Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 42, Number 3: Fall 2007
The Other Librarian: Clara Baldwin and the Public Library Movement in Minnesota
Author: Robert F. Garland
Clara Baldwin (1871–1951) was the state librarian from 1900 to 1936. She lived almost all her life in St. Paul and was part of a turn-of-the-century movement to establish public libraries throughout Minnesota. She became the director of the division of libraries and interacted with many local educational groups. One of her innovations was the traveling local library. Partly because of her efforts, new library buildings started to appear throughout the state. Baldwin traveled widely, gave summer institutes, and was active in the World War I effort to establish soldiers’ libraries. She struggled with the economic problems of the Great Depression that affected libraries and retired in 1936 at age sixty-five. Baldwin never married, lived with her parents, and later in a series of apartments then with her sister. Baldwin suffered a stroke in 1949 and in 1951.
PDF of Garland article
Creating a Diocese:
The Election of Minnesota’s First Episcopal Bishop
Author: Ann Beiser Allen
By 1857 Minnesota had nineteen Episcopal churches, several others that were forming, and 400 members, many of them leaders in their communities. As required by the national body of the Episcopal Church, there was a meeting in St. Paul in September 1857 at which a diocesan constitution was drawn up and approved, but Episcopalians in the state did not elect their first diocesan bishop until June 29, 1859 at St. Paul’s Church at Olive and Ninth Streets. During the balloting, a deadlock occurred and neither of the two local leaders had enough votes to win. Finally a long-shot named Rev. Henry B. Whipple was supported by several people who knew him and he was elected. Whipple had been successful as an organizer and fundraiser in New York and Chicago, where he was then located. As it turned out, he did a fine job in his forty-two years as bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. Whipple is also well known for his support of Native American causes.
PDF of Allen article
Growing Up in St. Paul: Frogtown’s Arundel Street
Author: James R. Brown
Driving through his old neighborhood brought back memories to Brown, especially while he was looking at the Edmund Street home where he lived in the 1920 and ‘30s. One of his recollections was about climbing up a ladder and breaking his arm when he fell. Another was sharing the back seat of the car with bossy sisters. The family car took him on trips to look at downtown stores, Como Park, and Phalen Lake, Ft. Snelling, and Minneapolis. The author goes into details on making friends and often dealing with prejudiced whites at school or in the neighborhood. A lengthy section of this memoir tells the tale of getting one of his sister’s prize marbles back from a bully. He did it by teaming up with “Tomboy,” an athletic girl who won it back by arm wrestling. James Brown, a poet and playwright, concludes the article with a section entitled “Learning about Life,” hearing about the troubles faced by African Americans throughout the country while he shined shoes at a barber shop in the Rondo neighborhood. He described the barbershop education as “candid and brutal,” usually learned from railroad workers who shared their experiences. It changed his “happy-go-lucky” outlook on life to one that included an understanding of prejudice after learning “the shocking truth about what being black truly meant here in these United States.”
PDF of Brown article
Roseville’s “Lost Son” Honored
Author: John M. Lindley
A short follow-up article to a Spring 2007 essay on early Roseville resident Benjamin Rose. Rose died while serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, but his body was never returned. Until recently it was unclear where his remains were buried. Thanks to Patrick Hill and Cindy Rose Torfin, recent analysis of available evidence proved that Benjamin Rose was among the 2,500 unknown soldiers buried in Murfreesboro, Tenn. They also convinced the Veterans Administration to approve funding for a headstone and the cemetery to donate the plot. On August 11, 2007 a headstone honoring Benjamin Rose was placed in the Soldier’s Rest section of Oakland Cemetery.
PDF of Lindley article
William Swanson, Dial M: The Murder of Carol Thompson (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2006).
Brian Bruce, Thomas Boyd: Lost Author of the “Lost Generation” (Akron, Ohio: University of Akron Press, 2006).