Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 49, Number 1: Spring 2014
Neither Posters Nor Stamps: Poster Stamp Advertising in St. Paul
Author: Leo J. Harris
Poster stamps are neither posters nor stamps. They are printed in sheets of various sizes, then gummed, and perforated. In the early 1900s “poster stamps” became a form of collectible advertising that were attached to a merchant’s packages, letters, envelopes, catalogues and price lists. Eventually they found their way into collector’s albums. Poster stamps were used as an advertising device by the City of St. Paul and a number of local retailers and organizations. Two printing companies in the Twin Cities stood out among the others for their fine reproduction of poster stamps. The first was Brown and Bigelow, which not only printed the poster stamps for their customers, but also used them for their own advertising. The second major producer was Brown, Treacy and Sperry Company (1901 to 1915) which later became the Brown-Blodgett Company. Harvey A. Blodgett was a St. Paul entrepreneur who was one of the leading promoters and printers of poster stamps in the United States.
PDF of Harris article
The Birth of the Ramsey County Fair
Author: James Lindner
The person credited with the concept of the original county fair is Elkanah Watson, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, who, in 1810, started the Berkshire County Fair. Watson wanted to promote ways to improve farm productivity through education, “personal ambition,” and competition. In White Bear Lake, the Farmer’s Institute held its first all-day meeting on March 12, 1913, attended by over 250 farmers and visitors interested in agrarian education. This group reestablished the Ramsey County Agricultural Society and Frank H. Gibbs, son of pioneer settlers Jane and Heman Gibbs of Rose Township, became the Society’s first president. White Bear Lake was selected as the location for the first county fair, which officially opened on Thursday, August 28, 1913. There were many friendly competitions and it was truly a family event. No gambling or alcohol was allowed. White Bear did such a good job that the Ramsey County fair remained in that location for four decades. In 1953, the White Bear School District bought the land that the fair resided on, and the fair moved to Maplewood.
PDF of Lindner article
Growing Up in St. Paul: Mike Sanchelli Remembers Swede Hollow
Edited by Steven C. Trimble
This article is drawn from Mike Sanchelli’s first-person (1915–2003) reminiscences of life in Swede Hollow during the 1920s and ‘30s. The Sanchelli’s first home in Swede Hollow cost $20 plus $20 a year for rent of the land, which was collected twice a year by the land owner. Sanchelli describes a charmed life of simple survival and happy times in Swede Hollow. Mike’s father, Antonio (1884–1960) was a railroad laborer who had emigrated from Benevento, Italy with his wife Antoinette (1889–1961). The family raised chickens, rabbits and they even had a pig they butchered. Mike’s father crushed grapes with his feet for winemaking, and they lived on cabbage “five times a week.” Their playgrounds were the railroad tracks and the dump. Mike attended high school at Lincoln School and was bilingual, speaking Italian and English. During the Great Depression, Mike’s father used to sweep up the remains on the floor of rail cars to bring food home for his family. Mike later served in the U.S. Army in the Southwest Pacific in World War II, then returned to St. Paul where he worked as a clerk for over thirty years.
PDF of Trimble article
Kisses in the Parks after Dark: Spooners in the News, 1921–1922
Author: Janice R. Quick
This article discusses the challenges that couples (spooners) faced when trying to find some privacy in the parks for hugging and kissing. The police were actually given orders to arrest such individuals who were “parking without lights” during the early 1920s, as there were many who found this practice appalling. Eighty-seven male drivers were arrested at various parks for this romantic crime from April 1921 through August 1922. The process of arresting these young men was problematic as the police officers were typically either on foot or horseback. The police officer simply told the young men to report to the station. Typically the offenders posted a bail of $3, $4, or $5.
PDF of Quick article
Tim Mahoney, Secret Partners: Big Tom Brown and the Barker Gang (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013).
Arthur L. Norberg, Computers and Commerce: A Study of Technology and Management at Eckert-Mauchly Computer Company, Engineering Research Associates, and Remington Rand, 1947–1957 (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2005).
PDF of Book Reviews