I continue to be astounded by the amount of information that can be found online, and how that data grows in exponential leaps within a matter of months. An effort has been underway for years now to digitize books, particularly from the past, which is a researcher’s dream, but a nightmare for authors when it comes to copyright concerns. Google Book Search is the most visible player in the realm of book digitization, partially because Google is so big, but also because it has been maneuvering the thicket of digital rights negotiations with the publishing industry.
Before there was Google Book Search, however, there was Project Gutenberg. Its goal is to provide the full text of books online, to make books freely available to the reading public. Project Gutenberg has over 28,000 books available through its online catalog and offers around 100,000 books through its Partners, Affiliates and Resources. Project Gutenberg has sidestepped thorny copyright issues by concentrating on digitizing books already in the public domain.
You may be asking yourself at this point, “What does this have to do with Morrison County history?” For some time now, Project Gutenberg has had the text of “Minnesota and Dacotah” by C. C. Andrews available for download through its online catalog. The book is a compilation of letters written by Andrews concerning a trip he took into Minnesota Territory in 1856. (The C. C. part of his name is short for Christopher Columbus. Perhaps his name inspired an urge to travel.)
Andrews traveled from Baltimore to Chicago and from there to St. Paul, which was his starting point for investigating other parts of what is now Minnesota. During his travels, he went through Swan River and Little Falls in Morrison County, and continued on to Crow Wing. He met with Chief Hole-in-the-Day II, who had a considerable influence on what is now Morrison County. The details Andrews provides, which are laced heavily with his opinions, give an interesting picture of life in the territory at that time.
And best of all? The book is free and readily available. Check out Project Gutenberg and see what other treasures you can find.
Posted in books, history, little falls, minnesota, morrison county, research, swan river, website
Tagged c. c. andrews, chief hole in the day, christopher columbus, copyright, crow wing, digital rights, digitizing books, free books online, google book search, minnesota and dacotah, project gutenberg, public domain, travel
For this month’s map, we’ve chosen the earliest map in our collection that shows Morrison County. The map is a leaf from the book the “Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Minnesota” published by A. T. Andreas in 1874. We call it the Andreas atlas. While we have a few copies of the full Andreas atlas in our collections, over the years we’ve also received pages 164 and 165 separate from the book. These pages show Todd, Morrison, and Crow Wing Counties, and portions of Mille Lacs, Aitkin, and Cass.
The map has a number of fascinating features, including the markings for the type of timber found in the area, the locations of the homes of various prominent citizens, the Indian trail running from Mille Lacs Lake to the Skunk River, a Lumberman’s Road, and a scattering of post offices. On the 1874 map, Morrison County has only a few townships: Green Prairie, Culdrum, Swan River, Two Rivers, Little Falls, Belle Prairie, Pierz, and Bellevue. The old Fort Ripley Reservation takes up a sizeable chunk of land on the east side of the Mississippi River.
The Andreas atlas has been digitized as part of the Minnesota Digital Library and can be found online at Minnesota Reflections. Try this link to get to the document: http://reflections.mndigital.org/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/mhs&CISOPTR=1192&REC=7. If you have difficulty with that link, go to the home page of Minnesota Reflections and choose the option to browse by collection. Scroll down to the Minnesota Historical Society and select “view the collection.” The atlas is item number 7 in the collection. Click on either the image or the title to be taken to the digitized version of the book.
Or, stop on in at The Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum to see it in person.
Posted in archives, belle prairie, bellevue, books, camp ripley, culdrum, exhibits, green prairie, history, little falls, maps, mchs, minnesota, mississippi river, morrison county, museum, pierz, research, swan river, two rivers
Tagged aitkin county, andreas atlas, cass county, crow wing county, map of the month, mille lacs county, minnesota digital library, minnesota historical society, minnesota reflections, todd county