Ramsey County History – Summer 2006: “‘He Was Mechanic Arts’ Mechanic Arts High School: The Dietrich Lange Years, 1916–1939”
“He Was Mechanic Arts” Mechanic Arts High School: The Dietrich Lange Years, 1916–1939
Author: John W. Larson
Although this article features Dietrich Lange (1863–1940)—educator, naturalist, and writer—it gives biographical information on several other teachers as well as several Mechanic Arts High School students who became prominent. Roy Wilkins, for instance, became a national civil rights leader. He was encouraged to develop his writing skills by Mary Copley, whose background and career are summarized. Dietrich Lange became principal of Mechanic Arts High School in 1916. In 1921, there were 1,500 students with diverse backgrounds. It had college-bound tracks as well as commercial classes and art and shop classes. Creative writing and the publication of a school magazine to display the work of students was a primary goal at the school. Future US Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun was another prominent graduate of MAHS. There is also information on Lange’s upbringing in a strict German family. In addition to being the principal at MAHS, Lange became a nationally known author and lecturer on nature studies. In 1939, Lange was replaced at MAHS and given a different job in the school district.
PDF of Larson article