MPRB records now at Central Library!

Not so long ago but in another journalistic era I spent many hours enjoying the rich resources and incredible staff of  Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library.  My quest was to learn and share the stories of the parks and neighborhoods  of Northeast Minneapolis.  (See attached)

In those days my key leads to park records were the MPRB website (https://www.minneapolisparks.org/about_us/history/) , the library’s “vertical file,” crammed with clippings, posters, letters, newsletters, and other mementoes of park history,  the brief outline of MPRB posted on the Hennepin County Library website, the grand plan for the Grand Rounds (https://www.minneapolisparks.org/_asset/vkz2qm/grand_rounds_masterplan_1999.pdf)  and David C. Smith’s  essential guide to the park system: https://www.minneapolisparks.org/about_us/history/city_of_parks_book/

Both the Grand Rounds and my series of posts about the magnificent park system remain works in progress….

As I enjoy the sights and sounds of  the city’s parks these summer days I often vow to complete that series of posts – and  a recent note from Edward (Ted) Hathaway, head of Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library, inspires  me to take long overdue action.  Clearly, the task of researching the histories has been greatly simplified for all of us who want to be more engaged – or who just want to better understand – the city’s magnificent park system.

The essence of the news is this: The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Hennepin County Library (HCL) are excited to announce the successful transfer of a huge collection of MPRB proceedings, reports and other historic documents to Minneapolis Central Library.

Attached is the announcement  that explains the full import of the move and offers more information about access.  Because it seems relevant I’m also attaching a list of park/neighborhood related articles and posts from this blog.

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Attachment #1 –  Announcement:

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Hennepin County Library (HCL) are excited to announce the successful transfer of a huge collection of MPRB proceedings, reports and other historic documents to Minneapolis Central Library.  (See full  notice attached.)

Thousands of documents providing a detailed, fascinating record of Minneapolis park history are now open to the public at the James K. Hosmer Special Collections located on the fourth floor of Central Library. This collection holds archival material that shows the growth, improvement and programming of the Minneapolis park system from the early 1880s through the 1960s. It includes:

  • Proposals and correspondences tracing the evolution of the Minneapolis park system as it grew to encompass 15% of the city’s land
  • Reports and petitions illuminating significant park issues across different eras
  • Official Board actions including agreements, policies and contracts

James K. Hosmer Special Collections is open to the public Monday-Thursday, 10 am-4:30 pm, as well as the first and third Saturdays of the month, 10 am-4:30 pm.

Discover the history of your neighborhood park or learn more about the development of iconic Minneapolis landmarks in the Minneapolis Parks Collection, now available at Central Library.

If you haven’t discovered the wonders of the Minneapolis Central Library’s James Hosmer Special Collections start here:  http://www.hclib.org/specialcollections#visitors-guide

Attachment #2  – Links to the park stories posted or published to date – more to follow!

Tracy K. Smith – The Poet Laureate’s Minnesota Links

I’m very excited about the opportunity to take what I consider to be the good news of poetry to parts of the country where literary festivals don’t always go.  Poetry is something that’s relevant to everyone’s life, whether they’re habitual readers of poetry or not.

These are the words of Tracy K. Smith, named last week as the Poet Laureate of the United States. (https://www.graywolfpress.org/news/tracy-k-smith-named-new-poet-laureate-united-states)   The words resonate especially with those of us had the chance to participate in the recent Rural Arts Summit described in an earlier post.  (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/tag/rural-arts-and-culture-summit-2017/)

Smith’s poetry and her selection as Poet Laureate are of special interest to Minnesota readers who are long familiar with the local publisher of her work — Graywolf Press (https://www.facebook.com/GraywolfPress/)   Graywolf has published numerous books of Smith’s poetry including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry winner Life on Mars.  Best of all, Graywolf will publish Smith’s Wade in the Water in April 2018.

Needless to say, much has been written about the new Poet Laureate in the past week – many focus her long relationship with Graywolf:

Though the Minnesota connection runs throughout the local press this blast from Bemidji tops the list of Minnesota newsmakers!  We look forward to hearing more about last evening’s event!   http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/news/local/4286330-poet-laureate-tracy-k-smith-headline-northwoods-writers-conference.  We  hope that America’s Poet Laureate will return often and travel throughout the region to share “the good news of poetry” with those who live in “parts of the country where literary festivals don’t always go.”

Summertime means time to read!

One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by ~~Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle

The recent post report notwithstanding, the F. Scott Fitzgerald international conference does not a summer make. When the dust has settled bibliophiles will continue book binge and reluctant readers won’t be able to resist the abundance of literary lures. What follows are hints of the possibilities.  Whether you’re a reader, a good listener, a browser or just choose to hang out with word lovers, you’ll want to keep your eyes and mind open to the possibilities!  The list here is sadly metro-centric and arbitrary – the idea is to suggest sources and inspire creative searches for bookish gatherings that may pop up in unexpected places.

Public libraries and local Friends of the Library are planning close-to-home programs for all ages.  The MELSA calendar is humungous and detailed, loaded with Bookawocky events for kids,  book discussions, music, house history, art, gardening, something for everyone.  Think reading options, varieties of content and the choice of format that fits the seeker’s fancy and device.

More than ever libraries have no monopoly on reading resources and events – the great good news is that book sales are rising, book groups, literary events of every fashion are everywhere – in coffee shops, places of worship, indie bookstores, parks, book festivals  and more.

Following are some bookish possibilities that suggest you’ll find books and reading – local writers reading their books, book art, book discussions, poets, historians, even Little Free Libraries — in unexpected places!  Troll the neighborhood to learn who’s reading or listening to what… consider your nosiness as a high-brow form of voyeurism.

A few events that might activate your literary inclinations:

June 16, 7-8:00 PM Victoria Houston (http://www.victoriahouston.com) The author will discuss her new book Dead Spider at Once Upon a Crime Bookstore, 604 W 26th Street, , Minneapolis. Doors open at 6:30.

June 17, 2 PM.  History Comes Alive: Emily O. Goodridge Grey.  Emily O. Goodridge Grey was an African American social activist, pioneer and abolitionist in Minnesota during the 19th century.  Hosmer Library. 347 E 36th St, Minneapolis  This is just one in a robust series of History Comes Alive programs, stories of African American men and women shaped not just Minnesota, but the entire nation. The series is developed by Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center.(https://www.facebook.com/MAAMCC/

June 17, 10 AM.  Joel Katz, author of From Footpaths to Freeways, Minneapolis Central Library.  Katzwill discuss the history of highway development in Hennepin County and around the state.  His talk will trace Minnesota’s road and street systems, how they developed in pre-statehood times in the 1840’s to today.  Katz will also talk about classifications, construction, maintenance, traffic control, safety congestion, bridges and the interstate system.  Sponsored by Friends of Minneapolis Central Library.

June 17, 3 PM. David Sedaris and Ariel Levy, Common Good Books.  The authors will read and sign their new books:  Sedaris’ Theft by Finding and Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply. http://www.commongoodbooks.com/event/common-good-books-hosts-david-sedaris-ariel-lev

June 21. All day. Book it to the parks!  To celebrate the 50th anniversary of MPR the Minneapolis Foundation is donating 50 Little Free Libraries to Minneapolis Parks.  Local writers will be reading from their children’s books at city parks throughout the day.  For a full list of parks and readings check here: https://www.minneapolisfoundation.org/bookit/

June 25, Open Mic Night at Coffee House Northeast, 2852 Johnson in Northeast Minneapolis– 5:45-8:30 PM.  This is one of countless  summertime open mic possibilities –  For a full list of Open Mic events check here: http://openmikes.org/calendar/MN

June 16 7 PM.  Heid E. Erdrich Eat My Words, 1228 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis. Learn more about Heid Erdrich here:https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/heid-e-erdrich 

June 17, 2 PM David Housewright, What the Dead Leave Behind.(https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/rosemary-simpson/what-dead-leave-behind/) Valley Bookseller, Stillwater. 

June 22, 7 PM. East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street, St. Paul. Norah Murphy reads from her book White Birch, Red Hawthorn: A MemoirThe story of the author’s ancestors’ maple grove, home of Dakota, Ojibwe and Ho-Chunk who were dispossessed when the Irish arrived, the story of the author’s search for the connections between the contested land and the communities who call it home.  Part of the ESFL’s monthly “Women from the Center Reading Series.”

Friday, June 22, 7 PM Kevin Kuhn: Do you realize? A Novel.  Eat My Words, 1228 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis https://www.evensi.us/kevin-kuhndo-you-realize-a-novel-eat-my-words-bookstore/212898374

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You get the idea — These are June happenings only.  During the summer months Minnesotans will take part in these and a zillion other book/reading/word events.  To know what’s happening in your community,  keep checking these current – and complementary – calendars.  Each posts literary happenings set in bookstores, parks, coffee shops and wherever people who dare to share ideas gather.

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge;

it is thinking that makes what we read ours. John Locke

All things F. Scott Fitzgerald on St. Paul’s Summer Calendar

You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Let there be no mistake Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald reigns in St. Paul these early days of Summer 2017.   Fitzgerald fans have been preparing for eons — reading and re-reading, explicating, exploring the fine points of Fitzgerald’s works and world.

The schedule of events – academic, social and other – will keep the Saintly City planning and parsing until – and no doubt after – the 14th Annual International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference meeting in St. Paul June 25-July 1.  http://www.fitzgerald2017.org

Exploring the program is a glorious introduction to Fitzgerald.  Though you may not have plumbed the depths of the hometown hero you can claim a bit of literary chauvinism, even if your only brush with Fitzgerald is skimming the text for sophomore English or a glorious summer afternoon lost in Jazz Age society.

No need to wait for the grand event.  On Wednesday, June 21 the Show Gallery will sponsor a pre-conference event.  Fitzgerald scholar David Page, author of F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota: The Writer and His Friends at Home will share the stories he has found while doing research.  Page will share stories of the places and people Fitzgerald describes, snippets of local lore he discovered in his extensive study of the writer’s letters, scrapbooks and diaries.  June 21, 6:00 PM at the Show Gallery, 346 North Sibley in St. Paul’s Lowertown.

The following Wednesday evening, June 28, Anne Margaret Daniel will offer a public reading from I’d Die for You: And Other Stories, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. http://www.startribune.com/review-i-d-die-for-you-stories-of-f-scott-fitzgerald/420017193/   The reading will be at 7 pm at Common Good Books, 38 Snelling Avenue South in St. Paul.

This is just a taste of what promises to be a grand frenzy of Fitzgerald festivities! There’s still time to brush up a bit on Fitzgerald lore.  Though the best prep would be to take time to re-read a Fitzgerald classic, rime is fleeting so here are some last-minute options:

Some Summary Thoughts on the Summit…..

The Rural Arts and Culture Summit meeting last week on the bucolic campus of the University of Minnesota-Morris, rates a 100% positive score!  The RAC gathering was genuinely and consistently informative, inspiring and certifiably Way Above Average!

The biennial Summit drew 400+ representatives of arts organizations and community groups, visual artists, writers, educators, elected officials and just a few of us who simply care deeply about arts and culture in our communities and our lives.

Though most attendees were Minnesota-based the speakers came from communities around the country, each selected because of her or his unique perspective on the arts and culture.  My post-Summit reflections on the plenary sessions, the small group presentations, the exhibits and the casual conversations, are through the lens of stories and a profound of sense of place, threads woven throughout the Summit.   The threads represent the myriad ways in which the arts both create and tell the story of the community, of a unique place and its people.  In new ways I understand the arts, broadly defined to include visual arts, music, theater, literature and more, as unique streams of light, creating and reinforcing a sense of community in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Sponsors of RAC at the Center for Small Towns at the University Minnesota-Morris (http://www.morris.umn.edu/cst/) and Springboard for the Arts (https://springboardforthearts.org)

Happily, Springboard for the Arts has magically posted videos of the plenary sessions on their Creative Exchange: (http://springboardexchange.org/rural-arts-culture-summit-videos/) .  Check them out – you’ll understand intuitively the reason that conversations among attendees over lunch and during campus strolls were spirited, free-wheeling and bursting with creative energy.  In my mind’s eye I see the sparks from Morris igniting place-oriented art and cultural activities in small towns and neighborhoods throughout the region.

Creativity is a magical force.  When people of good will gather not to preach or posture but to learn and share, the flow of ideas is palpable.  When the environment is idyllic, those ideas flourish, morphing and adapting in unique and wondrous ways, ever at the ready to enliven a community whether that community is a small town, a neighborhood or an arts organization.

And that’s how change happens!

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For glimpses of ideas in motion at the RAC Summit click here:

* http://ias.umn.edu/2017/06/06/rural/

* https://twitter.com/hashtag/racsummit?src=hash

* http://www.ruralartsandculturesummit.com/press/

Learning and Sharing Stories of the Suffrage Movement

The reason for evil in the world is that people are not able to tell their stories.  ~ Carl Jung

The story of the Suffragette Movement is the story of resistance, persistence – and ultimate triumph.  The long struggle to ratify the 19th Amendment that guaranteed women’s right to vote is a uniquely American story worthy of retelling in these times.

The June 2019 centenary of passage of the 19th Amendment offers an opportunity for us to study the story of the Suffragettes in depth, to analyze and emulate the vision and tactics of the Movement.  This is a powerful story of American patriots who shared a vision and marshalled their talents, strength and unstinting hope to pursue a common purpose.

The centenary of their success, June 4, 2019, invites the nation to research the records, remember and retell the story.  There is time to honor the unstinting courage of the Suffragettes by doing a deep dive into the history of the Woman Suffraqe Movement — then sharing the stories with contemporaries and future generations.

Though it may seem like overkill, when tackling an historic issue of national scope a good place to start is with our nation’s repositories of recorded history –the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration.  Not the magnificent buildings in Washington, DC but the very accessible digital libraries that open the historic record to armchair searchers wherever they may be.   In recent times LC and the Archives have created digital repositories that breathe life into the story of the Suffragettes Movement.

Librarians and archivists responsible for preserving the record of the nation have taken a lead to harness digital technology to share the intellectual treasures of the nation.  They are committed to crafting useful tools that guide the remote searcher along the digital path to learning about the country’s legacy.  Their mission is to share the personal stories of real people whose recorded legacy is now accessible through digitized letters, scrapbooks, songs, photos, and diaries –  real life stories that share the thoughts and situations of those individuals and institutions that shaped this nation..

A couple of  starting points will guide the seeker’s path to the Suffragettes’ stories:

Library of Congress:

Though the physical Library of Congress is elegant it is beyond overwhelming; and yet a digital dive into the treasures is manageable. LC resources are even organized by grade/age level to suggest their appropriate audience, even  the youngest learner.  Some basic tips:

  • A good strategy is a dip into the primary documents digitized by LC – – it will inspire even the recalcitrant searcher to press on! Among the treasures are the files of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony as well as countless photos, letters, diaries that capture the stories, the images and voices of the suffragettes.   All that little stuff gives life to real people who worked for years to resist the human forces that impeded their struggle to reach a mighty goal. https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/19thamendment.html
  • And here’s a great photographic complement to the primary documents collection. https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/076_vfw.html
  • For a timeline of American women’s road to assuring their voting rights, click here: https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/076_vfw_timeline.html

Each of these launch points will lead the searcher to treasure troves of stories waiting to be told.

National Archives:

The resources of the National Archives and the Library of Congress complement each other.   Staffers at the Archives  join  colleagues at LC in their commitment to expand digital access.  Of the many navigational tools here are some useful starting points:

These digital options for understanding the long struggle for passage of the 19th Amendment provide a logical first step on the research path; they offer a door to a world of stories!   The challenge is to realize and document this pivotal era in our nation’s history.  If we are to honor the labor and vision of the Suffragettes we must take to heart the priority for us to learn and tell the stories of the women and men who pressed on for decades to achieve what we now take for granted.  For us, the mission must be to study the true facts that capture the essence and describe the forces that emboldened the Suffragettes to speak truth to power for decades leading up to passage of the 19th Amendment.    The quest to learn, then tell, the stories deserves time, discussion, reflection.

Some other starting points:

For a really quick overview of the Suffragettes’ struggle, click here:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/congress-passes-the-19th-amendment

For a broader view of American women’s rights, including but not limited to the Suffragette Movement, this Congressional publication provides a good overview.  http://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/WIC/Historical-Essays/No-Lady/Womens-Rights/

For authoritative information regularly updated, these are major – and very helpful –  sources:

These are simply suggestions; resources and perspectives abound.  Exploring, then telling, the story of the Woman’s Movement offers a focus and a challenge to examine strategies that emboldened the Suffragettes to resist and persist.  We are not the first Americans to face a mighty challenge.  We have much to learn from those who set the pace a century ago:

When you walk with purpose you collide with destiny. Bertice Berry

 

 

REMINDER: Refresh, Remember at Rondo Reconnect

REMINDER!

The Rondo Land Bridge Block Party is already underway!  It’s this evening, Friday, June 9, 3-7 p.m.  Sponsored by ReConnect Rondo, the party is warming up at the Rondo Commemorative Plaza at the intersection of Concordia Avenue and Fisk Street.(https://rondoavenueinc.org/rondo-commemorative-plaza-design-presentation/)

This is a grand community celebration of the “land bridge” that will have a profound and long-lasting effect on this his unique neighborhood.  Learn more about hopes and aspirations for the proposed land bridge – and much more about other community development results and plans here:  https://www.reconnectrondo.org

The Rondo community had a profound impact on me when I was a teen struggling to understand conflict and injustice in the world around me. (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/wpadmin/post.php?post=3190&action=edit) Long ago I felt the in a visceral way the suffering endured by people devastated by what was happening to Rondo;  today I share great hope for a neighborhood that resisted, that spoke truth power, and that is collaborating to create a 21st century neighborhood that builds on a proud history.

This is a beautiful evening to celebrate a mighty triumph!    There’s live music, fabulous food, and bountiful hope and pride in a people who have had the spirit to take a long view!

RondoReconnect shares a powerful lesson much needed in these times!

More about neighbors’ hopes for the Rondo Land Bridge project, expressed in a presentation to the St. Paul City Council September 2016 here:  https://www.stpaul.gov/sites/default/files/Media%20Root/Planning%20%26%20Economic%20Development/RondoLandBridge%20PC%2009-30-16.pdf