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"Who was that woman? I wanted to vindicate her."

By Mary Ann Grossmann
Pioneer Press

Casanova_frozen coverMary Casanova read about the frozen prostitute 20 years ago in a history of Koochiching County, and she couldn't get the image out of her head.

"Someone took this woman's body, put a liquor bottle in her hand and stood her up as a joke before a town meeting around 1909," recalled Casanova, who lives in Ranier, Minn., near the Canadian border.

"Who was that woman? I wanted to vindicate her, give her a voice. For a long time, I wasn't sure how to tell it; the image of her body used as a joke was so disturbing and compelling. But it wouldn't let me go. I kept working on it and leaving it, until finally it took shape in the voice of her daughter."

 

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