Special Collections Newsletter - July/August 2024

hennepin county library special collections

July/August 2024

Check out what’s new and noteworthy this summer in Special Collections.

Doing “the Splits” in Special Collections

Back in the day when newspapers worked from printed photographs for images, they would often literally cut up photos with two or more people into separate pieces. While this made it easier to file alphabetically and for reprinting single portraits of individuals, the original photo, along with its context, was lost.

Special Collections staff have been digitizing local photographs for years from the Minneapolis Newspapers Photograph Collection which was donated to the library by the Star and Tribune Company in 1970. In this huge collection were thousands of these “split” photographs. Over time, staff and volunteers have been able to reunite many of them, sometimes partially, sometimes completely, using information on the backs of the photos and additional sleuthing in the Star Tribune Archive (available on-site at all HCL locations). Volunteers Steve Bragg and Jeff Hlavacek are currently working on reuniting these split photographs.

Howard Hush, the Hennepin County Chief Parole Officer from 1947

How does it work?

Several years ago, we digitized this ‘split’ photo of Howard Hush, the Hennepin County Chief Parole Officer from 1947 (photo on left).

More recently, we came upon a photograph of Mrs. R. T. Svendsen, from the Minneapolis Council of Parent-Teacher Associations. Using the Star Tribune Archive, we were able to determine that the two photos were, in fact, one.

The two pieces were joined together on the back side using a transparent Filmoplast P tape (acid-free, removable, archival paper mending tape) and the complete image was re-scanned and reloaded along with an updated description to the library's Digital Collections as photo P41430 (photo on right).

photo P41430

In a recent article in Minnesota History, “Going Out, Diving In: A History of Queer Minneapolis,” the author specifically points out our efforts (see p.5 of the pdf). In this instance, the reader gains a better understanding of the original context of the photo and the relationship between the two women. A number of photos from the library’s Digital Collections were used both for this article and a related exhibit at the Mill City Museum, closing soon.

Meet Special Collections Practicum Student Emma Peterson

Emma Peterson

Emma is joining Special Collections for the summer as a practicum student as part of her MLIS degree with St. Catherine University. For the past few weeks she’s been deep in scanning mode, scanning issues of and preparing metadata spreadsheets for Skyway News.*

Emma got engaged last August at Kew Gardens in England (!) and is excited for her wedding in September 2025, after she’s finished with grad school. She and her fiancé have a one-eyed pit bull named Booker “[He] is the absolute light of my life—75 lbs. of lap dog,” she said. Emma’s hobbies include Dungeons and Dragons, reading (of course!), and antiques browsing.

*Skyway News was a local newspaper published from 1970 to 2001, when it was acquired by another company and became the Downtown Journal and later just The Journal. The weekly paper focused on all matters of downtown Minneapolis, covering the skyways, local businesses, development, people, events, and other news. It ceased publication in December 2018. Thanks to Emma’s help, the paper will be available in the HCL Digital Collections starting later this year.

Skyway News
Skyway News 2

Here’s more from Emma:

Q: Have you found anything weird, unusual, or especially interesting in Skyway News?

Emma: Because Skyway News was an advertisement magazine, I love seeing all of the old ads for "Date a Model", and an article called "Skyway daddy's darlings" which was a feature for Father's Day. My favorite thing however is the clothes! I'm still scanning the 70s and the outfits are incredible. Most issues end with a single color print for Donaldsons [department store] where the illustrated models are wearing the most impeccable 70s business outfits!!!

Q: What is a favorite project you’ve worked on in any library or archive?

Emma: For a school project I got to do an exhibit on Teen Programs at the Hallie Q. Brown Center during the 1960's. It was such an incredible project as it was one of my first that really brought me into the depths of an archive. I had the opportunity to check out Teen Council meeting notes at the Minnesota Historical Society, and dig through their boxes as well as the Hallie Q. Brown archive itself! It was incredible to be able to hold the meeting notes about a dance party, and then see the pictures from the party way back in 1969.

Q: Have you had any memorable library or museum visits?

Emma: The coolest library I've been to is probably still the Old Library at Trinity College in Dublin Ireland! Famously where the Book of Kells is kept. It is such a gorgeous building, and there's a permanent exhibit for the Book of Kells where you can see super zoomed-in images of the intricate details of the illustrations.

Q: Book you’re currently reading or favorite book of all time?

Emma: I just finished reading I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle MacNamara. She was a journalist who became obsessed with the Golden State Killer and was helping in the case to find his identity and arrest him, but she died less than a year before they caught him, and before she finished the book. I love true crime, but sometimes I feel it lacks empathy for the victims, so this was an excellent read because MacNamara focused so much on those whose lives were taken or changed forever.

New in the Digital Collections

Library Annual Reports

"The best thing that ever happened to Hennepin County is the County Library." - patron remark noted in Gratia Countryman's Hennepin County Library Report for 1926.

Hennepin County Library Annual Reports

Annual reports for both Minneapolis Public and Hennepin County Libraries are now all online in the Digital Collections. This includes director reports, public reports, and branch and department reports from 1890 to 2018. Search by library name or keyword to find information on library programs, staff, collections, circulation statistics, patron stories, and more. Transcripts for handwritten reports have not yet been added, but will be in the future. Browse the annual reports and find more library history in the HCL Organizational Records in the Digital Collections.

Hennepin County Library Cataloging Bulletins

Three students in the library science program at St. Catherine University, Jaylene Telford, Charlotte Kadifa, and Amy Gabbert-Montag, have completed the first phase of their project that celebrates the innovative work of Hennepin County Library’s head cataloger Sandy Berman and his team. From 1973 to 1999, they produced the HCL Cataloging Bulletins, a widely distributed publication that documented the changes the catalogers made to outdated terms used by the Library of Congress. These Bulletins have been digitized and are now accessible on our Digital Collections. In addition, Jaylene, Charlotte, and Amy are conducting oral history interviews with Berman’s colleagues. Once completed, these interviews will be available online to complement the Bulletins, providing a deeper insight into their trailblazing cataloging work. This project aims to honor their legacy and offer valuable resources for research, highlighting the cultural and societal impact of their efforts. Browse the bulletins online

1934 & Now: Connections of the Minneapolis Truckers’ Strike of 1934

Visit Cargill Gallery on the 2nd floor of Minneapolis Central Library to see 1934 & Now, an art exhibit connecting local labor history, current issues, and the role of workers in bringing social change. The show coincides with the 90th anniversary of the 1934 Truckers’ Strike and includes banners, photographs, installations, drawings, paintings, tapestries, and video. Contributing artists include Mike Alewitz, Rachel Breen, Keith Christensen, Olivia Levins Holden, Mike Rivard, Juxtaposition Arts, Carolyn Olson, and Brooks Turner. Learn more

Exhibit on view June 3 – July 28, 2024.

While this exhibit did not involve Special Collections staff, the topic is relevant to Minneapolis history. You can find nearly one hundred photos of the 1934 Truckers’ Strike in the Digital Collections.

Cargill Gallery 1934 exhibit

Contact Us

Special Collections vault

James K. Hosmer Special Collections

Hennepin County Library
Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Hours: Monday - 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. Photocopier and scanners are available. Please bring a flash drive to store your scanned images.

Photo: Inside the climate-controlled Special Collections vault, where rare books, negatives, and AV material is stored.

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