Voices of Minnesota

Star Island Oral History Project


DATE: 1976, 1985

INTERVIEWERS: Jean Hines, Kathy Keefe, Betty Mosedale, Carol Ryan and Denis Ryan

Star Island is a 1,163-acre island in Cass Lake. Most of the island is part of Chippewa National Forest, but since 1909 privately owned cabins have been built along the island’s shoreline, primarily as summer residences. The Star Island Oral History Project consists of two sets of audio interviews with the island’s residents and video footage of the area. The first audio set, done in 1976, deals mostly with the history of the island and its community. The second audio set, done in 1985 as part of interviewer Carol Ryan’s doctoral dissertation on the development and history of the summer community, examines why people returned to the island year after year and generation after generation, and looks at meanings that residents saw in the island.

Some narrators were interviewed only in 1976, some only in 1985, and some in both years.

The narrators use various first names and nicknames to refer to other residents. Also, residents are occasionally referred to by their birth names rather than names taken after marriage. In most cases, the cassettes and transcripts have been assigned the names that narrators used in their legal signatures.

LENGTH OF INTERVIEWS: 80 hours 4 minutes

TRANSCRIPTS: 1,708 pages