Minnesota

A LIFELONG FASCINATION with the stories of a famous pioneering family finally drove the writer to South Dakota in hopes of better understanding the prairie life Laura Ingalls Wilder lived there and later gave to the world.

When she was a little girl in Wisconsin in the 1870s, her father would take her and her sister on his knee after supper in their log house and tell them wonderful stories about bears and panthers and little boys who sneaked out to go sledding on the Sabbath. Read more >>

Starting with a single, haunting battlefield image, an amateur photo detective managed to reconstruct a forgotten photographer’s life and uncover a treasure of Indian portraits.

I had waited six months to see it. A long-time collector, I loved to roam the monthly swap meet in Long Beach, California near my home. Read more >>

Dan Patch never lost a race. But that’s not how he made his owner a multi-millionaire. America’s best-loved horse was also perhaps the most shrewdly marketed animal of all time.

In mid-September 1904 Americans reading about Teddy Roosevelt’s conquest of the Republican presidential convention and the decisive Japanese victory over the Russians at Liao-yang came across a brief news item from Kansas: Dan Patch had taken ill in Topeka an Read more >>

Nearly a hundred years ago two rival cities fought hard and dirty to win the battle of numbers

In mandating a national census every ten years, the framers of the U.S. Constitution envisioned a counting, not a bashing, of heads. Read more >>

A seasoned campaigner’s look at the never-ending war between archaeological fact and archaeological fraud

In 1961 three rockhounds found an unusual nodule near Olancha, California. It contained ceramic, copper, and iron components and seemed obviously man-made. Read more >>
All through the late spring and summer of 1894 a haze of woodsmoke hung over the town of Hinckley in Pine County, Minnesota. Small fires burned unheeded in the cutover timberlands throughout the county, throughout the whole eastern part of the state. Read more >>

Between the ages of fifteen and twenty, young Peter Rindisbacher captured on canvas the lives of Indians and white pioneers on the Manitoba—Minnesota frontier

On August 12, 1834, a twenty-eight-year-old Swiss-born youth named Peter Rindisbacher, who was just beginning to attract international attention with his colorful and realistic drawings of Indian life along the mid-western United States and central Canadian frontiers, died in S Read more >>

Giacomo Beltrami’s discoveries were mostly illusory, but he had a glorious time making them, and the people of Minnesota have never forgotten his name.

In the serious story of the exploration of the Mississippi River, there is one unique and preposterous character. He is Giacomo Constantino Beltrami, an Italian of comic-opera proportions. Beltrami was in every way a glorious misfit. He was wayward, unpredictable, and humorous. Read more >>

Minnesota’s Sioux uprising began with senseless murder on a peaceful Sunday afternoon. Before it ended, the smell of death was everywhere