Fergus Falls, Mn. W.T. Oxley, 1923. Silver gelatin photograph, 8 x 45 inches. Edge tears at both ends, entering image; loss to lower right corner. Some wear and creasing, minor soiling but image generally strong and clear. Good. Item #1491
Panoramic photograph documenting the twenty-first annual meeting of the Minnesota Rural Letter Carriers Association at Glenwood, Minnesota. Nearly four feet in length, the image is filled with people from end to end, four rows deep -- men, women, and children, leading us to suppose that carriers' families were also included in the image. The group is well-dressed with men in ties and some wearing suit jackets. The banner for the Association hangs behind the center of the group, and several men hold signs indicating "100%" for the counties of Redwood, Steele, Chisago, Norman, Wadena, Pope, Wilkin, Nicollet, and Ramsey, presumably denoting attendance. The National Rural Letter Carriers Association was founded in 1903, serving as the labor union for rural postal carriers, and the Minnesota branch was founded around the same time.
The photograph was taken by W.T. Oxley, a photographer out of Fergus Falls. Oxley, an Iowa native who moved to Minnesota in 1903, is noted for his work photographing sportsmen and the outdoors. The town of Fergus Falls is located about forty miles southeast of Fargo, North Dakota; Glenwood is about forty miles southeast of Fergus Falls, on the shores of Lake Minnewaska. This is a handsome image, displaying the photographer's skill and memorializing a group of often-undervalued public servants.