Manuscripts Collection


The Minnesota Historical Society is one of only a handful of repositories in the nation that actively documents modern philanthropy. Particularly unusual is the Society's efforts to collect and preserve the records of philanthropic foundations. In addition, the Society's manuscript collections hold the records of other philanthropic and charitable organizations, and the papers of many individual philanthropists. A selected list of these collections appears below.


F.A. Bean Foundation (Minneapolis, Minn.). Records, 1923-1982.
Grant files and miscellaneous records of a philanthropic foundation (1918-1979) founded by Francis Atherton Bean, president of the International Milling Company (Minneapolis, Minn.) The records largely document the grants awarded to many Minnesota (and other) educational, medical research, social service, religious and arts organizations. Especially prominent are scouting programs, Congregational Church organizations, and medical research programs of the University of Minnesota.

F.R. Bigelow Foundation. Records, 1962-1984.
Grant files (successful applications), including correspondence, memoranda, grant proposals, and other papers detailing this private foundation's support of many social, charitable, environmental, municipal, educational and cultural organizations in the Twin Cities area. The foundation was established in 1934 and was incorporated in 1946. Generally limited to St. Paul area projects, it was concerned mainly with higher and secondary education, youth programs, cultural programs, and hospitals. The records indicate that some funds were available to programs in the Minneapolis area. There are few papers for the years 1962 to 1969, and most of the files document the 1970-1984 period.

Bush Foundation. Records, 1953-1993.
Articles of incorporation (1953), minutes (1953-1975), correspondence, Grant Committee memoranda (1969-1983), board agenda files (1971-1985), mailings to the board (1972-1985), Bush Leadership Fellows Program files (1964-1987), approved grant files (1953-1993), denied and withdrawn grant files (1960s-1986), Investment Committee files (1971-1979), and miscellaneous subject files (1953-1979) of a nonprofit foundation providing grants to charitable, scientific, literary and educational organizations. The Bush Foundation was incorporated in 1953 with an endowment from 3M executive Archibald G. Bush; and operated principally in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, but awarded grants in other areas of the country as well.

General Service Foundation. Records, 1946-1992.
Project files and administrative records of the General Service Foundation, a private foundation organized in 1946 that contributed to organizations and projects concerned with population control, education, the environment, and the conservation of natural resources. It also made major contributions in the areas of religion and international, industrial, and race relations. Many of the grants involved projects in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean area. The foundation was established and endowed by lumberman Clifton R. Musser (1869-1956) and his wife Margaret Kulp Musser (1875-1967) of Muscatine, Iowa. Its principal office was moved from St. Paul to Boulder, Colorado in 1985.

Mardag Foundation. Records, 1969-1982.
Grant files (1976-1982), including correspondence, memoranda, grant proposals, and other papers detailing this private foundation's support of many social, charitable, environmental, municipal, and cultural organizations in Minnesota, especially in the Twin Cities. Also included are similar records (1969-1976) of the Ober Foundation, its apparent predecessor. The trust that funds the foundations was established in 1969, with funds donated by Agnes E. Ober. The files document only successful applications.

Minnesota Council on Foundations. Records. 1962-95.
Records of an organization which compiles information on, serves as a clearinghouse for, and strives to educate Minnesota foundations: board meeting minutes and agenda packets, program files for various educational series (Grantsmanship for Beginners, MCF Summer School, Technical Assistance Workshops), member meetings, open meetings, special project files, annual reports, and newsletters.

Saint Paul Foundation. Records, 1971-1988.
Grant files, including correspondence, proposals, and related records, detailing this private foundation's support of many social, charitable, environmental, municipal, educational and cultural organizations in the Twin Cities area.

T.B. Walker Foundation and related foundations. Records, 1925-1984.
Project files and administrative records of the T.B. Walker Foundation, the Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Foundation, and the Guthrie Theater Foundation, all based in Minneapolis and related to the family of Minneapolis lumberman T. B. (Thomas Barlow) Walker. Includes corporate record books, administrative subject files, financial and accounting information, news clippings, foundation officers' correspondence, notes and memoranda, and blueprint drawings. Much of the collection consists of project files and grant proposals containing background information on cultural, educational, religious, health, social welfare, scientific, conservation, and other organizations and programs in Minnesota, California and elsewhere. There is information about the Walker Art Center and the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre (both in Minneapolis), the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre Foundation, the Minnesota Theatre Company Foundation, theatrical director Sir Tyrone Guthrie, programs for the treatment of alcoholism, and efforts to eliminate white racism.

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. Records, 1865-1980.
Summary: Articles of incorporation (1905, 1910), minutes, agency and subject files (1911-1980), wills and legal papers, reports, ledgers and journals, newspaper clippings (1891-1966), printed material, and miscellaneous files of a nonprofit foundation providing for the health and welfare of the people of St. Paul (Minn.). The Foundation was incorporated in 1910 with endowments from Amherst H. Wilder (1828-1894), a St. Paul businessman, his wife Fanny (1837-1903), and their daughter Cornelia (1868-1903). Subject and agency files contain correspondence, statistics, reports, budgets, case histories, and miscellaneous information on a number of public and private health and social service agencies. Some of the larger files concern the Central Registration Bureau (1915-1938), Community Health and Welfare Planning Council (1957-1972, an agency of the United Fund), the Community Information System (1968-1973), day care centers (1911-1980), a foster home study (1960-1963), Metropolitan St. Paul Hospitals Committee (1959-1969), St. Paul neighborhoods (1969-1970), St. Paul Rehabilitation Center (1949-1962), Selective Service screening project (1942-1946), Wilder Dispensary (1924-1960), and a WPA study (1932-1936).

Other Philanthropic and Charitable Organizations

Associated Charities of St. Paul, Minnesota. Records, 1892-1917.
Reports and minutes of this organization formed in 1892 to co-ordinate activities of charitable agencies, and of United Charities of St. Paul, its successor in 1914. There are data on members' charity work, relief applicants, health services, home-management instruction, legal aid, employment, finances, legislation, and the philosophy of charity.

Association of Minneapolis Jewish Women's Organizations (Minneapolis, Minn.). Records, 1936-1962.
Minutes, membership lists, programs and memoranda of an organization formed in 1930 as the Conference of Minneapolis Jewish Women's Organizations to foster interorganizational co-operation within the Jewish community, conduct educational workshops, and be responsible for the women's division of the Minneapolis Federation for Jewish Service. There is information on its organization, meetings, finances, community and educational activities, philanthropic work, and relations with other local and national Jewish women's organizations.

National Council of Jewish Women. Minneapolis Section. Records, 1917-1970.
Correspondence (1923-1968), minutes (1941, 1948-1950), committee reports (1917-1925, 1946, 1952), subject files (1932-1970), and printed matter created or collected by the Minneapolis chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women, founded in 1893 and engaged in a variety of local, national, and international philanthropic and social welfare activities.

United Way of the Saint Paul Area (Minn.). Records, 1920-1988.
Minutes (1920-1969), agency files (1928-1983), fund raising files, capital campaign files (1957, 1968, and 1979), project files, correspondence, financial information (budgets and statements), treasurer's reports, research material, surveys, agendas and notices, scrapbooks, photographs, and printed material relating to the United Way of the Saint Paul Area and its predecessors, the St. Paul Community Chest (1920-1942), the Greater St. Paul Community Chest and Council (1942-1962), and the Greater St. Paul United Fund and Council (1962-1973). The name was changed to the United Way of the Saint Paul Area in 1973. Summary: The records concern its efforts to coordinate, fund, and otherwise support community health, welfare, and recreational agencies. Extensive sets of agency files contain much information on the programs and services of the many agencies funded by the United Way.


Benjamin N. Berger papers, 1920-1988.
Financial statements, corporate minute books, ledgers, journals, theater film run journals, legal papers, union negotiation files, scrapbooks, photographs, and other papers documenting the many business, civic, and philanthropic interests of Minneapolis businessman Benjamin Berger.

Reuel D. Harmon papers, 1919-1994 (bulk 1964-1994).
Correspondence and memoranda, newspaper clippings, reports, master plans, maps and site plans, and miscellaneous other personal papers of a philanthropist and former Webb Publishing Company president documenting his financial gifts to, and work with, nature centers and other organizations involved in environmental education, a living-history farm, and a state park.

Ronald M. Hubbs papers, 1956-1992 (bulk 1980s).
Correspondence, minutes, newspaper clippings, printed material, and a book relating to Ronald M. Hubbs and his many community activities in the business, educational and cultural life of St. Paul and the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. The papers document Hubbs' service on a number of committees and advisory boards both before and after his retirement as president of St. Paul Companies, a large insurance corporation. Summary: His correspondence concerns the business administration graduate programs of the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul); his close association with the Charles A. Lindbergh Fund; his interest and activities in a large number of community organizations (foundations, libraries, and educational institutions); Asian refugees in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area; and other subjects.

Elizabeth Musser papers, 1964-1992. Description: 5.25 cu. ft. (6 boxes).
Correspondence, minutes, financial records, newsletters, annual reports, and similar files documenting Musser's voluntary leadership activities in the following St. Paul (Minn.) organizations: Ordway Music Theatre; Dale Warland Singers; Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research; Saint Paul-Ramsey Arts and Science Council and its successor, Saint Paul-Ramsey United Arts Council; Landmark Center; and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and a Hawaiian organization, the Nitrogen Fixing Tree Association. Two sets of personal files include information on the Encampment Forest Association (1978-1991) and financial contributions made by her to many civic, cultural, religious, and social organizations (1989-1991).

I. A. O'Shaughnessy papers, 1917-1973.
Correspondence (1971-1973), business papers (1940-1972), U.S. Petroleum Administration Board files (1933-1935), Petroleum Industry Council for National Defense files (1941-1943), and miscellaneous papers of a St. Paul (Minn.) oil executive and philanthropist. Includes personal papers documenting his interest in education (Notre Dame University, St. Thomas University, and other Catholic institutions), religious, cultural, and civic organizations, and business records relating to the petroleum industry, particularly Globe Oil and Refining Company, and to O'Shaughnessy's service as a director of several banks and other corporations.

Jeno F. Paulucci scrapbooks, 1939-1986 [microform].
Scrapbooks of letters, memoranda, telegrams, press releases, market reports, advertisements, cards, photographs, clippings, and related materials documenting Duluth businessman Jeno Paulucci's business concerns, political and philanthropic activities, and personal life and interests.

Jay Phillips papers, 1920-1992 (bulk 1944-1992).
Biographical and family information, correspondence and memoranda, speech files, awards, sound and visual recordings, photographs, and related papers detailing the many educational, cultural, political, religious, and community activities of a Minneapolis liquor wholesaler and community leader. Summary: The papers largely document Phillips' civic and philanthropic activities, as well as special events in his personal life. The largest set of files deals with his work as president and chairman of Mount Sinai Hospital (Minneapolis). A smaller set documents limited aspects of the operation of his company, Ed. Phillips & Sons, a wholesale liquor distributor operating in several states.