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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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Fake Lakes

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

This humorous postcard made in 1985 depicts a map of fictional lakes. It was made by Eric Hanson Designs of Minneapolis.
It reads: "Another wonderfully unreliable map by Eric Hanson. This time of Lake Country with detailed directions to our cabin, guaranteed NOT to get you there."

Nellie Stone Johnson

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

Happy Black History month! 
Throughout the month in Item of the Day we will focus on various influential and inspirational African American women.
Nellie Stone Johnson was a prominent civil rights activist and union organizer, as well as the first African American elected official in Minneapolis. She opened and operated her own sewing and alterations shop in 1963; this is the electric/treadle sewing machine she used there. Good jobs was one of the issues she cared about most.
Learn more about her here.
https://www.mnhs.org/historycenter/activities/museum/votes-for-women/profiles/nellie-johnson
 

Valentine

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 16, 2021

While Valentine's Day is still fresh in our heads and hearts, we would like to share this valentine from about a century ago.
This stand-up valentine features two children with flowers and cards. It was created circa 1920.

Frederick Douglass's Birthday

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

Frederick Douglass, the great orator, writer, and statesman didn't know the exact day of his birth, so he picked February 14 to observe it.
Douglass visited Minnesota in 1867 and gave speeches in Saint Paul and Winona. 
Today's Item of the Date is an Association for the Study of Negro Life and History button, created in 1958.
Pictured are Abraham Lincoln (top), Frederick Douglass (bottom), and the founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History) Carter G. Woodson in the middle.
The Gale Family Library also holds many books about Frederick Douglass.
https://bit.ly/3jFUj8Q

Equal Equals Love

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

Happy early Valentine's Day!
These serigraphs (screen prints) on paper were created by Spunk Design Machine in 2012. 
These posters, included in the "Poster Offensive 6" exhibit, reference the 2012 proposed but defeated Minnesota state constitutional amendment which would have defined marriage as being "solely between one man and one woman."
Both posters are titled "Equal Equals Love."

Canada, 1807

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

This is map is title "A New Map of Upper and Lower Canada." The cartographer is John Cary and it was made in 1807.


The perspective of this map and the centering of the Great Lakes is different than what we are used to seeing.

Ski-joring

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 10, 2021

These photos show a man ski-joring at Fort Snelling in 1938.

Ski-joring is a winter sport in which a person on skis is pulled by a horse, a dog, or a motor vehicle. Extreme sports aren't new!

 

Birthday Card

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 9, 2021

This commercially-manufactured birthday card is made from folded sheet of 3M sandpaper, circa 1947.

Birthday humor at its finest!

 

Katie McWatt

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 8, 2021

Happy Black History month! 
Throughout the month Item of the Day will focus on various influential and inspirational African American women.
This political campaign button is for Kathleen (Katie) McWatt from 1964.  McWatt became the first African-American to win a Saint Paul City Council Primary; however, she narrowly lost in the general election. She continued to work for her community and push for fair housing and employment.
Learn more about her here.
 

Artist's Book

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

This artist book created by Linda Gammell was just added to the Library collection.
It is titled "Mundi: Imagining the Hydrosphere." Created in 2019, it uses archival inkjet print with text and photographs on cave flax paper folder with linen thread hand-stiching.
The artist statement says: "'Mundi: Imagining the Hydrosphere' is a limited edition (20) map-like book that is an homage to deep engagement in both science and art with imagination and with wonder of our physical world."

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