Updates, history, and content from neighbors in and around the Wedge
*this is a repost of the March 2023 post, previously featured on another blog page on our site.
by Kathy Kullberg, historian
In my many years of researching the lost history of our Lowry Hill East neighborhood (aka
LHENA), I am amazed by the variety of occupations and interests of our past residents. This
month is dedicated to those whose stories are lost to time but who have contributed in a very large way to not only our state but to our country through their dedication to literature and journalism.
As of this spring, I have discovered the stories of eight of our forgotten literati:
Surprisingly, five out of the eight LHENA Literati lived on the 2400 block of Bryant Avenue:
Hedley Donovan, Rewey Belle Inglis, and Bob, Herb and Ralph Mueller.
The following are brief biographies of their outstanding achievements.
FIRST MAYVEN OF CHICAGO FASHION
Rhea Beeth Seeger was born on February 2, 1892 to railroad engineer, James Beeth and Martina Swenberg. The family lived for many years at 2417 Dupont Avenue. Rhea married twice young - once divorced and once widowed - and ended up in the 1920s working in retail in Chicago. By 1932, she had earned a prestigious position at the Chicago Tribune by creating a well-received weekly fashion column. By 1934 and until her retirement, Rhea B. Seeger was the head Fashion Editor for the Tribune, traveling the world of fashion and reporting on the latest trends to her constituents. She often appeared at public events to talk about fashion and was interviewed on many radio broadcasts during her tenure at the Tribune.
In 1955 she won an award at the National Press Fashion Week in New York City presented by the couture group of the New York Dress Institute for her contributions to the industry.
“July 12, 1955: Fashion Editor Honored by Institute, New York, NY, API
Eight fashion writers who have come to New York City 25 times to attend the National Fashion Press Week were given silver candelabra at a lunch in their honor by the couture group of the New York Dress Institute.
The eight were among 40 fashion editors who attended the first press week in July 1943. They are here this week to attend the twenty fifth Semi-annual Press Week as part of a record group of 200 fashion writers invited to cover fall collections of top American designers.”
After her retirement, she moved to Port Townsend, Washington to be closer to her siblings. She died there on June 10, 1985.
REWEY BELLE INGLIS - Author, teacher and first woman president of the National Council of Teachers of English (1929)
Rewey Belle Inglis grew up and lived at 2436 Bryant Avenue South for most of her life. She was born on November 21, 1885, the only child, to bookkeeper, James Inglis and his wife, Rewey.
Rewey Belle graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1908 with degrees in English and history, teaching first in New Ulm and then Minneapolis. She later became president of the Minneapolis College Women’s club. In 1915, she was head of the English department of the University High School, U of M, where she remained till 1931. In 1919, she helped organize and was the first president of the Minneapolis English Teachers’ Association. She began teaching English at the U of M in 1923. 1 At the same time, she was busy writing curriculum and co-authoring the high school compendiums for broad use in schools across the country. She was the first woman president of the National English Teachers’ Association, nominated in 1929, in Kansas City.
By the 1930s and for several decades, she was co-editor of the definitive English curriculum book “Adventures in American Literature” used throughout high schools in the United States. She added “Adventures in World Literature”, and “Adventures in English Literature” a few years later. Throughout her life she was foremost an educator, always seeking to enrich the life of children through literature. Although she did not marry, Rewey adopted a daughter, Elizabeth Milton Bull, as a result of the London blitz of WWII.
In 1954, she became the first woman to receive the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement award. Up until just a few years before her passing, Rewey Belle made her home on Bryant Avenue. She passed away on April 29, 1967 and is buried at Lakewood Cemetery.
1. Gerlach, J. M. (2000). Rewey Belle Inglis: Teacher, Writer, Observer. The English Journal, 89(3), 80–84. https://doi.org/10.2307/822101
HEDLEY WILLIAM DONOVAN – Editor-in-Chief, TIME, Inc. 1964 to 1979. In this capacity he oversaw all of the company’s magazine publications, including Time, Life, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, Money and People.
Hedley Donovan was born in Brainerd, Minnesota on May 24 1914 to Percy William Donovan and Alice Dougan Donovan. His father was a mining engineer and his mother was a writer. The family moved to Minneapolis by 1920. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1934. From 1934 to 1937, he attended Hertford College, Oxford, England as an honorary Rhodes Scholar. In 1941 he married to Dorothy Hannon and had three children. At the time he was living in Washington, D.C. and employed by The Washington Post covering Congress, the State Department and the White House. During WWII, he served in the U.S. Navy as a journalist as well as working in intelligence. After the war, Donovan joined Fortune magazine in 1945 as a writer and was moved up to managing editor in 1953. In 1964, he was nominated by the publisher, Henry Luce, to succeed him as editor-in-chief of the TIME magazine conglomerate.
In his autobiography, Donovan said his biggest and most exciting news story to cover was the infamousWatergate scandal. Donovan retired in 1979 from Time, Inc. and was subsequently nominated as an advisor to President Jimmy Carter in 1979, serving one year. In 1985, Harper & Row published his book, ''Roosevelt to Reagan: A Reporter's Encounters with Nine Presidents.''
Donovan died in August, 1990 in New York City at the age of 76.
As a belated honor, The Hedley Donovan Award was created in 1999 by the Minnesota Magazines and Publications Association to recognize individuals who have shown outstanding lifelong dedication and contributions to Minnesota's magazine industry.
MAUD HART LOVELACE – author and noted author of beloved children’s books known as the Betsy, Tacy, and Tib adventures.
Maud Hart was one of three daughters born in Mankato, Minnesota to Tom and Stella Hart. She arrived in 1892. She had an older sister, Kathleen, who became a well-known Twin Cities opera singer, and a younger sister, Helen, who was a librarian at Jefferson Middle School, now Ella Baker School. By 1911, Tom and Stella Hart had moved to Minneapolis. Both Kathleen and Maud attended the U of M but Maud had to drop out in her freshman year due to an appendicitis attack. The family moved into a new bungalow at 905 West 25th Street, now the location of the Mueller Park swimming pool. Maud began a distinguished career, mostly writing historical fiction about the early history of Minnesota. Three of these outstanding novels included “The Black Angels” (1926), “Early Candlelight”(1929) - the early years of Ft. Snelling - and “Gentlemen From England” (1937, co-authored with husband Delos) – the story of English society moving into the Faribault area of southern Minnesota.
Maud met her husband, Delos Lovelace, when both were working at the Wakefield Publicity Bureau in downtown Minneapolis in 1917. She married to Delos Lovelace at Thanksgiving in 1917 just before he went off to WWI.
After the war, the couple lived in several locations in Minnetonka and Lowry Hill East until the couple moved to New York City to further Delos’s writing career. They returned briefly in 1925 and bought a house at 1109 W. 25th Street. The couple had one daughter, Merian, born in 1931.
When Merian was about 7 years old, Maud began telling her daughter stories of her life growing up in Mankato. Out of this family special time, a whole series of children’s books based on her family’s life developed into the timeless classics “The Betsy -Tacy Books” beginning in 1938. The Lovelace family was residing in Garden City, New York at the time but by the end of 1953, they had sold their home and moved to Claremont, California. Maud continued to write the last book in the series, “Betsy’s Wedding” in California in 1955. This book is largely based on locations that Maud and Delos lived and worked in and around Lowry Hill East between 1917 and 1929. After Delos’s passing in 1967, Maud continued living in Claremont where she passed away on March 11, 1980. A boulder and plaque monument are located in Mueller Park commemorating the former site of the Hart homestead and Maud’s contribution to Minnesota literary history.
DELOS WHEELER LOVELACE – author, syndicated columnist and screen writer
Delos Wheeler Lovelace was the last child born on December 2, 1894 in Deer River, Minnesota to Mortimer Lovelace and Josephine Wheeler. His father died the next year and his mother moved the young family of five children back to her hometown of Detroit, Michigan.
As a young man, Delos attended the University of Minnesota and worked in Minneapolis as a journalist and syndicated columnist for the Minneapolis Tribune, and in 1917 for the Wakefield Publicity Bureau where he met his wife, writer Maud Hart. They married in November 1917 just before he was called up for the draft in WWI.
The couple moved to New York City after 1920 so Delos could further his writing while working for the New York Daily News and the New York Sun newspapers, employed in positions as reporter, night editor, assistant city editor and city editor, feature writer and syndicated columnist. Periodically the couple moved back to Minneapolis to be close to family but they eventually settled in New York.
Delos wrote over two dozen novels and hundreds of syndicated articles. He is most noted for his two biographies: Rockne of Notre Dame and General Ike Eisenhower. He probably should be best known for his novelization of King Kong, but fate intervened and he was not credited until many years later. In 1932, he wrote the original script for the science fiction movie “King Kong.” The idea for the film came from one of Delos’s friends, Merian C. Cooper (for whom Merian Lovelace was named.) Unfortunately, Lovelace and Cooper never obtained clear copyright of the script and it was not until after 1976 that Cooper’s descendants were able to successfully win a law suit to obtain rights and royalties. Delos was not included in that judgement.
From 1943 to 1947, Delos wrote a syndicated column for the New York Sun called ‘Who’s News Today” and served as assistant editor there until 1952 when he resigned. The Lovelaces collaborated on several novels including one fictional story about Bloomington, Minnesota: “One Stayed at Welcome” and another, “Gentlemen From England.” The Lovelaces then sold their home in Garden City, New York to move to Claremont, California in 1953. Delos Lovelace died there on January 17, 1967 from a heart attack.
The Mueller Brothers – Robert, Herbert and Ralph Mueller – journalists, editors and conservationists
There were three brothers living at 2416 Bryant Avenue South with their widowed mother in the 1930s and 1940s who would chose journalism as their professions. Ralph was the youngest of four sons born to Christopher and Hannah Mueller, in 1910, just four years before his father’s untimely death. Ralph worked as a staff writer for the Minneapolis Star and the Tribune for over forty years. Ralph also served as Vice President of the newspaper’s employee club. He passed away in 1989.
Brother Robert Cornelius Mueller, was the oldest of the three journalism boys, born in 1905. Because of his love affair with the outdoors, he chose to document the wonders of outdoor sportsmanship in Minnesota and Canada. For his efforts, he was selected as managing editor of an old ‘gentlemen’s sporting magazine – “Sports Afield” – “dedicated to hunting, fishing, rifle and trap shooting, the breeding of thorough-bred dogs, cycling, and kindred sports.” The magazine had been founded in 1887 but did not find huge success until Bob Mueller took over the helm in the early 1930s in Minneapolis. In 1930, new owners bought Sports Afield and combined it with a smaller publication—Trails of the Northwoods—and moved the offices to Minneapolis. A string of editors worked the helm of Sports Afield, which struggled during the Great Depression years to stay afloat. Through the dedication of Robert “Bob” Mueller and his brother, Herbert, the magazine was in the black by 1934.
Bob also worked with well-known woodsman and columnist Sigurd Olson to develop articles focusing on game hunting and fishing in our northern woods.
As early as 1923, brother Herbert Mueller prophetically had written in his South High school yearbook “Southerner” when asked about the hard work of deciding what profession to go into:
“In picking a life profession, we are told, we should consider the character end of it, rather than the salary it draws. With this end in view, you may select several promising professions.” Herbert then listed his thoughts on what to choose for himself: becoming a great inventor, or hoping to become a great story teller or novelist, or becoming a newspaper writer or “Sport editing is another choice profession. The salary here is also of large proportion, but the main reason for choosing it is my regard for sports of all kinds and the hope of being able to keep this regard burning in the minds of the younger generation who will be the stars of tomorrow.”
Herb Mueller also worked on Sports Afield in many capacities and wrote many inspiring stories of the joys of good sportsmanship, hunting with a great dog and fishing a hidden gem of a stream.
Bob and Herb did so much for the magazine that by the time the magazine offices were moved to New York City in the late 1940s, Sports Afield was ranked in the top three national sporting magazines. The brothers chose not to move to New York but instead remained focused on Minnesota, wildlife conservation and environmental issues. Way ahead of their time, they recognized that Minneapolis’ beautiful elm tree canopy shading our many streets was suffering from neglect and was being subjected to a brand new disease – Dutch Elm – that if ignored would cause major death and destruction of the trees we loved and took so much for granted. They were right but often ignored, until it was too late. Minneapolis and St. Paul has lost tens of thousands of the stately trees since the disease blighted our streets.
The Mueller brothers loved sharing their stories, love of birds and love of protecting our environment especially with children. In honor of their dedication, Mueller Park was dedicated to them during their lifetime in 1977 even though it was a long-time policy of the Park Board to only dedicate parks to the deceased. Governor Rudy Perpich had the honor to dedicate this park along with LHENA members.
Bob Mueller passed away on February 14, 1986. Herbert Mueller followed his passing on April 6, 1994. The Wedge newspaper devoted a whole issue (in 1986) to the Mueller brothers’ memory.
Two long-time residents and the governor summed up the Mueller lives:
From Governor Rudy Perpich:
From former LHENA resident, Dick McChesney:
Three Mueller Brothers – Robert, Herbert and Allan - are buried at Lakewood Cemetery beside their parents. Ralph Mueller is buried at Fort Snelling, having served in the US Army during WWII.
5/22/2023 03:33:09 pm
Thank you for this great history of the Mueller brothers. I'm pleased that their history is preserved. Herb used to write extensively about the need for rail transit for Mpls in the Wedge paper. Bob wrote all kinds of nature news and notes and photos for the Wedge. Bob taught Nicki , as a little girl, that the cardinal was her friend and the importance of hugging trees. A gentle , wonderful man!
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