Minnesota State Archives

Minnesota State Archives The Minnesota State Archives is a department of the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS), collecting historical records from almost 4,000 units of government in the state from the territorial period to the present day.

The State Archives collections are available for public use through the Minnesota Historical Society Library (http://sites.mnhs.org/library/home). For more information on what the State Archives collects, visit http://sites.mnhs.org/library/content/state-archives If you're interested in volunteering with the State Archives, visit http://www.mnhs.org/volunteers/volunteer For more information on other activities of the State Archives, visit http://www.mnhs.org/statearchives

Mission: Using the Power of History to Transform Lives

Just some random pics for your enjoyment.
04/02/2020

Just some random pics for your enjoyment.

Here's the March update from our superlative cataloging staff about Manuscripts collections, Sound & Visual collections,...
04/01/2020

Here's the March update from our superlative cataloging staff about Manuscripts collections, Sound & Visual collections, and State Archives collections cataloged or recataloged during the past month. While we're working from home, we're still getting plenty of good work accomplished! All the best to our State Archives FB followers!
http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm

Eugene McCarthy was born in Watkins, MN #OTD in 1916. One of the most distinguished politicians in Minnesota history, he...
03/29/2020
LibGuides: Eugene McCarthy: Politician, Peace Advocate, & Poet: Overview

Eugene McCarthy was born in Watkins, MN #OTD in 1916. One of the most distinguished politicians in Minnesota history, he represented Minnesota in the House and the Senate from 1949 to 1971, and although he did not win the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968, his anti-war stance had a tremendous impact on the election.

The research guide on McCarthy assembled by our friends in the Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society is an excellent place to find sources for learning more about his life and career: http://libguides.mnhs.org/mccarthy

LibGuides: Eugene McCarthy: Politician, Peace Advocate, & Poet: Overview

Did you know that when it was first built, the lift bridge wasn't a lift bridge at all? It was originally constructed as...
03/27/2020

Did you know that when it was first built, the lift bridge wasn't a lift bridge at all? It was originally constructed as one of two transporter bridges built in the United States -- instead of the bridge span rising and sinking, a gondola would shuttle people, wagons, and automobiles from one side to the other.

On this day in 1905, these gondolas carried their first passengers, and would remain in service until 1929/1930, when they would be replaced with the lift bridge we know and love.

You can see the transporter bridge design in the first image (letterhead of The Commercial Club of Duluth, 1906). The second image from our friends at The Library of Congress shows a close-up of the gondola circa 1908.

Here is our list of state and local government records added to the State Archives collection in February 2020:http://ww...
03/25/2020

Here is our list of state and local government records added to the State Archives collection in February 2020:
http://www.mnhs.org/preserve/records/recent/february.php.
We were especially pleased to accept the birth and death records for the Village of Morningside and the City of Edina. If you're not familiar with the history of the Morningside neighborhood in Edina here is a succinct history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morningside,_Minnesota. It will be a few weeks before State Archives staff are back in the office, transferring records from state and local government agencies and processing records for cataloging, but we'll keep you updated.

Two weeks ago most MNHS employees, including State Archives staff, started working from home, and we're keeping busy usi...
03/25/2020

Two weeks ago most MNHS employees, including State Archives staff, started working from home, and we're keeping busy using social media to meet with each other, keep in touch with donors, and do special projects, so we're grateful for information technology to help us do our jobs. Our esteemed cataloging staff did great work in February and here is an update of their cataloging and recataloging work for the Manuscripts collection, Sound & Visual collection, and State Archives collection: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm. Let us know if you have any questions for the State Archives staff, and stay safe and healthy.

03/20/2020
Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society

Do you follow our colleagues at the Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society on Facebook? If not, you really should!

While MNHS is closed to both staff and the public, they've been hard at work putting together my new favorite March Madness tournament: the Minnesota Icons showdown! Be sure to follow them to vote for your faves.

Our next match up in the Minnesota Icons March Madness Tournament features two icons that could be considered giants.

First Avenue and 7th Street Entry is an internationally known music landmark in downtown Minneapolis and has been a launching pad for many famous bands and performers (Learn more from our friends at MNopedia: https://bit.ly/2WoMElP)

The Jolly Green Giant is, well, a literal giant and the well-known mascot of the Green Giant company. (Learn more from our friends at MNopedia: https://bit.ly/2wlhYqY)

To cast your vote for which icon you would like to see in the Elite Eight, click on the image below! The poll will be open until approximately 3:00PM Friday when we will post the next match up.

Images:
First Avenue, 29 North Seventh Street, Minneapolis (ID Number: MH5.9 MP3.1F p120) https://bit.ly/3a6HkaH

Green Giant doll (ID Number: 70.21.12) https://bit.ly/396sfoa

Important update for people who use our Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society:
03/17/2020

Important update for people who use our Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society:

Greetings researchers! đź‘‹ We just wanted you to know that although the library is closed, the MNHS reference librarians are working remotely to assist you with any research questions you may have.

You can message us here on Facebook or send us an email at [email protected] and we'll do everything we can to help.

We're not in the building with our physical collections (or access to certain databases) at the moment; but there is a whole lot of research that can be done online and we're here to help you do that!

Stay tuned to our page for further updates as we get settled here and work to roll out more options for sharing the research love (like figuring out how to get our phone line transferred out of the History Center).

Stay safe and be well, researchers, and know that we're all in this together. --The Librarians

Image Credit: "Midway Carnival, large group waving to photographer in front of ice palace at Dunning Field. " Northwestern Photographic Studio. 1930. MNHS Collections.

Please read the following important update regarding MNHS historic sites and museums:
03/14/2020
Minnesota Historical Society

Please read the following important update regarding MNHS historic sites and museums:

In response to the Minnesota Department of Health’s newest COVID-19 recommendations, the Minnesota Historical Society has decided to close all historic sites and museums to the public starting tomorrow through March 31.
As part of this temporary closure, all public events, field trips, and rentals are also suspended. Updates about individual events will be available on mnhs.org/calendar and MNHS social media.

The health and safety of our guests, staff, volunteers, interns and community is our highest priority. MNHS is continuing to monitor the news and federal and state health officials’ recommendations. MNHS will regularly reassess this temporary closure.

For more information, visit our website at www.mnhs.org/covid-19.

Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society
03/13/2020

Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society

Attention Researchers: We will be opening late at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 13.

Hello, Facebook friends,With concerns about COVID-19 ongoing, we want to share an update on what MNHS is currently doing...
03/12/2020
COVID-19 Update

Hello, Facebook friends,

With concerns about COVID-19 ongoing, we want to share an update on what MNHS is currently doing.

The health and safety of MNHS visitors and our workforce are our highest priorities. We are in regular contact with federal and state health officials about COVID-19 and are evaluating our response plans daily. We will quickly communicate any changes as they occur.

At this time:
-All MNHS historic sites and museums are open during regular business hours.

-Our cleaning crews are taking extra measures to disinfect high-touch and high-traffic areas, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, stair rails, faucet handles, and water fountains.

-Regional History Day competitions are moving online. Decisions about other events are being made on a case-by-case basis.

For more information and updates, visit our website at: http://www.mnhs.org/covid-19

The health and safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff is our highest priority. MNHS is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19, and we are in regular contact with local and state health officials.

Speaking of Conservation projects, here's one we posted about two years ago in which our Book and Paper Conservation Lab...
03/11/2020

Speaking of Conservation projects, here's one we posted about two years ago in which our Book and Paper Conservation Lab staff gave damaged sheets of paper from the Stillwater State Prison some much-needed TLC. Read the post below for the details.

When we first saw this page, from a Stillwater Prison inmate register dated 1901, it was in a jumble, folded several times, and torn. It had been torn and mended before, but was in tatters again, probably because it was the first page in an oversized ledger, and just got handled too much. We dismantled the register and put all the sheets into folders - this reduces wear on the first several pages in a ledger, and makes them easier to use overall - and took this one down to our paper conservation lab, so our conservators could repair it. They flattened it and repaired tears, and encapsulated it in Mylar, which makes it stronger and damage-resistant. It has lost bits over the years, but most of the sheet is still here; this and all of our Stillwater Prison inmate register sheets can be found in this collection:

http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gr00812.xml

These custom-made enclosures for a collection of seed packets at the University of Minnesota are functional and nice to ...
03/11/2020
Exceptional enclosures

These custom-made enclosures for a collection of seed packets at the University of Minnesota are functional and nice to look at. Click on the link to see all the photos of the finished product, and to read about the process that Preservation staff at the U took to complete the project. We love our Conservation staff here at MNHS! Conservators do amazing work to make sure collections are protected, repaired, and functional so that they last as long as possible.

Preservation staff at the Libraries recently created custom enclosures to store and protect the beautiful and colorful seed packets held at the Andersen Horticultural Library at the Arboretum. While the seed packets are stored securely in AHL’s climate-controlled rare collections room, previously ...

Today is the presidential primary election in Minnesota, and is the first presidential primary in the state since 1992. ...
03/03/2020

Today is the presidential primary election in Minnesota, and is the first presidential primary in the state since 1992. Before that, there have been presidential primaries during two other periods - 1952-1956, and 1916, according to this 2016 article featuring research from the Legislative Reference Library (since the article was published four years ago, the state did indeed switch from a caucus system to the primary system we have this year). Read more about the state's interesting history with presidential candidate selection here:

http://www.startribune.com/a-presidential-primary-in-minnesota-done-it-here-s-the-history/373595191/

For information on this year's presidential primary, head to this part of the Secretary of State's website: https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/how-elections-work/presidential-primary/

Photo is of a State Fair booth for the Secretary of State's office during the 1970s, and is from our collection of Joan Growe's Secretary of State files: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gr00248.xml

It's time for the monthly What's New from our archival catalogers - check out the link to see all the newest collections...
03/02/2020

It's time for the monthly What's New from our archival catalogers - check out the link to see all the newest collections available to use in the Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society, and collections that have been updated or been partially digitized. The park passes we posted about last week are featured, along with several other collections from the State Archives and Manuscripts.

Photo is the 2009 state park pass showing Mille Lacs Kathio State Park.
http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm

#OnThisDay in 1881, the first Minnesota State Capitol burned down after a fire started in the building's dome.  Legislat...
03/01/2020

#OnThisDay in 1881, the first Minnesota State Capitol burned down after a fire started in the building's dome. Legislators and nearby residents evacuated the building, saving documents, furniture, and the Minnesota Historical Society's collections (which were housed in the capitol at the time). You can read more on MNopedia about the first capitol building: https://www.mnopedia.org/structure/minnesotas-first-state-capitol

We've featured examples of past annual state park passes on this page before. Now we're happy to announce that our set o...
02/26/2020

We've featured examples of past annual state park passes on this page before. Now we're happy to announce that our set of park passes, from 1953-2013, has been digitized and put online! Check out the PDF of all the park passes here:http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gr00643/pdfa/gr00643-00001.pdf

The park passes are a small part of a larger collection of records from the Department of Natural Resources: Parks and Recreation Division Subject Files; here's the entire finding aid for the collection: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gr00643.xml

We just love marbled paper, which we find on endsheets of oversize volumes of court records and the like, and this examp...
02/24/2020

We just love marbled paper, which we find on endsheets of oversize volumes of court records and the like, and this example from the NSW State Archives in Australia is lovely.

It's another Marbled Monday! We love stumbling across these paper samples hidden in the collection. Paper marbling patterns are produced by combining colours onto a liquid bath and then raking special combs and other tools through the paint. Paper is then laid over the design to transfer the pattern and dried.

This unique process means that no two patterns are ever the same.

Happy Friday from us at the State Archives; today we're re-posting one of our Friday Favorites - a photo of a West Saint...
02/21/2020

Happy Friday from us at the State Archives; today we're re-posting one of our Friday Favorites - a photo of a West Saint Paul high school wrestling team, wearing snazzy, satiny uniforms and sponsored by Doran Coal.

This photo and more records from Independent School District 197 are listed in the finding at the link in the original post below.

While looking through some school records of Dakota County, particularly West Saint Paul, we found this pretty great photograph of a high school wrestling team, circa the early 1930s! The satiny uniforms sport Doran Coal, presumably a local business who sponsored the team. Did you go to high school in West Saint Paul? This photograph and others can be found in box 3 of the following collection:
http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/isd197.pdf

02/21/2020
Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society

Don't miss this insider look at our digitization team in action, working on digitizing some Hennepin County Commissioners Journals, coming soon to a finding aid near you.

We recently welcomed two new team members to our archival digitization unit! Beth and Katy jumped right in, and after only two weeks on the job have digitized fourteen boxes of records. Their first project is digitizing the Hennepin County Board of County Commissioners Journals.

This collection is an ideal candidate for teaching our digitization procedures; it is large (48 cubic feet!) which allows for repetition of the multiple scanning and encoding steps, has only a single format that allows one type of scanner to be used for the whole project, and has a relatively simple finding aid to revise with the newly digitized content. Of particular interest with this collection is the first volume of minutes, dated October 1852 --almost six years before Minnesota became a state!

Here is a short video of Katy scanning a few pages from a disbound volume!

Did you know the longest, continuously published prison newspaper in the country is from Minnesota? It's the Stillwater ...
02/20/2020

Did you know the longest, continuously published prison newspaper in the country is from Minnesota? It's the Stillwater Prison Mirror, also known as just the Mirror, and it has been published by and for people incarcerated at the state facility since 1887. You can read issues from certain years (1887-1923) online through Chronicling America or our MN Digital Newspaper hub.

(Issues for later years are available on microfilm at the Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society.)

The Prison Mirror was co-founded by 15 inmates, most notably Cole, Robert, and James Younger, who were members of the James-Younger Gang. The three brothers were serving life sentences at Stillwater prison after taking part in an 1876 raid in Northfield. Cole Younger was even listed as the associate editor in early issues, and described as the prison librarian in the second issue of the paper.

Here's a link to the paper on the Digital Newspaper Hub; it went by a few different titles: http://www.mnhs.org/newspapers/hub/prison-mirror

First photo is from Collections Online and shows, clockwise from the top, Cole, Robert, and James Younger. http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/display?irn=10774627

Second photo is the header of the first issue of the Prison Mirror.

On the news this morning I saw a story about the Women Veterans Initiative http://womenveteransinitiative.com and it mad...
02/19/2020

On the news this morning I saw a story about the Women Veterans Initiative http://womenveteransinitiative.com and it made me think of Virginia Mae Hope of Winnebago, MN. Hope served in WWII as a Women's Air Service Pilot (WASP) and flew airplanes for the Army Air Forces Weather Wing out of Patterson Field (Ohio) in 1943-1944. She died in a plane crash in December 1944. Her papers http://www.mnhs.org/library/findaids/p1549.xml are part of our Manuscript Collection and include clippings, orders, letters and memorabilia, plus her student pilot rating books, flight training photos, and her flight log. Preserved in our 3D objects collection are the flight jacket and flying trousers Hope wore as a pilot.

Address

345 Kellogg Blvd W
Saint Paul, MN
55102

Opening Hours

Tuesday 09:00 - 20:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 16:00
Thursday 09:00 - 16:00
Friday 09:00 - 16:00
Saturday 09:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(651) 259-3260

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Comments

Joyce Lewis
William T Lewis
Another Minnesota WWI story worth sharing.
Hello my names is Sue Welch live in akron ohio. I am working on my family tree and have hit a wall I am trying to find information on Olga Duffy She would be my great grandmother. The story's my gram always told me was she died after giving birth but no where seen to know anything on her. I found that is buried at Mt.Pleasant Cemetery in chaska but can not find a death record or burial record for her in 1920. She was married the Arthur Duff but can not find marriage records for that either. If anyone could help me that would be great Thanks Sue
What i really enjoy is the barn with its hundreds of farm tools from hand made wood rakes, plows, hammers, etc, etc. The music events and Christmas events are another favorite of mine. Really like that little one room cottage and small log church. https://gammelgardenmuseum.org/visit/ Meaning “old farm” in Swedish, the Gammelgården Museum is the only open air museum devoted to preserving, presenting and promoting Swedish immigrant heritage in the United States. In buildings that have been carefully preserved and restored, visitors can get a glimpse of the daily lives & artifacts of these immigrants and participate in events and classes. The main exhibit in the Välkommen Hus and the Butik gift shop are open daily May – December. Before Minnesota became a state dozens of Swedes travelled up St. Croix river and settled in the area and that’s why Gammelgården. Check out couple videos I made when i visited Gammelgården Swedish Fiddler Gathering, MN Swedish Museum Gammelgarden, Swedish Farm museum https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faMemtpHFiQ Brian Wicklund One of Minnesotas best fiddle musicians Gammelgarden Museum https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd0w-YJs9vg Couple music videos I made My Home Land Song for Scandinavian musicians https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz_tXyTAZdw Emigrantens Farvel Til Norge 1800 Poem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFBw5c7xU80
Hello, just a note to inform you of a 1905 photo album with lots of Ramsey County photos in it. Thank you
What makes the Minnesota History Center so valuable to a genealogist are the death records and the newspaper collection on micro film. In the death records you’re able to look up most of my parents and brothers and sisters, get the correct spelling and when they died and more. The newspaper collection can help you me find death notices and things your parents where involved with such as politics. Recently i found some newspaper articles about a Norwegian-American painter in Duluth and the 1942 project he was involved with. Many great articles in newspapers. WW II articles are very interesting. To visit the library is free. To find free parking you will have to park about half mile away in the James J Hill Neighborhood behind the Cathedral. Or I ride the bus to History Center. Hourly parking in a lot next to History Center
Two weeks ago I posted (on the Sons of Norway District 1 Facebook) images I captured of the St. Olaf College Genealogy Bygdebok (farm books) Collection and dozens of internet resources. An outstanding free library if you live close to the school and don’t mind the parking during the school term. One week ago i was able to photograph the University of North Dakota Genealogy - Chester Fritz Library - Arne G. Brekke Bygdebok Collection. A collection is as large as St. Olaf with the same parking problem durning the school term. Here’s photos i captured of the Genealogy bygdelag book collection created by members of the Norwegian-American Genealogy Association http://www.norwegianamerican.org located in the all new Minnesota Genealogy Society Center 1385 Mendota Heights Road, Mendota Heights, Minnesota. https://mngs.org Thought you would want to see what the resource looks like before you visit or use. The Norwegian-American Genealogy Association (NAGA) collection may not compare with NDSU or Olaf but is located in the Twin Cities, easy to get too, lots free parking, lots of computers, dozen of other Genealogy groups sharing the facility, each group having special classes, and most of all access to internet genealogy “sites few can afford”. Most important many of the members are Genealogists for “Sons of Norway Lodges” and Lag Genealogists for “Bygdelags” Check out the MGS web site for hours and days open (its a volunteer organization) https://mngs.org To pay for for operating costs of the MGS center all the groups pitch in $20 year for membership. If join NAGA you also belong to MGS. NAGA has some best N/A Genealogists in the USA. Join the NAGA members. What area of Norway did your kin folk came from - then contact a Bygdelag genealogist who often belong to NAGA. (Bygdelags are members from certain areas of Norway) Contact Norwegian-American Bygdelag Fellesraad for help from a Bygdelag genealogists to start and join NAGA to compliment your research. http://www.fellesraad.com/fell_roots.htm#Mylag Pictured on the wall are the organizations that share the MGS center.
Click on image for larger more readable jpg the could be down loaded and printed
It's not in the archives yet, but maybe it should be. The story of the Secret War in Laos and the thousands of Hmong that war brought to Minnesota.
Is there a listing of items that have been digitized? Are newspapers going to be digitized to a greater degree?
Any idea where the Oakland Park area of St Paul was in about 1899? I'm thinking near Highwood?