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tv   Book Discussion  CSPAN  September 21, 2014 3:14pm-3:36pm EDT

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that inspired him. this is just one of the many places in st. paul's that provided an inspiration for fitzgerald and his stories. the university club was the center or one of the centers of social life and didn't call back then. it still is today. a lot of weddings here. the euro was probably never a member there it but he had a lot of friends who would have been. he would've had access to these rooms. here, several people including donald stewart, who he convinced to become a writer and then went on to win an academy award for philadelphia story. he had a party for zelda when they were living at goodrich here area they called it the bad luck all because it was on friday or team. to show you the extent they would go to entertain their guests, fitzgerald literally had -- as a preprinted up
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newspaper printed up, a full sheet with stories about friends of his who would wreck dive the story. you would not want to be with a drunken fist fell at a party, i am guessing. he got pretty obnoxious. i would say he was part of the obnoxious trumps. he might pick up some of the glasses in the room and throw them. he would tip of her chairs. and zelda was kind of the same way. so the two of them together, if they had been drinking heavily, it probably could have been pretty bad. have been with fitzgerald, i would have preferred a semi-sober fitzgerald. in. , you had to be a university graduate to become a member. out ofald has dropped
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princeton, he said for medical reasons. his grades were not very good very but he loved vincent. in fact, he was reading alumni weekly when he passed away, supposedly. he wrote the plays for the triangle club when he was a member of their. theas a group that toured united states during these performances. he toured with them and came back to these cities to do performances as a member of the club. of death was a symbol to him. it was important to him that he went there. his whole life, despite the fact he never graduated, kristin held a place in his heart, an important spot for him. had wooed and won zelda, they were married in new york city. either her parents or his parents came to the wedding. they did a european tour just to see what is fastened on after
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their marriage. zelda became pregnant and then they moved back to be close to her parents. it did not work out, so the strobe wrote that they moved back home to st. paul. it was just kind of a summer resort area they lived in a hotel. of course, they were going to have a family. one of her good friends, her grandparents lived in this house and she got it for them so they could literally moved and deft move into the house for the winter. it was a brutal winter and fitzgerald had an office downtown. he was working very hard and was working on approved pages, writing the play, the vegetable. part of the set he took from his house. zelda was ready board. he tried to have party for her at the university club. she did not have a lot of friends. a lot of his friends lives did not like her. probably because she was a
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little bit of a flirtatious southern bell and all of their husbands like her. but it really was not going very well in st. paul. they made it through the winter. they tried to go back to the lake again. it was pretty much decided by both of them that st. paul was not going to be the place where they were going to make their home. it had a lot to do with the winters here. so they moved back to new york and then of course, as we know, he lived in europe and out in hollywood. but this was kind of the beginning of the end for him here in st. paul. they left st. paul in 1922 and despite the fact that he said he would bring scotty back, their daughter who was born here, he never made it back to st. paul. there were several influences that st. paul had on him.
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one was catholicism that of course, that st. paul was and still is a very kind of roman catholic town. his writing is filled with priests and good and bad. a lot of people have written about that influence of religion on f scott fitzgerald. he got that in st. paul. i also think his writing about the wealthy also came from st. paul. him for had a hold on most of his life, when he needed money, he would write short stories about st. paul. life,oughout much of his he was of st. paul in midwest. the great line in great gas be, i guess this is a story about the midwest after all. this was the midwest he was talking about in the great gatsby.
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♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] 1800's, upstream effectively made st. paul the end of the line for steamboat travel traveling north. hosted by our comcast cable partners, c-span's city tour staff recently visited any sites showcasing the city's history. learn more here on american history tv. >> alexander ramsey was a politician who achieved recognition and people don't realize that. he was not from minnesota. he and his wife or from pennsylvania. he was born in 1815. he rose through the ranks, he started as a lawyer and then
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became involved in the whig party, served in congress, and that is how he made connections. that would help him later in his life, including working for zachary taylor. taylor was so grateful the work ramsey did, he wanted to a point in the first territorial governor of minnesota. ramsey had a career from first territorial governor, the mayor of st. paul, second elected state governor, u.s. senator, serving washington, and secretary of war. we are not sure why taylor chose alexander ramsey to be the first territorial governor. actually ramsey was the third choice. what if history went a different direction? who were the other people? ramsey did except. he and his wife or hesitant to come to this area. st. paul was very much a fur trading village. very small.
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not the capital city we know today. and his wife, to show her sense of humor, supposedly said to him, minnesota, where is that, denmark? it was an unfamiliar place to people in the eastern part of the united states. as a good wife, in those days, she realized her fortunes lay with her husband and they ended up moving to st. paul and arrived in may of 1849. the house we are in was completed in 1872. it took four years to build. in september of 1872, they moved in. previously to this house, they called it their mansion house. they got the idea for building it from the years they spent in washington, d.c., when he was a senator.
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it was the same style in the georgetown suburb of d.c. so they knew they really wanted to have their mansion reflective of what was being built on the east coast. that sign they had arrived in a home they felt they deserved, for a family home and also for entertaining. we have over 14,000 artifacts attached to the site. that is remarkable for any historic site. a lot of the collections are stored here on site. some are stored at the minnesota history center. this is the reception room that would have been used as a visiting space. if you would have been here, she would have special places she would visit with you. it was a room designed to impress visitors. it would only be used during the
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day. if you had a dinner party in the evening, the ladies might adjourn for some lemonade. and the guys maybe had brandy or cigars somewhere else. that would have been the intended use of this room, to impress. one of the wonderful things is in 1872 grand piano made for the ramsey's daughter. that was a gift upon her completion after her year in germany. it is in working condition. it is something we do as we can to keep it in good condition. at that point, they would make the anodes made to order and so
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one of the other pianos being made was for queen victoria's daughters. one of the other items, there are several portraits. one is of alexander ramsey. that was about how he looked when he became governor of minnesota. there were policies you are expected to carry out. we know one of the main things taylor was sending him to do was to get land. this was the time of the manifest destiny in the united states.
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it was time in many people's minds, the minds of that era, to gain more land. so in 1850, there were treaties negotiated with the dakota people and alexander ramsey was expected to take part in that, and he did. there were two treaties and they opened up for settlement the area we would call southern minnesota. the st. paul region south to the iowa border and then later on there were various treaties. what happened is the settlers were allowed to come in. the dakota people were forced onto reservations. that set up a house of cards that would fall down many years later in 1862. very tragic part of minnesota history. an important part of history to know about. people don't realize a lot of the treaties and also the
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failure of these treaties and annuity payments, harsh treatment of the dakotas, would result in bloodshed years later. this is a spot in the house alexander ramsey used as his office later in his career. it was originally a guest room, but later on this became an office space. you would meet with him up here. there is a lot of artifacts about his time in the various political offices he held. one of them, people don't realize he and his wife were very good friends of mr. and mrs. lincoln. abraham lincoln and alexander ramsey had met in the 1840's as congressman. lincoln was representing illinois. ramsey was representing pennsylvania. they had that connection and years later, when lincoln was in the white house, ramsey was the second state governor. one of the things mr. ramsey was very proud of was that he happened to be in washington when the civil war broke out in 1861 and was able to pledge one thousand troops on behalf of minnesota to the union and he was able to contact simon cameron about that and he had him write down the offer and take it to president lincoln. governor ramsey was proud of him having the distinguishing characteristic of the first of northern state to offer troops when the civil war broke out. one of the other items in the collections is ramsey's journal from 1865.
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i have it open to friday, april 14. and also saturday the 15th. alexander ramsey was the u.s. senator. that is why they were living in the international hotel in washington. his entries reflect a tragic time in american history. he writes about, in the middle of his daily affairs, the assassination of president lincoln. john wilkes booth, he mentions the attempt on secretary stewart and jumps to the inauguration of president johnson. he was one of 10 present that day, including some from illinois. he was proud of that. he was always in the right place at the right time and always put himself there. it is fascinating to look through his journal. i mentioned some of the things he writes about might not be personal, but they are a great
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insight into what his daily life was like. it is important to have these objects help tell the story. later in his political career, after he had been a senator, he was also nominated, were appointed, to be the secretary of war. one of the other items in his office focuses on his time as secretary of war. he served in that position until 1881. and then his paper holder he had sitting on the desk, you can see it states his name and also his title in the hayes administration. the two men had met many years earlier while serving in the u.s. senate. they have been governors. they were part of that club. and then of course hayes had become a friend and was elected. after his time of secretary of
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war, he served another administration, overlapping between garfield and arthur. the utah commission was put together. they were supposed to explore this problem of what to do with the territory of utah. people wanted to become a state. they wanted to be admitted to the union. there was a problem according to some people because a lot of the people in the area were mormon and they were practicing polygamy. the country was up in arms about that. so these politicians were sent to that area where they were supposed to interview people in that area and find out what was happening and what they were doing.
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the committee never really did end up making any decision, utah was later admitted to the union, but people felt strongly about that issue. there are different collection pieces here and the minnesota history center. two we have, when about the doctrine of mormonism and a pamphlet dealing with plural marriage. so there is a lot more issues, some of those issues we keep hearing about in the modern day as well. fascinating to note some of the same issues people were wondering how to deal with. a lot of people felt in the later victorian era ramsey really helped create what we would consider minnesota. you can say that. i think that is fair to say, you have to be very conscious about what that means in the modern day. everything from ramsey county, a
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waterfall in western minnesota. so his imprint is in a lot of places and it is important to realize what he meant at that time. he was very conscious of what his legacy was and looking at his legacy in 2014, we can understand how controversial and compelling his legacy can be, good or bad. we have to be able to address that head-on. i think that is important to do. weekend, minnesota's capital st. paul. the city was established as the capital of the minnesota territory in 1849 and served as the headquarters for the great northern rail ray -- railway which greatly impacted trade and transport to the region.
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cable by our comcast partners, c-span's forest staff recently went to the site. learn more right here on american history tv. all over america, safe havens for gangsters. heart -- hot springs, arkansas, chicago, but more than any of those other states cities was saint paul. it was estimated 50% were involved in making bootleg list -- bootleg liquor in those days. the other percent was buying it from this minnesota area, also well situated to make bootleg liquor and break laws. we had a lot of germans and they know how to make beer. per capita breweries than almost any city in america. withyou break the law
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illegal liquor, you need water, freshwater. imported andbe exported over the canadian border. as a result, this area was a haven for bootlegging and became a haven for a look enemies. in the 1930's, virtually every major gangster, kidnapper, and bankrupt america lived and worked in a three block radius of where we are standing today, nelson,linger, babyface all were here. people do not know that. there are no statues of the gangsters, but this was the epicenter of 1930's crime in the area -- the era of john villager. at the turn-of-the-century, , come send the word out
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to st. paul. you can be here. you have to promise not to kill or rob anyone within the city limits of st. paul, and pay a bribe. as long as you're on your good behavior, you're welcome in our city. the deal between the crooks in the gangsters was tolerated for almost three decades. the people of saint hall would see the most notorious gangsters bankerica, wanted man like robber john dillinger, walking along the street. it was like the celebrity. but you would not fear for your life in saint paul in the 1930's, because you knew the crooks were on their best behavior. it is march 1934, and the most wanted man in america, public

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