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Young Meridel Le SeuerIn the early 1950s folk singer Pete Seeger and the staff of folk song magazine Sing Out! gave Minnesota writer, actress, feminist, and political activist Meridel Le Sueur a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and for more than thirty years she recorded nearly 400 hours of men and women singing, socializing, arguing, discussing politics, reciting poetry, and relating stories about their lives and experiences.

The Meridel Le Sueur Papers contain 189 tape reels and audiocassettes of interviews, discussions, music, and poetry. We are pleased to announce that we have digitized 18 of these recordings and that they may be directly accessed by researchers as 30 MP3 audio files via links in the collection inventory.

Digitized recordings include a program about agricultural unions and agricultural strikes, interviews with Mexican farm workers, and a discussion about the Migrant Farm Workers Association. Yank Levine tells stories of people he deals with as a scrap collector, and of a day Meridel spent with him as he worked.

On the same recording Beatrice tells a story about a psychopathic decorator. Lou Gilbert tells stories about being blacklisted as an actor. Ken Tilsen discusses his experiences as a lawyer for American Indians who occupied Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in a 1973 standoff with Federal authorities.

Meridel talks with Tom McGrath, who was an instructor at Los Angeles State College until he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee. McGrath, also a poet, reads many of his poems. One recording includes an interview with Martin Mackie and his wife in which Meridel asks them about their life on the Iron Range. They discuss many aspects of Iron Range culture, and the struggles of Iron Range workers.

In other recordings Le Sueur talks about derogatory terms used to describe American Indians. A Mexican-American man is interviewed, who talks about discrimination, wealth disparity, educational discrimination, and poor working conditions. An African-American woman is interviewed and describes the work experience of Blacks, including difficult times endured during the Great Depression. This woman speaks about racism in Minnesota, slavery, sharecropping, her parents, and the difficult lives of slaves.

In addition to the recordings Le Sueur's papers also include correspondence; radical, socialist, and labor publications; literary journals; published and unpublished manuscripts; clippings; and photographs documenting Le Sueur's life as a writer, journalist, actress, feminist, and political activist. The Meridel Le Sueur Papers, particularly the audio recordings, offer a unique and interesting perspective on labor and social justice issues, the struggles of ordinary people, and the human condition in Minnesota from a perspective not often seen.



New and Updated Finding Aids - November 2017

Name/Abstract File No.
Adjutant General: An Inventory of Its Orders and Circulars gr00668
An incomplete set of numbered general and special orders concerning maneuvers, awards, appointments, and miscellaneous affairs of the Adjutant General's office and the Minnesota National Guard.
Willoughby Babcock: An Inventory of His Family Papers 01253
Three generations of the Babcock family are represented in the papers.
Chisago County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Naturalization Records and Indexes gr00450
Declarations of intention (first papers), 1858-1952; final papers (second papers), 1873-1906; petition and record (final papers), 1907-1954; lists of citizenship petitions granted and denied, 1929-1954; applications to take oath of allegiance (naturalization by repatriation), 1937-1953; and loose naturalization papers, A-Z, 1855-1906. Also an alphabetical card file index to the final papers, 1873-1906, and a partial petition and record index, 1920s-1954.
Royal Dossett: An Inventory of His Grandfathers Boathouse Photograph Collection sv000250
Big Sandy Lake - 001Photographs of boathouses on Big Sandy Lake, Gull Lake, Lake Minnetonka, Roosevelt Lake, White Bear Lake, and the Whitefish Chain. Each lake or lake system has accompanying material from the photographer which provides a map with location of boathouses, brief history and description of the lake, and technical information about the collection.

Includes digital content.
Health Department: An Inventory of Its Published Records and Reports gr01397
Reports, newsletters, and miscellaneous print and near-print items of or about the department.
Meridel Le Sueur: An Inventory of Her Papers 00323
Meridel Le SueurCorrespondence, literary journals, audio tapes, published writings, published and unpublished manuscripts and fragments, publicity, radical publications, clippings, photographs, and other miscellaneous materials documenting the life and career of Le Sueur, a writer, journalist, actress, feminist, and radical political activist, and her family.

Includes digital content.
Plumbing Code and Examinations Advisory Council: An Inventory of Its Records gr01396
Minutes, meeting files, historical records, and correspondence of this advisory council and predecessor to the Board of Plumbing. The council advised and gave recommendations to the Commissioner of Health concerning matters of plumbing.
Washington County: Hugo: An Inventory of Its Records gr01395
Chattel mortgage index; minutes of the city council, parks and recreation commission, planning commission, and zone adjustment board; ordinances; and resolutions.

New and Updated Catalog Records

Caneday, Maynard H. Raymund Lull Home papers, 1927-2014.
Personal record book (1927-1946) and related papers of a Minnesota-born Christian missionary and worker at the Raymund Lull Home for boys in Tangier, Morocco. Also includes an article (2014) in Catalan by Jaume Bover about the Raymund Lull Home.
Florida, Nellie, 1846-1925. Letters received, 1861-1865.
Letters received by a Minnesota woman from family and friends, including several Civil War soldiers. The letters comment on events in the Rockford, Minnesota, area as well as the Civil War and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
Foss, Alice. Alice Foss photograph collection.
Materials document the career of Alice Foss. Majority of collection includes portraits and photographs of Foss and other Farmers and Mechanics Savings Bank employees at work and various events. Also included are photographs of family and friends, certificates from Alphi Chi Omega and Northwestern University, and Christmas greetings from John De Laittre, president of Farmers and Mechanics Savings Bank (1957-1962).
Gates, Sarah Josephine. Sarah Josephine Gates diary, 1874.
Diary of Sarah Josephine Gates as a school teacher in Hennepin County and as a University of Minnesota student. The diary entries reflect on her religious activities, her teaching duties and concern over students, life as a university student, and social activities. The October 8 entry details the death of her brother at the Minnesota State Hospital for the Insane (St. Peter, Minn.).
Gustafsson, Othilia. Othilia and Signe Gustafsson papers, 1905-1931.
Emigration diaries and related papers of sisters Othilia and Signe Gustafson, of Duluth, Minnesota. One diary was kept by Othilia and documents her trip from Mariedam, Sweden to Duluth aboard a Cunard ocean liner. The other diary documents Signe's voyage three years later. Most of the material is in Swedish.
KSTP radio station photograph collection, approximately 1931-1966.
Collection of photographs of KSTP radio station activities, signed portraits given to the station, and promotional images with captions for NBC radio's 40th anniversary special broadcast with featured celebrities in 1966. Includes views of notable Minnesotans such as Hubert H. Humphrey and Randy Merriman as well as national celebrities such as Bob Hope, Paul Whiteman, Lowell Thomas, and more.
LeafLine Labs, LLC. LeafLine Labs records, 2014-2015.
Product information, brochures produced by the Minnesota Depatment of Health, branding samples, and a speech made at the ribbon cutting of the Cottage Grove, Minnesota medical marijuana growing facility by founder, fifth generation horticulturist, and medical doctor Andrew Bachman of Leafline Labs.
O. K. Yacht Club (Pequot Lakes, Minn.). O. K. Yacht Club records, 1961-1962.
By-laws, roster, minutes, regatta materials, correspondence, some picture post cards, and miscellaneous papers of this yacht club active on lakes Ossawinnamakee and Kimble in Crow Wing County, Minnesota.

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