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Minnesota Historical Society Oral History Project: Interview with Grace Lee Nute
Description BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Born October 13, 1895 in North Conway, New Hampshire, the fourth of seven children. Ancestors came to New Hampshire in 1631. Her father, Dexter, was born in 1860; mother is Mary Virginia Eisele; parents married on July 24, 1887; Nute attended high school at Fryeburg Academy in Maine; also attended Westfield State Teacher's College; attended Smith, graduated in 1917 with a major in English Literature and a minor in German; spent four years at Harvard, earning her Ph.D. in American History in 1921; accepted job at Minnesota Historical Society; Received Guggenheim Fellowship in 1934-35. Worked in Manuscript Division until 1946. In 1946 left that division and did nothing but write. Retired January 1, 1958. Taught at Hamline University until 1960 and Macalester College as well as the University of Minnesota night school; moved to California in July 1979. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Family history, coming from Denmark in 1631; tracing her family's roots in England; her parents; details of her parents' families and childhoods; her home in North Conway; elementary school; high school; her operation for a ruptured appendix on her parents' dining room table; college; the founding of the library and hospital in North Conway; Smith College; learning organ and piano; the woman from North Conway who paid for her college education. Her decision to come to the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS); her trip to Minnesota; Mr. Solon J. Buck of MHS; early days at MHS; first impressions of the Twin Cities; working through the MHS collections; her doctoral dissertation; organizing manuscripts; her philosophy of collecting and cataloging; building the collection; her booklet, Care and Cataloging of Manuscripts; the accession system; establishing a "unit" in manuscripts; getting young helpers from the Mechanic Arts High School; her full-time staff; Helen McCann White; Gertrude Ackerman Ogden. Her sister, Virginia, and Virginia's husband Robert Beveridge; taking care of them during the Depression; microfilming, with training by Robert; developing a microfilm reader; the first of the series, Guide to the Manuscript Collection of the Minnesota Historical Society; the changing relationship of the state archives to the historical society; the need to do Social Security research after the law was passed in 1935; the use of WPA (Works Progress Administration) employees on archives; saving the records about the WPA; early users of the collection were mostly students; being on the lecture circuit. Theodore Blegen; chief clerk Mary Palmes's devotion to the Society; Charles Gates, Robert Bahmer, Bertha Heilbron, Mary Wheelhouse; other employees; Lucille Kane; the succession of superintendents and her comments about them: Arthur Larson, Lewis Beeson, Harold Dean Cater; Cater and his belief that the Society was a business operation; the decision in 1946 to allow her to do nothing but writing and publishing; the first research associate; taught Minnesota history at the University of Minnesota; Frank Hubachek, her writing of the history of the North Shore; researching the book and her enjoyment of that area. Miss Carruthers, the librarian; volumes on the missions of Minnesota; trying to get the papers published; Dr. Nute's book on iron mining, "Voyageur's Highway", which was never published; summering in her cabin on the North Shore; the former committee that had to approve all manuscripts prior to publishing; the low days of the Society; teaching at Macalester, U of M and Hamline at the same time. Her part in acquiring the Hill Family papers and her work on them; Helen White and Bob Brown, who also worked on the project; difficulties with the Hill papers; working with her sister Virginia on this project; her resignation (expulsion) from the Society; problems with receiving Social Security payments for years worked for the Society; her interest in the North Country and French Canadians/Voyageurs; Society of American Archivists. Researching the history of the Charles Lindbergh family; Swedish Archives; Lindbergh's grandfather and his escape from Sweden; the decision not to report this fact; her relationship with Charles Lindbergh, Jr. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh; meeting Lindbergh's aunts and uncles at his request; travels after her retirement in 1960; her move to California; her nieces and other family members.
Quantity 9 hours sound cassette
158 pages transcript
Format Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Measurements 09:01:20 running time
Creation Narrator: Nute, Grace Lee
Interviewer: Fogerty, James E.
Made in California, United States
Subjects Made in California, United States
Dates Creation: 06/23/1986 - 06/25/1986
Interviewed on 6/23/1986 and 6/25/1986.
Holding Type Oral History - Interview
ID Number OH 82
Accession Number AV1993.147
More Info MHS Library Catalog
Related Collections Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Minnesota Historical Society Oral History Project'