Mathias O. Bue was born in Gudbrandsdalen Norway in 1889. He learned the photography trade as a young man. In 1908, he immigrated to Minnesota with his brother where they opened a primitive photography studio in a farm outbuilding in Granite Falls. Two years later, Matt Bue bought the gallery of A. N. Hoppeland in Cottonwood, MN. In 1912, he arrived in Fillmore County where he took over the Bersagel studio in Lanesboro. Meeting with commercial success, he combined the studio with a gift shop and worked as a portrait and landscape photographer until retiring in 1946.
As a photographer Bue was not only an artist, he also owned a keen historian’s eye. Although the majority of his work consisted of typical studio portraits of families, or local graduation and confirmation group shots, he made it a point of traveling the back roads to shoot life as it happened. His lens captured scenic landscapes, businesses, farms, civic events, new construction, scenes of accidents and destruction, and interiors of private homes. He documented a varied collection of county history for over three decades.
Our vault holds well over 20,000 glass and celluloid negatives – a virtual historical picture book that provides a glimpse of a period, places, and people that exist now only in memory and literature.
Please take a moment to browse images from 128 Bue glass negatives chosen to be digitized by Minnesota Digital Library and uploaded to the Minnesota Reflections website. We’re proud of our Bue photography collection and the part it plays in interpreting Minnesota history!