Anne Hage was a careful and curious editor and researcher, always on task to make lives better for others.
“She had this keen awareness that we all stand on the shoulders of the people that came before us,” said Lydia Veliko, an associate pastor during much of the 1990s at the First Congregational Church in southeast Minneapolis where Hage was a longtime member.
Born in Fergus Falls, Minn., Hage died Aug. 20 in Minneapolis from complications of chronic lung disease. She was 92.
Hage grew up in Minnesota but attended the Baldwin School in Philadelphia and graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts with degrees in zoology and English.
“She was really curious and her mind never slowed down,” said son David, an editor at the Star Tribune. “But career opportunities [for women] in the mid-1940s were pretty narrow.”
Hage returned to Minnesota after college and found a career path in editing at the University of Minnesota Press and the Minnesota Historical Society.
“I remember her smile and her warmheartedness above everything,” said Miriam Butwin, who worked with her at the university. “She played an important role in publishing in the Twin Cities and made a lot of friendships on the way.”
Butwin also noticed Hage’s curiosity at frequent lunches and, in the 1970s, in a book club in which colleagues and friends chose books and discussed issues related to the women’s movement.
“It was social and thoughtful at the same time, and we felt we were making our own contribution to the women’s movement by looking at those books and discussing issues,” said Butwin.
Hage met University of Minnesota journalism Prof. George Hage, married in 1949 and raised three children.
One of her friends was Linda Wilson, coordinator of the Minnesota Journalism Center at the U, who said Hage was “forever cheerful and interesting to talk to.”
“She wasn’t somebody that swept into the room and took over,” Wilson said. “She was more gracious than that. She was very attentive and would talk to people individually.”
Hage developed a strong interest in history and took graduate-level courses at the U. After retiring, she earned a master’s degree at United Theological Seminary in New Brighton.
She combined those interests in researching church history at First Congregational, and later as archivist for the Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ.
Veliko said the historical research was not an academic exercise. “She was always looking to history not just as an interesting artifact, but what it did to make community life better,” she said. “Especially in uncovering roles that women had played in the life of the church, but also contributions of other people whose names have been forgotten.”
“The men ran the bank and the power company and farmed the fields, but when the church needed a new roof or the town needed some new project, it was the women who raised the money for it,” David Hage said. “She was always finding new ways to look into Midwest history and find these interesting nuggets.”
Veliko said that unearthing the history not only will help future historians understand small towns in the Midwest, but also establishes a legacy for current congregations. “It provides a vision of how particular congregations can continue on their missions of doing good things in the world and making a difference in their communities,” she said.
Hage’s husband preceded her in death in 1993. Survivors in addition to David include a daughter, Betsy, of Maple Grove, and son Phil of Minneapolis; three grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
Services have been held.