Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 13, Number 1: Fall/Winter 1976
Persecution in St Paul: The Germans in World War I
Author: Sister John Christine Wolkerstorfer
“Between 1855 and 1915, Germans in America lived not in an American culture, but rather in a German-America.” All that changed with the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. Minnesota participated enthusiastically in the anti-German mood, most vehemently through the Commission of Public Safety and its quasi-military arm, the Home Guard. The Commission, led by Governor J.A.A. Burnquist, was given vast powers: it could stop strikes and labor organizing, regulate liquor traffic, require the registration of aliens, and investigate people for a wide variety of activities, including 682 complaints of sedition. “A virtual spy system took over the state.” It focused on pro-Germans. A 1917 Commission circular declared that “anyone who talks and acts against the government in time of war, regardless of the ‘constitutional right of free speech,’ is a traitor and deserves the most drastic punishment.” The Commission’s activities were supplemented by those of a national organization that operated also in Minnesota, the American Protective League. The League conducted raids in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, detaining hundreds of German men, almost all of them innocent, on suspicion of draft evasion. The Non-Partisan League also fell afoul of the Commission of Public Safety, which hounded and attacked it as disloyal. The Commission waged war on German language and culture in Minnesota. It forbade the use of German as a language of instruction in schools, discouraged the performance of German music, banned some German-language books, and had the publisher of the newspaper Volkzeitung interned for refusing to stop publishing in German.
PDF of Wolkerstorfer article
Kate Donnelly and the ‘Cult of True Womanhood’
Author: Gretchen Kreuter
Ignatius Donnelly’s 1895 tribute to his late wife, In Memoriam. Mrs. Katharine Donnelly, praised her as a model of “true womanhood,” a 19th century “cult” of ideal femininity comprised of “purity, piety, domesticity, and submissiveness.” This essay explores the many contradictions inherent in this cult and in Donnelly’s adoption of it. The idealized woman of the cult bore little resemblance to most real women, nor to what most men really wanted. “‘The best proof of man’s satisfaction with the home is found in his universal absence from it.’” Ignatius Donnelly was no pious traditionalist but a progressive interested in feminism. And his wife did not in fact conform to the ideals he praised. “Throughout her life, Kate Donnelly behaved in ways that were distinctly contrary to the ideals of the Cult of True Womanhood.”
PDF of Kreuter article