Tag Archives: minnesota independent scholars forum

Long evenings leave time to learn- Some on-site and armchair options

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall —  
F. Scott Fitzgerald 

As the nation commemorates October as National Archives Month the many faces of archival work come into focus, including on the federal government scene.  In the headlines this month is the issue of preservation of White House archives. The White House, including the temporary resident, is required by law to preserve all presidential documents, including emails and other electronic records.  Because this is not happening it has been necessary for National Archives officials to express serious concerns.  A recent [10/17] POLITICO report by Josh Dawsey and Bryan Bender describes the archival challenge in detail. (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/17/national-archives-trump-documents-preserve-243888)

October 19 – 5:00-7:30 pm In Their Own Words: The Tretter Collection Transgender Oral History Project. Elmer L. Andersen Library, U of M.    Vignettes from the “In Their Own Words” project, artifacts, books and documents from the Tretter Collection.  Reservations https://www.continuum.umn.edu/reg/reservation-transgender-oral-history-project-exhibit-reception/

October 28 -UPDATE:  The Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum reports a special program appropriate to the bicentennial celebration of Henry David Thoreau.   Photographer and author Dale Schwie will be speaking at the organization’s monthly meeting. Dale will discuss his recent book, Taking Sides with the Sun, a biography of Herbert W. Gleason whose work includes a major collection of “Thoreau Country” photographs, now housed in the Special Collections of the Concord MA Free Public Library.  (https://www.thoreausociety.org/thoreau-country)   MISF and guests will meet at the North Regional Library, Lowry and Fremont Avenues North.  The library opens at 9:00; meeting at 10:00.  Ample parking.  Free and open.

The U of M Archivists continue to take a lead in the digital age.  New online from the Kerlan Collection is an amazing online exhibit, Children’s Book Art: Techniques and Media. (Z.umn.edu/techniques)   The digitized exhibit explores the ways in which artists explore today’s media to express ideas and delight young readers.  As with most children’s literature there’s no limit on age or enjoyment of the visual treats.

Bookish.com is launching BookishFirst, an early preview and review platform featuring new books and authors, pre-pub excerpts, blurbs, reviews and more.   (https://www.bookish.com)

Everybody needs a break! — There’s a new Nancy Drew TV series in the works!  http://deadline.com/2017/10/nancy-drew-tv-series-nbc-tony-phelan-joan-rater-dan-jinks-1202189328/

If Halloween freaks you out, the good people at Poets.org (https://www.poets.org) offer a National Archives Month celebration of poetry appropriate to the season.  https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/halloween-poems   Do not miss John Berryman’s Halloween, read by the poet – archived by the archivists we honor this month. (https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/stanza/archive-john-berrymans-halloween-reading)

Thoughts of the Children’s Book Art exhibit, combined with the spookiness of Halloween,  focus the mind on reading and children, especially children and young people for whom books and reading offer both a challenge and a treasured opportunity.  Reading and books will help these young readers to  live the life envisioned by Charlemagne who told us that “to have another language is to possess a second soul.”

October is Bilingual Child Month

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P.S. from the Roseville Library (Ramsey County)

Fake News: a History
October 25 – Roseville: 12:30 p.m. Roseville Library – What explains the recent rise of fake news and wily accusations of “fake news”? Join University of Minnesota scholar Harshit Rathi for a different look at the news media and how we got here. Cost: Free. For more information contact them at 651-724-6022.

American Politics in the Age of Trump: A First Look at History
October 31November 7 and 14
 – Roseville: 12:30 p.m. Roseville Library – Whatever your political point-of-view, it’s time to take a first look at what will certainly be one of the major historical events of the 21st century. This series features speakers from a variety of political positions, in which will consider the first draft of a history of the Trump Presidency. For more information contact them at 651-724-6022.





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.

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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.



We lose our bearings entirely by speaking of the ‘lower classes’ when we mean humanity minus ourselves. — G.K. Chesterton

This is just one of the pithy observations shared with the generations by Gilbert Keith Chesterton. (http://www.chesterton.org/quotations-of-g-k-chesterton/)

This compilation of quotes gathered by the G.K. Chesterton Society (http://www.chesterton.org) will inspire, irritate, amuse or otherwise offer an insight into the mind of G. K. Chesterton.

Scholars, critics and devotees have categorized Chesterton as a philosopher, a literary critic, a brilliant conundrum and a highly quotable curmudgeon. He is best known, perhaps, for the breadth of his work that ranges from scholarly tomes, often on the fine points of Christian orthodoxy, to his still-popular Father Brown mysteries and pithy quotes.

What has prompted my renewed awareness of Chesterton is an open invitation from the Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum to attend a forthcoming Chesterton-rich public presentation. The speaker is renowned Chesterton authority Dale Ahlquist (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dale_Ahlquist) whose association with the life and work of Chesterton reflects both scholarship and commitment to share the works and views of this prolific writer.

It may come as a surprise to local scholars and bibliophiles that there is a deep and ongoing Minnesota connection with Chesterton. To wit: Minnesota is the home of The American Chesterton Society (http://www.chesterton.org) a national society founded by Ahlquist. Today there are some seventy local chapters of the Society. Members will be gathering for their annual meeting August 4-6 in Slippery Rock, PA.

Ahlqvist is also publisher of Gilbert Magazine (https://www.facebook.com/GilbertMagazine/) as well as author and editor of a dozen works and host of an EWTN series on Chesterton. Further indication of Ahlquist’s commitment is his role in the founding of the Chesterton Academy, a private high school situated in Edina.

Another Minnesota connection is the fact that the many works of Chesterton are archived in the Chesterton-Belloc Collection at St. Thomas University Library (https://www.stthomas.edu/libraries/special/rare/chesterton-belloc/) [Sad to note: Librarian and archivist James Kellen, who established and curated the Chesterton-Belloc Collection, died just last week in Minneapolis. Kellen’s life story is an inspiration in itself. http://www.startribune.com/obituary-james-kellen-university-of-st-thomas-librarian-84/382553851/]

The Chesterton lecture is 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 25, 2016.  All are welcome – free and open. Membership not required.









Independent Scholars Announce Winter 2012 Program Schedule

Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum has announced their program plans for Winter 2012.   The Scholars public programs meet at 10:00 am on the third Saturday of each month.  Sessions are open to the public free of charge.  All sessions meet at the Hosmer Public Library, 347 East 36th Street in Minneapolis.

The Winter 2012 program includes a broad mix of learning options for all.

Saturday, January 21          Shakespeare & the Problem of Authorship

George Anderson will argue that it is not William Shakespeare but Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford,  who wrote the works commonly credited to The Bard.

Saturday, February 18       The Arab Spring

An examination of what has come to be called the Arab Spring: how it came about, what it came about now, what it means, and what its future may be.  A panel of individuals with Egyptian roots will offer insight what is happening now and what might be the outcome.  Panelists now scheduled include Dr. Fatma Reda Maged Makled.

 Saturday, March 8               Music of Women Composers

Pianist Jim Reilly and soprano Terry Rose will present a program of the music of women composers.  Jim is the Music Director Emeritus at Minneapolis’ Mindekirken, the area’s only surviving Norwegian language church.  Terry Rowe is a frequent presenter on programs featuring women composers. The program will include music not only by well-known composers but also some composers newer to the music scene.

An ideal opportunity to celebrate spring which should be here by then!

Those who have questions or who need transportation to Hosmer should contact Curt Hillstrom, 612 823 5132 or curthillstrom@hotmail.com.


The following article was originally published in Practical Thinking, the newsletter of the Minnesota Independent Scholars’ Forum. Learning institutions that serve the public good – and those who serve the public through museums, historical societies, libraries, archives and their ilk … Continue reading

Scholars Without Walls

The walls of academia, that is….

Though I was present at the birth of the Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum over two decades ago, I’m never really Poked Around some of the details or independent scholarship, its various permutations and connections…  What I did know is that, in the early 1980’s an assemblage of disenfranchised researchers, educators and lifelong learners, working with the Minnesota Humanities Commission, joined forces to address the critical needs of serious scholars working on their own and without the perks of academic life.  To some extent their inspiration came from am emerging national recognition of independent scholarship, manifest in one way by publication of the widely read The Independent Scholar’s Handbook by Ron Gross.

After much deliberation (as becomes a gathering of independents) these folks agreed that independent scholars experienced specific needs – for access to library resources, for recognition of writing, speaking and other scholarly pursuits, for foundation and government funding, and, above all, for opportunities to share information and ideas with colleagues.

Many of the barriers, the group concluded, were remedial.  Thus they created the Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum, now a 501c3 nonprofit.  Though time and technology have alleviated some of the problems, e.g. access to library resources, others persist. Time constraints and a dearth of venues that support sharing information and ideas top the list.

Today, the MISF works to anticipate, address and meet the changing needs of scholars working on their own.  At the same time the scholars enrich the community by sharing their research and insights with the community at large.  Membership is open to learners of every stripe – no degree requirements.   The current MISF sports a lively mix of active learners in a host of settings – homemakers, part time students, attorneys, librarians, government, museum, corporate employees.  MISF provides a structure that offers common space and opportunity for independent learners — physicists, historians, literary scholars and creative writers, musicians and artists, even lurkers like me. Members share their experiences, their studies and opinions,  and their commitment to an environment that actively supports an academic life that is shared and recognized.

The “independent” in MISF is the tie that binds and the spirit that creates the “lively, interdisciplinary, and non-traditional environment” that is the hallmark of the organization.  MISF dues start at just $25.  All activities are free and open.  Check it out, drop in on a study group or public forum.  Check out the MISF website, email info@mnindepdnentscholars.org or send a note MISF at USPS: Box 80235, Mpls 55408.

National Coalition of Independent Scholars

The Independent Scholar’s Handbook by Ronald Clark revised and available in digital format from Simon Fraser University and the Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars.