Meet the author: Bruce Anderson
Current Hometown: Minot
About the author
Bruce Anderson grew up New Rockford. He graduated from New Rockford Central High School in 1966. He graduated from Minot State University in 1971 with a degree in Education. Bruce married Nancy Shaw in 1970 and they have two children, Jason and Michelle, and six grandchildren. Bruce began his teaching and coaching career in Grenora in 1971. In 1977 he began a 36-year teaching and coaching career at Minot High School. He was the head Minot High School Girls’ Basketball coach for 30 years.
What got you interested in writing the Minot history books series?
I have had an interest in history since I was a young boy. I can remember asking my dad to tell me about “olden days” and he had many stories. He told me stories about his parents’ immigration to the United States from Sweden and their first home, a sod house they built.
How did you decide to write your books?
I was able to collect thousands of photographs and rather than have them sit on a hard drive, I thought I should share them with the public. Putting the pictures in a book along with stories seemed an obvious thing to do.
How much time have you put into the books?
Through collecting photographs and digitizing them, researching stories etc., I have about 10 years worth of work invested.
How many books have you written?
To date I have written four books. The first book, now sold out, was released in 2014. The title of that book is “Minot, North Dakota and Area War Years and War Heroes.” This book was very rewarding for me to write. I wanted to give tribute to our veterans. Minot and the area around Minot has produced an incredible amount of heroes and I was able to tell the stories of several of them in this book. The next three books that I have completed are the first three of four volumes, of the Minot, North Dakota and Area History series.
What made it possible for you to write the books?
Because of the size, and number of photographs contained in the books I have written, it would make it unaffordable if I was not able to write and lay out the entire book. I taught myself Adobe Indesign and Photoshop. I use Adobe Indesign to lay out all the stories and pictures. I also learned the correct way to lay out pictures in a book. I am not into the artistic look of a book. Some books I have read have one or two photos with large margins. I try to use every available inch of space in my books for pictures and stories. I am more interested in content than the artistic look of the pages. I want to provide the readers with as many photographs and stories as I can pack into my books and yet maintain a pleasing style and look to the books.
What is the most difficult part in writing the books?
Editing is by far the most difficult for me. I would fall in love with a photograph and would not be able to make the decision to edit it out of the book. Subsequently my books would keep growing in size. The “Minot, North Dakota and Area History book was supposed to be one book from the years 1880 – 1979. My lack of editing skills led to a four volume series of books on Minot’s history. Each 9 by 12 hard cover book averaged over 500 pages with hundreds of pictures and weighed five pounds. The books are large, and filled with photographs and interesting stories of Minot and the surrounding area.
What was the most interesting part of writing the books?
Collecting pictures was very interesting. To me it was like panning for gold, when I would find a rare photograph it was like finding gold to me. It became a quest to search and find photographs. Many people were kind enough to give me access to their collections of photographs, without those people these books would not be as complete as they are.
I also found researching very interesting. I might be researching one story and I would stumble onto another interesting story and that would lead me down a completely different but interesting path and one that would add more pages to my book.
I amassed thousands of photographs and I try very hard to correct the lighting and flaws in each photograph.
I take great pride in the pictures in my book. I am somewhat of a perfectionist and I will spend an inordinate amount of time bringing a photograph up to my standards.
A few times I have had to use photographs taken from a newspaper to help tell a particular story. Through trial and error I found various methods to make the quality of the newspaper photographs acceptable to be put in the book.
What did you learn that surprised you while writing the books?
I think what surprised me the most, was the amount of violence and crime in Minot and North Dakota in the years from 1909 to 1939. In the books, “Minot, North Dakota and Area Vol. 1 and 2, especially Vol. 2, I write about many of the brutal crimes committed. There were as least four local police officers murdered and others that were wounded in gun battles or survived plots to kill them. Murder was rampant along with bank robberies, vice crimes and more. During this period of time, Minot was a small community and the number of crimes were staggering.
How are the photographs used in your books?
A prerequisite to every story I write is that I must have photographs that will help present the story. I find photographs to be very interesting and provides the story with more credibility and makes it more interesting.
What does it take to put together a book like the ones you have written?
Choosing the topics to write on that I believe provide a historic view of Minot and will interest the reader. I then search for photographs to complement the story.
How can someone purchase your books?
You can purchase the books in Minot from Main Street Books or Twisted Creek. You can purchase the books on the internet from Amazon.com. To search Amazon just type in Minot, North Dakota, Bruce Anderson and all my books should appear, or you can type in the title of the book. You can also email me at minothistorybooks.gmail.com.
Minot, North Dakota and Area History Vol. 1 1880-1940
Minot, North Dakota and Area History 1880–1940 Vol. 1 is a 9 by 12, 480-page hard cover book. The book contains more than 650 photographs and hundreds of stories about the colorful city of Minot and the surrounding area of Ward County. This is truly a history book covering Minot and North Dakota using historic photographs and words to present the stories. The book also features 90 huge double-page spread photographs showing the smallest of details.
This book also highlights through stories and photographs many of Minot’s early pioneers that raised Minot from Erik Ramstad’s hay field along the Mouse River into a thriving boom town nicknamed the “Magic City.” The book highlights early ranchers, homesteaders, lynchings by the “Montana Stranglers,” outlaws, the railroads, buffalo bone hunting and business, horse trader; Luke Sweetman, legal immigration, the introduction of automobiles, the Glidden Auto Tour, newspapers history, automotive and gas stations, Minot delivery wagons and trucks, the Socialist movement, World War I, Mouse River recreation, Minot Parks, Mouse River floods, early farming, churches, Minot hospitals and much more.
Minot, North Dakota and Area History Vol. 2 1900-1949
Minot, North Dakota and Area History Vol. 2 1900–1949 is a 9 by 12, 505-page, hard cover book. The book contains more than 800 photographs and hundreds of stories on the colorful city of Minot and the surrounding area of Ward County. This is truly a history book covering Minot and North Dakota using historic photographs and words to present the stories. The book also features more than 70 huge double-page spread photographs showing the smallest of details. The book highlights hundreds of photographs of city views and streets. The book covers county and city law enforcement, the Womens Christian Temperance Union, bootlegging, vice, incredible crimes from robbery to murder, the Minot Fire Department and major fires, “Operation Haylift” during the winter of 1948-49, Life Magazine’s visit to Minot State Teachers College in 1941, the United Nations Military Staff hunting trip to Minot in 1946. Streets, sewer and power, the discovery of coal and coal mining, early Minot businesses and industries, fairs, carnivals, circuses, parades and celebrations, Minot education, famous people from Minot and the area, recreation and entertainment, hunting, the first radio station in Minot, the “Great Depression,” and America goes to war in 1941.
Minot, North Dakota and Area History Vol. 3 “The Fabulous Fifties”
Minot, North Dakota and Area History Vol. 3 “The Fabulous Fifties” is a 9 by 12, 528-page, hard cover book.
The book contains more than 1,450 photographs and captions as well many stories that take you “back to the Fifties.” The book also features more than 49 huge double-page spread photographs.
This book takes you back to a simpler time, the Fifties, through photographs that provide vivid memories of growing up and what life was like in the Fifties. The book features large photographs of city views and streets.
The Fifties culture and fashions, from bobby sox to poodle skirts and more, are covered. Photo memories show a picture of growing up in the Fifties. The First District Health Unit and fighting the polio epidemic are featured.
School memories take one back to their school days. Events such as the visits by President Truman, President Eisenhower and Lawrence Welk are relived through wonderful historic photos. Photos relive the Soapbox Derby, the early years of the Nodak Racing Club, the Minot Mallards, neighborhood grocery stores, drive-in restaurants, theaters, business and industry. The shady district of “High Third” is covered in depth with rare pictures and stories. The crime of the decade in Minot is featured in depth through newspaper stories and photographs. The birth of North Dakota’s first television station, the only station between Minneapolis and Spokane, Washington; the police and fire departments; YMCA; parks and recreation and much more are covered in this book.
Minot, North Dakota and Area History Vol. 4 “1960 -1980” (A Work in Progress)
Minot, North Dakota and Area History Vol. 4 “1960 -1980 is in the process of being written. This book takes you back to the “The Sixties” and “The Seventies,” through photographs that provide vivid memories of growing up and what life was like in the “The Sixties” and “Seventies.” The book will features large photographs of city views and streets. The 1960s and 1970s culture and fashions, from mini skirt to mod and the hippie look, are shown. Dance fads, Minot “Garage Bands,” including the Embermen Five, Trenchmen, The Road Runners and The Tracers. Events such as the visits by President Nixon, Vice President Spiro Agnew and Lawrence Welk are relived through wonderful historic photos. “The “Great Sioux Massacre” movie starring Darren McGavin and Joseph Cotton held its world premier in Minot. A complete chapter is dedicated to the year “1969.”
Through incredible photographs and stories the chapter documents three stories that gained national attention: the Minot Teachers Strike, Minot’s 1969 flood and “Zip to Zap.” The 1961 Diamond Jubilee celebration, drive-in restaurants, cafes and hangouts. Schools, Minot Police and Ward County Sheriff’s Departments, Minot Fire Department and infamous fires of the 1960s and the Minot hospitals. A great chapter covers the North Hill ski and toboggan hill and the Trestle Valley Ski Resort. The Minot City Parks and the Souris Valley Golf Course and the Minot Country Club are very well documented though photographs in this book, as well as the Triangle Y Camp and the North Dakota State Fair. Wonderful photos of sports and recreation, Minot theaters and businesses are also covered in this wonderful book that will take you back to the 1960s and 1970s.