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Letters and Photos from Minnesota’s Past


A celebration of the everyday lives of Minnesotans through the century – those who paused on their way to someplace else, and those who made the state their home.


The earliest European visitors to Minnesota marvel at the area’s flora and fauna. A soldier at Fort Snelling contemplates deserting. Swedish settler Andrew Peterson makes a daily record of his haying schedule, dropping in, without comment, a note of his marriage. Sarah Christie pleads with her father in the 1880s for a chance to go to college. Turn-of-the-century accountant Walter T. Post keeps his family informed of his saving and spending habits. In the 1920s, the Pioneer Press publishes recommendations for young ladies seeking a spouse.

These stories and more emerge from select diary and journal entries, from published accounts and business records–the experiences of ordinary Minnesotans. Matched with drawings and photographs that capture a way of life at a particular moment, these impressions offer a telling history of the state in the words of its people.


Minnesota Historical Press, St. Paul, 1981

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