An exhibition of photographs by Russel Lee, known for his captivating images of American ethnography, will be on view at the University of Minnesota Crookston from November 4 through November 9, 2019. An exhibition opening for “Roots of the Red River Valley: photographs from the 1937 sugar beet harvest,” brought together by UMN Crookston staff Ken Mendez, Megan Beck Peterson, and student Lauren Wallace, will take place on Monday, November 4. A brief introduction will take place at 7 p.m. in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center followed by a viewing. All are welcome to attend, parking is free, and refreshments will be provided. 

More than 60 images tell the story of sugar beet harvest in 1937 in Polk County including the towns of East Grand Forks and Fisher, Minnesota. The exhibition views the harvest through the eyes of the migrant worker, the processing factory, and the farmer.

Traveling across the country, Lee is best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration and his images as a photographer and photojournalist. He grew up in Illinois and attended Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, majoring in chemical engineering. He gave up his pursuit in science to pursue his interest first in painting, and later, in photography, recording the people and places around him. 

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston cultivates curiosity by engaging students in hands-on learning connecting theory to practice. As the experienced leader in delivering education online, the Crookston campus offers a distinctive learning environment providing personal attention and mentorship to develop leaders, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens. Visit Crookston at 

Beet Harvest

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Learn more at

Story Contact: Shawn Smith