Tag Archives: Minneapolis Central Library

Life after football – Time to read, view, listen, plan for Spring!

By the time you read this post you will have recovered from the Super Bowl and gone back to shoveling, politics and thinking about life, the universe and everything.   Consider these possibilities:

Has all the political foment – or maybe it was going to see The Post – inspired you to go back to the Good Old Days of Watergate?   Now online at the Library of Congress are the Senate Watergate hearings.  The American Archive of Public Broadcasting recently published an online exhibit at LC. Gavel-to-Gavel: The Watergate Scandal and Public Television (https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-17-167/library-and-wgbh-acquire-historic-tv-coverage-of-senate-watergate-hearings/2017-11-03)

While you’re surfing the treasures of the Library of Congress, click on some of LC’s digital trove of resources including, definitely not limited to, these:

Or relax and enjoy this video discussion of Hannah and Sugar, the children’s book written and illustrated by Kate Berube, recently named recipient of the 2017 Ridgway Award.   Lisa Von Drasek, Curator of the U of M Library’s Kerlan Collection, shares the book and background on the Ridgway Award, the annual honor presented to an author or illustrator in recognition of an outstanding debut in the world of children’s picture book.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWDVlXqxySM

Weather permitting you may want to venture out –  bundle up and explore these possibilities:

  • The new season for Talk of the Stacks which begins on February 27 when Alicia Eler, Stephanie Glaros and Stephanie Curtis will explore “identity as it relates to digital media.” See the season schedule and details here: (https://www.supporthclib.org/talk-stacks).   Friends of Minneapolis will also hold their Annual Meeting on Tuesday, February 20, 5:30 PM at the Central Library.
  • Or check out these forthcoming Club Book author talks;
    • Omar El Akkad – Tuesday, February 13, 7 PM at Saint Anthony Park Library in St Paul
    • Peter Geye – Monday, February 26, 7 PM at Rum River Library in Anoka
    • William Kent Krueger – Thursday, March 1, 6:30 at Chanhassen Public Library

Click here for information on sponsorship and full season schedule.   http://clubbook.org.  Note that Club Book presentations are podcast so you can listen at your leisure.

Sign of the times:   https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/youtube-will-start-labeling-videos-from-state-funded-broadcasters/ar-BBIDpOW?ocid=UE01DHP

If the long winter has depleted your “to be read” pile, check out this listing of the National Book Critics Circle finalists for books published during 2017.   http://bookcritics.org/blog/archive/national-book-critics-circle-announces-finalists-for-2017-awards

Resistance, Resilience, Renewal — a gathering of poetry and song celebrating the enduring legacy and inspiration of Meridel LeSueur.  The special event, set for 6:30 p.m. on February 22, is hosted by the East Side Freedom Side Freedom Library and the St Paul Almanac.  It’s at 630 PM on February 22.  The program begins with presentations and performances of Meridel’s work as well as original work by established and emerging artists.  More at https://www.evensi.us/renewal-gathering-poetrysong-celebrating-meridel-lesueur-east-side-freedom-library/244411880 

Take time to mark your calendar for these special events:
  • World Storytelling Day is set for March 20, 2018. Theme of the local event is “Wise Fools – Wisdom on the Folly of War.  Again this year the local event will be at the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul.  Details to follow.
  • The Spring 2018 Westminster Town Hall Forum schedule is out.  All presentations are at Westminster Presbyterian Church on the Mall in downtown Minneapolis.  Dates and speakers are: March 22 – Noon, Journalist and editor Suzy Hansen, “An American Abroad” –  April 10, Noon, Pediatrician and children’s health advocate Nadine Burke Harris “Children Adversity and Health. – May 1, Noon, Steve Schmidt, Founder of the Center for Political Communication at the University of Delaware, “A candid look at today’s headlines.” – May 22, 7:00 PM, Richard Stengel, Former managing editor of Time. “Mandela’s Way: Lessons on Life.”  Come early for the music that precedes the Forum; stay for the public reception that follows. All talks are broadcast on Minnesota public radio:  Questions: contact 612 332 3421.   

Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.  John Boswell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome Autumn Options – A brief sampling

Ah, yes, autumn, when the trees blush at the thought of stripping naked in public. ~Robert Brault,

You might want to squelch that image as you ponder this sampler of more uplifting opportunities to learn and engage with some of these fall programs.  Bear in mind, this is the proverbial tip of the iceberg, just enough to prompt you to get out and enjoy the world before we hunker down for the season that is to come.

Ongoing:  Though the American Craft Council Library Salon Series began earlier this week there are three more to follow in the months to come.  The fall series follows up with these offerings.  Details of each presentation are posted online (http://craftcouncil.org/education/library-salon-series

  • October 18 – Inside Scoop, feature Sali Sandler
  • November 8 – Take a Walk in Amara Hark-Weber’s Shores
  • December 2 – Holiday Craft Up.

If  you can’t get to the live sessions, know that the video interviews with past Salon presenters may be found on the Library Salon Series Playlist. http://craftcouncil.org/education/library-salon-series

Saturday, September 16 is a busy day!!!

  • The Minnesota Independent Scholars’ Forum invites lifelong learners of every intellectual persuasion to join them for their monthly meeting. Virgil Johnson, professor emeritus of Northwestern University, designed the costumes for the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Henry IV.  Details here: https://www.meetup.com/es/Minnesota-Independent-Scholars-Forum/events/242895268/
  • The Harriet Alexander Nature Center in Roseville will host its annual Wild Rice Festival, 10 AM-4PM. It’s a family-friendly celebration of wild rice, the harvest season and Native American culture.  Find an excellent description of the purpose and activities of the Wild Rice Festival here: http://wildricefestival.org.
  • The professional musicians of Border CrosSing will offer their Premier Concert, 8 PM at Our Lady of Guadalupe in St. Paul.   “Latin America: A Miracle of Faith” explores the “complexity of religious faith in Latin America” as they sing the history of Latin America sacred music from the 17th Century to the present, “from colonial oppression to El Grito de Dolores! Tickets available online at bordercrossingmn.org or at the door – “no one will be turned away for lack of funds.”
  • Silverwood Park in Northeast Minneapolis will host this fall’s Minneapolis Craft Market. It’s a day of “hands-on fun, nature, and performances for all ages.”  Enjoy new sculpture and poetry installation along the trails or rent a canoe or kayak to the lake.  At the Field trip Market you’ll meet Minnesota makers who design and make candles and soaps, jewelry and art.  Enjoy area authors and musicians or treats from food trucks and Insight Brewing.
  • The Lit Crawl is a moveable feast, 3PM-10PM. Things will be happening t Bryant-Lake Bowl, and at Barbette there will be competitive storytelling as well as readings from local poets.  Details at litcrawlmn.com
  • It’s Senior Surf Day, 10 AM-Noon at Minneapolis Central Library. Registration required:https://hclib.bibliocommons.com/events/search/fq=branch_location_id:(BD)/event/5702d1d3414af7d2590649fe

October 1:  “Snap, Crackle, and Stop”,  a benefit for the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers (http://www.mapm.org)  will gather this year at the Black Dog Café, 308 East Price Street in St. Paul (www.blackdogstpaul.com) Gerald Ganann, Steve Gates and Larry Johnson use storytelling, music and art to explore  the power of nonviolent fore to stop injustice. The evening includes Armistice Bell Ringing by Veterans for Pace and a cameo appearance by Steve McKeown who will explain “why Kellogg Boulevard has absolutely to connection to cereal that talks.”  Happy hour specials 3-7 PM; the Benefit is 6-8 PM – show up early for happy hour specials.

October 5:  “Talk of the Stacks”, the free author series featuring today’s literary voices, is also at Minneapolis Central Library.  On October 5 health care expert will discuss his new book, Real Food, Fake Food: Why you don’t know what you’re eating & and what you can do about it.  On Thursday, November 2, the speaker is music critic Chris Riemenschneider. Both at 7:00 PM.  Free and open.

October 7:  As you settle down for winter living you might want to know more about the house in which you’ll be spending the duration.  Registration is now open for the next series of “Researching the History of Your Minneapolis Home” classes, sponsored by the Hennepin County Library.  Fall classes to come will be 10:30-11:30 AM on Saturday, October7 at Sumner Library and November 4 at Northeast Library.  Check the HCL calendar for updates and to register; library card not required.

* * *

NOTE: This random mix of possibilities is posted just to whet your appetite and jumpstart the fall season – more to follow about the myriad possibilities!   The idea is that, if you get a good running start now — when winter winds slow your pace, you’ll be at the ready to stay in the learning mode.

 

 

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.

~~~

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!

April – A season and reason to explore, learn, think, and share ideas!

So many options, so little time!  But do take time, because you will want to participate in these and the scores of other creative and thought-provoking learning/thinking opportunities that invariably bloom when the ice melts and the sun shines (if only for short spurts)  in these parts.  Just a smattering of the possibilities:

  • Thursday, April 13, 6:00-7:30 pm. Join the Friends of Minneapolis Central Library Global Conversations program.  Discussion this month will focus on the subject of Conflict in the South China Sea, the locus of competing territorial claims.  Professor Duncan McCampbell, attorney and professor of international business and law at Metro State University will lead the discussion.  His background includes extensive travel in Asia and publications on commercial, legal, political and security issues.  He recently returned from a month-long visit to China and the Philippines to research the evolving situation in the South China Sea.  Free and open. Register at the Global Minnesota website (https://www.globalminnesota.org)  or at the library prior to the program.  The program will be available as a podcast on the Global Minnesota website.
  • Always a huge crowd pleaser, the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival is set for April 13-29. This year’s Festival features 350 new films representing over seventy countries. The epicenter of the festival is Anthony Main Theater, with numerous additional screenings throughout the Twin Cities and in Rochester. Learn much more about the Festival in this and other mainstream articles.  http://www.startribune.com/6-hidden-treasures-at-this-year-s-mpls-st-paul-film-festival/418558733/ – For complete information including the calendar, special events and programs, bios, tickets and more, click here: http://mspfilm.org

UPDATE:   4/18https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15b83104a4132e1c

  On Saturday, April 15, 2:00 pm at Minneapolis Central Library author Iric Nathanson will share the story of the development of downtown Minneapolis from early days as a milling metropolis to its evolution as a residential community. The Minneapolis Riverfront and World War I Minnesota are both part of the Images of America series. “Images of America: Downtown Minneapolis.  His book, “Minneapolis in the Twentieth Century: The Growth of an American City,” published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award. His most recent book is “World War I Minnesota.”  To get a feel for the breadth of Nathanson’s studies of Minneapolis history, follow his regular contributions to Minnpost here https://www.minnpost.com/author/iric-nathanson. Free and open.  (612 543 8203)

  • You’ve heard of Interact Center for Visual and Performing Arts, the nonprofit dedicated to providing studio and performance opportunities arts for people with disabilities. (https://interactcenter.org,)  But have you ever visited Interact?   As part of the Saint Paul Spring Art Crawl (April 28-29)  you are invited to visit and learn more about the Interact Center Visual Arts Department.  The family-friendly event includes the chance to meet an artist and to actually create a unique object d’art . You will also have the opportunity to purchase original art work by Interact artists at 20% off the original price.   Interact is at 1860 Minnehaha Avenue West in St Paul.

UPDATE – NOT TO BE MISSED OPPORTUNITY:  http://www.continuum.umn.edu/event/the-sixth-extinction/

UPDATE — MORE FROM INTERACT https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15bb43c5277fe6ca

Search Tips: Hennepin County Library Digital Collections

The best way to explore the possibilities of the Hennepin County Library Digital Collections is to just plunge in – some very basics to know before you take that first dive:

The Digital Collections may be accessed from anywhere at any time – no library card is needed.

  • There are two ways to find your way into the digital collections: You may go from the Library’s website: org>browse>digital collections or go directly to digitalcollectionshclib.org. 
  • Librarians suggest that you start your search from the broadest angle; search across all collections rather than a specific collection.
  • Collections are keyword searchable or searchable by field
  • Descriptive information attached to each item will link you to related content
  • The items digitized from the existing collection generally cover Minneapolis and Hennepin County historical topics — which is not in the least restrictive since local residents have always been engaged in world events, politics, immigration and every other conceivable area that involves human beings! It’s just the Minnesota slant on what’s happening.
  • Focus tends to be on images, i.e. photos in most cases.   Still there is some text, including letters, manuscripts, diaries, yearbooks, and more.
  • It’s important to remember that the collection is open-ended, i.e. New materials are constantly being digitized and added to the collection. These are living documents. If the yearbook you’re looking forward isn’t online yet, wait a bit and it will be added.
  • Note re yearbook: Because of copyright laws the yearbook collection is digitized through 1977.
  • Full resolution downloads are available for most items in the collections. Depending on the digitized material specific items may be downloaded as jpg files or pdf files.

More tips to follow  – after you get your feet wet and your appetite whetted!!!

For an intro to the HCL Digital Collections go to previous post:  https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/opening-library-archives-from-the-outside-in/

 

 

 

Business Skills for Artists – Weekly sessions at Mpls Central Library

The Minneapolis Central Library is launching this week a powerful series appropriately titled “Work of Art.” It’s a series of sessions on business skills for artists that begins December 7 and runs through February 22. The series appears to be free – note that registration is required. All sessions will meet 6:00-8:30 PM at Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall.

The series is funded by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage and is sponsored in collaboration with Springboard for the Arts.

The online calendar indicates that the first session, scheduled for December 7, is already closed; future sessions appear to be open.

All sessions will meet 6:00-8:30 PM at Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall.

Sessions are as follows:

December 14. Time Management for Artists. Discover analytical and tool-based approaches to managing your time. These tools will help you tackle hurdles related to efficiency, flexibility and structure to help you reach your artistic goals.

January 4. Portfolio Kit for Artists. Your portfolio is the core of your promotional material. Focus on the essential elements: sharpening your artist statement, tailoring your artistic résumés, and selecting and formatting your work samples.

January 11. Marketing for Artists. Define your product, discover your target audience, make decisions about how you sell your work, and identify a budget and strategy for your artistic business.

January 18. Social Media Basics for Artists. Using Facebook and Twitter examples, learn core functionality, best practices and exercises to help you build an online strategy for your artistic business.

January 25. Pricing for Artists. Discover an analytical approach to defining key elements that will help you calculate the costs and prices of your art for a variety of markets.

February 1. Recordkeeping for ArtistsLearn how to track revenue and expenses, make informed projections, and gain a clearer understanding of your artistic business finances.

February 8. Legal Considerations for ArtistsObtain general information about your intellectual property, contract basics and structuring your artistic business.

February 15. Funding for ArtistsDiversify your funding streams as well as understand the essential elements of researching and writing grants that appeal to potential funders of your art.

February 22. Business Plans for Artists

 

Tools to dig up family roots featured at Family History Fair!

It’s been a year now since I participated – almost by chance – in the Family History Fair sponsored by the Friends of the Minneapolis Central Library.   I had dropped in to check out the exhibits – and ended up staying for the day, immersed in the mountains of literature, the media productions, the lectures and, most of all, the people who were eager to share the resources and support organizations that had helped them search for their own roots.

This was also the day that I met members of the Friends of the Minneapolis Central Library. (https://www.supporthclib.org/minneapolis-central) Since that first encounter my awareness and appreciation of the unique resources of the Central Library have been enriched. The rich programming Friends of the Central Library offers this community open the doors of the Central Library – and the minds of library users.

At that same Family History Fair I learned more about the Minnesota Genealogical Society. (http://www.mngs.org ) Though I had visited the MGS office in South St. Paul several times, I discovered more about the organization’s services to ethnic groups, individual genealogists and historians.

So this year I’m eager to share the word that the Family History Fair 2016, sponsored by these two organizations, is set for Saturday, October 30, 9:00-3:00 at Minneapolis Central Library.

Plan to spend a day that’s jammed with tantalizing sessions. Tom Rice, Director of the Irish Genealogy Society International, will set the pace with his Keynote on “Getting started with your genealogy and moving forward the right way.” The day’s sessions run the gamut, from “Railroad records and railroad history” to “Finding your female ancestors” to “Cousins by the dozens: Using autosomal DNA.” You’ll be challenged to fit it all in.

Experience assures me that the exhibits will be great – staffed by the state’s most knowledgeable family historians!

Best of all, Family History Fair 2016 is free and open!

For a full program and bios of presenters, click here: http://www.hclib.org/about/news/2016/sept/family-history

Registration info is embedded in the program text but just in case, to register click here: https://hclib.bibliocommons.com/events/57a383dbca019ec71407fdcb

 

Lifelong Learning Thrives on Digital Digging

After a work life ruled by a cluttered desk calendar I’ve shed blind allegiance to a schedule. Evolving technology has only reinforced my disinclination to commit to the calendar or clock. This somehow justifies my reluctance to register for classes, concert series, monthly meetings, haircuts and most especially medical appointments.

The drive for independent, affordable learning is reinforced by the inability to pay for OLLI or college credits, health club membership or store-bought books. I find that learning thrives when sparked by the freedom to carpe diem and that an active life of the mind is best measured not by the learner’s ability to pay but by his or her thirst for knowledge

Thinking and writing about Older Americans Month which starts today (May 1) sparks thoughts about the freedom that seniors have to explore the borders of knowledge. I originally categorized this independent path as “random acts of learning” – till I compulsively googled the phrase and learned that there’s a blog thus named….A little learning can be a deflating thing….

Still, “Poking Around with Mary” fairly well describes my thrifty and rigor-free methodology. “Poking Around” is the term my friend would use to describe my learning style — how I would hop off the bus to check out a neighborhood or drop in at an outdoor concert or start up a conversation with a stranger while we stood in line for a common purpose, or pursue a person, place or idea on the web.   That, she said, was “poking around” and the blog could simply reflect the “pokes.”

Writing for the blog frequently inspires me to poke a little deeper. Now, when I hear of or see something of interest – a display, an event, a park, a coffee shop, a reading space, a specialty shop, a book – I want to learn more – and to share what I’ve learned. Blogs are great for ad hoc poking around, especially when fueled by a compulsion to share….

Since most of my learning is random it’s a challenge to list, much less categorize, the options. Some random thoughts:

  • My favorite poke is probably bookstores, especially used bookstores, where it’s all wonderfully random – authors, subjects, eras, format, language. I tell myself I can identify with all those writers, then internalize their ideas and literary style through osmosis. In fact, it’s the bibliophiles who tend these bookstores that truly inspire me to hang out and learn. Several blog posts reflect this love of bookstores – more to follow.
  • Similarly, many libraries are good, some are great. Librarians are often genetically disposed to share the quest for knowledge. Libraries of all types – public, college, even corporate, church, ethnic and other special libraries, are interconnected in functional networks that facilitate access through any portal – physical or digital. For most learners, the public library is the best port of entry and the most convenient way to explore the learning opportunities, ranging from public programs to home delivery. MNLink https://www.mnlinkgateway.org/zportal/zengine?VDXaction=ZSearchSimple offers a handy gateway to the endless possibilities. Still, especially with libraries, it’s often best to shop locally.
  • Those who work in great libraries are fortunate and indispensable fellow travelers on the path to learning, James K. Hosmer Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library (http://www.hclib.org/specialcollections\ is unchallenged as my favorite because of the incredible collection, stellar service, and the ambient environment that inspires serious research. Check the website – hours are severely limited.
  • The archives at the University of Minnesota are beyond wonderful. Exploring the Archives blog http://www.continuum.umn.edu/primary-sourcery/#.VyShhUtEB4M is both random and revealing of unimagined – yet essential – resources.   And if you’ve been wondering about what’s planned for the Bell Museum Library check https://www.bellmuseum.umn.edu
  • Libraries and librarians are inclined to listen to the needs of learners who have physical challenges to reading or to poking around the collections; seniors sometimes fail to realize how many learning options are accessible at or through their local library. In fact there are statewide and national networks set up to expand options beyond the local collection. One of several good starting points can be found here: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/StuSuc/Lib/MBTBL/AudioBks/index.html
  • For a thorough and timely guide to resources there is no more comprehensive resource than that prepared by staff of the Legislative Reference Library. http://www.leg.state.mn.us/LRL/LINKS/links?links=disabled
  • You’ve probably visited the Minnesota History Center, but have you checked out the library? (http://sites.mnhs.org/library/) Though it’s accessible virtually the setting inspires the will to know more. I am always in awe of the serious learning in progress as scholars, genealogists, History Day students, journalists and PhD hopefuls plumb the State’s historic record. [I find it’s best to refresh with coffee and a muffin at Café Minnesota and/or a stop at one of the irresistible museum shops.
  • Though I have made pit stops at most state agency libraries that collaborate through the Capitol Area Library Consortium I know for certain that all constantly evolve and grow, add resources and programs, and create a unique corporate culture. The great news is that searcher can take a virtual tour with just one click of the CALCO directory. http://mn.gov/library/directory.pdf) A quick tour underscores Governor Perpich’s vision of the “brainpower state”, built on a firm foundation of accessible information services and top-notch professionals who build and mine the power of the resources accessible through this network of libraries and librarians.
  • Over time Pokings have taken me and readers to unique library settings. One of my former Northeast neighborhood haunts, the Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota (PACIM http://pacim.org) has found new digs and new life on the banks of the Mississippi.  The original blog post is woefully dated so check out the new profile and site to learn the latest – and check the online catalog to learn more about the library collection.
  • Though I haven’t visited yet I’m impressed with the collection, the programming and the mission of the East Side Freedom Library. The very special library fosters ideas and action in the former Arlington Hills branch of the St. Paul Public Library. Again, the library features a unique collection and a robust public programming agenda. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/east-side-freedom-library-gives-new-life-to-carnegie-library-st-paul-neighborhood/

One goal of taking this approach on the first day of Older Americans Month is to ease the way into a longer range goal – to demonstrate in tangible and useful ways far exceed most newbies expectation – it just depends on the keeper of the keys to envisions worlds far beyond shopping, paying bills, FB and email.   Armchair learning is within ready reach of any keeper of the keys for whom the goal is to learn.

Life experience tells me that everyone wants to know more about something – it might be presidential politics or polo, violin making or veterans, Iron Range history or hieroglyphics, football or food safety, car repair or climate change, Russian literature or road construction, immigration or isotopes, antiquities or animal protection…

The pitch today is “there’s an app for that” – in my mind, “there’s an opp for that” – an opportunity to enrich the life of the mind. Though the app may unlock the digital door it remains to the seeker to carpe diem. Bear in mind that “on the Internet, nobody knows [much less cares] you’re an “’Older American.”(1)

(1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Internet,_nobody_knows_you’re_a_dog

 

Women on the Homefront – Classic WWII Posters at the Library

 

Grow your own Cana Your Own

Grow your own Cana Your Own

It was a poster from the Kittleson Collection on exhibit in the Minneapolis Central Library Hosmer Collection that spurred my reflections. The World War II-era posters depicts a loving mom and daughter, their gentle exchange as they plant their Victory Garden, the little girl‘s optimism as they work together to support the War effort. Peaceful, full of life and hope.

That, I realized, was the contribution of my mother and millions of other women to the War effort. Though we know the stories of the 36% of American women who shouldered heavy labor during the War, we overlook the fact that those women were also rearing families alone while their husbands and sons were fighting overseas

Even further buried in time are the stories of the two-thirds of American moms and wives whose legacy remains unheralded. Theirs was the day-to-day life of feeding, clothing, caring for a family, often an extended family, during the war. American women on the home front were valiant contributors to the War effort in subtle, domestic, ordinary ways that escape the notice of war historians and of the federal agencies that take a lead in promoting March as Women’s History Month. All during WHM I have found myself reflecting on their contributions.

At the outset of the War an article published in the New Republic advised readers that “For the coming year, at least half our productive effort must be spent making things that citizens cannot eat, wear, or live in – making things for military use.” (1)

Writing directly to homemakers, the popular magazine Good Housekeeping advised their readers that “every item of our apparatus…is now at our Government’s command.” Then GH calmly assured homemakers that “There is another obligation that we will recognize: that of being anti-hysterical.…We will try to remember that entertainment and instruction and homely advice must continue….While we are fighting to win, we shall try to know that love will stay in the world;…that life in American homes must go on and will go on.” (2)

GH need not have worried; these ladies definitely did not resort to hysteria. And they didn’t just cope. Women became active learners – learning to garden, to cook creatively, to sew, to sell not apparel but war bonds, to operate canteens, and to do those domestic tasks that had heretofore been classified as “men’s work.” The exercised creative heroism in an environment in which tools and household basics were at a premium and the local handyman was fighting for his country.

Historian Doris Weatherford writes that American women made “rationing a topic of daily conversation thereby educating themselves rapidly” largely cooking, sewing, shopping, rationing, gardening, and other getting-by tricks of the homemaker’s trade..

Rationing

Rationing

Rationing was both a puzzle and a mighty challenge. Food rationing was a daily reality – sugar, coffee, meats, fats including butter, fish, cheese are just some of the basics that were rationed. Substitute foods such as dried powdered eggs and liquid paraffin to replaced cooking oil were the order of the day. Meat, poultry and fish were all in short supply – even with the introduction of Spam to the American diet. Dependable refrigeration was poor and replacement was unthinkable, so most food was preserved in recyclable tin cans.

Rationing also covered tires, gas, bicycles, shoes, rubber, including rubber pants, the precursor of disposables, fuel oil and kerosene. Though milk was never rationed, canned milk became the household staple for families that lacked refrigeration when steel, not milk, was rationed. Ration coupons were the coin of the realm and penalties were strict.

Conservation recycling altered virtually every daily routine. Since plastic was not yet the bête noire of environmental conservation, the challenge was more basic – crushing and recycling tin cans to be turned into munitions, bottles returned to the milkman for reuse, saving cooking fat to make soap.

Victory gardens were not just for the natural food purist but the basic source of produce for the family dinner table. At one point during the War fifty percent of the nation’s vegetables were grown in victory gardens. To lighten the load women created competitions for the gardens and for recipes that featured produce from the backyard of community garden.

The War Production Board became the nation’s premier clothing consultant. They influenced the appearance of civilian apparel by dictating the conservation of cloth and material, changing the style, especially women’s garments. Weatherford writes that “adult clothing made its wartime adjustment primarily in the promotion of fashions that used less fabric, heedless of the implication that new fashion guidelines implied new clothes.” One story is that fabric rationing led to the design of women’s two-piece bathing suits which Neiman Marcus was quick to market as “patriotic chic” beachwear.

Women also led the volunteer front. The Red Cross, the Office of Civilian Defense, serving at recreation centers and canteens, and constantly pitching war bonds were just one of women’s routine tasks.

In spite of the fact that women bore the brunt of fighting the War on the home front, they had little or no say in the regulation-making process. Women ‘s involvement in the decision-making didn’t begin until the rules were in place and women were brought on board as volunteers to deal with the public and otherwise implement the rules.

Though my reflections on women on the home front will continue, my goal was to make the Women’s History Month deadline. Still, I’m eager to learn more about the stories that that those posters, preserved in the Kittelson Collection, dredged to the surface.

I’m now on a quest to learn more about a topic that has had such an influence on my personal life as well as the role of women. Doris Weatherford’s book, American Women and World War II, of which I read just the chapter on “The Normal Housewife in Abnormal Times” is my starting point. From there I plan to explore the rich collection of resources compiled by the librarians and researchers at the Minnesota Historical Society who have prepared a helpful guide to “Women and the home front during world war II, an excellent introduction to women’s changing role in the workplace and in the home.

Save Freedom of Worship.  Buy War Bonds.

Save Freedom of Worship. Buy War Bonds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:
(1) “Rationing: Democracy’s Test” New Republic,(February 9, 1942), quoted in Weatherford.
(2) “Good Housekeeping and the War,” Good Housekeeping (February 1942, p.19) quoted in Weatherford.

The Times Morgue File Back on the Shelves at Mpls Central Library

Historians, scholars, intellectually curious Minneapolitans take note.  In the spirit of openness the James K. Hosmer Hosmer Collection at the Minneapolis Central Library, has announced that The Times Morgue, the lynchpin historical record of the city, has not been dead, but only sleeping.   The Times Morgue file which the Library acquired from the Star Tribune Company many years ago, is now accessible to the public again.

The Times Morgue File, as it is affectionately known, was relegated to storage for several years during construction of the “new” Central Library.  The collection remained in storage long after the building opened because of storage issues.  Today, the collection has been moved to the 4th floor stacks  of Minneapolis Central Library where it is available to serve the public again.

Ted Hathaway, Manager of Special Collections, Preservation & Digitization, notes that “despite the old name, the collection actually consists of clippings and photos from several newspapers: The Tribune, the Journal, the Star and the Star Journal, as well as the Times.”  Hathaway adds that the collection consists of “many thousands of clipping folders and photographs dating from the 1910’s to 1950, the bulk of it covering the 1930’s and 40’s.  Most of the photographs were taken by newspaper staff photographers.”

Regular users of the Special Collections at the Central Library know that that much of the material from The Times Morgue File has been integrated into the Minneapolis History Collection.  A good deal of the material has been digitized.  Still, much of the archival material has been stored and out of reach of history lovers.

Because the materials are just too fragile, library searchers will not have direct access; staffers will be available to search on request.

The collection even has a new name: The Minneapolis Newspaper Collection – not as memorable, perhaps, as the Times Morgue, but probably more accurate.

This phoenix-like rebirth of The Times Morgue File is just one example of the changes taking place on the 4th Floor of Minneapolis Central Library.  Start with an armchair video tour.  There’s a new, simplified, web site, and some irresistible Tumblr samples.  Much of the collection – everything from manuscripts to posters from the Kittleson Collection –  has been digitized.  Cautionary note, leave yourself time to really explore the digital pathways that lead you through a virtual experience of the several Special Collections.

Better yet, visit the Hosmer collection in real time.  Hours have been expanded.  Staff and interns are mounting exquisite exhibits based on the collection.  The calendar is rich with public programs.    Real time spent marinating in the riches of the Hosmer Special Collections is more than a learning experience.  It’s good for the mind and the soul.