Tuesday, January 25, 2011
A Communist and the Minneapolis Public Library
On June 12, 1941, Helen Allison Winter, a member of the Communist Party of the United States of America, ran for a seat on the the board of directors of the Minneapolis Public Library (merged with the Hennepin County Library in 2008). She ran on a campaign of "Books Not Bullets", and although she was not elected she received 24,830 votes during a period when anti-communism was prevalent in the United States. Noted library historian Wayne Wiegand has written an article about Winter's campaign for a position on the public library's board in the Winter 2010-2011 issue of Minnesota History. Wiegand's article is a good example of how an interesting story about a library's history can be gleaned by delving deeper into its history. It is also noteworthy example of library history being shared with a broader audience than the library history community. An example which other library historians should follow. I have a previous post about the Minneapolis Public Library. The postcard above shows the Central Library of the Minneapolis Public Library which was in much need of replacement in 1941.