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Lydia Lucas...a lifetime of service continues

Lydia Lucas...a lifetime of service continues

As a young girl, Lydia Lucas discovered the magic hidden in historical records. "I remember finding my great-grandfather's Civil War Journal from his service in the well-known California Battalion of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry," Lydia recalls. "My aunt had the original copy but I wanted to possess a copy of my own. So I spent the summer when I was 13 years-old transcribing the entire journal by hand. I still have it and I love it." Through those written treasures, Lydia's ancestor spoke to her from the past. She could transport herself to that time and feel as if she were actually there. That firsthand connection became the foundation of her love of history. Lydia went on to earn degrees in American History and Civilization from the University of Missouri, Columbia, then a Master of Library Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana.

Lydia came to the Minnesota Historical Society in 1969 and discovered her true calling and life career in working with Minnesota's historical records and collections as an archives and manuscripts processor and supervisor. This is behind-the-scenes work--intricate, painstaking, and fascinating. Decisions are made on how the collections are accessioned, processed, catalogued, conserved, and presented to the public. Even though this work is rarely visible to the public, it is the very foundation of the Minnesota Historical Society for research and education, exhibits and books, historic sites and all that is made available to the world at www.mnhs.org. Lydia has worked with the records of the Great Northern Railroad, the Northern Pacific, the Mondale and Humphrey vice-presidential papers, the ambassadorial papers of Eugenie Anderson and Frank B. Kellogg, along with the collections of interesting Minnesotans in all walks of life. A few weeks after Lydia retired from the Society in August, 2006 as head of the Collections Management Department, she began her next career as a volunteer in the same department!

"I've seen this institution from the inside out," she said. "The Minnesota Historical Society is a comprehensive collector and a responsible steward of the legacy of our state. The depth of the social fabric of the entire area is reflected in our collections." Lydia has named the Society as the sole beneficiary of an annuity which will create an endowed fund to support the work of the Archives. "I've had such a satisfying career at the Minnesota Historical Society. This is a way I can give something back to the Archives which deserves to be supported."


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