State School Books (written by former wards of the state)
Boy from C-11 Case #9164, A Memoir
by Harvey Ronglien
"The Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children housed more than ten thousand children during its sixty year history. Harvey Ronglien shows readers a panoramic view of this institution, first through the eyes of a child, then as an adult, and finally as its most proactive and respected historian."
— Joan Claire Graham
"Harvey Ronglien’s stories ache with vinegar, sweetness and delicious specificity." — Katherine Laughlin
"This is a love story for the whole world to read." — Mike Hazard
"People of all ages can learn from Harvey’s stories." — Nancy Vaillancourt
To order, write: Boy From C-11, PO Box 925 Owatonna, MN, 55060. Cost: $16.95, MN residents $17.85
Iris Blossom and Boxing Gloves
by Iris Wright
Through a series of essays, this memoir about Iris, Bruce and Alfred Segelstrom tells what daily life was like living in separate cottages among 300 to 500 children at the State Public School Orphanage in Owatonna, Minnesota. Shared in the essays are the strict scheduled routines, joys of friendship and the infighting that occurred. The emotional upheaval of being uprooted from family, a home with parents and older brothers, going to the orphanage and then into foster homes and finally, the five siblings reuniting to share a close relationship.
To order, write: Iris Wright, N 5915 Park Dr. Onalaska, WI 54650. Cost: $12.00
My Light at the End of the Tunnel
by Helen Bowers
How does an abandoned child raised in the Minnesota State School for Dependent and Neglected Children survive an abusive marriage and overcome her own illness and depression to raise four children who have health problems of their own? Add in her determination to bring her relatives out of Romania by working with Hubert H. Humphrey and you are holding a book that cannot be put down. After years of struggles, when life seems hopeless, she meets her prince charming, Ed Bowers. Ed and her children then become Helen’s light at the end of the tunnel and help make her dreams come true. An inspirational and entertaining read.
To order, write: Helen Bowers, 2730 Hawthorne Ave. St. Paul, MN 55119. Cost: $14.95, MN residents $15.92
No Tears Allowed
by Eva Carlson Jensen
No Tears Allowed is a heart-wrenching story of neglect and life with an alcoholic father. Eva (Carlson) Jensen, age 90, tells of her meager beginnings in northern Minnesota, and of life at the Owatonna State School. The book contains many sad and funny stories of her survival.
To order, write: Sandy Dinse, 8251 8th St SW Owatonna MN 55060. Cost: $12.95
by Donna Scott Norling
From orphanage to adoption and reunion, this inspirational story of one girl’s search for a home is an engaging first person narrative of life during the Great Depression and World War II. Readers and critics alike have offered lavish praise for Norling’s graceful prose and the redemptive tale she shares. (Minnesota Book Award Winner)
Available at bookstores, or the University of Minnesota Press, 1-800-621-2739.
While the Locust Slept
by Peter Razor
In stark, haunting prose, first time author Peter Razor chronicles his survival of abuse and bigotry at a state orphanage in the 1930’s and at the brutal farm that followed. Disclosing his story through flashbacks and relying on research from his own case files, Razor pieces together the shattered fragments of his boyhood into a memoir that reads as compellingly as a novel. (Minnesota Book Award Winner)
Available at bookstores.
All books are available at the State School Orphanage Museum. Please note that the museum does not handle mail orders.