Mystery Photo: Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Due to adequate labeling on the back of this photo, there isn’t too much mystery. But then again, there’s always a little mystery in there somewhere.

What we have here is a promotional photograph of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, a minister and positive-thinking author and lecturer. According to Wikipedia, Dr. Peale was a personal friend of Richard Nixon and was pastor of a church Donald Trump attended in his youth. So … there’s that.

The image is from a cache of Duluth Budgeteer Press photos that were supposed to be thrown in the trash in 1997 but instead ended up in the Perfect Duluth Day archive. It’s not a local photo — again, it’s a general promotional photo — but it’s relevant to an appearance by Dr. Peale in Duluth.

The scribbling on the back of the image reads:

Dr. Norman

Dul Day Womens
Luncheon 1973

So clearly Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was a speaker at the Duluth Day Luncheon 50 years ago. The annual luncheon began in 1925 according to a 2017 Superior Telegram article and promotional materials for the 2017 luncheon (but that contradicts information noted in the comments below). The event was renamed as the Port Cities Luncheon in 1983. It continued until 2019 and it seems the pandemic might have killed it off as searches on Google turn up no results for a 2020, 2021, 2022 or 2023 Port Cities Luncheon.

So the areas of mystery seem to be 1) the specific date of the 1973 event, 2) any accounts of the 1973 event, and 3) whether the Port Cities Luncheon will ever happen again.


Paul Lundgren

about 7 months ago

The "Duluth Day Luncheon Committee records" biographical/historical blurb in the Archives and Special Collections at UMD's Kathryn A. Martin Library reads as follows:

The Duluth Day Luncheon was first held in 1918. The Duluth Day Luncheon Committee was organized in 1927 as a Women's Auxiliary to the Duluth Day Committee, a civic fete begun in 1915. A 1930s newspaper piece described Duluth Day as an "Annual celebration and affirmation of faith in itself and its future." The early luncheons included a theme such as: 1932's "Are We Ready?" 1934's "We'll Carry On," 1935's "Recovery and You," and 1936's 19th luncheon "Our Neighbors." The Duluth Day Luncheon was discontinued during the World War II years because of gas and food rationing. Renewed in 1948, the luncheon was held to honor a "Woman of the Year." Mrs. Wildey Mitchell was the initial recipient in 1948. In 1983 the name was changed to Port Cities Luncheon. The recipient in recent decades is a woman honored for her work as a community volunteer.

Barrett Chase

about 7 months ago

The Duluth News Tribune's Bygones column from May 25, 2013, says that Ethel (Mrs. Clifford) Hedman was named Duluth's 1973 Woman of the Year at the annual Women's Duluth Day luncheon in the Arena on May 24, 1973. Mrs. Hedman was cited for her efforts to preserve local historical landmarks and for contributions to civic and humanitarian causes.


about 7 months ago

The Duluth Public Library has a whole clipping file on this event. Mr. Peale's lecture was summarized in the next day's paper.


about 7 months ago

Also, the ladies who helped plan it had some fashionable hair.


about 7 months ago

Also, apparently in 1977, Walter Mondale was the speaker. Tickets cost $17. May 26 at the Arena. The library has the original letter from the Chamber of Commerce inviting members that year.

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