RCHS is continuing to expand our educational offerings through podcasts, videos, and DVDs.

RCHS Podcasts

RCHS, with author and interviewer Paul Nelson, has developed a series of podcasts featuring interviews on subjects of historical interest.
All the podcasts are available here.

March of the Governors

The “March of the Governors” podcast series provides brief snapshots of Minnesota’s governors during their terms in office. As you might imagine, there’s far more to each of their stories, both positive and negative. Thank you for joining us on this journey, and we hope you will be inspired to learn more.

March of the Governors #1
Henry Hastings Sibley

This is the first in a new series of podcasts. We call it March of the Governors because we will examine the lives and careers of governors of the state of Minnesota, one by one. We start with our first state governor, Henry Sibley, governor 1858 to 1860.

March of the Governors #2
Alexander Ramsey

Alexander Ramsey did not have it easy. He was orphaned at age 10 and worked as a store clerk and a carpenter before finding his vocation in politics. He served two terms in Congress from Pennsylvania and for his service to the Whig Party was rewarded, if you call it that, with being sent to a cold place with hardly any people — Minnesota. But he took to it, first as territorial governor (1849), then succeeding his rival Henry Sibley to become our second state governor. But his three years in office were nothing but crisis — Depression, war, and war. The defining event of his administration was the Dakota War of 1862, something that has darkened Ramsey’s reputation forever. There’s no evidence that Ramsey ever had sympathy for Minnesota’s native people. He left the governorship in 1863 to become a U.S. senator.

March of the Governors #3
Henry
Swift

Henry Swift came to Minnesota from Ohio as a young man, eventually settling in St. Peter. He was elected to the state senate and saw combat in the US-Dakota War of 1862 at the Battles of New Ulm. The next year, because of Lieutenant Governor Ignatius Donnelly’s election to the US House of Representatives and Governor Alexander Ramsey’s election to the US Senate, Swift was quickly elevated to the governorship from his position as president pro tempore of the Minnesota Senate. He served the remainder of Ramsey’s original term but declined to run for election on his own.

To learn more about the US Dakota War and Swift’s involvement in it, Ramsey County Historical Society encourages our listeners to further research the circumstances and events leading up to and following this war to better understand the context and the outcomes.

March of the Governors #4
Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller moved to Minnesota in middle age from Pennsylvania, several years after his friend Alexander Ramsey had moved to the state. He immediately involved himself in politics in St. Cloud. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he was named lieutenant colonel of the First Minnesota Regiment. He distinguished himself in battle and upon returning to Minnesota, supervised the imprisonment of 303 Dakota men and the execution of thirty-eight who were condemned for their part in the US-Dakota War of 1862. With Ramsey’s support, he was elected governor in 1864.

To learn more about the US Dakota War and Miller’s involvement in it, Ramsey County Historical Society encourages our listeners to further research the circumstances and events leading up to and following this war to better understand the context and the outcomes.

March of the Governors #5
William Rainey Marshall

William Rainey Marshall could be said to occupy a prominent place in Minnesota’s list of founding fathers. He played a leading role in many of the seminal events that shaped the state’s early history. A strong opponent of slavery, he chaired the founding meeting of Minnesota’s Republican Party. He was an officer in the military expedition against the Dakota. He served with valor as commanding officer of the Minnesota’s 7th Regiment during the Civil War and was elected governor in November 1865 and reelected in 1867.  According to contemporaries, he served with integrity and effectiveness and waged a contentious, but ultimately successful campaign for passage of a Black Suffrage amendment to Minnesota’s state constitution.

To learn more about the US Dakota War and Marshall’s involvement in it, Ramsey County Historical Society encourages our listeners to further research the circumstances and events leading up to and following this war to better understand the context and the outcomes.

The March of Governors #6
Horace Austin

The second of four Minnesota governors from St. Peter, Horace Austin was the state’s first governor to directly confront the increased power of railroads, the state’s most powerful business force. Noted for being honest and straight forward, Austin succeeded in regulating their rates after being reelected in 1871 to a second term by promising to “Shake the railroads over hell”. Minnesota’s growth and prosperity during his administration was marred only near its’ end by the western Minnesota grasshopper plague and the Panic of 1873. A lawyer, Austin’s political career began as a judge after his service as a captain in the mounted rangers’ unit in the Dakota War.

To learn more about the US Dakota War and Austin’s involvement in it, Ramsey County Historical Society encourages our listeners to further research the circumstances and events leading up to and following this war to better understand the context and the outcomes.

The March of the Governors #7
The U.S. Dakota War of 1862

The US Dakota War of 1862 was a unique event in Minnesota history. In his recent book, Massacre in Minnesota, the eminent historian Gary Clayton Anderson calls it “the most violent ethnic conflict in American history.” It was a calamity that we Minnesotans are still trying to deal with today. One of the remarkable things about it is that all six of Minnesota’s first governors participated in it: Alexander Ramsey as sitting governor and the five others as army officers or emergency volunteers. To discuss the actions of these governors, we assembled a panel: Sydney Beane, a professor and filmmaker with family connections to both sides of the war; Mary Lethert Wingerd, history professor emerita at St. Cloud State University and author of North County: The Making of Minnesota—a state history that ends with the 1862 war; and Rebekah Coffman, director of historical programming for the City of Plymouth and a descendant of German immigrant farmers caught up in the conflict.

We encourage our listeners to further research the circumstances and events leading up to and following this war to better understand the context of these actions and their outcomes.

History Podcasts

Podcast #1
The Struggle Over I-35; The East Side Freedom Library
Available here.
Author and historian John Milton tells the story of how citizen opposition delayed for many years the completion of Interstate Highway 35 through Saint Paul. And labor historian Peter Rachleff describes how he and his partner Beth Cleary plan to convert the closed Arlington Hills public library into the East Side Freedom Library in Saint Paul.

Podcast #2
St. Paul’s First Murder; Life in Old Swede Hollow
The second podcast available here.
Edward Phelan was one of St. Paul’s very first settlers. Was he also a murderer? In September 1839 the body of Phelan’s cabin-mate, John Hays, was found floating in the Mississippi River. He had been beaten to death. Phelan was charged with the crime, but not convicted. Now, 170 years later, St. Paul author Gary Brueggemann believes he has solved the case. He tells the tale in his new book, Minnesota’s Oldest Murder Mystery. We met with Gary Brueggemann at Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul.
Swede Hollow is a ravine on St. Paul’s east side, and for a hundred years — 1850s to 1950s — a receptor neighborhood for recent immigrants. Swedes first, then Italians, then Mexican-Americans. St. Paul historian Steve Trimble edited the Swede Hollow memoirs of Michael Sanchelli for the Spring 2014 issue of Ramsey County History magazine. Steve Trimble joined us to talk about life in old Swede Hollow.

Podcast #3
The German Friend; What Is MNopedia?
Available here.
What can an anti-Nazi writer and intellectual, exiled in the United States, do for his beloved Germany? Over 70 years ago, Prinz Hubertus zu Lowenstein visited St. Paul and met Hamline University student John Larson. A lifelong friendship and flood of letters ensued. John Larson has now assembled some of these letters, from WWII and after, into a book entitled The German Friend, published by RCHS. Paul Nelson interviewed Mr. Larson at his home in Taylors Falls.
The Minnesota Historical Society has created a new venture called MNopedia: short-form articles of state history – including several Ramsey County stories – in an online encyclopedia. This podcast also has an interview with MNopedia’s then-editor, Molly Huber.

Podcast #4
Debunking Joe Rolette
Available here.
For more than a century pioneer legislator Joe Rolette has been credited for preventing the Minnesta State Capitol from being moved from St. Paul to St. Peter. The story has been repeated countless times. But is it true?
In this episode, Minnesota historian William Lass makes the case that the popular story is folklore, not history.

Podcast #5
An interview with Our “Mayor For Life,” George Latimer
Available here.
He was sometimes known as “mayor for life.” George Latimer served as mayor of St. Paul from 1976 to 1990, the longest consecutive term in St. Paul history. A lot happened on his watch: the Town Square and Lowertown developments, the Dutch elm plague; the departure of big employers like Whirlpool and Amhoist; a population decline of 40,000, and plenty more. Throughout it all Mr. Latimer remained very popular; he is still popular today. In this interview you will hear some of the reason why: there is lots of laughter.

Podcast #6
Who Was Harriet Bishop?
Available here.
Harriet Bishop is the only well-known woman among St. Paul’s early settlers. In fact, she may be the best-known of all. She was Minnesota’s first schoolteacher, yes, but what else do we know about her? Minnesota’s leading historian, Professor Mary Wingerd, brings us closer to the real Harriet Bishop — writer, land speculator, jilted bride, divorcee — a person far more interesting than our image of her as virtuous schoolmarm.

Podcast #7
The Highland Park Ford Plant in Wartime
Available here.
For almost a century the Ford Motor Company built vehicles in St. Paul, first on University Avenue, and from 1925 onward in Highland Park. Architect and historian Brian McMahon has now published a book telling the story of Ford in St. Paul, The Ford Century. And for the Fall 2016 issue of Ramsey County History magazine McMahon wrote an article about the Highland Park factory’s defense production during World War II. We talked with Brian McMahon about both themes.

Podcast #8
Fort Snelling During the Civil War
Available here.
The Euro-American phase of Minnesota history begins with Fort Snelling, starting in 1820. The fort’s busiest period was 1861-1865 — the Civil War and the Dakota Conflict. All of the soldiers headed south to fight for the Union, and west to fight the Dakota, passed through the fort. And over a thousand displaced Dakota were interned there too. Steve Osman’s new book, Fort Snelling and the Civil War  published by the Ramsey County Historical Society — is full of stories you’ve never heard before.

Podcast #9
A Walk Through Gibbs Farm
The Gibbs Farm podcast available here.
The Gibbs Farm museum preserves remnants of both native and pioneer life from the mid-19th century, right in the middle of a densely populated urban environment. There you can find farm buildings from the Gibbs family, an archeological site, re-creations of a sod hut, native tipi and long house, native prairie and an early orchard, and a one-room school house.
Image above is a drawing of the Gibbs’ sod house, “sodddy.” by Lily Gibbs.

Podcast #10
Beneath Our Feet: The Caves of St. Paul
Minnesota Caves podcast available here.
No one knows more about subterranean St. Paul — the caves beneath our feet — than geologist and author Greg Brick. In his new book, Minnesota Caves: History and Lore, Brick describes the many caves, both natural and human-made, under St. Paul — their legends, their lore, and their reality.

Podcast #11
North Star: Civil War Stories with Daniel Bergin & Bill Green
North Star: Civil War Stories podcast available here
Ramsey County Historical Society and TPT (Twin Cities Public Television) have collaborated in the production of a new documentary film, North Star: Civil War Stories, about Minnesotans of African heritage who served in the Civil War. At the premiere screening, filmmaker Daniel Bergin and historian Bill Green discussed the project.

Podcast #13
The International Institute of Minnesota

International Institute podcast available here
In December 1919 the International Institute of Minnesota opened its doors in St. Paul to serve the needs of recent immigrants. One hundred years later, and still in St. Paul, it continues pursuing the same mission. In the spring 2019 issue of Ramsey County History magazine author Krista Hanson chronicles the first hundred years of the International Institute. In this issue of the Ramsey County History podcast, we interview the author.

Podcast #12
The Crusade for Forgotten Souls

Crusade for Forgotten Souls podcast available here
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Minnesota led the nation in reform and modernization of the treatment of the mentally ill. But it didn’t last. Author Susan Bartlett Foote has told the story, a story at the same time inspiring and disheartening, in her new book, Crusade for Forgotten Souls. She brings to life some heroic and nearly forgotten people: the amazing mental health worker Engla Shey, the clergyman Arthur Foote, and the crusading governor, Luther Youngdahl.

Podcast #13
International Institute podcast available here
The International Institute of Minnesota
In December 1919 the International Institute of Minnesota opened its doors in St. Paul to serve the needs of recent immigrants. One hundred years later, and still in St. Paul, it continues pursuing the same mission. In the spring 2019 issue of Ramsey County History magazine author Krista Hanson chronicles the first hundred years of the International Institute. In this issue of the Ramsey County History podcast, we interview the author.

RCHS Videos and DVDS

University Avenue: One Street, A Thousand Dreams

Documentary Project & Exhibit
A collaboration between Peter Myers, Ramsey County Historical Society and Twin Cities Public Television.
DVD available through RCHS for $25.00
This fun and informative traveling exhibit is available for rent through RCHS. Contact us for more information.

North Star: Civil War Stories

Ramsey County Historical Society is proud to partner with TPT-Twin Cities PBS to produce a ground-breaking new documentary, North Star: Civil War Stories, which uncovers hidden details of African-American men from Minnesota involved in the Civil War. Using emerging research and scholarship, North Star: Civil War Stories looks at the lives and contributions of these men during and after the war.

Four stories bring to light the hidden histories of African American Minnesotans during and after the Civil War. These unsung heroes made unique contributions to the Union and their new state, but the details and records of their involvement still challenge historians.

Created for not only the broadcast viewing audience, but also with educators and classroom audiences in mind, this important documentary is available on DVD for use in schools, universities, and to the general public.

To watch online: https://www.tpt.org/north-star-civil-war-stories/

Teachers & Educators:
We are so excited to be able to offer free DVDs of “North Star: Civil War Stories” to teachers, schools, and educators! You would only have to pay for the shipping & handling costs of $5.00 to have it mailed to your school or library. Please email info@rchs.com or call 651-222-0701 for more information or get on the list for your free copy! Supplies are limited, first come, first serve.

DVDs will be mailed soon after we receive them. One copy per teacher please.

Sponsor a DVD!
And, you could sponsor a DVD for your child’s school, library or teacher! For more information on sponsoring a teacher or school, please call 651-22-0701 or email info@rchs.com

Educator Order Form
Link to online order form here – please choose the “Create Organization” option at checkout – option is at upper right of form.
Or call 651-22-0701 or email info@rchs.com if you would like multiple copies.
Pickup at the RCHS office or Research Center is free.

Personal DVD Purchase:
DVDs will also be available for personal purchase for $10.00 plus $5.00 shipping if needed.
Link to online order form – click here.
Or call 651-22-0701 or email info@rchs.com for more information!

Featured image: A. Van Spence, courtesy of The Meeker County Historical Society.

This project has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.