Minnesota Author Biographies.

Dietrich Lange

Dietrich Lange

From Nature Trails (1927) by Dietrich Lange

Fountains of Youth

The Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon, journeyed to Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth. He failed to find the fabled fountain, but he passed many, many real fountains of youth which his senses were not able to recognize.

There are fountains of youth in the woodland and the field, in the streams and lakes, on the seashores, in little backyard gardens, and even in the desert.

In every place where man's eye can sweep the sky or rest on the green earth, where his ear can listen to the sound of wind and waves, to the song of birds and the music of the little players of the insect world, there are the fountains of youth.

Where violets and buttercups unfold to the breeze of spring, where bees and butterflies play and work on many-scented flowers, where the squirrels rustle through the autumn leaves, where the giant moose or the little wild mice make tracks and trails in the snow, there are the fountains of youth.

Biographical Notes

Birth: June 2, 1863, Bonstorf, Germany
Death: November 19, 1940, St. Paul, Minnesota

Author and educator Dietrich Lange was born Johann Dietrich Lange in the Kingdom of Hanover. He arrived with his family in Nicollet, Minnesota, when he was eighteen. Lange attended Mankato Normal School (currently Minnesota State University, Mankato) from 1883-86. He earned a B.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1909. Lange taught at the Nicollet County parochial school from 1881-83. He moved to St. Paul in 1887 and continued his teaching career in St. Paul’s elementary schools from 1887-1889. From 1889-1906, he taught at Central High School in St. Paul. He was principal of Humboldt High School, St. Paul, from 1906-1914. From 1914-1916 he was the superintendent of St. Paul public schools. He held the position of principal of the Mechanic Arts High School from 1916-1939. He was also the nature study supervisor for the St. Paul public school system from 1887-1906, and from 1939-1940 he was the nature study director.

In addition to his teaching career, Lange wrote and lectured on nature conservation and the wilderness. An advocate for the Boy Scout movement, Lange included boy scout characters in some of his fictional works. For example, his book, On the Trail of the Sioux (1911), is set in Minnesota during the U.S. - Dakota conflict of 1862 and it features boy scouts. Lange also wrote non-fiction books, several focusing on birds, including Birds of the Midwest (1922). Lange was active in wilderness organizations and served as president of the Minnesota Forestry Association, president of the Minnesota division of the old League of American Sportsmen, a forerunner of wildlife conservation bodies in the United States, and he was the first president of the Minnesota Izaak Walton League in 1923 and honorary president in 1931. A game refuge in Kandiyohi County was named for him in 1941.

The titles below link to the catalog record in MnPALS, the Minnesota Historical Society’s library catalog.

Birds of the Midwest
The Gold Rock of the Chippewa
Good Times in the Woods
Handbook of Nature Study
In the Great Wild North
The Iroquois Scout
Lost in the Fur Country
The Lure of the Black Hills
Nature Trails
On the Fur Trail
On the Trail of the Sioux
Our Native Birds
The Silver Island of the Chippewa
The Sioux Runner
The Threat of Sitting Bull: A Story of the Time of Custer

Additional Resources

• Search MNHS Library and Archives Catalog for author - Searches for works by this author in the Minnesota Historical Society’s library
Minnesota Historical Society Collections Online
Dietrich Lange papers, 1889-1940

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