January 2013 Archives

On December 17, 2012, the Immigration History Research Center collections, now to be known as the IHRC Archives, formally became part of the Department of Archives and Special Collections. The Immigration History Research Center, directed by Prof. Erika Lee, will continue to promote the study of immigrant populations within the College of Liberal Arts, and the University Libraries will support the collections. The IHRC and Archives and Special Collections will collaborate through programming, exhibits, events, and outreach to immigrant communities. The IHRCA is second only to the University Archives in terms of the size of the collection, and is one of the most heavily used of the collections in Andersen Library.

Earlier in the fall, the collections of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest were donated to the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives. A portion of the JHSUM materials had been on deposit in Andersen Library for a number of years, and the donation reunites all of the collections in one place. We are very pleased that Kate Dietrick will be joining ASC as curator of the Berman Archives in March. Kate comes to us from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. She received her MS in Library and Information Science from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, and her BA in history and women's studies from St. Olaf College.

We are delighted to add these two stellar collections to our wide-ranging complement of research materials. Both the IHRCA and the Berman Archives connect with other departmental collecting strengths, most notably the Social Welfare History Archives and the Kautz Family YMCA Archives, forming a solid core of research materials in immigration and social history found nowhere else.

Kris Kiesling, Director of Archives and Special Collections



Dear Ann.JPGPauline Phillips, better known as "Dear Abby," passed away this week at the age of 94. Her support for gays and lesbians is noted in many of her obituaries including those in The Advocate and the Minneapolis StarTribune.

In the era of Facebook, CNN, instant communication and the internet, it may be hard to remember (or imagine) the impact that Pauline and her sister, Esther Friedman Lederer who wrote "Dear Ann," had on popular culture and social attitudes.

The Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies recently received a clipping collection from Robert Halfhill. Robert started saving news reports on GLBT issues in 1970. By the time he donated his collection it filled 20 boxes and included local newspapers, national publications and a number of GLBT publications.

Sorting through the first boxes, the early years don't take up much space. The file from 1973 has a few national articles and 12 clippings from the Minneapolis Tribune. In that dozen are 2 letters to the editor and 6 Dear Ann columns. If you were a Tribune reader that year, half of the mention of homosexuality you saw in your local paper may have been from the advice column. The next year has more clippings but Dear Ann remains a leading source of information. Out of 54 clippings that mention homosexuality in the Tribune during 1974, 14 were letters to the editor and 10 were Dear Ann columns.

Promoting the Mission

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This past December, Archivist Ryan Bean delivered a paper at the International Symposium on China and Taiwan in the Writings of Western Missionaries, National Central University Taiwan. Titled Selling the Mission: The North American YMCA in China 1890-1949 his paper ryan bean image.jpggave a brief overview of the work of the Young Men's Christian Association in China and their changing relationships with the missionaries who invited them into the country. The YMCA may be found in many histories related to missionary work in China however normally their role is relegated to that of a supporting character. In fact, the YMCA had a profound impact on the nature of Chinese Christianity and provided an institution for Chinese Christians to work on reforming their society.

The paper was well received and will be published in a forthcoming volume. A pre-print version may be found in the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy. With Ryan in the photo is Professor Peter Wang the symposium organizer and director of the Graduate Institute of History at National Central University Taiwan and Professor Wang's wife.

- Ryan Bean, YMCA Archivist


Ralph Rapson, Architect (1914 - 2008)

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Long before he died in 2008, the architect Ralph Rapson began working with the then-Curator of the Northwest Architectural Archives (NAA), Professor Al Lathrop, to ensure the establishment of the Ralph Rapson Papers here at the University.


rapson image 2.jpgMr. Rapson's work can be seen every day for people working on the West Bank Campus of the University - Rarig Center is his design (the theater building), and his Cedar Square West high-rise apartments just received historic designation and a facelift. His Guthrie Theater building was recently demolished but still lives in memory as the place where many of us attended the first fabulous productions of the new theater company in the early 1960s.


Ralph Rapson, born in Michigan in 1914, began his architectural studies at the University of Michigan College of Architecture in 1938, moving to Cranbrook Academy of Art to study under Eliel Saarinen. He then joined Saarinen's architectural practice and added furniture design to his portfolio. His work combined all the arts in an interdisciplinary approach to architecture and design. When he became Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota (now the College of Design, or CDes) in 1954 he brought this approach to his teaching and mentoring.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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