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Archive for August, 2011

Meet Our Authors at the Minnesota State Fair

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Fabulous Fair AlphabetHave fun exploring the tastes, sights, and smells at the Minnesota State Fair with the Fabulous Fair Alphabet game inspired by the book by Debra Frasier.

From the website: “Pick up a Fabulous Fair Alphabet game card from any State Fair Information Booth or download one here.  Look for words in what you SEE, HEAR, READ, FEEL–and certainly in what you EAT–at the fair! Write these words on the card, recording two words for each letter of the alphabet. (For example: Write a word that begins with “A” beside the printed A. Remember that X’s are rare–simply look for words that contain an X.) Bring your completed card to the Alphabet Forest in Baldwin Park and win a blue ribbon!”

Minnesota's Hidden AlphabetOn Thursday, September 1, meet David LaRochelle, the Minnesota home-grown author for the day featured in Baldwin Park as part of the Fabulous Fair Alphabet festivities, sponsored by the Children’s Literature Network. David is the author of several children’s books, including Minnesota’s Hidden Alphabet with photos by Joe Rossi. Books will be available for purchase in Baldwin Park (across from the 4-H building) as well.

While you are strolling the fair looking for letters, check out the Minnesota State Fair History Walking Tour. You can also stop by the MHS booth on the main floor of the Grandstand for information on MHS programs and sites. (And fun goodies related to our forthcoming 1968 Exhibit: mood pens, anyone?)

Klecko, CEO of the Saint Agnes Baking Company in St. Paul, hosts the bakery’s daily cooking demonstrations in the Creative Activities Building. This year’s theme at the Saint Agnes demo kitchen is “At the Euro Table,” where  Klecko will be joined by some of Minnesota’s best chefs, bakers, and journalists. Guests include fellow MHS Press authors Lee Svitak Dean (Star Tribune Taste editor), Kim Ode (Star Tribune Taste), and novelist Nicole Mary Kelby. (For dates and times, enter “agnes” in the search box here.)

The breads of master baker Klecko have been served in some of the finest restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul. With decades of international culinary experience, Klecko has baked for presidents, rock stars, and professional athletes. But perhaps his most appreciative clients are dogs: he shares his favorite recipes in our book K-9 Nation: Baking for Your Best Friend.

And finally, on Sunday, September 4, celebrate Minnesota History Day in Carousel Park, sponsored by the Minnesota State Fair Foundation and the Minnesota Historical Society. We will feature entertainment, contests, crafts, and more.

See you at the fair!

Tales of the Road Book Winner

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011


MHS Press would like to thank all the participants in the Tales of the Road Comment Blog Contest.  And now, without further ado, the lucky winner is Linda! Please provide us with your mailing address so we can send you your prize.

Borealis Books Summer E-book Sale! Prices Good Through Labor Day!!

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Answering 911Take Minnesota with You Wherever You Go!

Ten Minnesota e-books by Minnesota writers for $4.99 each from popular e-book vendors including,, and Apple’s iTunes/iBooks store.

We are excited to share these specially priced Borealis Books titles with our digital readers.

Click here for the list of titles and details!


MNopedia Prototype Goes Live!

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

MNopedia LogoThe prototype (or beta version) of MNopedia, an online encyclopedia about Minnesota, is now live for public review.

Initial entries highlight people, places, events, and things from the Industrial Era of Minnesota history (1865-1914). The entries also point to related resources in the Minnesota Historical Society collections, including historic images and Minnesota History articles.

From this beginning, the encyclopedia will grow to include a wider range of content from additional contributors. Minnesota Historical Society Press authors and other respected experts have already signed on to contribute.

Visit the MNopedia prototype to learn more and offer feedback. Comment on an existing entry or suggest a new one. Join the web site’s discussion forum. User feedback will help the Minnesota Historical Society refine and expand the encyclopedia in the coming year.

The Minnesota Historical Society Press is developing MNopedia in partnership with other programs and departments at the Society, with support from the state’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Lake Superior: Facts that DO hold water

Thursday, August 11th, 2011


Sunday’s Yahoo News column, Who Knew, celebrated the 332nd anniversary of the first European journey into the Great Lakes. Lucky for us, we have one of those great natural landmarks in our backyard, the mighty Lake Superior.

Among the wonderful details featured in the video, here are some more fun facts about our very own great lake.

Did you know?

  • Lake Superior, by surface area, is the world’s largest freshwater lake.
  • With an average underwater visibility of 27 feet, Lake Superior is the cleanest lake out of the chain of Great Lakes.
  • There have been more than 350 recorded shipwrecks, most of them happening during “Northeasters,” when high winds and rainy low pressure systems fly over the lake, creating dangerous conditions.
  • More than 60 fish species call Lake Superior home.

For more on the majestic Lake Superior, check out Shining Big Sea Water: The Story of Lake Superior by Norman K. Risjord. A compelling history of the lake’s glacial origins all the way through its present-day uses, this book also offers helpful travel tips and new tidbits about this great lake.

P.S. Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a copy of Cathy Wurzer’s Tales of the Road: Highway 61. Share your favorite highway 61 travel destinations by leaving a comment, and who knows: you might just get to have your very own copy courtesy of MHS Press and Borealis Books!

Tales of the Road is on the move!

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011


Minnesota Public Radio Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer, author of Tales of the Road: Highway 61, has worked hard to keep up to date with the digital age. From blog posts to Twitter feeds, she’s got all the bases covered. But nothing excites her more then the recent launch of her new website, the improved and inviting Tales of the Road.

In honor of the new website, we would like to hear from you. What is your favorite place to visit along Highway 61? Is it the North Shore’s Split Rock Lighthouse? Could it be the Aerial Lift Bridge in the picturesque city of Duluth? Or maybe the Apple Capitol of Minnesota, located in the quaint town of La Crescent, is more your style.

Whatever it may be, leave a comment telling us your favorite attraction located on Highway 61 and you will be entered to win your very own copy of Cathy Wurzer’s Tales of the Road: Highway 61. Entries will be accepted from today until Monday, August 15, with the winner announced on next Tuesday’s blog post. Good luck, and happy commenting!

Hold on to your Skivvies: It’s National Underwear Day!!

Friday, August 5th, 2011


That’s right, folks, Friday, August 5, is the eighth-annual National Underwear Day! The holiday was founded by Freshpair, a company providing a fresh new spin on undergarments. For a brief history, read below:

In 2003, Freshpair created the ideal forum for celebrating intimate apparel when they rolled out the innovative holiday, National Underwear Day. The original event set the tone for all the future events. National Underwear Day models acted as Underwear Ambassadors and took to the streets in New York. They strolled the runway and the sidewalks alike, clad just in bras, briefs, trunks, bikinis, boxers, and lingerie. They collected signatures from the public to support the National Underwear Day movement and create a national holiday.

-National Underwear Day Website

So maybe you aren’t adventurous enough to jog around the city in your briefs. Lucky for you, we have a few suggestions. The Minnesota Historical Society has a wonderful exhibit that discusses undergarments with a Minnesota twist. Underwear: A Brief History is a display of undergarments of the past and the company records of Munsingwear, Inc., founded here and putting Minnesota on the map in the world of underwear. The exhibit is available for viewing from now through September 11, so be sure to visit before it’s too late!

If a museum stop won’t fit your schedule, never fear: the Minnesota Historical Society Press has got you covered. In the Mood for Munsingwear: Minnesota’s Claim to Underwear Fame by Susan Marks is a book written in conjunction with Underwear: A Brief History. In the Mood for Munsingwear tells about the Munsingwear craze that took over the nation and also describes the progressive relationship the company had with its employees compared to other businesses of the era.

Not only is today a day for celebration, it’s also a day for raising awareness. Freshpair has partnered with the National Prostate Cancer Coalition to spread awareness of this terrible disease. Click the link for more information on how to get involved and to hear more about the mission and purpose of the National Prostate Cancer Coalition.

Hot Topics, Cool Reads

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Minnesota History Summer 2011Looking for some insight into today’s vexing issues? Some perspective? A measure of progress? Or maybe some fun? C’mon, it’s not too hot to lift a finger and turn a page!

Check out the new Summer issue of Minnesota History, our quarterly magazine.  Begin with photo essays on sexy lingerie, a ’50s sock hop, and an old brick schoolhouse reborn as condos. End with book reviews and a photo essay on stunning Dakota ribbonwork. In between, take a leisurely stroll through the articles.

Father Francis Gilligan and the Struggle for Civil Rights: Yes, right here in Minnesota and well before the activist years of the 1960s. He was called to the Twin Cities to teach moral theology at St. Paul Seminary in the early 1930s and got right to work. Inside and out of the classroom, Gilligan argued that racism was a grave sin. He merged Catholic social-justice teachings with sociology to fight discrimination in housing, hiring, and even burial practices.

Frances Densmore Gets the Depression Blues: Suddenly unemployed and no longer young, this self-trained ethnomusicologist from Red Wing struggled to keep working in tough economic times. She wasn’t poor enough to qualify for relief programs, and who needs music collectors when people are starving? Cultural ideals and popular interest in folk culture were changing, too. Densmore did manage to get by, and she amassed a huge archive of recordings, transcriptions, and writings. Modest renown came late to her, yet people today are still assessing her legacy.

From Emission to Pollution: Regulation and Changing Ideas about Smoke in the Twin Cities: It was an uphill battle to convince folks that smoking chimneys didn’t necessarily signal prosperity. Factories, ships, trains, office buildings, and homes belched thick, sooty coal smoke into the air as the industrial era moved into the early 1900s. In the end, St. Paul and Minneapolis took different paths to abating the nuisance, with the capital city in the lead. The secret to success? Regulation, yes, but also enforcement. And it helped to have a charismatic, energetic health commissioner, too.

The Summer 2011 issue (volume 62, number 6) is available for sale in the MHS museum store, 651-259-3010. Or subscribe–four issues a year delivered to your door!

Guest blog post by Minnesota History editor Anne Kaplan