Manuscripts Collection

Public Affairs

The Minnesota Historical Society is one of the premier repositories in the nation for the documentation of politics and public affairs. The Society's interest in documenting public affairs began with its organization in 1849 by men who were themselves active participants in politics and government.

Today, the Society's collections provide one of the most comprehensive political histories of any single state. Yet their importance is far from parochial: Minnesotans have often achieved national and even international stature, so the Society's collections have attracted researchers from around the U.S. and the globe. They offer information on the quality of political leadership, the functioning of political parties, the governing processes, and the exercise of public opinion which ultimately affects the course of government.

The public affairs collections begin in 1819 with the journals of Indian agent Lawrence Taliaferro, the area's first resident public official, and continue to the present. They include the records and papers of all of Minnesota's governors, and most of its US Representatives and Senators, including the complete Senatorial and Vice Presidential "libraries" of Hubert H. Humphrey and Walter F. Mondale, as well as material relating to local political organizations. Under the terms of donor agreements, access to collections from living individuals or active organizations may be restricted; please consult the Society's Reference staff for further information.

Following is a selective list of the major individuals and organizations represented in the Society's public affairs holdings, intended to illustrate the breadth and depth of the collections. A complete list would have over 1,000 entries, not including State Archives record groups and series. The list includes the dates spanned by the collection and brief identifying information (party affiliation, where appropriate; offices or positions held) about each individual.