Ramsey County History – Spring 2002: “Doing History in Ramsey County and St. Paul: A Review Essay”

John M. Lindley

Doing History in Ramsey County and St. Paul: A Review Essay
Author: John M. Lindley

Like the late nineteenth century spate of local history books about St. Paul, the author comments on a similar recent flourishing of St. Paul history and gives several short summaries of the works. Among the earliest of these new books is Virginia Kunz’s St. Paul—The First 150 Years in 1991. Just as Kunz took a new approach to a familiar topic, several St. Paul and Ramsey County writers have gone in new directions. Elmer Anderson’s A Man’s Reach is an insightful and entertaining autobiography that includes much information about his wife, as well. Other new biographies include Cass Gilbert: the Early YearsCap Wigington: An Architectural Legacy in Ice and Stone, The Story of a Groundbreaking African American; and Frederick L. McGhee: A Life on the Color Line, 1861–1912, and Jimmy Griffin, A Son of Rondo: A Memoir. Mary Lethert Wingerd’s Claiming the City: Politics, Faith, and the Power of Place in St Paul is an important new history of the city up to about 1930. Dionicio N. Valdés wrote Barrios Norteños: St. Paul and Midwestern Mexican Communities in the Twentieth Century about people from Mexico, Texas, and other states in the Southwest who came to Midwestern cities, such as St. Paul, in search of jobs and a better life. This essay also has a few short reviews of novels, such as Until They Bring the Streetcars BackIn the Deep Midwinter; and Larry Millett’s series of detective novels such as Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders.
PDF of Lindley article