Archives for posts with tag: History

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Hilarious… and a little offensive. Ha.


Postcard: Leap year, 1908 Description: Cartoon on theme of women proposing in leap years. Caption: "Maidens are eagerly awaiting ..."

One extra day in February means one extra history lesson for 2012. Because who doesn’t want to learn about Lead Year?

According to Wikipedia, “A leap year (or intercalary or bissextile year) is a year containing one additional day (or, in the case of lunisolar calendars, a month) in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year.”
Blah blah blah, this is NOT the interesting part. What’s interesting are the fascinating traditions that come along with a Leap Year.

One folk tradition states that women can only propose during a Leap Year or on Leap Day. Supposedly, this tradition started with either St. Patrick or St. Brigid in 5th century Ireland.According to tradition, a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland (then age five and living in Norway), required that fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man. The fine differed from country to country – some places it was fabric for a new dress, a kiss, money, or a pair in gloves.

Now, note the postcard (pasted above):

Maidens eagerly waiting Leap Year (1908) for their chances to propose to a man. I love how these women are armed with guns, axes and a telescope. I’m also loving how their bear trap is baited with a bag of money.

I promote women proposing to their prospective mates whether or not it’s a Leap Year, but if you need an excuse (and a little extra courage) what better day than TODAY! (Leap Day!) to pop the question??

Postcard: Leap Year, 1908 Description: "In 1908 / 'Be Careful, Clara, that's a fine Specimen!'"


– Ann Erling Gofus

The Hutmacher Farmstead in Dunn County, North Dakota. Photo Credit Ann Erling Gofus.

Green is the new black as more and more people adjust their lifestyles in the hopes of throwing global warming off its track. From fuel efficient cars to buying organic, being environmentally aware has become one of the nation’s hottest trends. And who would have guessed that tucked away in a western county of a plains state a German Russian family would be making Al Gore proud decades before his activist streak?
In 1911, Frank Hutmacher and his family emigrated from Russia and settled in Dunn County, North Dakota, where the construction of an environment friendly stone-slab home began. Using only what the prairie had to offer, Frank Hutmacher set about building a home of sandstone slabs that features a roof of branches, brush, straw, and clay. Presented with limited resources, Frank did what he could to provide shelter for his immigrant family while also blending into the area’s natural surroundings.
Environmentally safe building hasn’t changed much since then. Modern green architecture still puts to use sustainable building materials, and building techniques that are environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Although, examples of modern green buildings are slightly less obvious than the earthy Hutmacher farmsite; modern green homes can be built from recycled or all natural materials, such as cardboard or clay bricks.
The currently standing Hutmacher home was constructed mostly in 1928 and 1930, but prior construction had begun when the family immigrated in 1911. As the years passed, various additions were built, and as time wore into the 50s and the 60s, the Hutmachers continued to live in and maintain their earthen home. Although difficult to fathom now, the Hutmacher family lived without electricity until 1961, when the house was wired to run electric appliances. This stone-slab home was comfortably lived in for almost 70 years until it was finally abandoned in 1979.

North Dakota State University students working to preserve the Hutmacher Farmstead in Dunn County, North Dakota. Photo Credit Ann Erling Gofus.

The Hutmacher home is earthen, energy efficient and environment friendly; three aspects of going green that are often difficult to accomplish in modern green architecture. The building materials were gathered directly outside the Hutmachers’ front door, making annual repairs to damaged walls and roof simple. But best of all, the various buildings on the Hutmacher farmsite blend almost seamlessly into the prairie setting.

Dunn Country, North Dakota. Photo Credit Ann Erling Gofus.

This simple perfection can be appreciated by even the most hardened city dweller as one sets sight upon the Hutmacher farmstead. Eyes flow easily from the prairie grass, to the stone walls, to the earthen roof, and finally to the sky. Beautiful, natural and environmentally safe, the Hutmacher farmsite is a historical example of what it means to go green.
– I wrote this back in 12 March 2008 when I was still Ann E. Erling, sans the Gofus. I wrote it for some North Dakota publication. Not sure if it ever got published, but here it is. In the almost 4 years since I wrote this story, The Hutmacher Farmstead’s preservation. I’m planning on following up with the Hutmacher Farmstead’s people and writing us all an update.

Unknown Aussie soldier, WWI, from the Australian War Memorial collection.

One of my favorite blogs,

Historically attractive men.
There is something so appealing about daguerreotype photographs.
And something so appealing about attractive late 19th century, early 20th century men.

Check it out!

I know, I know, this is old news, like 3 years old news, but I recently re-watched this video and just HAD to share.

Photograph of Jesus by Laurie Hill in association with the Getty Images Short & Sweet Film Challenge from Hulton Archive on Vimeo.

I found this video a couple years ago, and forwarded it to my old colleagues at the North Dakota State Archives and Research Library. In places like that, an important aspect of your job is assisting researchers. Some researchers know what they’re doing – they are experienced genealogists or college professors – but many are just curious, college students or first-time researchers. Many of the research requests we got at the ND State Archives were amusing – at best.
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Looking for that perfect for the:

1) history buff
2) art lover
3) academic
4) culture snob
5) eclectic

… in your life?

Look no further! We here at Musely have compiled a short list of Top Ten gift suggestions for this holiday season.
Yes, you’re welcome.

1. Jackie Kennedy inspired jewelry – The Smithsonian Institution shop offers around a dozen Jackie Kennedy inspired pieces, including jewelry, a cardigan, handbags and those iconic sunglasses. Personally, I’m a fan of the legendary three-strand pearls, the copy of the bangle that JFK gave to Jackie as an engagement gift, and the replica of the Cartier Tank watch that Jackie wore in mourning for JFK.

This reproduction of Jackie Kennedy's legendary faux-pearl necklace carries 158 handpainted, European glass pearls on hand-knotted silken cords. Photo Credit Smithsonian Institution

ps. Jackie O’s three-strand pearls were fake and were auctioned off in 2010 for $211,000. So, I mean, really, this replica isn’t too far off.

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As a 20-something, my friends and I like to daydream about the future. What kind of great careers we’ll develop, how well we plan on aging and how awesome our dream houses will be. While most of my friends are years away from taking the dive into a mortgage, it’s still a hot topic of conversation.

Everyone is looking for something different. My husband and I often dream about a home in DC, on the metro, with a big yard and lots of character and history. But a close friend recently told me that she and her husband want a brand spankin’ new house, something that they helped design themselves, that no one has lived in before them.

Repairing existing residential buildings produces about 50 percent more jobs than building new. (Photo: Flickr user AdamFranco/

I understand why people might lean towards brand new. The thought of a “fixer-upper” can be overwhelming and chances of hauntings are higher in older homes (just kidding! OR AM I!?) But stop! There are soooooo many positives to buying a historic/older home or renovating/rehabilitating an existing structure:

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Vintage posters have long been hip wall art. You often see them in cool cafes, hanging on loft walls, being sold for hundreds at flea markets. But what about a vintage poster that warns against the dangers of venereal disease? Or, would you hang a historical ad for Andrew’s “Inner Cleanliness” on your living room wall?

Title: Easy to Get... Syphilis and Gonorrhea by Charles Casa, U.S. Navy; U.S. Office of War Information, Date: 1943, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library. Historical Library. Yale University

And, most importantly, does a poster about eating fruits and veggies in an effort to defeat Hitler earn me street cred on my lifelong journey towards ultimate Hipster-status?

Title: EAT to beat the devil, 1942, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library. Historical Library. Yale University

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On November 3rd, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and announced the release of four USHMM collections that contain more than 30,000 names of Holocaust victims and survivors. This name information is now available for online searches and can be viewed for FREE via!

This incredible wealth of Nazi-era documents is made available by The World Memory Project. WMP is a partnership between USHMM and to build the world’s largest FREE collection of information about victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

The World Memory Project is continually growing – fueled by volunteers who view and index documents out of USHMM’s archives. Since WMP was launched in May 2011, more than 2,100 contributors from around the world have indexed more than 700,000 records. ANYONE can help (as long as you have access to the internet), and you’re currently reading a blog post written be a World Memory Project contributor… yea, what, what!! (I’m excited/proud, in case you can’t tell).

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In the spring of 2009, I was a young archival assistant at the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection. In the midst of my final semester at North Dakota State University, I was avoiding my thesis and working part-time in a small special collection on campus.

Aw, to be young again…

Anyways… at the start of the semester I was given a MASSIVE archival project – The Baumgartner Family Collection. Thousands of photographs, hundreds of documents, dozens of artifacts, all lovingly stored in shoe boxes, folded into books, and displayed in magnetic photo albums. (I can’t find words to describe the mental anguish I experience peeling/attempting to peel photographs from the pages of these magnetic photo albums – DO NOT USE MAGNETIC PHOTO ALBUMS, please.)

The collection mainly focused on Philippine (Baumgartner) Berglund. Over twenty binders of photographs traced Philippine through her high school years, college education, her career as a teacher, and her marriage to Gus Berglund. In the collection, one can see the record of nearly every course she studied in high school, a sample of her wedding lace, and the nameplate that sat on her husband’s desk. The entire collection is comprised of personal belongings and candid family portraits, giving the viewer an intimate glimpse at Philippine (Baumgartner) Berglund’s family.

A photograph from the Baumgartner Collection, Philippine Baumgartner (right). Photo credit Annie Erling, GRHC

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