Easily accessible from the American Boulevard Light Rail Station, the Bloomington Visitor Center of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge hosted a day on Henry David Thoreau’s 1861 visit to Minnesota. Thoreau was ailing with Tuberculosis in 1861 and the wilderness air was supposed to be good for him. If you would like to learn more about his Minnesota visit, Special Collections has his Minnesota Journal.
Ken Bartholomew, Speedskater, 1920-2012
Ken Bartholomew, one of the athletes that made Minneapolis a speedskating powerhouse in the mid-20th Century, died on Tuesday. The two photos above are from 1941 when he won the National Outdoor Speedskating Championship in LaCrosse, WI. Carmelita Landry of Fitchburch, Mass. is also pictured above and won the women’s title. Bartholomew later won silver in the 500 meter race at the 1948 Winter Olympics.
“A sense of unspeakable security is in me this moment, on account of your having understood the book. I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb. Ineffable socialities are in me. I would sit down and dine with you and all the gods in old Rome’s Pantheon.”
A letter from Herman Melville to Nathaniel Hawthorne, after Hawthorne praised Moby Dick, which was published in the UK 161 years ago. Melville would later dedicate the book to Hawthorne.
Google’s homepage doodle today honors the classic American novel.
A new addition to Special Collections from the Joseph Zalusky collection. It consists of drawings of Minneapolis buildings and scenes. It also has a section on the 1893 Columbian Expedition in Chicago. The building that housed Hotlzermann’s Chicago Store still stands at 417 Cedar Avenue, it is now the home of the West Bank Grocery.
2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the Berenstain Bears, Stan and Jan Berenstain’s wildly popular family-values series. Sadly, Jan Berenstain passed away this spring at the age of 88. We celebrate her memory, 50 years, and more than 300 books!
Many of our libraries have copies of the first Berenstain Bears book, from 1962, when Brother Bear was called Small Bear and there was no Sister Bear! This page is from a 1968 Berenstain Bears book, Inside Outside Upside Down.
Want more Berenstain Bears? Check out Stan and Jan’s 2002 autobiography, or one of their many children’s books at all of our HClib locations.
Did you know that Stan and Jan considered using penguins instead of bears for a while during the conception of the series?
It’s the time of the year when one ponders about what candy (or healthy treat) to give out on Halloween night. From a local perspective Pearson’s products are always tempting but I was reminded by an earlier post that the Milky Way bar was invented in Minneapolis. Here is an interesting article by Jack El-Hai on the creation of the Milky Way bar and the combative relationship between Frank Mars and his son Forrest. Frank, Ethel and Forrest Mars are buried at Lakewood Cemetery.
150 years after the U.S- Dakota War of 1862, the Minneapolis Central Library remembers the tragic past and explores the meanings of the Dakota experience in America. This year’s One Minneapolis One Read book is Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past by Minnesotan Diane Wilson.
Spirit Car can be checked out from any of the Hennepin County Library branches. Read the book and join us in discussion. Diane Wilson will be at Minneapolis Central Library to discuss her book on Monday, October 15th in the Doty Board Room on 2nd floor, 7-8 pm.
The doll pictured above is one of five “Skookum Bully Good Dolls” kept in the Minneapolis Central Library Children’s Realia collection. Mary McAboy created these dolls in 1913 after growing up in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota. Skookums were sold across the United States, Canada, and Mexico between the 1920s and 1960s. Well-preserved dolls are now collector’s items and worth as much as $600!
One of our “Skookum” dolls is on display with Spirit Car and other relevant books in the Atrium Case in the Central Library’s Commons. What can these dolls’ history tell us about the Dakota experience and the last 150 years?
Early Public Schools in Minneapolis
The first school in what became Minneapolis was located on the southwest bank of Lake Harriet. It opened on January 19, 1836. The teacher was Lucy C. Stevens, the pupils were six Dakota children [presumably of Cloud Man’s village](Minneapolis Journal, January 5, 1936).
Cloud Man was an Dakota chief who with the encouragement of the local Federal Indian Agent Lawrence Taliaferro, founded the village of Eatonville where the Dakota were instructed in the European-American way of farming by Philander Prescott (1829). Prescott was married to the daughter of Keiyah, the other chief at Eatonville. Eatonville was located on the south shore of Lake Calhoun. Gideon and Samual Pond established a mission nearby (1834). Eatonville was later abandoned in 1839 due to intensified fighting between the Dakota and the Ojibwe in the north. This information is from the book North County.
St. Anthony founded it’s public schools in 1850. St. Anthony was divided into two school districts, Rice and Steele. One school was taught by Miss Thompson and the other was taught by Miss M.A. Schofield (History of Minneapolis, 1922, Shutter pg. 394). A third school district was added later.
“On the west side [Minneapolis] the first public school opened on December 3, 1852 in a small house erected by Anson Northrup near the corner of Third Avenue South and Second Street. The teacher was Miss Mary E. Miller and about twenty pupils attended during the winter. This was a district school.”(Half Century of Minneapolis, 1908, Hudson pg. 90). Shutter also finds that a meeting at John H. Stevens house on November 20, 1852 was undertaken for the purposes of organizing a school district. (Shutter pg. 394) In 1857 the Minneapolis Union School was founded (pictured above).
The cities of St. Anthony (East Minneapolis) and Minneapolis (West Minneapolis) merged in 1872. The separate school districts of the two cities merged in 1878 to form one Board of Education for the whole city.
Softball, or Kittenball as it was first known, was developed as an indoor sport by Lewis Rober of Fire Station #19 as a way for the firemen to keep in shape during the cold months. In the summer of 1895 the first outdoor Kittenball game was played in the adjacent vacant lot near Fire Station #19. We looked at the 1898 map and figure the game was played on lot 14 of block 14 (see above). It is also located on the upper left hand corner of plate 33 of the 1898 map.
The first outdoor game of Kittenball was played between the Fire Station #19 Engine Company team, captained by Sandy Hamilton and the Truck team, captained by Lieutenant Thielen approximately where the parking lot north of Station #19 is located today. Rober laid out bases with a pitching distance of 35 feet. The ball was a small sized medicine ball and the bat was about 2 inches in diameter. There was a Kittenball league organized by 1900 in Minneapolis and it was embraced by the St. Paul and Minneapolis park boards by 1916. It was later referred to as Diamondball until 1926 when Softball was first used to describe the game.
Fire Station #19, located at 2001 University Ave. SE, now just south of TCF Stadium, was designated as a building of local historical significance in 1982.
Little Brother of the Wilderness: the Story of Johnny Appleseed by Meridel Lesueur, illustrated by Betty Alden, 1947.
John Chapman (1774-1845) really did plant apples from Pennsylvania to Illinois, and even in his lifetime, he was a legendary figure. Meridel LeSueur was a well-regarded and prolific Minnesota author.
Apple picking season is upon us, and Minneapolis Central-Children’s Library is celebrating Johnny Appleseed with Twice Told Tales: American Tall Tales, on Saturday, October 6th at 10:30 am.