Minnesota Historical Society

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345 Kellogg Blvd. W.
St. Paul, MN 55101

The Minnesota Historical Society has been collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of Minnesota since 1849, which makes the society older than the state it represents. Now located at the Minnesota History Center, the center also includes the Minnesota State Archives. See Minnesota Historical Society Library and Archives Division, Genealogical Resources of the Minnesota Historical Society: A Guide (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1989) for an excellent guide to the multitude of sources in their collection. This handbook alphabetically lists resources, cross-referenced, with a description of contents, location within the society's departments, and means of access.

At the above location are the audio-visual library (genealogists will appreciate the photograph collection of approximately 200,000 images, indexed by subject and name); the map library; the newspaper library (over 3 million issues of approximately 6,500 newspapers); reference library (over 500,000 books, pamphlets, periodicals, microforms, and documents); the largest collection of published Minnesota materials; extensive holdings on railroads, Canadian history, the fur trade, Scandinavians, and Native Americans in Minnesota; and publication offices.

With the integration of the Minnesota State Archives into the historical society, state archives records here include those created by state or local governments in Minnesota. There is an on-going program of transferring these records to the Minnesota Historical Society's system of research centers (see below). The collection is immense, covering a broad spectrum of Minnesota history beginning in 1849. Representative of the collections to be found are the State Board of Auditors for the adjustment of claims for war expenditures (1862'68); Supreme Court Naturalization Records (1858'1906); and Stillwater State Prison (1853'1976). References to numerous items at this location are included under various subjects covered in this chapter.

Manuscript collections at the historical society encompasses over 6,000 collections, including diaries, letters, account books, scrapbooks, business papers, and personal papers of politicians and farmers.