MNHS Acquires Rare Book that Showcases Great Lakes Region in 1615

For immediate release

Release dated: 
May 9, 2018
Media contacts: 

Lauren Peck, 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org or Jessica Kohen, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org

MNHS Acquires Rare Book that Showcases Great Lakes Region in 1615

The small book includes detailed drawings and narratives and is one of the earliest books in the MNHS collection

Champlain book

Thanks to the generous support of the Katherine B. Andersen Fund of the St. Paul Foundation, MNHS has purchased Samuel de Champlain’s “Voyages et Descouvertures Faites en la Nouvelle France, Depuis L’année 1615.”

This book is a very rare first edition published in Paris in 1619. It describes in detail the geography of the eastern Great Lakes and includes an essay on the Huron people and their relationship with the French.

Champlain (1567-1635) was an explorer, cartographer, soldier and diplomat. He crossed the Atlantic more than 20 times to stake claims on behalf of the French and is known for establishing Quebec City. His travel narratives helped guide Father Hennepin, who would later explore what is now Minnesota.

While MNHS already has strong collections documenting Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and Canadian history, as well as many books written by Father Hennepin from the 1680s, this new acquisition adds to a very small collection of works from such an early time period. It is also the only original Champain book held by MNHS. This book will help researchers contextualize Hennepin’s time in Minnesota and European exploration of the western Great Lakes.

The book was purchased in memory of longtime MNHS supporter and former board member Martha Kaemmer who passed away on March 29, 2018.

About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.        

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.