Hundreds of MN photos from the 1940s tell stories, but whose?


There's a mystery at the Hennepin County Library.

Well, there's a whole section of mystery books ... but there's a different mystery involving hundreds of photos the library recently put in their special collections.

Family members who cleared out photographer John Glanton's garage after his death found bags of negatives, KARE 11 reports, and once developed, they revealed a treasure trove of images from the Twin Cities of the late 1940s, particularly the African-American community.

One problem, though. There were no captions identifying the people pictured.

A few of them are well-known. Hubert Humphrey appears more than once. And there are some familiar faces from 1940s jazz, including Nat King Cole and John Nelson, a local bandleader who turned out to be less famous than his son, Prince.


Most of the photos, though, simply show slices of life from nearly 70 years ago. That was a long time ago, so the people in most of the pictures are probably not around anymore. But the library wants to hear from anyone who recognizes a face or two.

They've posted the entire collection of Glanton's photos. They also invited people to attend a library event this week where they showed slides of the photos in hopes that visitors could help ID those pictured.

MPR News reports Glanton was an engineer by trade. His brother Wayne Glanton, now in his 90s, tells the network John raised money to pay for his education by working as a photographer for the Minneapolis Spokesman, a newspaper serving the city's black community.

If you recognize anyone in this slideshow, the library's special collections director Ted Hathaway would like to hear from you at ehathaway@hclib.org or 612-543-8203.

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