Sample Minnesota's rich history, courtesy of a microfilm archive of newspaper articles, photos and ads dating back more than 140 years. Fresh items are posted once or twice a week. Go here for tips on how to track down old newspaper articles on your own. Or visit the Yesterday's News archives, a searchable library of more than 300 articles.
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An enterprising Minneapolis Tribune reporter scoured downtown elevators to blow the lid off an unfortunate trend.
|These hatless bellhops rode the elevators at the Nicollet Hotel in about 1924. (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)|
|This is Mrs. Manley Fosseen -- Carrie to her friends and family -- in 1936. (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)|
|The wearing of hats was probably de riguere for well-heeled men passing through the lobby of the Dyckman Hotel in 1933, when this photo was taken. (Image courtesy of mnhs.org)
From the Minneapolis Tribune:
Minneapolis city directories from 1859 to 1917 are now online, thanks to the Hennepin County Library and a donation from the city's Professional Librarians Union. The address: http://box2.nmtvault.com/Hennepin2.
It's a powerful research tool and a great way to kill an hour or two. You can search or browse the database to track down famous residents of years past. I found listings for George D. Dayton, the department store founder; Theodore Wirth, the pioneering parks superintendent; and Ada L. Comstock, the University of Minnesota's first dean of women. Lillian M. Knott, the “penniless prima donna” who later taught at the Northwestern Conservatory of Music, turns up in the 1917 directory. You can look up your great-grandfather Gustav or your great-aunt Mabel or the family that lived in your house a century ago. Occupations, addresses and, in later years, phone numbers are listed for each resident. Dayton is listed as president, Dayton Dry Goods Company, residing at 2020 Blaisdell, telephone “T-S 4906.”
Many of the job titles are familiar: teacher, plumber, laborer, physician, reporter. Other titles are far less common or unknown more than a century later: maltster, milliner, horseshoer, smutter, cupola tender.
The directories are packed with ads. Here's one I stumbled across in the 1906 directory. While researching the business, the Northwestern Scavenger Company, I discovered that a blogger who works for the county library posted this very image in 2011. What are the odds? I hate duplication, but I've already spent 10 minutes reassembling multiple screen grabs in Photoshop, so here goes:
“TWAIN AND YACHT DISAPPEAR AT SEA,” a New York Times headline blared on May 4, 1907. Trouble was, they hadn't. Samuel L. Clemens was at home that night, resting in his Fifth Avenue home in Manhattan after "a most pleasant" sea journey from Norfolk. The Minneapolis Tribune set the record straight:
|Mark Twain in 1907, perhaps waiting for a newsboy to deliver his morning paper.|
|Industrialist H.H. Rogers' steam-powered yacht Kanawha in 1899. The 200-foot vessel cost $350,000 to build and had a top speed of 22 knots. It later served in the U.S. Navy during World War I.
An above-average exercise in alliteration from the Minneapolis Tribune:
|These darling lads, shown playing marbles outside an Anoka elementary school in about 1904, wouldn't have lasted an hour in detention, let alone 24 hours in the county jail. (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)