Special Collections Newsletter - August 2022

hennepin county library special collections

August 2022

Check out what is new and noteworthy this month in Special Collections.


Upcoming events

Children on playground

Photo of children at McRae Park in 1975 from the HCL Digital Collections.

Rev. Carl Walker on the Walker West Music Academy

Saturday, August 6, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Online presentation)

Rev. Carl Walker will describe the development and success of the Walker West Music Academy of St. Paul, the oldest community music school in the nation founded by African American musicians. Click here to join the meeting at the above day and time. No registration required.


A Glimpse of Back in the Day at McRae Park

Thursday, August 11, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. (Online presentation)

Join us for a presentation on the history of McRae Park, at Chicago Ave. and 46th Street. Talk presented by the Back in the Day at McRae Park Social Event Committee. Click here to join the meeting at the above day and time. No registration required.


Meet Special Collections staff member Amelia Foster

Amelia Foster

Amelia was recently hired in Special Collections as one of two archival processing assistants for the Minneapolis Community Organizations Archives Project, funded by a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant. The grant funds the processing of 18 archival collections primarily from Minneapolis neighborhood associations. Amelia recently completed her Master of Library and Information Science at St. Catherine University. In addition to her work in Special Collections, she’s a substitute Librarian with Dakota County Libraries, and a letterpress printer.


Q: What’s something interesting you’ve learned about Minneapolis since you started working on this project?

A: Before starting my work in Special Collections, I never knew that Minneapolis neighborhood associations had so much power and influence in the 1990s. Learning about the city of Minneapolis’ Neighborhood Revitalization Program and its reverberations with current politics has been fascinating.


Q: What’s your favorite part about working with archives?

A: I love archives that provide a window into the not-too-distant past. The largest collection I’m processing is from the Whittier Alliance, and as a former Whittier resident, I’ve enjoyed seeing photographs of businesses I know and love when they were first established. The Nicollet Ave Newsletter announcing the opening of Quang Restaurant was a fun discovery. I also enjoy a good turn of phrase and appreciated the disgruntled resident who called the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association an “elite fiefdom of activists” in a letter of complaint.  


Q: What your favorite place or building in Minneapolis?

A: In the summer, the Dowling Community Garden is my favorite spot to admire. Otherwise, I’d have to choose the 7th St. Entry.


New in the Digital Collections

Bob Lewis

B. Robert 'Bob' Lewis Collection

Photographs of Minnesota state senator B. Robert "Bob" Lewis, Sr. Lewis represented St. Louis Park as a senator from 1973 to 1979. He was the first known African American to serve in the Minnesota Senate. He was a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and passionate about issues affecting the poor and mentally ill.

Lewis was born November 2, 1931 in Hutchinson, Kansas. He graduated from the University of Kansas, including a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1960. Before becoming a state senator, Dr. Lewis served on the St. Louis Park school board and the Minnesota State Board of Education. He died from a heart attack on April 25, 1979.


In the Archives: Recent Acquisitions

Prospect Park Slides

Prospect Park Historic District Committee Materials

Files documenting the work of the Prospect Park Historic District Committee, 1990s-2010s. Includes information on individual buildings and residences. Prospect Park Historic District Committee was a project of the Prospect Park Association, which worked to have Prospect Park designated as an historic district.

Al Milgrom Dinkytown Uprising Records

16mm film, reel-to-reel audio recordings, video recordings, notes, and photographs compiled by Al Milgrom for his documentary "Dinkytown Uprising." Recordings include original footage from the 1970s, taken by Milgrom, and later interviews with uprising participants. Al Milgrom was a University of Minnesota film instructor, founder of the University of Minnesota Film Society (later the Minneapolis St. Paul Film Society), and a documentary film maker. "Dinkytown Uprising" tells the story of protests against the establishment of a Red Barn hamburger chain restaurant in Dinkytown in the 1970s.


In the Archives: New Finding Aids

Jordan Area Council

Jordan Area Community Council Records

The Jordan Area Community Council (JACC) is a neighborhood organization founded in 1964 by the residents and Parent Teacher Association of the Jordan Area. It is the official neighborhood organization for the Jordan area of North Minneapolis. The records include board of directors material, committee memos and minutes, administrative and financial documents, event and meeting files, correspondence, pamphlets and promotional material, project and subject files, print photographs, and publications created or compiled by the JACC from its founding in 1964 to 1997. View finding aid online.

Nokomis East Neighborhood Association Records 

The Nokomis East Neighborhood Association (NENA) was established in the late 1980s to serve four neighborhoods in southeast Minneapolis: Keewaydin, Minnehaha, Morris Park, and Wenonah. The records include board of directors meeting materials, committee meeting materials and minutes, administrative and financial documents, event planning materials, correspondence, subject files, photographic prints and slides, and Neighborhood Revitalization Program-related documents created or compiled by the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association (NENA) between 1995 and 2013. View finding aid online.

Let's Bowl Records

Scripts, production files, press clippings and other materials from the Let's Bowl television program from 1999 to 2001. Let's Bowl was a Comedy Central television program shot in Minnesota, including at the Stardust Lanes bowling alley (now Memory Lanes) in the Seward neighborhood. The show featured local contestants who resolved their unusual disputes through bowling. Contestants could win funny, locally-themed prizes. Materials created and collected by Ken Bradley, one of the show's writers and directors. View a snippet of Let’s Bowl in this episode of Artifacts (starts at about 1:35). View finding aid online.


From the Blog

Spoonbridge Cherry

Spoonbridge and Cherry

Remembering Claes Oldenburg, renowned artist and co-creator of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden’s Spoonbridge and Cherry. Read more on our blog.


In-person and Remote Research

LWV Phones

Special Collections is open Monday through Thursday 9am-4:30pm. Appointments are not necessary, but you do need to call Special Collections or check-in at the 4th floor reference desk upon arrival for department access. You can speed up your visit by requesting materials be pulled in advance.

Don’t forget, even though Special Collections is now open, we can still help you with your research needs remotely. Email specialcoll@hclib.org or call 612-543-8200.


Phone photo: Members of the League of Women Voters answer voters' questions about the 1948 election via telephone, providing non-partisan information about amendments, candidates, and the voting records of incumbents to anyone who called. Photo from the Minneapolis Newspaper Photographs Collection.

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