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New Book by Former Professor Explores Origins of State Boundaries

Bill Lass' book is titled, "Shaping the North Star State: A History of Minnesota's Boundaries."

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 5-12-2014

Mankato, Minn. – A former Minnesota State University, Mankato history professor is the author of a new book on the shape of Minnesota – literally.

Professor Emeritus William E. Lass, who taught history at Minnesota State Mankato for more than 40 years, is the author of “Shaping the North Star State: A History of Minnesota’s Boundaries.” The book, published by North Star Press of St. Cloud, Minn., explores the historic developments that established Minnesota’s boundaries and its iconic shape.

Lass writes of the treaties between the U.S. and Great Britain that resulted in the state’s northern border as well as how statehood campaigns of Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan resulted in Minnesota’s southern and eastern borders. The western boundary, Lass writes, “was an offspring of Minnesota territorial politics, when there was a dispute between advocates of a north-south state (the present shape) and an east-west state stretching from the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers to the Missouri River.”

Lass’ book can be purchased online for $16.95 through North Star Press by clicking here.

Lass’ interest in Minnesota’s borders stretches back to when he began teaching history at then-Mankato State College in 1960. The author of seven books and dozens of articles, Lass has touched on the topic of the state’s borders in previous work but writes that this book is “the first history to systematically describe the shaping of Minnesota.”

Lass, retired from Minnesota State Mankato since 2002, established the William E. Lass Student Research and Writing Scholarship given annually through the history department.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,409 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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