Title Reviewed:
A History of the Arts in Minnesota

Author Reviewed:
William Van O'Connor

Wilbur D. Peat


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 78-78

Article Type:
Book Review

Download Source:

A History of the Arts in Minnesota. Edited by William Van O'Connor. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1958. Pp. 165. Bibliographical notes. $3.00.)

This is as readable and informative a book as anyone can hope to find on the artistic development of a sector of American society. It is a small volume, but is well-written, full of interesting information, and includes a number of well-chosen illustrations.

History of the Arts in Minnesota is the work of three authors. John K. Sherman has written the section on music and the theatre; Grace Lee Nute has told about books and authors; and Donald E. Torbert has discussed art and architecture. The three essays were edited by William Van O'Connor who also wrote the short but lucid Foreword. One cannot help but be aware of the apparent editorial skill that has resulted in a nice balance of space alloted the authors and in a uniform style of writing that runs through the three sections.

The publication of this book marks the centennial of Minnesota's admission to the Union, and the chapters or sections deal principally with the evolution of the arts during the past hundred years. References are made by the authors, however, to activities and events before 1858, as, for instance, in the discussion of Indian music and the songs of voyageurs, or in the discussion of artists who painted the Indians and sketched frontier scenes as early as the twenties and thirties. The section dealing with books and authors makes some interesting references to early accounts of travel through the Minnesota country, narratives which make up in authentic and forceful description what they lack in literary eloquence.

This small book might well serve as a model for enterprising people in other states who would like to see in print the story of their cultural and artistic development.

John Herron Art Institute Wilbur D. Peat

Published by theĀ Indiana University Department of History.