With the primary elections for Minnesota only a few weeks away (August 14th), it is important to highlight Hennepin History Museum’s pieces of political history. This election poster promotes Peter J. Pryts’ 1923 re-election as Alderman in the Minneapolis’ 11th ward. A carpenter by trade, Pryts had grown up on a farm in Fillmore county Minnesota, following his immigration from Norway in 1866.
After settling in Minneapolis in the 1881, Pryts became involved in city politics and the labor movement. He first ran for 11th ward Alderman in 1916 but was defeated. He was elected in 1918 and served until 1925. By the time Pryts became involved in politics, Minneapolis was no longer farmland, but had a growing population and industrial sector.
Pryts promoted himself as a progressive candidate and was initially elected based on this platform. In 1923, he was endorsed by the nonpartisan league, organized labor and the socialist party. He ran in favor of “city beautification and improvement for the benefit of the people of Minneapolis.” Many of these progressive groups and populist movements supported government infrastructure development and improvement. Pryts and other progressive politicians pushed for improvements like paved streets, curbs and water mains. While modern Minneapolis residents may take these for granted, the advancements supported by the populist movement are what made Minneapolis a modern city in the 1920’s.
After his defeat in 1925, Pryts worked for the city as the bridge watchman for the Franklin Avenue and Lake Street bridges. The position was eventually eliminated in an effort to cut city payroll. Peter Pryts died on November 11, 1937 at the age of 77.
This poster and other Hennepin County elections artifacts can be found in the Hennepin History Museum Archives.
Endorsed by the Working People’s Nonpartisan Political League. The Minneapolis Star. June 7, 1923. https://startribune.newspapers.com/image/178864314/?terms=%22Peter%2BJ.%2BPryts%22%2B%22reelection%22