April 2014 Archives

by Christine Avery, Archives Assistant and Kate Hujda, Assistant Archivist/Processor

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As spring slowly makes its way to Minnesota, the Manuscripts Division decided it was time to take down our "Winter in the Archives" exhibit in place of a more spring-like display. The recent hire of two new staff members, as well as additional student workers, has allowed the Manuscripts Division to really dig into previously unprocessed collections - which has given us much to be cheerful about!

The increase in processing in our division is largely due to money provided by the Cultural Heritage Initiative. A funding campaign sponsored by the Friends of the Library, the Cultural Heritage Initiative strives to preserve our literary and performing arts legacies. This $3.3 million campaign has allowed our division the staff, time, and resources necessary to process many of our unprocessed collections.

We decided to take advantage of this recent influx by sharing some of the artifacts our staff has unearthed through processing. Our window display, aptly titled "Incoming Treasures," features collections that are either now available or soon-to-be available for public research. Brimming with items from architects, authors, theater, and dance, our display represents the breadth of the collections we've been processing.

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The highlights of our display include a script from Theatre de la Jeune Lune's Children of Paradise (PA 107), a sketch of the Minneapolis Milling district riverfront (1910s) from the Archie Parish Collection (N256), and Buoyancies: A Ballast Master's Log written by Joseph Amato from the Joseph A. Amato Collection (MSS88). (As this is work in progress, not all finding aids are available at this time.)

by Sara Wakefield, Reference Librarian, Immigration History Research Center Archives

In the fall of 2013, the Immigration History Research Center & Archives partnered with the University of Minnesota's Religious Studies Program and the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, MI to bring their traveling exhibit, "Little Syria, NY: An Immigrant Community's Life and Legacy" to the Andersen Library's gallery space on the 1st and 2nd floors.

In conjunction with this exhibit, Sara Wakefield, Reference Librarian, and Hope Shinn, Student Archives Assistant, created a display of Arab American print material from the IHRC Archives. 

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The display includes duplicate rare books, contemporary books, serials, and photographs. The display also includes a map from the 1936 Festival of Nations Exhibit Hall in St. Paul, MN, sponsored by the International Institute of Minnesota. On their Homelands Exhibits hall map you will find a Syrian booth between the Italian and Chinese booth.

Items of interest on display are a copy of the Federation Herald of the Syrian and Lebanese American Federation of the Eastern States, April 25, 1949 edition with the headline "New Haven club rehearses for Arabic-English musical comedy May 22". The photograph of this theater troupe and their exquisite costumes is amazing. Also on display is a copy of Sittee Saltany A'laat: a Compilation of Arabic Proverbs Grandmother Told Me by Margaret Salamey, 1982 and Prairie Peddlers: the Syrian-Lebanese in North Dakota by William Sherman, Paul Whitney, and John Guerrero, 2002.

Jewish Cookbook recipes for Passover

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By Kate Dietrick, Assistant Archivist, Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives

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Next week begins the Jewish holiday of Passover, or Pesach, the commemoration of the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt over 3,300 years ago. It is said that when the Israelites were freed they left in such a rush that they could not wait for bread dough to rise, or leaven. So in commemoration, during Passover no leavened bread is eaten. Chametz, five types of grain (wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats) are forbidden; thus matzah, flat unleavened bread, is eaten during the eight-day holiday. But what might you make with matzo?

One of the unique collections that the Jewish Historical Society amassed before donating their materials to the University of Minnesota is a collection of Jewish cookbooks. These cookbooks, mostly from local women's groups, are filled with great recipes, including ones particular to Jewish holidays.

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In Hot off the Range, compiled by the Jewish Women of the Hibbing-Chisholm Hadassah in 1981, they list suggested menus for Sabbath and holidays.

The Importance of Serendipity

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By Kris Kiesling, Director of Archives and Special Collections

You never know when your day-to-day work is going to have some kind of unanticipated impact. As you'll see from Rebecca Wilson's posting on her Exploring Minnesota's Natural History project blog (a project to digitize all of the natural history materials in the University Archives funded by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund), the lantern slides from the Minnesota Seaside Station have been discovered by the Pacheedaht Heritage Project.

One of the best parts of our jobs as archivists is that we never know how our materials are going to be useful or used. Ned Huff was at the Seaside Station to study the botany of the area, not to document the indigenous peoples. But as it turns out, that documentation is now enormously important, perhaps even more important than his primary purpose for being in British Columbia. Serendipity? You bet! How fortunate that the University of Minnesota established the Seaside Station so researchers could work there. How fortunate that Ned Huff was there with his camera and took an interest in things not botanical. And how fortunate we now have the technology to share these slides, which have been part of our collections for decades, with the world.

And, if you're not already following Rebecca's blog, I highly recommend it!


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

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