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First Fridays: ‘Write, Don’t Forget’

December 1, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

A handwritten letter from the Immigration History Research Center Archives

To Whom It May Concern: Letters in the Archives

A handwritten letter from the Immigration History Research Center ArchivesCorrespondence, letters, notes, messages, mail – there are many words for these materials that comprise the backbone of the archives. This year we will uplift the humble letters that pepper our collections. Join us on Friday, Dec. 1 for two archival talks, presented by the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives and the Immigration History Research Center Archives.

Please register to attend in person or online. (Registration for the December event opens on Oct. 1.) ASL interpreters will be present for all First Fridays events.

Register for the event

Note: Change in presentations

Tim Johnson will present in place of Kate Dietrick

Due to a change in curator availability, we are adjusting our First Fridays program on Dec. 1. Please note that Kate Dietrick’s presentation from the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives will be postponed, date TBD.

A presentation by Tim Johnson, curator of the Sherlock Holmes Collection, will instead take place on Dec. 1. The presentation by Daniel Necas for the Immigration History Research Center Archives will take place this week without a change in schedule.

Reading Don’s Mail: Some Insights on Collectors and Collecting

Presented by Tim Johnson, E.W. McDiarmid Curator of the Sherlock Holmes Collections
Don Hobbs is the preeminent Sherlockian collector of foreign language translations. After many years (and pleasant times) spent discussing the future of his collection, Don ultimately decided to give his collection to Southern Methodist University. Invited to give a talk as part of the weekend celebration at SMU, I decided to focus on letters from our collections between Don and the most-loved Sherlockian collector of all time, John Bennett Shaw. What resulted is a lovely portrait of two extraordinary collectors — and a study in friendship.

‘Write, Don’t Forget:’ Immigrants Receiving and Writing Letters

Presented by Daniel Necas, Archivist, Immigration History Research Center Archives

In the postal era, pre-internet and pre-telephone, letters written on paper traveled between immigrant homes in the United States and their relatives who stayed behind. They provided often the only means of communication helping to maintain ties and relationships. IHRCA holdings contain numerous collections of letters in a host of languages documenting that communication, sometimes with a strong emotional charge.

Postponed, date TBD: How to Handle Hate Mail

Presented by Kate Dietrick, Archivist, Upper Midwest Jewish Archives

The Jewish community has dealt with various types of antisemitism for decades. But what do you do if you’ve received hate through the post? We’ll dive into the materials of the Jewish Community Relations Council and learn how they have historically handled hate mail, and why we would want to preserve these hate-filled documents in the archives.

Event details

What: First Fridays, Reading Don’s Mail: Some Insights on Collectors and Collecting, from the Sherlock Holmes Collections and “Write, Don’t Forget:” Immigrants Receiving and Writing Letters from the Immigration History Research Center Archives
When: Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 | Light buffet lunch at 11:30 a.m. | Presentations begin at noon | A tour of the archival caverns will follow the presentation
Where: Elmer L. Andersen Library, room 120 and ONLINE | Parking and directions

First Fridays is made possible by a generous gift from Governor Elmer L. Andersen and Mrs. Eleanor Andersen in honor of former University Librarian Dr. Edward B. Stanford.


December 1, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Elmer L. Andersen Library, Room 120
222 21st Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN, 55455 United States
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