Friday, June 17, 2011

Legislative Women's Legislative Timeline Published

The following is a press release about the new Minnesota Women's Legislative Timeline from the Legislative Reference Library

Timeline shows key laws passed for women since suffrage in 1920.

On June 15, 2011, the Legislative Reference Library of the State of Minnesota and the Office on the Economic Status of Women published an interactive online historical timeline. The timeline looks at the history of legislation affecting women enacted in Minnesota since the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The state laws featured on the timeline show the legislative progression of women’s rights in Minnesota since women earned the right to vote.

Funded by a grant from the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants Program, this timeline is the culmination of research into the types of laws that were significant milestones for women in the state of Minnesota. Resources included the Legislative Reference Library, Office on the Economic Status of Women archives, Minnesota Historical Society, interviews, surveys and commentary from historians and leaders who have worked on women’s issues in Minnesota.

Of the many fascinating insights into women’s history in Minnesota, the timeline shows that after a flurry of post-suffrage legislation in the 1920s, women’s legislative issues in Minnesota receded during the years before and after World War II, only to resurface with marked strength in the post-Civil Rights years of the 1970s and 1980s. One key component of the timeline project was determining which laws to feature. Said project co-director Amy Brenengen, “We were able to choose from over one hundred relevant laws during this time period, and highlight some key milestones. We got excellent feedback from the academic and women’s rights communities and touched on areas ranging from economics to health to female jurors! It’s an important reminder of the incremental but vital steps taken by the state of Minnesota to ensure fair treatment of women across a wide spectrum of issues.”

The project was spearheaded by Robbie LaFleur, Director of the Legislative Reference Library, and Amy Brenengen, former Director of the Office on the Economic Status of Women. Project staff included Mary McGreevy, Elizabeth Lincoln, Mike Schatz, and Jennifer Schwope.

The public is invited to view the timeline at, and to share your feedback.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Minnesota's Own - JUDY GARLAND !

Eighty-nine years ago today, Frances Gumm was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.  In 1935, she signed a seven-year contract with MGM, the biggest motion picture studio in Hollywood.  In 1939, she shot to international stardom as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz".

Frances Gumm was better known as JUDY GARLAND.

It was a rough and rocky road for the young girl who first entertained audiences at age two in her father's theatre.  Musical hits like "Meet Me in St. Louis", "The Harvey Girls" and "Easter Parade" kept her at the pinnacle of Hollywood stardom in the 1940s, even though she battled personal demons and drug addiction in her private life.  Today Garland is considered one of the great icons of 20th century American entertainment. 

The 36th Annual Judy Garland Festival will be held June 16-18  in Grand Rapids.  Her childhood home is a popular museum and can be visited. For additional information, call 1-800-664-5839 or visit the following website:

East Central Regional Library has a wide variety of materials pertaining to Garland that can be requested and checked out.

"Get Happy" by Gerald Clarke is the definitive biography, while "Me and My Shadows" by Lorna Luft is an enlightening, bittersweet memoir written by Judy's second daughter.

If you enjoy musicals, look no further than our DVD collection.  "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944) is a gentle, nostalgic look at a Midwestern family during the 1904 World's Fair.  Judy and Van Johnson play feuding music store clerks destined for romance "In the Good Old Summertime" (1949).  And in "A Star is Born" (1954), she gives the finest performance of her career as a young singer rising to stardom while her husband battles alcoholism.   Garland received her only Academy Award nomination as "Best Actress" for this film.

To find these materials -- and more, including music CDs -- visit the library's homepage: and click on "ECRL Catalog" on the upper left.  Then enter "Judy Garland" as a keyword search.

Staff are always willing to help or make suggestions!

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian