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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 Unchosen Ones

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

This is a fabulous State Fair-related fine press book by R.J Kern, "The Unchosen Ones." The MNHS Library hold copy number one of 200.
"The Unchosen Ones takes place on the sidelines of Minnesota county fair animal contests. These county fairs lead up to the Minnesota State Fair, one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world. The project consists of over 65 portraits made at 10 Minnesota county fairs in 2016. The photographs showcase the subject facing the camera, allowing the viewer to decide what connects and distinguishes these subjects. With a serial and systematic approach, the human condition is exposed in real-time."

State Fair Ticket

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

This pink admission ticket to the Minnesota State Fair grounds is from 1903.

Votes for Women

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

On this date in 1919 the state legislature ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States granting women the right to vote. 
In honor of that we present this triangular yellow women's suffrage badge, printed "Votes For Women," which was used in 1919.

Train crossing a bridge

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 25, 2021

This photograph from 1910 shows a train crossing bridge.
Check out the detail in this photo! Amazing.

Streetcar between St. Paul and Stillwater

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 24, 2021

On August 23 in 1899 the first Interurban streetcar service between St. Paul and Stillwater started. The ride cost thirty cents and lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes.
The clearest image of the route can be seen on this map, The Twin Cities: their famous lakes river, parks and resorts, from 1907.


Ice Cream Poster

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

Today's Item of the Day is a poster for Crescent Registered Pasteurized Ice Cream.
This is a poster that we can really get behind - ice cream is essential! 
Maybe even more surprising than its message is that it was created during World War I (1914 - 1918)!  It’s very different from most posters of that era.

Recent Acquisitions Newsletter - July 2021

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

Click on the image of the typewriter to read the Recent Acquisitions Newsletter and learn about some of the cool news collections that have been added in July!

Working Women in WWII

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

This poster is titled "Scientifically Trained Women in War Jobs." It shows 9 black and white photos of women working in various laboratories, mills and factories and is dated1943. 

To see a zoomable image go here:

Pickerel Lake

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

This is a non-editioned drypoint and etching on paper by George Earl Resler, circa 1910 - 1914. It show a landscape with grasses in the foreground, a grove of trees at left in mid-ground, and a lake and hills receding into background. It has a handwritten title "Pickerel Lake" below; the lake is located in Lilydale.


By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 17, 2021

We love a good notebook!
Notebooks were a frequent opportunity for advertising in the late 19th and early 20th century. This one even has a title of "Things to do today," and its imitation leather cover makes it fancier than most. It was created by Gold Medal Flour, part of the Washburn Crosby Company of Minneapolis in 1928. It came to us as part of Richard Ferrell Milling Collection.