Tag Archives: 1910s

Please Pass the Mustard

This unmarked pressed glass cruet set was used at the Russell Hotel and Coffee Shop, located at 14-18 South Fourth Street in downtown Minneapolis. The set consists of a glass caddy with stainless steel handle and four glass condiment containers.

For its time, this is a comparatively simple cruet set, practical, and appropriate for use in a busy hotel restaurant/coffee shop. By 1913, when this one was used, cruet sets, along with tableware, and table settings in general, had reached extremes in design and embellishment totally eclipsing any suggestion of practicality. “More is More” was the ideal. Many sets consisted of ten, even twenty condiment containers created in elaborately cut crystal and sterling silver, as well as a dizzying array of miniature serving implements for transporting the condiment from the bottle to the plate.

These elaborate affairs were most often relegated to a sideboard or buffet. Every truly well-dressed table or sideboard, though, was incomplete without a generous selection of condiments, preferably served from a fine cruet set.

This caddy was donated to Hennepin History Museum by Harriet Lycken of Minneapolis.

About the author

Jack Kabrud is curator at Hennepin History Museum.


From the Collection: 1914 Voting Machine


By Olivia Schiffman, HHM Collections Intern

This ballot box, last used in Minnesota’s gubernatorial election of 1914, still holds the place cards that name the men running for office on the state and local level. On November 3, 1914, Minnesotans elected their 18th governor from among six candidates. They also cast votes in equally crowded races for offices ranging from State Treasurer to Supreme Court Clerk.

The majority winner was Democratic candidate Winfield S. Hammond. Unfortunately Hammond would only govern Minnesota for little under a year, dying in office on December 30th, 1915.

Half the population of Minnesota, however, would have no say in the election of Governor Hammond. Women were not able to vote in statewide or national elections, but they were not completely cut out from the election process. They did have the right to vote in school board elections—a constitutional amendment that came in 1875. With such limited voting rights, ballots cast by women posed a problem for election officials. How would they be able to safeguard against the possibility of a woman voting for offices restricted to male votes only?

While many districts had separate voting booths for men and women, this ballot box was used by both. A sign on the back of the machine in the bottom left reads, “BEFORE A WOMAN ENTERS THE BOOTH…” – and follows up with instructions on how to move the adjacent lever. This essentially blocked the possibility of an “illegally cast” ballot.


The election of 1914 would prove to be the twilight years for machines like this one. In 1920 women received their constitutional right to vote, rendering a separate system for men and woman obsolete.


MNHS Gale Family Library’s Guide to Suffrage

Politics of the Past by Zac Farber

Woman Suffrage Memorabilia

Milling Monday: Moonlight on the Mississippi

Need a reminder that winter in Minnesota isn’t so bad? We’d like to think that this postcard might help a bit. Sure, it gets cold, but with cold can come tremendous beauty.

This postcard, captioned “the Milling District by moonlight, over the ice bound Mississippi, Minneapolis, Minnesota” evokes some of this beauty, as well as the contrasts still sometimes found in our city and county by the river. In the distance the mills work away, smokestakes blowing, lights on. Out on the river there’s not a soul in sight, and while the ice formations are visually stunning, they are also dangerous; a reminder that while people may have tamed portions of the river to build a milling empire on the Mississippi River, Mother Nature was still present.

Printed by the V.O. Hammon Publishing Company of Minneapolis, this postcard dates to the 1910s.