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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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"Surgeons at Clinics" and "Enemy Retires on Slav Front" - The Daily People's Press. October 25, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | October 25, 2017

Remembering Senator Paul Wellstone

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 25, 2017
Wellstone sign

Fifteen years ago today, Senator Paul Wellstone and seven others are killed in plane crash near Eveleth, MN. After his death, his surviving sons and former campaign manager would go on to create The Wellstone Action progressive advocacy organization in their family's honor.

"German Army Staggered by Petain's Master Drive" and "Not a Community in United States Fails to Buy Liberty Bonds" - The Duluth Herald. October 24, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | October 24, 2017

Vixen guitar pick

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 24, 2017
Vixen guitar pick

This triangular pink plastic guitar pick was distributed by the 1980s and 90s all-female rock band Vixen. The pick is printed with the band name and stylized fox logo on one side and with the signature of Jan Kuehnemund, the band's founder and lead guitarist. Kuehnemund was a native of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

"Detectives Unearth Plot to Kill President Wilson" and "French Achieve a Great Success" - Rochester Daily Post and Record. October 23, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | October 23, 2017

Sinclair Lewis's Main Street

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 23, 2017
Main Street cover

On this date in 1920 Sinclair Lewis's novel Main Street was published. Ten years later the Sauk Centre native would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

David Backus Has a Perfect Landing

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | October 22, 2017

David Backus has finally been able to get some flight time, and seems to be doing well in his flight classes. In this diary entry, Backus also mentions the Gulf of Riga, where a naval clash between Germany and Russia was happening around this time.


Backus diary page
Backus diary page

Sunday Oct.22 - 17
Foggy - mist still heavy. did not roll out until 9. Edwards brought me some apples, and Yob some sandwiches. mist did not clear up until after eleven - dinner. The Germans are sure raising the dead with the Russians in the Gulf of Riga - am afraid of Russians making a separate peace it surely would be to her advantage to do so. Well I got 3-15 min Tours de Piece at 200 meters + one at 100 meters. my second landing - Mr. de Hooen - told the class was a classic - or perfect landing - other three were also very good. [...]

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

"Troopship Sunk by Submarine" and "First American Casualty List" - The Daily People's Press. October 21, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | October 21, 2017

Seasick Soldiers on the Atlantic

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

On the Regiment's first full day at sea enroute to France, George Leach describes a rough scene in his diary. Many of the men on the ship, the S. S. Transport President Lincoln, are suffering from seasickness, which impedes operations and military preparations. The men would not reach their destination until the end of the month.


Saturday, October 20th
Four hundred miles east of Hatteras at sunrise. Sea is rough and most of the men sick. Whole day spent in drill and inspection below decks. Two men lost over-board last night. So many of the officers are sick that it makes a tough day for the others. The hold and decks at times look simply hopeless, and all you can do is to keep at it. Details for work get sick before they report, and it is a constant fight to get things done. Tonight the sea is not running so high.

Citatoin: George Leach Diary. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. D570.32 151st .L3 1963

Commemoration ribbon for Minnesota Historical Society Hall, 1856

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 20, 2017
MNHS Ribbon

The Minnesota Historical Society was incorporated by an act of the territorial legislature on this date in 1849. This ribbon is from later to commemorate the laying of the cornerstone for the Minnesota Historical Society Hall in 1856.