Twentieth Century Radicalism in Minnesota Oral History Project: Interview with Clarence Hemmingsen
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Description BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Clarence Hemmingsen was born in Detroit, Michigan. He went to Chicago after the First World War and became a steam pipe fitter. Already a member of the Socialist Party, he enrolled in the Proletarian University, where he was trained as a street speaker. In 1924 he made a national tour, speaking on behalf of the Socialist Party. His political views caused difficulty for his in the United Association of Plumbers and Steam Fitters, to which he belonged. At the very beginning of the Great Depression he was expelled from the union, and found himself unable to get work in his trade. For several years he organized resistance to evictions among the unemployed in Chicago. When he met his future wife, Edna, she persuaded him to move to Duluth, where he had a brother. Shortly thereafter, they moved even further north, joined the Farmer-Labor Party, and in 1937 raised money and built a cabin for Governor Elmer Benson. At the time of the interview, Mr. Hemmingsen was living in a nursing home in Grand Marais. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Socialist Party activities in Detroit, Michigan, before World War I. Proletarian University in Chicago, 1920-24. Effect of the Russian Revolution on U.S. socialism. Soap-box speaking for the Socialist Party, 1924. Relations between the Communist and Socialist Parties, 1920s. Memories of George Heaney, 1930. Protests of evictions in Chicago, early 1930s. Attraction of the North Shore for the Hemmingsens. Memories of scraping out a living on the North Shore, 1930s. Incidents in the nursing home where Hr. Hemmingsen lived, 1970s(?). Views on religion and science and tobacco. Opinions of President Ronald Reagan, 1980s. Anecdotes about life on the North Shore. Relocation of Highway 61, late 1930s. Opinions of the Grand Portage band of Ojibwe, 1980s. Comparisons of the U.S. and USSR, 1980s. Socialist sympathies in Two Harbors, 1930s. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: The interview is rich in stories about the North Shore communities of Two Harbors and Grand Marais, and also gives a good picture of life for an elderly person in this remote location. The transcript is only partially edited, so the spelling of many names is only approximate. RESTRICTIONS ON USE: The tape and transcript cannot be quoted directly for publication.
Quantity 3 hours sound cassette
29 pages transcript
Format Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Measurements 01:59:46 running time
Creation Interviewee: Hemmingsen, Clarence
Interviewer: Kosiak, William
Interviewer: Jarvi, Carl
Made in Grand Marais, Cook County, Minnesota, United States
Subjects Made in Grand Marais, Cook County, Minnesota, United States
Dates Creation: Not earlier than 1980 - Not later than 1989

Holding Type Oral History - Interview
Identifiers OH 30
Accession Number AV1990.228.62
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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