Category Archives: Doing Historical Research

Army Officers and Dakota Women on the Minnesota Frontier, Part 5

This post is a classic exercise in doing history. The file of leads appears to be straight-forward. But upon a close reading of the texts, we are left to wonder.  Captain John S. Marsh of the 5th Minnesota Volunteers, Company B … Continue reading

Posted in Doing Historical Research, John S. Marsh, William P. Gere, Women's History | 1 Comment

The Stuff of Legend

The columnist who dubbed himself “The LeSueur Lyre” liked puns. Why anyone believed him is Gleek to me.  ***** In late June 1919, Samuel J. Brown of Brown’s Valley, Minnesota mailed a newspaper clipping to Warren Upham, the Secretary of the Minnesota Historical … Continue reading

Posted in Doing Historical Research, Fiction, Minnesota Historical Society, newspapers, O. W. Smith, Warren Upham | Leave a comment

“The Scourge of God” Against German “Infidels”

A Native American lays down his gun at the feet of Father Francis Xavier (Franz) Pierz and literally looks up to him, while a man of European descent, kneeling, doffs his hat and bows his head. Statue unveiled in 1952, … Continue reading

Posted in Doing Historical Research, German Turners, Religion | Leave a comment

The Power of the Written Word

One of the highlights for me of the pre-release weekend for Northern Slave, Black Dakota, was sitting in Gideon and Agnes Pond’s living room talking shop with some of my favorite historians. You know that tip-of-the-tongue phenomena when you lose … Continue reading

Posted in Dakota Language, Doing Historical Research, Wambdi Okiya | Leave a comment

Whitewashing History, Part 2

Gluttony by Robert Kingsly, 2009 “Then he berated me and my children something terribly. But I was totally silent, and when he was done I said to him what my kids have done. It is not my fault, I have … Continue reading

Posted in Commemorating Controversy, Doing Historical Research, truth-telling | 2 Comments

Whitewashing History, Part I

“Tom Sawyer Whitewashing the Fence” by Norman Rockwell (detail) So: What is wrong with Justina Kriegher’s stories? Not much, if we take them as they are: as stories. Quite a bit if we take them as we have: as history. … Continue reading

Posted in Commemorating Controversy, Doing Historical Research, Primary Sources, truth-telling | 3 Comments

History Is a Fun House Mirror

Before I began writing history, I loved reading it: the feeling that a good history book was a window I could look through to see the past. But actually doing history is more like looking into a fun house mirror: … Continue reading

Posted in Commemorating Controversy, Doing Historical Research, Opinion, truth-telling | 2 Comments

Will the Real Justina Kriegher Please Stand Up?

I’ve been working Louis Thiele’s story for several years. My last post on Thiele sat in my drafts folder for weeks, awaiting a quick polish before its turn at the top of my home page. Or so I thought. The … Continue reading

Posted in Doing Historical Research | 2 Comments

Hot Water, Part 2

“They were coming to the end of the town and they thought they were out of trouble. Then there was a big building at the end of the street. Someone threw hot, scalding water on them. The children were all … Continue reading

Posted in Dakota Commemorative March, Doing Historical Research, Indian Hating, Primary Sources, truth-telling | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Deer That Got Me A Better Car When I Turn Sixteen

This is a post in my series honoring the 2012 Dakota Commemorative March. I’m just going to tell you a different story. It’s true. Last night we had a dinner party at our house. Just before dessert, my husband left … Continue reading

Posted in Commemorating Controversy, Dakota Commemorative March, Doing Historical Research | Tagged | 1 Comment