The Minnesota Connection Behind This Famous Picture
It’s a photograph you’ve probably seen many times, maybe in your parent's or grandparents’ homes. And while it’s not specifically about Thanksgiving, it sure applies this week. But did you know its from right here in Minnesota?
Growing up in Wisconsin, this same photo (which is actually titled ‘Grace,’ and was taken by Eric Enstrom) was proudly hanging in my grandparents' kitchen, as it was in many households throughout the Midwest. According to MNopedia, it not only was taken here in Minnesota, but has become so iconic, it was “officially designated as Minnesota’s state photograph in 2002.”
According to the story, Minnesota photographer “Eric Enstrom took the picture, entitled ‘Grace’ back in 1918, when a traveling salesman, Charles Wildeen, stopped by his photography studio.” The story goes on to say, “Something about Wildeen’s face resonated with Enstrom and he asked the salesman to come in and pose for a picture at a table laid out with a simple meal his wife had prepared.”
After the picture began to become popular, the story says Enstrom and his daughter painted over the original black and white photo so it took on the appearance of an oil painting. A painting that then found its way to countless kitchens and dining rooms of grandparents across both Minnesota, Wisconsin and probably several other states in the upper midwest.
So if you happen to be getting together with family this Thanksgiving at a home where that photo might still proudly hang on the wall, you now know this iconic picture has a background that's unique to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.