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Minnesota Historical Society Press

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Minnesota Historical Society Press

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Brother of Mine Cover

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Brother of Mine

The Civil War Letters of Thomas and William Christie

Edited by Hampton Smith

In 1861, as President Lincoln called for volunteers to defend the Union, Thomas Christie wrote to his father, voicing desires shared by many an enlistee: “I do want to ‘see the world,’ to get out of the narrow circle in which I have always lived, to ‘make a man of myself,’ and to have it to say in days to come that I, too, had a part in this great struggle.” As it turned out, Thomas had an excellent partner in his quest: his brother William. Both signed on with the First Minnesota Light Artillery, working as “cannoneers,” responsible for loading and aiming big guns at the enemy. The First Minnesota saw action in major battles at Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg, and Atlanta. But the adventurers also endured the monotony of camp life, the hunger of poor supply lines, and, in William’s case, the challenges of enemy capture. The ups and downs, the doubts and thrills are recounted from their differing perspectives in this collection of letters to worried parents, a winsome sister, and a younger brother eager to join in the fight. Their vivid epistles are enhanced by the familial connection of brothers in arms who eventually did see the world—and returned home changed.

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Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden

Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians

Gilbert L. Wilson

Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Indian born about 1839, was an expert gardener. Following centuries-old methods, she and the women of her family raised huge crops of corn, squash, beans, and sunflowers on the rich bottomlands of the Missouri River in what is now North Dakota. When she was young, her fields were near Like-a-fishhook, the earth-lodge village that the Hidatsa shared with the Mandan and Arikara. When she grew older, the families of the three tribes moved to individual allotments on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. In Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden, first published in 1917, anthropologist Gilbert L. Wilson transcribed the words of this remarkable woman, whose advice today's gardeners can still follow. She describes a year of activities, from preparing and planting the fields through cultivating, harvesting, and storing foods. She gives recipes for cooking typical Hidatsa dishes. And she tells of the stories, songs, and ceremonies that were essential to a bountiful harvest. A new introduction by anthropologist and ethnobotanist Jeffery R. Hanson describes the Hidatsa people's ecologically sound methods of gardening and Wilson's work with this traditional gardener.

Building Museums Cover

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Building Museums

A Handbook for Small and Midsize Organizations

By Robert Herskovitz, Timothy Glines, and David Grabitske

Perhaps your museum’s archives have run out of space, or its public programs have outgrown their facility. Perhaps a generous donor or an energetic campaign has provided the funding for a renovation, a new wing, or a new building. Whatever the circumstances, small and midsized museums can find themselves taking on a construction project. But those responsible for seeing that it’s done right—board members, museum professionals, and skilled museum volunteers—are seldom experienced in the high-stakes world of construction management. This handbook outlines the processes and explains the complexities of renovating and building facilities. It highlights what issues to consider and what questions to ask; it outlines steps from needs assessment and project planning to design development, budgeting, construction, and, finally, settling into the new space; it provides the vocabulary and framework for the specific challenges of museum construction. Written by staff members at the Minnesota Historical Society who have consulted on scores of building projects, this volume helps museum professionals and volunteers understand the construction process to achieve their goals in a time of tight budgets.

Calling This Place Home Cover

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Calling This Place Home

Women on the Wisconsin Frontier, 1850-1925

Joan M. Jensen

Swedish domestic worker Emina Johnson witnessed the great Peshtigo fire in 1871; Cherokee nurse Isabella Wolfe served the Lac du Flambeau reservation for decades; the author’s own grandmother, Matilda Schopp, was one of numerous immigrants who eked out a living on the Wisconsin cutover. Calling This Place Home tells the stories of these and many other Native and settler women during Wisconsin’s frontier era. Noted historian Joan M. Jensen spent more than a decade delving into the lives of a remarkable range of women who lived during the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries. These individuals shared many struggles as economies evolved from logging to dairying to tourism. Facing many challenges, they cared for their sick, educated their children, maintained their cultural identity, and preserved their own means of worship. Entwining the experiences of Native and settler communities, Jensen uses photographs and documents to examine and illustrate the recovered stories of representative but often overlooked women. These stories of individuals together form a substantial history of Wisconsin’s well-known industries, its caregiver networks and schooling practices, and matters of faith and politics. This comprehensive volume brings a deeper understanding of the state’s history through the stories of individual women and the broader developments that shaped their lives.

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Canoeing with the Cree

Eric Sevareid

In 1930 two novice paddlers—Eric Sevareid and Walter C. Port—launched a secondhand 18-foot canvas canoe into the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling for an ambitious summer-long journey from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. Without benefit of radio, motor, or good maps, the teenagers made their way over 2,250 miles of rivers, lakes, and difficult portages. Nearly four months later, after shooting hundreds of sets of rapids and surviving exceedingly bad conditions and even worse advice, the ragged, hungry adventurers arrived in York Factory on Hudson Bay—with winter freeze-up on their heels. First published in 1935, Canoeing with the Cree is Sevareid's classic account of this youthful odyssey. The newspaper stories that Sevareid wrote on this trip launched his distinguished journalism career, which included more than a decade as a television correspondent and commentator on the CBS Evening News.

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Chippewa Customs

Frances Densmore

Frances Densmore, born in 1867, was one of the first ethnologists to specialize in the study of American Indian music and culture. Her book, first published in 1929, remains an authoritative source for the tribal history, customs, legends, traditions, art, music, economy, and leisure activities of the Chippewa (Ojibway) Indians of the United States and Canada.

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Citizen Solution

How You Can Make A Difference

Harry C. Boyte

Nationally known community organizer and activist Harry C. Boyte incites readers to join today’s “citizen movement,” offering practical tools for how we can change the face of America by focusing on issues close to home. Targeting useful techniques for individuals to raise public consciousness and effectively motivate community-based groups, Boyte grounds his arguments in the country’s tradition of “populism,” demonstrating how mobilized citizens can be far more powerful than our frequently paralyzed politicians. He offers practical tips on identifying potential citizen leaders and working through cultural differences without sacrificing identities. Each point is illustrated by inspiring real-life examples of Minnesotans who have prompted change: An immigrant community that created a cultural wellness center. An organization of multiracial, multifaith congregations that is tackling tough social problems. A cluster of suburban neighborhoods that came together to take back Sundays from overzealous youth-sports organizations. For readers doubting their ability to make a significant difference in our world, this how-to book will show the way. Praise for The Citizen Solution "The Citizen Solution should be on every activist's book shelf--consider it the practical progressive's Bible for making things happen."—Daily Kos “The Citizen Solution brings Minnesota's rich civic traditions to life. In this stirring book, Boyte describes how people of diverse backgrounds are once again coming together to address the challenges we face.”—Walter Mondale, former vice president of the United States “In a time of great political division, The Citizen Solution offers individuals a path to make change on the issues they care about. Only through civic engagement can we build the power to improve our communities.”—David Wellstone, co-founder of Wellstone Action! “The Citizen Solution is a great resource for thoughtful people. Harry Boyte provides hope, principles, and examples to encourage families, peer groups, and neighborhoods to solve problems for the common good.”—Al Quie, former governor of Minnesota “Boyte's practical and inspirational book is essential reading for anyone concerned with the future of American democracy.”—Cecilia Marie Orphan, National Coordinator, American Democracy Project

The Crops Look Good Cover

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The Crops Look Good

News from a Midwestern Family Farm


When Margaret Williamson left her family’s rural Wisconsin farm to work in Minneapolis in 1923, her mother, Olava, wrote regularly with updates about daily activities: laundry, bread baking, plowing, planting, and harvesting the crops. Sometimes she enclosed a note from seven- year- old Helen, who reported on school and shenanigans and how she longed to see Margaret again. So begins decades of stories about a family at once singular— with personal joys and challenges— and broadly representative of the countless small farms that dotted the midwestern landscape in the early twentieth century. As Margaret’s niece Sara DeLuca weaves together family tales gleaned from letters and conversations, we learn of births and deaths, of innovations like the automobile, radio, and telephone that drew rural communities together, and of national and international events that brought home stone- hard truths. Depression- era farmers struggled to keep their land and feed their livestock; many failed. During wartime, this family made do just like everyone else. The tale that emerges is one of fierce devotion to family and work, of a changing landscape as smaller farms became part of conglomerates, and of the comforting daily rhythms of life shared with those who know us best.

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Curiosity's Cats

Writers on Research

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