May 27, 2011 • By

Learning Russian in the lab

It’s Friday, so it’s time for our weekly look at a historic photo from the General Mills Archives.

Today’s image shows more than 30 staff members of General Mills’ research labs enrolled in a scientific Russian language course in 1958.

Professor Thomas F. Magner, chairman of the Department of Slavic and Oriental Languages at the University of Minnesota, acquainted the students with enough technical Russian so they could read Russian papers in their various fields. The emphasis on Russian was likely a product of the era in American history, as many scientists were unacquainted with the language and were interested in translating and reading Soviet technical journals.

At the time of this photo, courses such as this had been offered in only one or two areas in the U.S., including Minnesota.

Editor’s note: The photo is from “Research News: General Mills Central Research Laboratories, April 30, 1958. It shows General Mills employee Carl Fritsch translating paragraphs from an article during a meeting of a Russian class while his classmates and instructor listen.

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