Monday, March 25, 2019, I had the pleasure of preaching to a choir –follow historians and history advocates at the Minnesota History Whatever 3.
Stephen Osman, now-retired from his position as Senior Historian at the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS), and Megan Kellom, Archival Collections Cataloger specializing in government documents at the MNHS, joined me.
Our collective pitch: To tell new, inclusive stories, we need to include new sources.
Kellom told us about the wealth of underused government records and reference aids available to researchers in the Gale Library at the MNHS. Osman took us on a virtual research trip to the National Archives, whetting our appetites with new documents turning up in the ongoing search for Federal Military records generated in 1862-63 by the concentration camp at Fort Snelling where Dakota civilians were interned, and for the same records from Dakota Prison at Mankato.
I gave an unabashed pitch for the acquisition, digitization, and use of previously unknown and uninterpreted primary sources in the National Archives. I showed images from two of the four collections at NARA I have discovered and roughly cataloged via the grants of generous donors administered through the Minnesota Independent Scholars’ Forum.
As promised, I will devote several posts to images and transcriptions as samples of the content of these collections. It is a small way I can thank the visionary people who have funded the discovery work in the conviction that these sources and others in the National Archives are a legacy we can make accessible in real-time.
Carrie Reber Zeman