Humphrey garage sale draws crowd

Friday, July 12, 2002

ORONO, Minn. -- From die-hard Democrats to scavengers, hundreds of people snapped up a slice of Minnesota history on Thursday at a garage sale held by Hubert H. Humphrey's youngest son.

Up for grabs were the former vice president and U.S. senator's camouflage hunting vest, campaign memorabilia and a desk he used in the Senate. The desk was priced at $10,000. Among the more modestly priced mementos were initialed neckties, photos, campaign buttons and keys to cities, most selling for under $25.

Some people waited more than an hour to get inside, but there were few complaints.

"The hunt and chase is as much fun as taking something home," said Heather Mizeur, 29, a speechwriter for Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

Mizeur paid $150 for a Bible with an "HHH" monogram to put in her office, already crammed with Democratic memorabilia including campaign posters from nearly every presidential run in the past half-century.

Humphrey was elected to the Senate in 1948 and served as vice president under Lyndon B. Johnson. He lost the 1968 presidential election to Richard Nixon and returned to the Senate in 1971, where he served until his death in 1978. His wife, Muriel, was appointed to serve out the rest of his term. She died in 1998.

Doug Humphrey, 54, and his wife, Jan, said they were parting with the mementos because they are moving to a smaller home.

He was irked by suggestions that some mementos might belong in museums, saying countless items have already been donated to the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Historical Society.

"I don't feel that we're trying to trash my father's memory by selling a few items the family can't use," Humphrey said. "I'd rather not see it end up being put on a shelf and being mildewed."

The closest thing to a "museum-quality" piece was the desk, he said, and by late Thursday there had been no offers. Most of the campaign paraphernalia had been sold by noon, aside from a few bumper stickers and photographs.

The Humphreys had four children. Another son, Skip, is a former Minnesota attorney general who lost the governor's race in 1998 to Jesse Ventura.

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