First Fridays: Trading Letters

23-23 First Fridays banner


Correspondence, 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. 

Please register to attend in person or online. ASL interpreters will be present for all First Fridays events.

Light buffet lunch at 11:30 a.m. | Presentations begin at noon | A tour of the archival caverns will follow the presentation. 

Registration for the February event opens on Jan 3.

Delivering History: Messages From the Social Welfare History Archives

3.1.24 FF

Presented by Linnea Anderson, Archivist, Social Welfare History Archives

From search letters to hate mail to telegrams, mail in the archives helps tell the story of social work history. Explore examples of personal and professional communications from the Social Welfare History Archives. Puzzle lovers will have a chance to translate coded messages from vice investigations.

Trading Letters: Seeing the World Through Merchant Correspondence

FF 3.1.24

Presented by Marguerite Ragnow, Curator, James Ford Bell Library

In the days before modern technology, it could take people — and letters — six months or more to reach their destination. Imagine conducting business at that pace! It was a waiting game, too, for merchant families as news of their loved ones was scant, scarce, and often disastrous. Join the Bell Library for a glimpse into the merchant life, both at home and abroad.


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.

Start date
Friday, March 1, 2024, Noon
End date
Friday, March 1, 2024, 1 p.m.

Elmer L. Andersen Library, room 120 and ONLINE