The image below turned up in a box of Star and Tribune negatives in cold storage at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. No caption was provided, but it was in an envelope marked “Aug. 26, 1937,” the first day of the Hennepin County Fair in Hopkins. Dozens of photos from the fair appeared in the Minneapolis newspapers that week, depicting prize-winning lambs, hogs, heifers, calves and chickens.
The rabbit photo didn’t make the cut. Which leaves us to wonder: How did the fluffy competitors fare? And who were the men handling them with such care?
Without reliable source material, a caption writer is left to riff away. Here goes:
UPDATE: As you can see from the comments below, a helpful and authoritative reader has identified the fellow at center as Ed Wouhlauf, a St. Paul rabbit breeder, judge and, well, butcher. Here’s an ad he placed in the 1930 American Rabbit & Cavy Guide Book (provided by buckfever):
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The Minnesota State Fair has featured many unusual attractions in its 150-year history: death-defying aerial acts, colliding locomotives, freak shows, live animal births, the Minnesota Iceman and premature babies in incubators. Wait … what? The Minneapolis Morning Tribune was there:
This Minneapolis Tribune story is a mess. But the headline is sublime.
"We're more popular than Jesus now," John Lennon told an British journalist in 1966. A year later, the Monkees' Mike Nesmith, in the Twin Cities for a show at the St. Paul Auditorium, humbly explained his band's place in the cosmic pecking order.
Read it in the voice of Garrison Keillor for the full effect.
A musically inclined vagrant known as Banjo Ben walked the streets of Minneapolis in the city's early days. His weakness for alcohol and penchant for strong language landed him in court with some frequency. In February 1876, for example, he was sentenced to 20 days in jail for spewing obscenities at the St. Paul and Pacific depot. Later that year, he walked into the Tribune newsroom and issued an invitation to witness a spectacular feat at the new suspension bridge under construction nearby.
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