(via Minneapolis Central Library’s Special Collections - HMS Henning)
Special Collections got a shout out from writer, publisher, traveler, and library lover Kristin Henning.
Maps, yearbooks, annual reports, autographs, cookbooks, menus, event programs, newspaper clippings, original documents, personal letters, first editions, irreplaceable photographs, manuscripts, historic pamphlets and posters…and this isn’t even everything that Kris discovered in Special Collections!
What will you discover at Minneapolis Central Library?
The Monuments Men of Minneapolis
Two jeep-riding art connoisseurs from Minneapolis helped to recover $2,000,000,000 worth of stolen European art treasures in Germany. One gave his life for art’s sake.
Captain Walter J. Huchthausen was one of the group of Allied Military Government (AMG) officers who helped plot maps of art centers so that artillery could avoid damaging historical material. He was killed by fire from a German machine gun nest on April 2, 1945. The war in Europe ended on May 8, 1945.
Huchthausen moved to Minneapolis with his family in 1923. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1928 (yearbook photo pictured), studied at Harvard and abroad, and returned as an architecture faculty member in 1940.
Another Minneapolitan involved in locating and reclaiming art stolen by Nazis was Captain E. Parker Lesley, former assistant professor of fine arts at the University of Minnesota. Lesley, an art historian, was also assigned to write an art section for a history of WWII which was compiled by a special board of review.
Before Allied armies drove into Germany, fine arts and archives officers had been informed through secret channels of the existence, and usually the location, of some 500 cashes of looted art in Hitler’s Reich.
As soon as a hoard of treasurers was uncovered, the officers were summoned.
They would 1) mount guard; 2) seek the aid of civilians who had special knowledge of the cache; 3) hunt out records of the stored objects; 4) check on their condition and, if necessary, remove them from damp storage places; and 5) make an inventory.
-Minneapolis Tribune, August 19, 1945
Recovered objects were moved to several depositories and artworks were returned to owners. It was suggested that objects destroyed or lost be replaced by comparable objects from German collections.
Read the book: The Monuments Men: Allied heroes, Nazi thieves, and the greatest treasure hunt in history by Robert M. Edsel, 2009
Hear what a relative of Walter Huchthausen has to say: Star Tribune, February 10, 2014 'The Monuments Men': My brush with moviemaking
Take a self-guided tour of 9 artworks at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts with incredible stories of surviving World War II. Part 1 and Part 2.
See the movie: The Monuments Men, now playing in theaters.
Remembering Joan Mondale
Joan Mondale passed away on Monday, February 3, 2014 at the age of 83. Joan, sometimes known as “Joan of Art,” was a leader in the Minneapolis and national arts and crafts world. She was instrumental in the development of the Minnesota Textile Center and the Northern Clay Center and served on such boards as the Walker Art Center, Minnesota Orchestra, American Craft Council (now headquartered in Minneapolis), and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. She was also appointed chair of the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit Public Art & Design Committee.
Read more memories about Joan from the American Craft Council and the Textile Center. Or visit Special Collections to read newspaper/magazine articles in the Walter and Joan Mondale Collection.
Photo: Cover of ARTnews magazine, September 1978.
Figure Skating Club of Minneapolis, 1948
With the 2014 Winter Olympics underway, we’ve got our minds on winter sports in Minneapolis. Here, 6-year-old Carole Banbury receives instruction from Frances Johnson and Mary Wright at the Figure Skating Club of Minneapolis. The club was preparing for the 10th annual ice carnival at the arena.
Minneapolis Times, February 23, 1948
Check out more photos of the Figure Skating Club of Minneapolis in the Minneapolis Photo Collection.
Five Improvisations for Piano by Mrs. H.H.A. Beach (Amy M. Beach)
This sheet music was dedicated by Amy Beach to Stanley R. Avery, the organist and choirmaster of St. Mark’s Church (now Cathedral) in Minneapolis.
Amy Marcy Cheney was a child prodigy that learned to play the piano at a young age and began composing soon afterward. She is regarded as the first American female composer of large scale classical music works. Beach was born in 1867 and married Dr. Henry Harris Aubrey Beach in 1885 and adopted the professional name of Mrs. H.H.A. Beach.
There is a Stanley Avery Collection at Special Collections. Avery was born in Yonkers N.Y. in 1879. He came to Minneapolis in 1910 and was organist/choirmaster at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church until 1950.
This sheet music was rediscovered during the Minneapolis Central sheet music cataloging project. The Minneapolis Central music department was created in 1919 and contained 5,000 items. The collection now has 119,178 items including 41,443 items of sheet music. The project has focused on creating modern catalog records for the Putnam sheet music collection. Hebert Putnam was an early head librarian at Minneapolis Public Library and created his own cataloging system that was later superseded by Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress classification systems.
The Minneapolis Central Library fourth floor collection is an odd little vacuum that exists out of time. The books are accessible if you ask for them, but they’re also somewhat invisible. Not only have many of these books not had their classification updated, but most haven’t even been catalogued.
Andy Sturdevant: Cracking the spine on Hennepin County Library’s many hidden charms
Beautiful lettering by Andy Sturdevant illustrating the specific requirements of the Putnam Classification. Visit Minneapolis Central Library to discover these hidden treasures and more.
Orpheum Theatre Orchestra Caricatures, 1926
Anyone who has played in a musical ensemble knows there can be quite a bit of downtime during rehearsals. In 1926, Floyd P. Barnard, a double bassist for the Orpheum Theatre orchestra, must have seen this as a time to brush up on his drawing skills, depicting himself and nine of his fellow musicians in caricature. At the time, the Orpheum Theatre on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis was a grand vaudeville house, hosting famous acts such as the Marx Brothers and Fanny Brice.
Born in 1897, Barnard dedicated his life to music in Minneapolis. After working as a musician at the Orpheum for a number of years during the 1920s, Barnard became a member of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, as well as a Minneapolis Public School music teacher for 23 years. He composed numerous works for band and orchestra, including the “Star of the North March” and co-authored a textbook, “Introduction to Musical Knowledge.” After he died at age 90, Floyd and his wife Margaret’s papers were donated to the Special Collections Department, where patrons can peruse his published and unpublished musical scores and drawings.
Floyd P. Barnard clearly had a creative streak. Take a look at his caricatures above and compare them with the snapshot taken of his orchestra mates just a few years later. Can you match the caricature with its real life counterpart? The men featured in both drawing and photo are Wesley Shean, Ted Hoover, Floyd P. Barnard, Jim Murphy, Pete Sperzel, Jim Faricy, and Carl Johnson.
-Roxanne Kalenborn, Special Collections and Preservation Intern
Minnesota Book Artist Award 2014
(Images from Deeply Honored by Fred Hagstrom, 2010)
The Minnesota Book Awards has announced Fred Hagstrom as the winner of the 2014 Minnesota Book Artist Award. The award is presented annually by Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) and the Minnesota Book Awards. It recognizes a Minnesota book artist or book artist collaborative for “excellence of a new artistic work, demonstrated proficiency and quality in the book arts through their body of work, as well as an ongoing commitment and significant contributions to Minnesota’s book arts community.”
Hagstrom’s award winning piece, Passage, examines the historic tragedy of the slave trade, using photos and diagrams to illustrate the inhumane conditions aboard slave ships. The images are paired with selected texts from two historical books that were important for building opposition to the slave trade: An Essay on the Impolicy of the African Slave Trade by Thomas Clarkson, 1788, and Biographical Sketches and Interesting Anecdotes of Person of Color by A. Mott, 1837.
One of Hagstrom’s earlier works, Deeply Honored (pictured) tells a story of the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII and Carleton College’s actions to present scholarships to 5 students in order to release them from the camps and provide them with an education. The book is on display now in Special Collections.
Previous winners of the Minnesota Book Artist Award include Jana Pullman (2013), Bridget O’Malley and Amanda Degener of Cave Paper (2012), Regula Russelle (2011), Wilber H. “Chip” Schilling (2010), Paulette Myers-Rich (2009), and Jody Williams (2008).
View books by all of these artists and more in the Fine Press and Book Arts Collection at Minneapolis Central Library.
The Many Faces of Camp Savage
Civilian Conservation Corps. Homeless Men. Nisei soldiers. What’s their connection with Camp Savage?
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal, was a work relief program for unemployed young men. In Minnesota, Camp Savage housed CCC workers during the 1930s. Later, the Camp housed homeless men.
In June 1942, Camp Savage became the Military Intelligence Service Language School with the mission of training Nisei soldiers (first generation Japanese Americans) in the Japanese language. Born in America, most Nisei soldiers weren’t fluent in their parents’ language. The first class had 200 students. The school schedule was demanding, with classes lasting until 9 pm on weekdays. Graduates of the school served in the Pacific Theater providing code-breaking and other intelligence services. By January 1944, the language school had over 1000 students. When Camp Savage was over its capacity, the school moved to Fort Snelling.
Today, most Camp Savage buildings are gone. The few buildings that remain (south of Highway 13 near Xenwood Avenue) belong to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
To learn more about Japanese Americans and Minnesota in the war, check out these titles from the Kittleson World War II Collection. And visit Special Collections to see a new display on Japanese Internment Camps During WWII.
The Nisei soldier : historical essays on World War II / by Edwin M. Nakasone. J-Press, 1997
Minnesota goes to war : the home front during World War II / Dave Kenney, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2005.
Matthew Little, Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 92
Matthew Little was a Minnesota civil rights icon. He moved to the Twin Cities in 1948, and after years of being rejected for jobs because of the color of his skin, he took action to fight for equality and human rights. Little joined the board of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP in 1954, a position which he held until retiring from the post in 1993. Little was also among the 58 Minnesota delegates to attend the historic March On Washington in 1963. Little died on Sunday, January 26, 2014.