Twentieth Century Radicalism in Minnesota Oral History Project: Interview with Douglas and Victoria Hanson and Ole Fagerhaugh
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Description BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Victoria "Vicki" Lindesmith was born in 1919 and raised on a farm near Northfield, Minnesota. She attended Carleton College for two years, but had to drop out during the Great Depression. She moved to Minneapolis looking for work, and quickly became active in the radical movement there. She was a founder of the Minneapolis Theatre Union, which performed pieces by radical playwrights, and joined the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union Local #665 through her job at the YMCA cafeteria. Douglas Hanson lived in Minneapolis already. He tried his hand at running a newsstand in the 1930s, and lost his contract with one of the city's daily papers because he sold the Communist Party's newspapers at his stand. After that, he got a job as a houseman at the Nicollet Hotel, and joined Local 665. He also participated in productions of the Minneapolis Theatre Union. The Hansons were married shortly before the U.S. entry into the Second World War. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Mr. Hanson joined the army, and Ms. Hanson threw herself into defense and war relief work, in Minneapolis, Seattle, and finally New York. After Mr. Hanson was discharged, the couple moved back to Minneapolis, where Mr. Hanson worked for the Communist Party and both were active in the labor and civil rights movements. When the senior Lindesmiths became ill, the Hansons moved to Northfield to care for them. The Lindesmiths had established a nursing home there, which the Hansons took over after the Lindesmiths died and after the Hansons left the Communist Party in the mid-1950s. After about five years, though, the Hansons became partners in an auto bumper reconditioning business in Minneapolis, and this became their main source of income. In 1973 they sold the business and retired to Pequot Lakes, Minnesota. Ms. Hanson remained active in the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, and Chrysalis - Center for Women, until her death in 1982. The couple had no children. For Ole Fagerhaugh's biography see his individual interview. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Organizing drive for the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union at Miller's Cafeteria, Minneapolis. Memories of the Miller's Cafeteria strike: picketing and other tactics; activities at the strike headquarters, including the strike kitchen; support from other unions and from farmers; demands of the workers; opposition from the Citizens Alliance; public opinion towards the strike; cultural work supporting the strike. Character of the workforce at Miller's, and conditions leading to the strike. Impressions of Albert J. Kilday, business agent for the bartenders' local. Impressions of the Strutwear Knitting Company and its labor-management relationships; memories of the 1935-36 strike. Incidents from the career of Peter Fagerhaugh as a union organizer for the American Federation of Hosiery Workers in Minneapolis and Kentucky. Opinions of Roy Wier. Character of the workforce in the Minneapolis hotels, 1930s and 1940s: ethnic backgrounds and ages. Descriptions of union meetings and participation in the union. Impressions of Raymond Wright (Ryti) and Swan Assarson. Stories of surviving as a young, unemployed person during the depression. Relations between Communists and Trotskyists in Minneapolis, 1930s and 1940s. Memories of Dr. Aaron Friedell and his support for the labor movement. Opinion of the Northwestern Bible and Missionary Training Institute. Description of working at the Nicollet Hotel, 1930s, and conditions in the hotels generally. Union meetings and participation. Local 665's involvement in electoral campaigns. Attempts by the city government to clean up the liquor industry, 1940s, and labor reactions to that. Harassment of Local 665 officials by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Memories of Swan Assarson. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: The interview is conversational and casual, leading to some repetition when new voices enter. Ole Fagerhaugh participated only in the first day of interviewing, while Victoria Hanson joined the group more than an hour into the interview. The participants frequently talked over each other as well. The recording was made on a porch at the Hansons' summer home, so there is considerable wind noise on the first hour of the tape, leading to some difficulties in transcription. There is also background noise from motor boats and loons. The transcriber had trouble distinguishing between Mr. Fagerhaugh's voice and Mr. Hanson's voice, so the speaker identification may not be entirely correct.
Quantity 3 hours sound cassette
68 pages transcript
Format Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Measurements 02:44:55 running time
Creation Interviewee: Fagerhaugh, Ole
Interviewee: Hanson, Douglas
Interviewee: Hanson, Mrs. Victoria Lindesmith
Interviewer: Ross, Carl E.
Made in Pequot Lakes, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, United States
Subjects Made in Pequot Lakes, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, United States
Dates Creation: 07/17/1981 - 07/19/1981
(Interviews conducted 7/17/1981 and 7/19/1981.)
Holding Type Oral History - Interview
Identifiers OH 30
Accession Number AV1990.228.53
More Info MHS Library Catalog
Related Collections Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Twentieth Century Radicalism in Minnesota Oral History Project'

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