12, 2021

This sterling silver comb with fan-shaped handle and five tines was owned by Mary T. Hill of Saint Paul and used between 1860 - 1880.

The handle has several small etched designs on front and back.

Learn more about the Hill Family here: https://www.mnhs.org/hillhouse/learn

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 11, 2021

In honor of this day, we share a 2013 print map from our collection. 

However if you visit The Ways web site, the group who created this map, you can see it in a number of different views. Highly recommended! 

https://theways.org/map

 

Eat Fish

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 7, 2021

This World War I era poster encourages viewers to, as it says: "Save the Products of the Land, Eat more fish -- They Feed Themselves."
It was created and used between 1917-18.

Eat Fish

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 7, 2021

This World War I era poster encourages viewers to, as it says: "Save the Products of the Land, Eat more fish -- They Feed Themselves."
It was created and used between 1917-18.

Capri Reopening!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 6, 2021

The Capri Theater on the North Side of Minneapolis was built in 1927; in honor of their grand reopening we are sharing the ticket in our collection from the time Prince played there in 1979. 
The Capri has a rich past and bright future! MNHS is partnering with them for the free First Thursday Films at the Capri program, showing "Summer of Soul" tomorrow, October 7! 
Hope to see you there!

Peanuts!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 5, 2021

The comic stirp "Peanuts" made its debut on October 2, 1950 in seven newspapers, including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Eventually it would appear in over 2,600 newspapers worldwide and expand to include books, TV, and merchandise. It was created and drawn by Saint Paul native Charles Schulz.
The MNHS Library holds over 130 books about "Peanuts." Learn more about the art and artist here. 

https://libguides.mnhs.org/schulz

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