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The Ferrell Collection

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In 2007 the Minnesota Historical Society acquired the Richard Ferrell Flour Milling Industry History Collection. For 40 years Mr. Ferrell, who once managed Pillsbury’s historic ‘A’ Mill on Minneapolis’s east bank, collected flour milling objects, photos, advertisements, and memorabilia. His collection represents the premier record of the industry’s development from the mid-1800s through the 1900s.

Items produced by Minnesota-based millers form the core of the collection, but it also includes material from companies in neighboring states, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada. Among the approximately 3,000 three-dimensional objects are flour bags, barrels, advertising broadsides, company premiums, toys, and marketing displays. Given Mr. Ferrell’s association with Pillsbury, the collection also includes many items featuring that company’s celebrated advertising icon, Poppin’ Fresh/Pillsbury Doughboy.

The Ferrell Collection also includes over 1,000 photographs, searchable through the Visual Resources Database, and more than 3,000 manuscript items, detailed in an online finding aid. The collection is of great value to anyone interested in industrial history, foodways, or 20th Century advertising.

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If you wish to purchase photograph copies of objects start by searching for them on our Collections site.