the world to suddenly think george steinbrenner's right hand man and he is making their money, eating a fancy restaurant the seinfeld says you're the biggest loser. how did you turn your life around. simple. i realized i was the biggest loser and so not do the opposite of every single thought. the only way to save america is whatever is being done by the government now, do the opposite. so they want more government and health care, i want no government in health care. i want john mack in charge of health care, the founder of whole foods. i want tax deductible for healthy foods and vitamins and gym. i want most important the one they left out of obamacare the road healthier, toward reform. the problem is lawyers. get them out. [applause] >> thank you, everyone. thank you, ziad, for invited me. indeed, it's been a pleasure. >> you are watching booktv, television for serious readers. you can watch any program you
see online at booktv.org. >> as a part of booktv's recent visit to saint paul, minnesota, we stoppe stopped by the minnesa historical society library to learn about the impact st. paul has had on pop culture on a national scale. >> our library stacks and the like to think of it as a library of libraries. the native american material which is especially rich in the minnesota native americans.
we have a nearly complete collection of books from the 19 century on the civil war and beating of that on the abolitionist movement. so this is a little bit of a glimpse. what i've done is pulled some of my favorites, the things that i consider treasures and love and i'm going to show those to you individually. a good place would be to start with our map collection. we've collection of 50,000 maps and they go from the mid-1500s to maps that were probably on the press yesterday. we get maps daily. this is a map from 1581, and i like starting with this would have a group of schoolkids because there's no here, here. if you look in the center of the continent there is not a single
great light, there is not a mississippi river, there's nothing know about the interior of the continent. and with the minnesota historical society likes to do is to fill in the information to the point where we know every square inch of land and who owns it. so we have what helps us build and that gap are all of our maps from travel and exploration and discovery. this is on the map that accompanied the lewis and clarke report. and a pretty significant event in u.s. cartography that shows that it isn't going to be too easy to get across the continent. you see that range of mountains from the rockies. we also have this, probably my favorite item in the collection, is this popularly known as the atlas. is the company a trip up the
missouri river. you get some quality that doesn't exist on the other artist renderings. is just, it's just so beautiful and so detailed. you can count almost that beadwork and the porcupine quills in all of these constants. the one thing that people probably don't think about minnesota historical society is that we are not only collecting minnesota history, but we are to preserve minnesota culture. and one of the ways that we preserve minnesota culture is to collect literature, but what we like to do is collect the books that have some additional information, something that a normal library would have. so a lot of levers whatever sinclair lewis' cast timberline.
we have the copy that he is given to this radical deluge the judge it was the model for the judge. his name was judge nolan, mark nolan. and so we know that about him, plus that came with photos that judge nolan had taken a picnic with sinclair lewis on the north shore of lake superior above duluth. i think they're trying to set sinclair lewis up with judge nolan's secretary, so she is the other person in the photographs. he's writing -- well, he had a nice long career. he was writing in the late teens, and then in the '20s he wrote his breakthrough book was main street, and that is essential reading for any minnesotan. the author that most people
associate with minnesota and st. paul in particular is of course f. scott fitzgerald, and the minnesota historical society just allows to document, specially the early life, the early career of f. scott fitzgerald and fitz kind of before becomes a superstar. so have a couple of fun things here that are from that time period, and i take a little time to show those to you. he published first in his school, i guess newsletter or something, and we have all of that. this i just love because this is junior high school textbook from, printed in 1911, and just kind of a crummy little book, yet if anybody sold this it wouldn't be for more than a buck or two.
we paid $25,000 for this. and the reason is because it was owned by francis scott fitzgerald, and there are some marginal notes in here and some marginal drawings. and that's kind of fun. but the really important thing here is the last page of this. and the text, if i can we get to you is just, kind of makes you slap your forehead. so it's as francis scott fitzgerald, st. paul, minnesota, and he describes himself. playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, philosopher, over, useless, disagreeable, silly, talented, weak, strong, clever, trivial, a waste. in short, a mockery of one who might have been more but whom
nature and circumstances made less. with apologies for living, francis scott fitzgerald. and then you get this flourish at the end of it. it's so, it's the best combination of a 15 year-old boy and somebody who's really more insightful than the rest of us. so i think he kind of nails himself. we also have, speaking of early stuff, he was asked in the fall of 1919, the librarian, a librarian at st. paul public library was trying to get, to stay on top of local writers. so f. scott fitzgerald was one of them, and he is saying kind of that he's got books in the work and short stories, and he's very certain is going to become
a writer someday, as is his military service record, and this is kind of fun because they ask your occupation and he writes was student, am now writer. so he is sure of that. we just got this letter that is kind of fun. it comes out, the letter was written one month before first book comes out and is trying to higher a clipping service in new york, and he's telling the clipping service that these are brand-new author and he was an overnight sensation with this book, but a month before the book came out he was so unimportant that the clipping service acknowledges receipt of the letter and rights, without reply, and they underlined that. they didn't even get back to him on that.
another like a sinclair lewis we like the books that add information that wasn't known before, this is really a great example. this is the beautiful and damned, and is inscribed this to norris dean jackson was a boyhood friend of his in st. paul and say basically that the main protagonist in your is modeled on norris dean jackson and so that kind of information visually important to us. the historical society, again, i think we have this image of being a very formal institution, but the library loves collecting pulp fiction. the paperback editions. this is a comic book that was published in st. paul, a catholic comic book common and interesting about this is this as the first printed cartoon ever of charles schultz in the
back of it. just keep laughing, by sparky. this is his home. he grew up on the corner of snelling and shelby. his dad was a barber. he went to school central high school. he stayed here pretty, you know, well into his formative career, and then moved out to california. i don't remember, i think that was a decision of his wife's, but he's just a very, very st. paul. i think the thing that i love about this collection is that you could come in and find out any aspect of the minnesota, whether it's sports history or business history or immigrant history, and you can find things that are unique enough to make you very proud to be st. paul light or a minnesotan, like the
early fitzgerald stuff. but i also think that there's enough depth their that what you really walk away understanding is that you have a common humanity with everybody else. your experience is not different from your grandparents expenses, are different from the recent immigrants, and we are all impacted by the place that we grow up. so i really like the fact that you can learn not only your differences but your similarities to what else in the world, and i think that's one of the important, one of the many important aspects of history and what history can tell us. >> for more information on booktv's recent visit to st. paul, minnesota, and the many other cities visited by our local content vehicles, odysseus then.org/local content.
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