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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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Thank you, Mr. Mondale

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 30, 2021

Walter Mondale gives eulogy at Hubert H. Humphrey's funeral.

Remembering Vice President Walter Mondale

On April 19, 2021, we lost one of Minnesota’s greatest statesmen and leaders.

Walter Mondale was born in Ceylon, Minnesota, in 1928. He spent most of his 93 in public service, starting as Attorney General and later Senator for Minnesota. He changed the role of Vice President when he served in that position; he and President Carter would work together as a team. He was the Democratic Party nominee for President in 1984. Later, he served as Ambassador to Japan.

In recent years, while in private law practice and richly deserved retirement, he still worked for the people. Mondale was incredibly generous with his time and knowledge, working with up and coming politicians as well as students in law school, graduate studies, and History Day. His commitment to students and the study of history was unwavering.

When Mondale gave the eulogy for another great Minnesotan, his mentor Hubert H. Humphrey, he said:

"While he was an international figure and a national figure, as we in Minnesota well knew, he was always a Minnesotan, and always a son of the prairie. There was something in this land and its lakes and, especially its people, that fed the springs of love, the strains of ideas, the torrents of enthusiasm, and which nurtured the special genius and the immense humanity of Hubert Humphrey... He was a special man in a special place, and I know he would want me to say today: Thank you, Minnesota."

Today, as Minnesotans, we say: Thank you, Mr. Mondale.


Mondale and Ferraro

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 29, 2021

The theme of Item of the Day this week is Remembering Vice President Walter Mondale.
This photo shows Walter Mondale and his running mate Geraldine Ferraro on the campaign trail in 1984. It was the first time a woman appeared on a major party ticket.

Office of the Vice President Seal

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 28, 2021

The theme of Item of the Day this week is Remembering Vice President Walter Mondale.
This is a cast plaster Vice Presidential seal to hang on the front of a podium. The seal was used by Walter Mondale, who served as the 42nd Vice President of the United States, 1977-1981. 

Memo about the role of Vice President

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 27, 2021

This is the momentous memo Vice President Mondale sent to President Carter, outlining his thoughts on the role the vice president could play in the new administration and some specific contributions that he personally could make. President Carter was eager to implement the ideas set forth here.
See the whole:

Grits and Fritz

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 26, 2021

This week’s theme for Item of the Day is Remembering Vice President Walter Mondale.
While Mondale had a storied political career before becoming Vice President, serving both as Attorney General and Senator for Minnesota, the fun slogan on this button provides a glimpse into the teamwork the Carter Administration would soon exhibit.
Jimmy Carter (Grits) and Walter Mondale (Fritz) presidential campaign button, 1976.

The Latehomecomer

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 23, 2021

The Minnesota Book Awards will be held virtually this year on April 29. Throughout this month we are highlighting past winners in the Library Collection.

The 2009 winner in the Memoir & Creative Nonfiction category was "The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir" by Kao Kalia Yang, published by Coffee House Press.

Earth Day

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 22, 2021

Happy Earth Day!
This folded paper leaflet is titled "Our environment isn't disposable". It contains information regarding recycling in St. Paul, Earth Day, and a calendar for recycling pickup days for Como Park. It was created in 1990.


By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 21, 2021

Today is the fifth anniversary of Prince's death.
In memory of him, we share the famous and fabulous ensemble he wore in "Purple Rain" in 1984. Prince himself donated it to MNHS years later. 
We are also sharing this image of children adding to balloons and flowers underneath Prince's star at First Avenue on April 23, 2016. It was collected as part of our "History is Now: Remembering Prince" contemporary collecting initiative.


By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 20, 2021

On this day in 1891 Itasca State Park was established, making it the first state park in Minnesota. Its 32,000 acres preserve more than 300 lakes as well as the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
Today's Item of the Day is the Itasca State Park headwaters sign used from 1975 - 1988. It marked the origin of the Mississippi River at the outlet of Lake Itasca. It has been replaced by a new one that looks the same.


By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 19, 2021

This oil painting by Jo Lutz Rollins is titled "Open Pit Mine."
It is a view from above looking down into an open pit mine; a group of green buildings is at upper right. A forest is in the distance. It was created in 1950.