July 30, 2015

Art Blog Combined with Author Blog

Welcome to my new combined website. My old artwork blog VintageArtStudios.com has now been combined with my author blog caroljlarson.com.  This will make it easier to search and find me by name whether interested in my art or my books or both!

December 6, 2014

Who Was Fredrika Bremer and Why Was a Minneapolis Elementary School Named For Her?

Fredrika Bremer

Fredrika Bremer (1801-1865) was a celebrated Swedish novelist often compared to Jane Austen, although her romantic novels are considered inferior to Miss Austen's today.  But what was her connection to Minnesota and why did an elementary school in Minneapolis bear her name?

In 1850, Fredrika visited the Scandinavian communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul.  She was quoted as saying: "What a glorious new Scandinavia might not Minnesota become!" Her description of the journey, chronicled in the book "Homes of the New World" published in London in 1853, is considered one of the most important first hand accounts of Minnesota while it was still a territory.

When she returned to Sweden, she became an advocate for women's rights.  She believed “that women should, like men and together with them, be allowed to study at the elementary schools and academies, in order to gain an opportunity of obtaining suitable employments and situations in the service of the state. . ."

The Bremer Building as it looks today

I don't know whether her Minnesota travel narratives, her novels, or her stance on education for women, or all three, was the ultimate reason a new elementary school built in 1887 in Minneapolis was named for her. Fredrika Bremer School was in service at 1214 Lowry Ave. N., for nearly 100 years.  The castle-like Romanesque Revival building still stands today as residential condominiums.

References and additional reading:


November 21, 2014

Carol's Quaint Quotes

I thought this quote from Good Morals and Gentle Manners for Schools and Families from 1873 was kind of cute in a smelly sort of way.  Hail deodorants!  

Good health requires that the whole body be frequently and thoroughly bathed, an operation that some persons neglect entirely in winter.  The skin is full of minute pores or openings for the escape of insensible perspiration, and if these are obstructed, they can not carry off that waste matter which should pass from the body in this way.   Not only does the skin become rough, dry, harsh, and covered with pimples, but unpleasant odors emanate from it.  These odors impregnate the clothing, and become very offensive.   The remedy is the bath.  

November 10, 2014

Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard: Advocate for the Rights of Women and the Insane

Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard
In 1860, the county sheriff arrived at the home of Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard (1816-1897),took her into custody and delivered her to the Jacksonville, Illinois Insane Asylum. Mother of six children, Elizabeth had been married to Theophilus Packard for many years when she began to openly question her husband's religious beliefs.  The couple also disagreed on issues of child rearing, finances and slavery.  Her husband declared her insane and committed her to the asylum.

In Illinois at that time, there were laws that required a hearing before someone could be declared insane.However, there was one exception: a husband could commit his wife without either a public hearing or her consent. Elizabeth was an inmate of the asylum for three years. An article in the Colorado Antelope, June 1882, summarized what happened next:

Finally, after public pressure, Mrs. Packard was brought out for a jury trial before Judge Starr of Kankakee City; the jury declared her falsely imprisoned, and she was released. In 1863, in part due to pressure from her children who wished her released, the doctors declared that she was incurable and discharged her.

Elizabeth headed home only to find that her husband had taken everything, including her children, and left the state.  Women were considered the property of their husbands and had no rights of their own.  Elizabeth filed suit (Packard vs. Packard) and in the jury trial that followed it took the jury only seven minutes of deliberation to declare in her favor - she was legally declared sane.

Following the trial, Elizabeth wrote several books and founded the Anti-Insane Asylum Society. In 1867, the State of Illinois passed a "Bill for the Protection of Personal Liberty" which guaranteed all people accused of insanity, including wives, had the right to a public hearing. She also saw similar laws passed in three other states.

Elizabeth was never formally divorced from her husband but they remained separated for the rest of their lives.  She remained close to her children and retained their support.

References and additional reading:

August 19, 2014

Lost and Found: The Ripley Memorial Hospital

Entrance to the former
Ripley Memorial Hospital 

I really enjoy the PBS series "Lost Twin Cities" which highlights historically significant buildings that have been destroyed over the years.   But there are still some important sites remaining - I will call them "Found Twin Cities."

In a previous post I talked about  Dr. Martha Ripley who opened a maternity hospital in Minneapolis in 1887.  Click here to read the previous post. Her mission was to "admit girls who have previously borne a good character, but who, under promise of marriage, have been led astray" and also to "care for destitute children born in the institution."  The hospital grew to include a residence for unmarried mothers and an infants' home.

The former Baby's Bungalow

The Ripley Memorial Hospital and many of the other buildings including the nurses residence and the baby's bungalow still stand today at 300 Queen Avenue North in Minneapolis.  The buildings have been re-purposed as apartments under the collective title of Ripley Gardens.