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Preview: Museum Collections Up Close : MNHS.ORG » 150 Best Minnesota Books

Museum Collections Up Close : MNHS.ORG » 150 Best Minnesota Books



Every object tells a story, and Collections Up Close presents short, illustrated features that highlight the stories and history behind selected items in the Minnesota Historical Society's museum collections.



Last Build Date: Fri, 07 Apr 2017 05:01:09 +0000

Copyright: ©Minnesota Historical Society
 



Minnesota Antiquarian Bookfair This Weekend!

Fri, 20 Jun 2014 15:58:17 +0000

The Minnesota Antiquarian Book Fair will be held on June 27 – 28, 2014 in the Progress Center at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds (see map at bottom of this post). Over fifty exhibitors from across the country will be offering antiquarian, fine, and rare books in nearly every field, including first editions, fine bindings, vintage [...]



Helen Hoover: Wilderness Writer

Fri, 15 Nov 2013 16:07:31 +0000

As Minnesota is known for its woods and waters, so is it known for its chroniclers of the outdoors. Names like Sigurd Olson readily spring to mind and so too should the name, Helen Hoover. An Ohioan by birth, Helen and her husband, Adrian, moved to the remote north woods on Minnesota’s Gunflint trail in the [...]



Guest blogger – featuring food!

Fri, 17 Aug 2012 16:21:47 +0000

The thought provoking 150 Best Minnesota Books Blog often makes me, a cookbook collector, think about what I’d chose as the best Minnesota cookbooks of the last 150 years.  Thousands of cookbooks have been published here during that time, most of which are fun to read — and many have at least a recipe or [...]



Yahoo Minnesota

Mon, 18 Jun 2012 21:58:42 +0000

“All the wicked people In the Vale of Siddem Thought of things they shouldn’t do And then they went and did ‘em” Since the response to the last best book was so underwhelming I thought I would try something completely different. Instead of a look at Minnesota’s aboriginal culture let’s look at Minnesota’s abhorrent culture. For this best book [...]



Autochthonous Minnesota

Wed, 30 May 2012 22:26:44 +0000

I am just back from a hike in the Bandelier National Monument where one can climb a series of ladders and enter cliff dwellings, go down a ladder into a kiva, or walk along ledges littered with prehistoric pot shards. The vacation reminded me of my neglected work duties and how long it has been [...]



The Planet’s Gone to the Dogs

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 19:05:47 +0000

Our list of the best 150 Minnesota books dipped into genre fiction a while back with the anointing of a couple of mystery novels. It is now time to take another courageous step and delve into the weird and wonderful world of speculative fiction, better known as science fiction and fantasy. Bosworth, Francis, et al. Broken [...]



Civil and Indian Wars

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 21:08:56 +0000

Since the end of the Civil War more than a book a day has been published about the war! This is a staggering statistic but perhaps not a surprising one. Nothing has captured our imagination like the conflict that tore this country apart. It still incites strong passion and maybe it should. Civil War causalities exceeded [...]



Those were the days, indeed

Fri, 29 Jul 2011 17:21:57 +0000

Please forgive my lack of diligence and attention to the blog listing Minnesota’s 150 best books. It has been over four months since I have posted any new titles and my poor excuse is that small emergencies, such as lack of a functional government, occasionally intruded. I promise to get back on track with regular [...]



Minnesota-Eye Views of the African-American Experience

Thu, 24 Feb 2011 22:03:17 +0000

Minnesota has always had more than its fair share of great African American books and authors. From a very crucial time period in the history of the Civil Rights Movement came two such works that should be on our list of the 150 Best Minnesota Books. Although both are written by journalists, one is a [...]



Blessed by Bly and Bly

Mon, 31 Jan 2011 21:13:30 +0000

Minnesota was doubly blessed having two smart, simple, honest writers like Robert and Carol Bly who could poetically describe Mother Nature and prosaically [although not in the sense of “ordinary”] describe human nature better than all but a handful of writers. Let’s add two of their books to our growing list of 150 Best Minnesota [...]



Dylan

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 22:42:37 +0000

I’ll just sit here and watch the river flow and lick my wounds… On December 10th Sotheby’s [London] is auctioning off what is arguably the most significant piece of 20th Century Western culture to come on the market, Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” Critics have run out of superlatives to describe [...]



Supplement, wherein Patrick waxes rhapsodically about vacation…

Fri, 15 Oct 2010 15:31:15 +0000

As I was walking down the tiny streets of the Trastevere neighborhood in Rome… What’s that? You didn’t hear me? I said I was walking in the Trastevere a few days ago on a street so narrow Vespas could hardly pass each other. I passed an appropriately little used book store and there on the [...]



Mean Streets

Fri, 08 Oct 2010 13:44:21 +0000

I know you know that I have been avoiding discussing genre fiction but … …down these mean streets a man must go. First of all I am not the biggest fan of mysteries and secondly we seem to be drowning in a sea of these forgettable novels. Does every Minnesota writer take a class at The Loft [...]



Two Andrews Present at the Birth

Wed, 08 Sep 2010 17:06:56 +0000

C. C. Andrews. Minnesota and Dacotah: in Letters Descriptive of a Tour Through the North-West, in…1856… Washington: R. Farnham, 1857. Debates and Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention for the Territory of Minnesota, to Form a State Constitution Preparatory to its Admission…T. F. Andrews, official Reporter to the Convention. St. Paul: G. W. Moore, 1858. Let me [...]



Homegrown Homers or…

Tue, 17 Aug 2010 15:40:00 +0000

War! Huh Good God y’all What is it good for? Finally an answer to Edwin Starr’s sixties anthem- LITERATURE. It is hard to imagine a more poignant setting or easier access to raw human emotion than a war. Writers are aware of this and have exploited the theme from Homer on. There are already more than 3,500 novels [...]



Veritas Caput

Fri, 30 Jul 2010 16:20:08 +0000

I only know of one book on our list that was so controversial it required the intervention of the Minnesota Historical Society. It was… Willard Glazier. Down the Great River: Embracing an Account of the Discovery of the True Source of the Mississippi… Philadelphia: 1887. Civil War Captain, Willard Glazier, mounted an expedition to the source of [...]



“High Priestess of the Women’s Magazine”

Fri, 16 Jul 2010 10:08:50 +0000

I wrongly assumed that I we already had this book on our list of 150 Best Minnesota Books because she was my nominee for inclusion into the MHS’s MN 150 exhibit. Let us rectify this now… Margaret Culkin Banning. Mesabi. Harper and Row Publishers: New York, 1969. The title of this blog is a quote from [...]



Sons of Saint Paul

Tue, 01 Jun 2010 17:24:15 +0000

A Series of Unfortunate Events…and a fewer number of fortunate ones have prevented me from keeping a timely schedule of announcing more of the 150 Best Minnesota Books. One of the fortunate events was the three day auction of the collection of Floyd Risvold. Floyd lived in Edina and had the greatest collection of [...]



Home Grown Smut

Wed, 04 Nov 2009 21:09:03 +0000

Wilford (Billy) H. Fawcett returned to Minnesota from World War I with a footlocker full of dirty jokes. On a slow night in 1920 while he was working at the Minneapolis Tribune he sorted through the jokes and put them into a pamphlet he titled “Captain Billy’s Whiz-Bang” [whiz-bang being the sound shells made during [...]



Come All Ya Rounders

Thu, 27 Aug 2009 15:23:24 +0000

If you have been paying attention to our civic fathers lately you would have heard the news that a Nineteenth Century technology is going to lead us into the bright Green future. Sometime before I die, light rail (formerly known as Street Cars or the Trolley) is on track to whisk us to Minnesota Twins [...]



Picturing Minnesota

Wed, 15 Jul 2009 20:35:26 +0000

This blog has at least one faithful reader. He comments on every entry but insists on privately leaving his criticism off the blog. So in order to protect his anonymity let’s refer to him pseudonymously as TO’S. TO’S noticed that the list was favoring the wordy over the graphic and suggested that the next ten [...]



…Zen Again

Fri, 05 Jun 2009 00:16:32 +0000

We joked awhile ago that any Minnesota author or book to make the cover of Time Magazine is automatically on our list. Let’s say the same thing for any Minnesota author or book the makes it into the Guinness Book of World Records. Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values. [...]



A Working Class Poet Is Something to Be

Fri, 15 May 2009 21:21:47 +0000

First I’ll begin with an apology to the faithful readers of this blog. It has been too long between entries and I promise that will not happen again. There was an unusual confluence of good news leading me to rest on my laurels and bad news resulting in a furlough here at the MHS. [Op-ed: [...]



Populist Moment?

Tue, 24 Mar 2009 18:30:51 +0000

“If you put a banker, a lawyer and a capitalist in a barrel and roll it down a hill, no matter where it stops there will always be a son-of-a-bitch on top.”    Saying from the Farmer’s Movement An article in the New York Times this week suggested that, given the bad economy [there I go again], [...]



An Arts Job is a Job!

Tue, 24 Feb 2009 03:56:13 +0000

Strike me dead if I don’t stop beginning every conversation with the words “the economy” but we were just talking about the last time we were in such a pickle. It reminded me both of another of Minnesota’s greatest books and a successful model for government to support the arts and mitigate the recession. Minnesota: A [...]



A Dark Chapter in Minnesota’s Political History

Tue, 20 Jan 2009 16:35:18 +0000

The last time the economy sucked this bad and left wing of the political spectrum was in the ascendency, the right wing used every possible trick to bring them down. In the 1938 gubernatorial race a book was published that was so repugnant that it makes our list of 150 best books. Ray P. Chase. Are [...]



Merry Christmas from Minnesota’s Best Books

Thu, 18 Dec 2008 20:10:40 +0000

“Were you trying to lose my job for me? Ruin me?” “I knew the little pup,” said French. “He’s a thief. I did what I had to do.” “Since when did you start passing judgment on children?” “Since I became Santa Claus.” “And next summer, if you’re still Staggerford’s Indian? You’ll pass judgment on the tourist kids?” French chuckled at [...]



Minnesota’s Humanity in Print

Thu, 04 Dec 2008 17:46:15 +0000

Barbara Tuchman coined the phrase, “Books are humanity in print,” and nowhere is this more obvious than the work of two of Minnesota’s literary giants, J. F. Powers and Jon Hassler. So our next two best Minnesota books are… J. F. Powers. Morte D’Urban. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1962. Jon Hassler. Staggerford. New York: Atheneum, [...]



Professional (i.e. successful) Explorers

Mon, 10 Nov 2008 19:59:57 +0000

Well, I got my wrist slapped for snottily suggesting that Pike was not the gold standard for either an explorer or a diplomat. To avoid sounding critical of iconic Minnesota figures I’m sticking to the undisputed success stories with the next two nominations for Minnesota’s 150 best books. Henry R. Schoolcraft. Narrative of an Expedition Through [...]



The City Beautiful

Thu, 09 Oct 2008 18:52:14 +0000

Another one of those beautiful “must have” Minnesota books is: Edward H. Bennett. Plan of Minneapolis: Prepared Under the Direction of the Civic Commission… Edited and Written by Andrew Wright Crawford. Minneapolis: Civic Commission, 1917. In 1909, Daniel Burnham [chief architect for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and the subject of the 2003 bestseller, The Devil in [...]



Of Maps and Men: or Vigorous and Lusty Minnesota

Tue, 23 Sep 2008 20:00:01 +0000

The overwhelming response to our last post, admittedly one of the least significant of the best Minnesota books, makes me a little nervous about nominating one of the most significant books on our list. A. T. Andreas. An Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Minnesota. Chicago: A. T. Andreas, 1874. Anyone remember door-to-door salesmen? Fuller brush [...]



Pigskin Review

Tue, 09 Sep 2008 19:38:41 +0000

If politics is not your favorite spectator sport, Minnesota history has a lot more to offer. Chief among these offerings is the golden era of the Golden Gophers football team. For 16 seasons Coach Bierman turned out winning team after winning team. Five National Championships! His record was 93 wins, 35 losses, and 6 ties, [...]



The Republicans are coming… The Republicans are coming…

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 17:13:23 +0000

It won’t/shouldn’t surprise readers of this blog that there are a couple of political titles on the 150 Best Minnesota Books list. So, as the invasion of St. Paul – popularly know as the Republican National Convention – begins, let’s nominate two of them. E. V. Smalley. A History of the Republican Party from Its Organization [...]



So Wild A Dream

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 19:50:01 +0000

I just returned from my most arduous canoe trip in years [an estimated 65,000 - 75,000 paddle strokes] reminding me that I’m not 20 years old anymore. Four friends and I retraced a trip in the Quetico that Aldo Leopold took in 1922. Tom, one of my canoe mates, was reading Eric Sevareid’s Canoeing with [...]



Land o’ Ten Thousand Treatment Centers

Thu, 31 Jul 2008 21:12:17 +0000

I had just picked up my paddle the other night to canoe under the full moon when my phone rang. It was my old friend Tim J. who wanted to talk to me about Minnesota’s 150 best books. First, let me urge y’all to communicate on this topic by leaving a reply on the blog. [...]



Betsy, Tacy, and Guest Blogger

Tue, 22 Jul 2008 16:56:58 +0000

[A note from Patrick:] There will be times during the course of rolling out the list of 150 best Minnesota books that I will admit to knowing just enough to know I am ignorant. This is one of them. Maud Hart Lovelace absolutely deserves a place on this list but I’m not qualified to choose [...]



Nouvelle Decouverte, New Discoveries, and No Discovery

Mon, 14 Jul 2008 14:31:12 +0000

We have been having far too much fun lately so let’s get serious for a while and talk about three of the most important and indispensable Minnesota books. Although they are from three different centuries and three different nationalities, the theme of exploration connects them. These books could hardly satiate the old world’s hunger for [...]



Notes from the Book Fair

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 18:52:24 +0000

Life doesn’t get any sweeter for Minnesota bibliophiles than it was last weekend! It was the 18th annual Twin Cities Book Fair and 50 dealers from around the country brought their best books. I was especially gratified to see how many of the 150 best Minnesota books were available. Just from the last two posts, [...]



Summer in Minnesota – Books 19, 20, 21

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 15:00:51 +0000

Welcome to the first week of summer. I’m among those who believe there is absolutely no reason to live in Minnesota unless you enjoy and take advantage of our impressive parcels of wilderness. Last week, playing the role of Bourgeois [as in the wise old respected leader, not as in a member of a fussy [...]



Happy Father’s Day, and books 17 and 18

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 20:37:15 +0000

I am fairly certain that the only father/son combo making the list of Minnesota’s 150 best books will be the Lindberghs. As evidence of their relationship (and so I can sneak in another great book) I offer their joint biography by CAL Sr.’s political right hand man, Lynn Haines. His wife Dora Haines finished the [...]



Minnesota’s Women Historians – 14, 15, 16

Tue, 03 Jun 2008 15:59:36 +0000

As this primary campaign season ends, I no longer know quite what to call myself. Am I a “first wave” or a “second wave” feminist or simply, as a colleague told me, “an old feminist”? Probably the latter. I do the best I can. Bedtime reading for my daughters was frequently a book called Girls Can [...]



Pontifications and books 11, 12, and 13

Mon, 19 May 2008 16:09:50 +0000

Pat’s Pontification # 1: If you are a Minnesota writer who makes the cover of Time magazine (for your writing, Jesse, for your writing), you have to be on the 150 Best Books list. If Time confers two covers on you, you get two books on the list. So let’s add three books using this foolproof [...]



Northern Exposure

Mon, 12 May 2008 21:33:32 +0000

Last Friday evening WTIP http://www.wtip.org/  in Grand Marais, Minnesota interviewed me about the Best 150 Minnesota Books blog. It was great fun and made me long for a visit north. Two things came up in the interview that might be worth mentioning. First, they asked me about the wiki that I started, to identify fictitious Minnesota towns and [...]



Numbers 8, 9, and 10

Fri, 09 May 2008 21:32:26 +0000

Natural History is destiny. In Minnesota anyway. Hell, if it weren’t for the beaver the only language you could hear around here would be Dakota. The great outdoors and the environment are crucial to our identity as Minnesotans, as many books on the 150 list will eventually attest. We care about our surroundings. We [...]



Numbers 6 and 7

Thu, 01 May 2008 19:56:34 +0000

In an effort to mix it up a bit here, I’m going to suggest two of Minnesota’s best 150 books that I am betting you have never seen. The books also address one of my very, very few pet peeves. The Twin Cities support a vibrant and creative book arts community. Thanks are due, in large part, [...]



Numbers 3, 4, and 5

Thu, 24 Apr 2008 16:13:49 +0000

Many years ago I thought I had invented a wonderful little icebreaker. I asked friends, colleagues, and strangers at cocktail parties (ok, they were keggers) this question; “if you were banished forever from Minnesota but had time to grab a book or two, which ones would you take to help you remember the place you [...]



Numbers 1 and 2

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 21:50:02 +0000

Ok. The hardest part is just getting started. Do I begin at the beginning, with the earliest indispensable Minnesota book? Father Hennepin’s books will surely make the list. Or do I attempt the impossible; begin with the least important book on the list and end with a drum role and suggest the ultimate state volume?  [...]



Welcome to the Best Books Blog!

Mon, 14 Apr 2008 19:59:48 +0000

Anniversaries are always a good excuse for looking back and making lofty pronouncements. The Historical Society, for example, used the occasion of Minnesota’s sesquicentennial to proclaim the 150 people, places, and things that are quintessentially ours in the “MN 150″ exhibit. Not wishing to be left out, Patrick Coleman, the Society’s Acquisition Librarian, will over the course [...]