Ramsey County History Magazine Volume 54-2 Summer 2019

Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.

Volume 54

Volume 54, Number 2: Summer 2019

William DeWitt Mitchell: The Other William Mitchell
Authors: Thomas H. Boyd and Douglas R. Heidenreich
“Like Father, Like Son” is a common saying that most certainly applies to this article. Thomas H. Boyd, a St. Paul attorney, and Douglas R. Heidenreich, former dean of the William Mitchell College of Law, which later combined with the Hamline University School of Law to form Mitchell Hamline School of Law, share the story of “a learned son of a learned father.” The father is William Bell Mitchell, a revered state Supreme Court justice who served at the end of the nineteenth century and for whom the law school is named, in part. The son is William DeWitt Mitchell, who followed his father into the legal profession, making his mark in the first half of the twentieth century locally as a military officer and attorney and nationally as solicitor general in the Calvin Coolidge administration and attorney general for President Herbert Hoover. Neither Republican president had a problem endorsing the young Democrat for positions in the US Department of Justice, thanks to Mitchell’s sterling reputation as non-partisan, level-headed, and just.
PDF of T. Boyd and D. Heidenreich article

St. Paul’s Distinct Leadership Tradition: A Century of The Sterling Club
Author: Jeremiah E. Ellis
Winner of the David Gebhard Award from the the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians
At the turn of the twentieth century, social clubs were providing opportunities for members with like interests to serve their communities and gather for recreation, social activities, and timely discussions. In 1919, a group of mostly mid-career gentlemen from St. Paul’s African American community incorporated a social club of their own. The Sterling Club welcomed visiting dignitaries, gathered for formal balls, and enjoyed time together celebrating individual and collective accomplishments. But they also had an additional purpose: mobilizing against discrimination and creating community cohesion through engagement. Writer Jeremiah E. Ellis tells the story of the men (and women) behind this organization, who worked alongside civic leaders to highlight and address racist practices, help heal a community torn apart by the construction of the interstate, serve as a haven from discrimination, and mentor young people within the community. Over the decades, many of St. Paul’s social clubs have come and gone, but the Sterling Club continues to stand strong, celebrating its centennial this summer.

The Board of Directors of the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, awarded the David Gebhard Award in April, 2022 to Jeremiah Ellis for “St. Paul’s Distinct Leadership Tradition: A Century of the Sterling Club. The judges noted, “Founded in 1919, the Sterling Club had a fine line to walk between creating a setting of radical hospitality while blending into the landscape of discrimination around them. This article tells the story of establishing a place for a community that was not welcome in many Twin Cities establishments at the time. It shines light on one of Minnesota’s lesser-known landmarks, a place that in the midst of adversity provided important cultural connections and continuity.”

PDF of J. Ellis article

“I’m as Restless as a Lion: The Aspirations of St. Paulite Ruth Cutler
Author: Johannes Allert
A young, affluent St. Paulite, Ruth Cutler searched for a purposeful life. A college-educated progressive, Ruth watched the world around her react to war, poverty, the suffrage movement, illness, and loss and responded with her own thoughts and desires to make a difference. Struggling with self-doubt and frustration, Ruth remained hopeful for a better future. How do we know this? Fortuitously, the Cutler family descendants preserved Ruth’s ideas and experiences in beautifully written diaries, journals, and correspondence. More than a century after her death overseas, local author and historian Johannes Allert, spent countless hours researching this remarkable young woman, bringing her story to light. Despite her untimely death, we discover that her circuitous journey was the destination.

PDF of J. Allert article

Ramsey County Historical Society 2018-2019 Annual Report
PDF of RCHS Annual Report 2018-2019