A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 21, 2016
Minnesota: North Star State (nickname)

Minnesota, a state along the northern border of the United States with Canada, is called the “North Star State.” Polaris, called the “Pole Star” or the “North Star,” has been historically important in celestial navigation. Each state has a star on the flag of the United States, and a “north star state” might imply that it guides the others.

Several states have used the ‘north star” moniker. Wisconsin was called the “rising north Star of the Union” in 1840. Maine was called “the North Star of the Union (that—ed.) leads the van of Liberty” in 1841. Michigan was called the “‘North Star’ of the Union” in 1842.

Historian George Bancroft (1800-1891) said, as reported in a June 1854 newspaper:

“His (George Bancroft’s—ed.) peroration was such as might be expected from so distinguished a writer and scholar, and as he wished the citizens of the Territory to go forth in the mission they had so successfully begun, and make this Territory the North Star of the Union, blazing in splendor, each one felt the wish was earnest and sincere.”

A newspaper in Hudson, Wisconsin (a part of the Minneapolis–St. Paul Metropolitan Statistical Area), called North Star was founded in 1854. An Illinois newspaper reported in September 1856:

“A NEW STATE.—It is proposed by some of the Minnesota press to call her the ‘Gopher State,’ after her admission into the Union. Others prefer to call her the ‘North Star.’”

“L’étoile du nord” (French for the “Star of the North") is on the 1861 Minnesota state seal. It’s not known why French was used, but L’étoile du nord was the name of a popular 1850s opera by German composer Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864).

A professional hockey team called the Minnesota North Stars (1967-1993) became the Dallas Stars in 1993.

Minnesota is also called the “Gopher State” and the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.”


Wikipedia: Minnesota
Minnesota (/mɪnᵻˈsoʊtə/; locally About this sound [ˌmɪnəˈso̞ɾə]) is a state in the Midwestern United States. Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858, created from the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory. Its name comes from the Dakota word for “clear blue water”.

Wikipedia: L’Étoile du Nord
L’Étoile du Nord is a French phrase meaning “The Star of the North”. It is the motto of the U.S. state of Minnesota. It was chosen by the state’s first governor, Henry Hastings Sibley, and was adopted in 1861, three years after admission of Minnesota to the union. Because of this motto, one of Minnesota’s nicknames is The North Star State. The Minnesota North Stars chose the English translation for their name.

Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
The Great Seal
The Great Seal of the State of Minnesota is the insignia that the secretary of state affixes to government papers and documents to make them official. A seal for the territory of Minnesota was adopted in 1849 and approved by Governor Ramsey and the territorial legislature. When Minnesota became a state on May 11, 1858, there was no official state seal and, according to law, no official act could be undertaken without it. The territorial seal was used as a state seal until Governor Sibley started using a new design. When the legislature did not approve Governor Sibley’s design, he made some changes, including changing the original Latin motto to the French l’étoile du nord, thereby making Minnesota the North Star State. In 1861 the legislature adopted the new design, making it the official state seal. In 1983, the legislature altered the seal further and clearly spelled out details with the hope that there would be a single rendition and not wide variations that had occurred in some past artistic interpretations.

Wikipedia: L’étoile du nord
L’étoile du nord (The North Star) is an opéra comique in three acts by Giacomo Meyerbeer. The French-language libretto was by Eugène Scribe.
(...)
A notable feature of the opera is the triple march in the finale to the second act. A rebellion against the Tsar is deflected as the “sacred march” is heard. The troops are then joined by a regiment of grenadiers from Tobolsk, to the music of a different march, followed by a regiment of Tatar cavalry to the music of a third march.

Performance history
L’étoile du nord was first performed at the Salle Favart by the company of the Opéra-Comique, Paris, on 16 February 1854. It was a big success, and soon was given in all the major theatres of Europe, North Africa, and the Americas. The Max Maretzek Italian Opera Company staged the work’s United States premiere on September 24, 1856 at the Academy of Music in New York City. The opera stayed in the repertory throughout most of the 19th century, but virtually disappeared by the early 20th century.

Wikipedia: George Bancroft
George Bancroft (October 3, 1800 – January 17, 1891) was an American historian and statesman who was prominent in promoting secondary education both in his home state and at the national level. During his tenure as U.S. Secretary of the Navy, he established the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1845. He was a senior American diplomat in Europe. Among his best-known writings is the magisterial series, History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
North Star State n. U.S. the State of Minnesota (in quot. 1850: the State of Maine).
1850 Ladies’ Repository Dec. 386/1 Myself and reader are bound for Kennebunkport, the seat of the other conference of the north-star state.
1862 Amer. Odd Fellow I. 196/2 In the North Star State here, we rejoice in having a Grand Master, who knows no such word as fail.
1887 N. Amer. Rev. Jan. 22 The head of steamboat navigation..is in the North Star State.

21 July 1840, Southport (WI) Telegraph, pg. 2, col. 2:
Then will WISCONSIN, the rising north Star of the Union, shine with meridian splendor, when she shall be permitted to take her place in the proud Galaxy of America States.

26 August 1841, The Emancipator (New York, NY), “Maine,” pg. 66, col. 6:
(From the Liberty Standard.—ed.)
“Nelson exclaimed at the battle of Trafalgar of one of his officers, how nobly that fellow brings his ship into line. Let the civilized and admiring say, ‘How nobly that Eastern State, the North Star of the Union leads the van of Liberty.’”

1 February 1842, The Ohio Statesman (Columbus, OH), “Hurrah for Michigan—We Hail the Bright Star of the North,” pg. 1, col. 2:
Michigan may be truly now called the “North Star” of the Union.

OCLC WorldCat record
The star of the north.
Publisher: Bloomsburg, Pa. : R.W. Weaver and B.S. Gilmore, 1849-1866.
Edition/Format: Newspaper : English

14 June 1854, Minnesota Democrat (St. Paul, MN), “The Great Excursion,” pg. 2, col. 4:
His (George Bancroft’s—ed.) peroration was such as might be expected from so distinguished a writer and scholar, and as he wished the citizens of the Territory to go forth in the mission they had so successfully begun, and make this Territory the North Star of the Union, blazing in splendor, each one felt the wish was earnest and sincere.

OCLC WorldCat record
North star.
Publisher: Hudson, Wis. : Edmund R. Otis, 1854-
Edition/Format: Newspaper : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Hudson north star.
Publisher: Hudson, Wis. : Otis & Shaver, 1855-
Edition/Format: Newspaper : English

Chronicling America
6 September 1856, Ottawa (IL), Free Trader, pg. 2, col. 7:
A NEW STATE.—It is proposed by some of the Minnesota press to call her the “Gopher State,” after her admission into the Union. Others prefer to call her the “North Star.”

21 January 1858, Cincinnati (OH) Daily Enquirer, “Progress and THrift in Minnesota,” pg 2, col. 1:
... and the lection of able, honest and patriotic men to preside over the destinies of the soon-to-be North Star State of the West, indicate with unerring certainty the which position she will soon occupy.

15 May 1858, The Evening Post (New York, NY), “Washington,” pg. 2, col. 1:
In Senate, to-day, Senators Rice and SHields, of Minnesota, drew lots according to the uniform practice of the Senate, for the long term and Mr. Rice was the lucky man, and is the Senator from the “North Star” state for six years.

Chronicling America
14 October 1858, St. Cloud (MN) Democrat, “Democrat,” pg. 3, col. 3:
We are with them; and this pledge hitherto, misrepresented district to lead the vanguard of freedom in the North Star State.

22 July 1872, Boston (MA) Daily Globe, pg. 2, col. 3:
MINNESOTA.
L’Etoile du Nord (North Star).

Google Books
Universal Dictionary of the English Language
Edited by Robert Hunter and Charles Morris
New York, NY: Peter Fenelon Collier
1897
Pg. 5343:
Minnesota. The North Star State (from the motto: “The Star of the North,").

OCLC WorldCat record
Minnesota : the North Star State
Author: William Watts Folwell
Publisher: Boston ; New York : Houghton Mifflin Co., 1908.
Series: American commonwealths.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
The men and products of Saint Paul “the star city of the North star state”, together with 3rd annual Saint Paul almanack for 1915.
Author: Leavitt Corning
Publisher: [St. Paul], [1915]
Edition/Format: Print book : Biography : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Minnesota, the star of the North,
Author: Mary Vance Carney
Publisher: Boston, New York D.C. Heath & Co. [©1918]
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
The story of the North Star State
Author: Daniel E Willard
Publisher: Saint Paul, Minn. : Printed for the author by Webb Pub. Co., ©1922.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Minnesota, the North star state in pictures.
Author: Donald O’Connell
Publisher: Saint Paul, [Minnesota] : Published by the Itasca Press for the Minnesota historical Society, 1946.
Series: Publications of the Minnesota historical society, ed. by A.J. Larsen ... Centennial publications, no. 2
Edition/Format: Print book : English

Posted by Barry Popik
Other ExpressionsOther States • Monday, March 21, 2016 • Permalink