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Jewish Youth Camping in Minnesota

Organized youth camping became popular in the late nineteenth century against the backdrop of the Progressive Era. In Minnesota and across the U.S., reformers believed that offering fresh-air vacations to poor children living in crowded cities would contribute to public health. Another motive was Americanizing the children of immigrants. The earliest Jewish camps pursued the same goals, with one addition: teaching the Jewish faith.

Black and white photograph of St. Catherine’s alumna Betty Hubbard (right) pinning a corsage on Alice Gustava Smith (Sister Maris Stella, left) at the College of St. Catherine in 1971. Photographed by P.J. Strasser.

Alice Gustava Smith (Sister Maris Stella) and Betty Hubbard.

St. Catherine’s alumna Betty Hubbard (right) pins a corsage on Alice Gustava Smith (Sister Maris Stella, left) at the College of St. Catherine in 1971. Photographed by P.J. Strasser.

Black and white photograph of Alice Gustava Smith (Sister Maris Stella) in her office at the College of St. Catherine, c.1970.

Alice Gustava Smith (Sister Maris Stella) in her office

Alice Gustava Smith (Sister Maris Stella) in her office at the College of St. Catherine, c.1970.

Black and white photograph of composer Paul Fetler (at the piano) with Alice Gustava Smith (Sister Maris Stella), c.1969.

Paul Fetler and Alice Gustava Smith (Sister Maris Stella)

Composer Paul Fetler (at the piano) with Alice Gustava Smith (Sister Maris Stella), c.1969.

Black and white photograph of Alice Gustava Smith (Sister Maris Stella, left) with May Sarton (right), c.1958.

Alice Gustava Smith (Sister Maris Stella) and May Sarton

Alice Gustava Smith (Sister Maris Stella, left) with May Sarton (right), c.1958.

Smith, Alice Gustava (Sister Maris Stella) (1899–1987)

Alice Gustava Smith, better known by her students and readers as Sister Maris Stella, taught English at the College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University) in St. Paul for nearly fifty years. During that time she also published books of verse that built her reputation as a skilled and spiritual poet.

Black and white photograph of the Oak Park Home for Children (formerly the Jewish Sheltering Home for Children) at 1704–1708 Oak Park Avenue in Minneapolis, 1948.

Oak Park Home for Children

The Oak Park Home for Children (formerly the Jewish Sheltering Home for Children) at 1704–1708 Oak Park Avenue in Minneapolis, 1948. Forms part of the Sharron and Oren Steinfeldt Photography Collection at the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives (University of Minnesota, St. Paul).

Black and white photograph of residents of the Jewish Sheltering Home for Children, c1935.

Residents of the Jewish Sheltering Home

Residents of the Jewish Sheltering Home for Children, c1935. Forms part of the Sharron and Oren Steinfeldt Photography Collection at the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives (University of Minnesota, St. Paul).

Black and white photograph of residents of the Jewish Sheltering Home for Children, 1934.

Jewish Sheltering Home for Children residents

The Jewish Sheltering Home for Children, 1934. Forms part of the Sharron and Oren Steinfeldt Photography Collection at the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives (University of Minnesota, St. Paul).

Black and white photograph of the Jewish Sheltering Home for Children at 1704 Oak Park Avenue in Minneapolis,1925.

Jewish Sheltering Home for Children

The Jewish Sheltering Home for Children at 1704 Oak Park Avenue in Minneapolis,1925. Forms part of the Sharron and Oren Steinfeldt Photography Collection at the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives (University of Minnesota, St. Paul).

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