My latest research venture. A grant for a local history project.

January 23, 2014

By Debra Fitzgerald - Pipestone County Star - December 18, 2013.

The Pipestone County Historical Society has been awarded a $10,000 Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund grant to identify World War I veterans of Pipestone County.

The project will enable a museum researcher to develop biographical information leading to an exhibit and educational programming in time for the 100th Anniversary of World War I (1914-1918).

“That’s a big anniversary and we’d like to do something with that,” said Susan Hoskins, museum director. “I’m excited to get this grant. It puts us ahead of the ball.”

A book published back in 1920 entitled “Pipestone County’s Honored Dead” identified Pipestone County residents who died in World War I. The names were submitted, however, with no comprehensive research ever done, Hoskins said.

“Right now, this is just a list of names but I’m hoping to make this into a story of the lost generation,” said Pipestone resident David Rambow, who will be the researcher for the project. 

The scope of the project will “only be the guys who went to the war from Pipestone County,” Rambow said, a number that’s expected to exceed 600. In addition to basic facts about the Pipestone County veterans, Rambow intends to look into their units, where they served, if they were wounded and problems they may have had after the war.

“It will be interesting to see some of the commonalities the people in the military have today with those 100 years ago,” Rambow said. “These guys came home broken physically or with shell shock that today we call PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome). People think they just came home to the farm and back to work but in reality, that didn’t happen a lot. We’re just starting this and finding suicide and problems with the law and chemicals. They just weren’t getting back into the swing.”

Rambow’s interest in World War I
dates back to his teens when his uncle returned from the war with items like a German gas mask that still today retains the smell and remnants of poisonous mustard gas. His interest extended into his first job at a museum working with veterans who had been combat wounded during the Great War.

“People don’t think of World War I anymore,” Rambow said. “World War I claimed the lives of 230 soldiers for every hour that it lasted, and that’s times four years. Seventy million men were mobilized and 50 million were casualties. You can’t even comprehend the numbers involved.”

The incomprehensible numbers produced by World War I’s static trench warfare were played out against a backdrop of societal change that included the rise of the Red Cross, rationings, modern food production and women’s suffrage.

“So there’s lots of other things that were going on in the century,” Rambow said.

The project has an August 2014 deadline for identifying the veterans. Though Rambow will spend a lot of time researching historic documents, he said he’s hoping family members of World War I veterans will get in touch with him with memories or stories.

The public may call Hoskins at 507-825-2563 with this information or for more details about the project.

"A Million Ways to Die in the West"

July 15, 2013

I've just completed work on a set of tintype plates for the Seth MacFarlane's comedy/western motion picture "A Million Ways to Die in the West"

MacFarlane directed, produced and co-wrote the picture. He also plays the role of the sheep farmer (Albert) with an all-star cast that includes Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Sarah Silverman, Giovanni Ribisi and Neil Patrick Harris.

Af...ter a cowardly sheep farmer backs out of a gunfight, his fickle girlfriend leaves him for anothe...

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February 21, 2013
Hoping we'll all catch a glimpse of my tintype work on the big screen in the soon to be released motion picture Sweetwater.

Twin filmmakers Logan and Noah Miller locked down two fairly high-profile stars in Ed Harris and January Jones to anchor this revenge drama. Jones steps into the role of a 19thC widow who joins forces with Harris’ local sheriff to take down the “brutal sheep rancher” that killed her husband. I’m sure a man who ranches sheep can be absolutely vicious, but I...

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Stanley J.Morrow - Frontier Dakota Photographer

May 11, 2011

This past weekend I had the opportunity to present my first person portrayal of Frontier Dakota Photographer Stanley J. Morrow to 5th thru 8th grade students from the Yankton and Vermillion, SD schools as a part of  NPS Missouri Natl. Recreational River's (MNRR) "Clean Up Weekend" event.   My talk was "autobiographical" in nature, and centered on Morrow's interaction and reminiscences of the "Big Muddy" in his travels and photographic ventures along the Missouri River between 1868 - 1882.  ...

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March 11, 2011
The stage from Cheyenne to Deadwood, commonly known as the Deadwood Stage, was one of the most dangerous rides in the entire West because it was so frequently robbed. During its first year various stages were robbed almost weekly someplace in the Black Hills. One of most conspicuous road agents guilty of holding up the stage was "Curley" Grimes, who had been making a "career" in the Black Hills as a bandit for about two years. Having also been accused of stealing U.S. Mail...

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The Pics for "Cowboys and Aliens"

March 3, 2011

Click on picture to view entire 2010 C&A ‘teaser’ poster:

Two worlds are set to collide next summer in the movie “Cowboys and Aliens,” under the command of Jon Favreau. The “Iron Man” director is combining the mystery of a 1873 time period Western complete with the thrills of an alien invasion movie, with sci-fi and hero legend Harrison Ford as the lead.

First view of the night set near Santa Fe, NM

The people of Dreamworks/Imagine motion pictures saw the metal and glass pl...

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The Lancaster "Rotary Shutter"

March 3, 2011

Old Rare Camera Shutter Found in Historic Pipestone Home

This strange looking shutter was found in a wall by the new owner of local ‘pioneer’ photographer George Chesley’s former home in Pipestone, MN. As I am locally known to know something about old camera and equipment, it was given to me by the finder to research.

After cleaning off the muck of years I still couldn’t identify it or find out how it worked. It seemed to be lacking any springs, but it had ‘Lancaster’s Pat...

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March 3, 2011

From Pipestone County Star – Published 11.05.10

Dave Rambow completed his first week last week as the new business manager of the Pipestone Indian Shrine Association, but his new employment marks a return rather than a beginning.

Recruited from a museum in Sioux Falls where he was working after college, Rambow first moved to Pipestone about 20 years ago to lead the Pipestone County Historical Museum as its director.

“I consider it my home now,” he said. “I just really fell in love...

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