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A Minnesota Couple's Civil War Letters
During the American Civil War, James Madison Bowler and Elizabeth Caleff Bowler courted, married, became parents, and bought a farm. They attended dances, talked politics, and confided their deepest fears. Because of the war, however, they experienced all of these events separately, sharing them through hundreds of letters from 1861 to 1865 while Madison served in the Third Minnesota Volunteer Regiment.The couple’s separation—which led Madison to battle in the Tennessee Surrender and the Dakota War of 1862—challenged their commitment to the war and to each other. These poignant letters provided them a space to voice their fear for and frustration with each other, and they now provide readers with a window into one couple’s Civil War.
The Civilian Conservation Corps in Minnesota
Hard Work and a Good Deal traces the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which supplied jobs to more than 77,000 Minnesotans during the Great Depression. Nearly one hundred interviews contribute to oral historian Barbara W. Sommer's lively narrative as the "boys" look back on their time in the CCC, during which many of them became men. African American enrollees tell of the segregated policies enforced in the army-run camps; workers for the CCC-Indian Division remember reservation projects that included rebuilding a fur trade-era stockade at Grand Portage. Together, these men give voice to early efforts that advanced the conservation of Minnesota's natural resources five decades in a few short years.
A Chronicle of Five Farm Families
The Haymakers is an epic—the history of man’s struggle with nature as well as man’s struggle against machines. It relates the story of farmers and their obligations to their families, to the animals they fed, and to the land they tended. But The Haymakers is also an elegy—to a way of life fast disappearing from our landscape. In the most heartfelt essays, Hoffbeck chronicles his own family’s struggle to hold onto their family farm and his personal struggle in deciding to leave farming for another way of life. Hoffbeck also seeks to document and preserve the commonplace methods of haymaking, information about haying that might otherwise be lost to posterity. He describes the tools and the methods of haymaking as well as the relentless demands of the farm. Using diaries, agricultural guidebooks and personal interviews, the folkways of cutting, raking, and harvesting hay have been recorded in these chapters. In the end, this book is not so much about agricultural history as it is about family history, personal history—how farm families survive, even persevere.
William W. Warren's History of the Ojibway People has long been recognized as a classic source on Ojibwe History and culture. Warren, the son of an Ojibwe woman, wrote his history in the hope of saving traditional stories for posterity even as he presented to the American public a sympathetic view of a people he believed were fast disappearing under the onslaught of a corrupt frontier populaton. He collected firsthand descriptions and stories from relatives, tribal leaders, and acquaintances and transcribed this oral history in terms that nineteenth-century whites could understand, focusing on warfare, tribal organizations, and political leaders. First published in 1885 by the Minnesota Historical Society, the book has also been cirticized by Native and non-Native scholars, many of whom do not take into account Warren's perspective, goals, and limitations. Now, for the first time since its initial publication, it is made available with new annotations researched and written by professor Theresa Schenck. A new introduction by Schenck also gives a clear and concise history of the text and of the author, firmly establishing a place for William Warren in the tradition of American Indian intellectual thought.
Negotiating Identity, Community, and Culture
Farmers in Laos, U.S. allies during the Vietnam War, refugees in Thailand, citizens of the Western world—the stories of the Hmong who now live in America have been told in detail through books and articles and oral histories over the past several decades. Like any immigrant group, members of the first generation may yearn for the past as they watch their children and grandchildren find their way in the dominant culture of their new home. For Hmong people born and educated in the United States, a definition of self often includes traditional practices and tight-knit family groups but also a distinctly Americanized point of view. How do Hmong Americans negotiate the expectations of these two very different cultures? In an engaging series of essays featuring a range of writing styles, leading scholars, educators, artists, and community activists explore themes of history, culture, gender, class, family, and sexual orientation, weaving their own stories into depictions of a Hmong American community where people continue to develop complex identities that are collectively shared but deeply personal as they help to redefine the multicultural America of today. Contributors: Mary Louise Buley-Meissner, Amy DeBroux, Jeremy Hein, Vincent K. Her, Don Hones, Gary Yia Lee, Song Lee, Pao Lor, Bic Ngo, Keith Quincy, Chan Vang, Hue Vang, Ka Vang, Kou Vang, May Vang, Ma Lee Xiong, Shervun Xiong, Kao Kalia Yang, Kou Yang.
Minnesota has always been a land of immigrants. Successive waves have each made their own way, found their place, and made it their home. The Hmong are one of the most recent immigrant groups, and their remarkable and moving story is told in Hmong in Minnesota. Chia Youyee Vang reveals the colorful, intricate history of Hmong Minnesotans, many of whom were forced to flee their homeland of Laos when the communists seized power during the Vietnam War. Having assisted U.S. troops in the “Secret War,” Hmong soldiers and civilians were eligible to settle in the United States. Vang offers a unique window into the lives of the Minnesota Hmong through the stories of individuals who represent the experiences of many. One voice is that of Mao Heu Thao, one of the first refugees to come to Minnesota, sponsored by Catholic Charities in 1976. She tells of the unexpectedly cold weather, the strange food, and the kindness of her hosts. By introducing readers to the immigrants themselves, Hmong in Minnesota conveys a population’s struggle to adjust to new environments, build communities, maintain cultural practices, and make its mark on government policies and programs.
Dakota and Lakota Women Tell Their Stories
In this poignant collection of oral histories, four Indian elders recount their life stories in their own quiet but uncompromising words. Growing up and living in Minnesota and the Dakotas, Stella Pretty Sounding Flute and Iola Columbus (Dakota) and Celane Not Help Him and Cecelia Hernandez Montgomery (Lakota) share recollections of early family life interrupted by years at government boarding schools designed to eradicate tribal culture. Recounting their complex lives, the grandmothers reveal how they survived difficult circumstances to become activists in Indian politics, reconciling urban with reservation life and Christianity with native spirituality. Particularly memorable is one grandmother’s detailed family account of the tragic events and consequences of the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. Defying stereotypes, these clear and forthright voices are unforgettable. As the traditional teachers and bearers of culture, the grandmothers also share their concern for future generations.
Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson
Near the end of her life, Mina Anderson penned a lively memoir that helped Swedish novelist Vilhelm Moberg create "Kristina," the central female character of his beloved emigrant novels, a woman who constantly yearns for her homeland. But Mina's story was quite different. Showcasing her previously untranslated memoir, "I Go To America" traces Mina's trip across the Atlantic to Wisconsin and then the Twin Cities, where she worked as a domestic servant, and her move to rural Mille Lacs County, where she and her husband worked a farm, raised seven children, and contributed to rural Swedish community life. Mina herself writes about how grateful she was for the opportunity to be in America, where the pay was better, class differences were unconfining, and children--girls included--had the chance for a good education. In her own words, "I have never regretted that I left Sweden. I have had it better here."Author Joy Lintelman greatly expands upon Mina's memoir, detailing the social, cultural, and economic realities experienced by countless Swedish women of her station. Lintelman offers readers both an intimate portrait of Mina Anderson and a window into the lives of the nearly 250,000 young, single Swedish women who immigrated to America from 1881 to 1920 and whose courage, hard work, and pragmatism embody the American dream.
Making Minnesota Our Home
A boardinghouse keeper finds her kitchen in a mess after Saturday-night revelry and refuses to cook on Sunday. An iron miner pries frozen ore from a car in 40-below temperatures. A grocer makes sausage, brews wine, and forages for mushrooms and dandelion greens. In Italian Voices, Minnesota’s Italian Americans share rich stories of everyday life in communities in the Iron Range, Duluth, and the Twin Cities between 1900 and 1960. Mary Ellen Mancina-Batinich, a native of the Iron Range, had unequaled access to the state’s immigrant generation during the twenty years she spent documenting the lives of these Minnesotans, in their own words.