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Grace by EnstromGrace by EnstromMinnesota State Picture
Grace by EnstromGrace by Enstrom Photo


"GRACE" is made official state photo of Minnesota!
(articles posted with the most recent on top)

Rhoda Nybergs father, Eric Enstrom, took the famous photo GRACE in 1918 which is now the states official photograph. "Amazing Grace"
Famous photo hangs in Secretary of State's office
Posted on Sunday, April 7, 2002
by Megan Boldt - Grand Rapids Herald-Review

ST. PAUL - When Charles Wilden went door-to-door in Bovey trying desperately to sell shoe-scraper in the early 20th century, he probably never imagined his face would be seen all around the world.

Or in the Minnesota Secretary of State's office.

But on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer placed Eric Enstrom's "Grace" on her office walls. The 1918 photograph of Wilden was designated the official state photograph last week.

Sec. of State Mary Kiffmeyer, Sen. Bob Lessard, Rhoda Nyberg, Rep. Loren Solberg in the Secretary of States office with GRACE "I remember this picture from the time I was a child," said a teary Rhoda Nyberg, Enstrom's daughter. "We were very proud of it. This is going to be something his grandkids ... and his great-grandkids are going to remember for a long time."

Generations of Enstrom's family -- his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren -- traveled down to St. Paul to celebrate as a piece of family history became a piece of state history. Enstrom's photo depicts the humbleness and grace of Wilden, with his hands folded and his head lowered, praying over a loaf of bread.

Rep. Loren Solberg, DFL-Bovey, said that Nyberg used to watercolor the black and white photos for those who flooded the family business. If someone requested Wilden have a red shirt, she painted a red shirt.

Rhoda Nyberg and grandchildren in the Secretary of States office with GRACE Popularity soared by 1945 and Enstrom sold the copyrights to Augsburg Publishing House because he couldn't keep up with the demand for the popular religious image.

Last session, the Legislature passed a resolution urging the U.S. Postal Service to reproduce "Grace" onto a postage stamp. It usually takes the service two to three years to decide whether or not to accept the recommendations.

Sen. Bob Lessard, I-International Falls, said he received some complaints about his and Rep. Loren Solberg's efforts to give Enstrom's photo the recognition it deserves. Some did not like the idea designating a photo that has a religious theme. "That is not what it's about," he said. "This picture I think represents an elderly person showing his emotions, showing how he feels."

Rhoda Nyberg, Kim Nyberg, Lt. Governor Mae Schunk, Kent Nyberg holding GRACE, and Rhodas sister Lois Berendts It's world-renowned, Lessard added. He received a letter from someone in the armed services that saw the picture in Afghanistan. Nyberg remembered reading letters from people in Europe for the wars that spotted her father's work across the ocean.

Kiffmeyer said the picture is an appropriate fit for the Minnesota state photograph.

"This is something I think we can all rally around," she said.

Duluth News Tribune
Posted on Wed, Feb. 13, 2002
"Grace" may become state picture

In between committee hearings on telecommunications, taxes and commerce, State Sen. Bob Lessard will join some House colleagues pushing to designate the 1918 sepia photograph "Grace'' as Minnesota's official state picture. Official designations by the Legislature are a time-honored tradition - and once resulted in the blueberry muffin being named the state muffin.

The bill to designate the portrait - of a man from Bovey, Minn., bowed in prayer over a loaf of bread - is slated to be heard this morning in both House and Senate committees. If it passes, the photograph would have to hang in the secretary of state's office. Giggle if you must, but don't call the movement to adopt "Grace'' as the official picture frivolous. He wouldn't be spending so much time and energy if he thought that was the case, said Lessard, of International Falls, the Legislature's only member of the Independence Party.

"You can do those things in jest, but this is not that. When you look at that picture, I don't know how you can say so much with so little,'' said Lessard, who has served in the Senate since 1976. Last year, the Legislature urged the United States Postal Service to put the picture - which has been so widely distributed that Lessard said he saw it on a recent trip to Costa Rica - on a stamp. Although the state's resolution was signed into law, the stamp has yet to be issued.

Making "Grace'' the state picture is not the only potential new state designation. Although the Legislature has been cruising to fill the budget shortfall, rewrite its laws on terrorism and health threats and other weighty issues, last week the Senate unanimously adopted a blue, green, black, white, pink and yellow plaid as the official state tartan.

Star Tribune Associated Press - Published Feb 13, 2002
Happenings at the Minnesota Capitol:


Minnesota moved two steps closer Wednesday to having another state symbol, when House and Senate committees both endorsed making "Grace" the state's official photograph.

The 1918 photo taken in Bovey shows an elderly peddler bowed in prayer over a loaf of bread. It has been widely distributed.

The bill's Senate sponsor, Sen. Bob Lessard of International Falls, said he recently saw a print in a "teeny little shop" in Costa Rica. "It just kind of shows how international it is,'' said Lessard, the only Independence Party member of the Legislature.

Last year, the Legislature passed a resolution asking the U.S. Postal Service to put Grace on a postage stamp. It could take two to three years for a decision to be made on that.

The bill now goes to the House and Senate floors.

Thursday, May 3, 2001
Scenic Range News

Rep. Solberg's Picture "Grace" Resolution signed by Governor

Scenic Range News State Representative Loren Solberg's resolution asking the United States Postal Service to put the photograph "Grace" on a US stamp has been signed by Governor Ventura. The request will now be forwarded to the Citizens Stamp Committee, who will make a final recommendation on the possible creation of a "Grace" stamp to the Postmaster General.

Bovey native Eric Enstrom took the famous photograph "Grace", depicting a man praying over a simple meal of bread and gruel, in 1918, and in the years since then it has become an honored fixture in homes across the world. Solberg said he was pleased the Governor acted quickly to approve the resolution and move the approval process forward.

"This resolution had broad support in the legislature, passing both bodies unanimously," Solberg said. "I'm glad the Governor signed it so quickly so we can keep the ball rolling to honor this important piece of Minnesota art."

Solberg said he sponsored the resolution to honor a piece of artwork that is a treasured part of homes thoughout the world.

"This piece of artwork is known throughout the world, but even most Minnesotans probably don't realize that it was produced in our state," Solberg said. "Putting it on a U.S. Stamp would shed some long-overdue recognition on this state treasure."

Sunday, April 29, 2001
Grand Rapids Herald-Review

Herald-Review article Ventura gives "GRACE" stamp his stamp of approval
by Megan Boldt, Legislative correspondent

ST. PAUL - Gov. Jesse Ventura signed a resolution Thursday urging the U.S. Postal Service to reproduce Eric Enstrom's 1918 photograph "GRACE" onto a postage stamp.

Enstrom's photo of a Bovey resident Charles Wilden has received worldwide fame throughout the years. It embraces the humbling image of Wilden, a poor shoe scrapper salesman, with his head lowered and hands folded.

"This is one bill that proves community efforts can get the Legislature's and governor's response," said Rep. Loren Solberg, DFL-Bovey.

Solberg added that Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn. said he was going to try to do what he can out in Washington, D.C.

Herald-Review article
Wednesday, April 4, 2001
Grand Rapids Herald-Review

"Grace" photo passes House unanimously
by Megan Boldt, Legislative correspondent

A resolution urging the U.S. Postal Service to reproduce Eric Enstrom's 1918 photograph "Grace" onto a postage stamp passed the House floor unanimously Monday afternoon.

Enstrom's photo embodies the humbling image of Charles Wilden, a poor shoe scraper salesman from Bovey, with his hands folded and head lowered. The portrait has been distributed across the country and even the world.

Rep. Loren Solberg, DFL-Bovey, and the author of the resolution, said the request to the federal government is appropriate because of Grace's widespread fame.

"The picture of Grace is hung in many of our homes. Many people have said "I remember this picture in my grandfather's house, or grandmother's house, or we have it in our home," Solberg said.

Wednesday, March 14, 2001
Associated Press Star Tribune

Proposal urges postage stamp with
1918 Minnesota photo "GRACE"

Look in many homes thoughout Minnesota and around the world and a wellknown Minnesota photograph may hang on the wall.

It's called "GRACE" and shows an elderly peddler with his head bowed in a mealtime prayer. The photograph was taken in Bovey, Minnesota, in 1918.

This year, two proposals are moving through the Legislature dealing with the photo, which originally was printed in black and white or brown tint (Sepia). Later, the photographer's daughter began adding oil colors when requested.

The first legislative proposal would urge the U.S. Postal Service to make a stamp out of the image. A House panel endorsed that resolution today and sent it to the house floor.

The second measure would make "GRACE" Minnesota's state photograph.