Legacy Research Fellowships

At this time, we expect to resume the Library Research Fellowship Program when operating capacity allows, with more information available later this year.

Please direct questions to LegacyResearchFellows@mnhs.org and see the library services page.

The Gale Family Library Legacy Research Fellowship program did not accept new applications in 2020 due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The information below is from the 2019 submission year and is provided for informational purposes.

The Minnesota Historical Society is pleased to offer Legacy Research Fellowships. Eligibility is open to any post-collegiate Minnesota scholar who is engaged in Minnesota-related research/scholarship that draws on the Gale Family Library resources, and that adds to the body of knowledge and interpretation of Minnesota’s history (pre- and post-statehood). Independent scholars and scholars not eligible for funding through employment at academic institutions (including graduate students) are especially encouraged to apply.

Awards of $3,500 are available to successful applicants. Fellows will work at the Gale Family Library and interact with MNHS staff.

Applications will be evaluated according to how well a proposal directly relates to the library’s research resources, fulfills the requirements of the particular fellowship for which the candidate is applying, and has the potential to educate and engage public and scholarly audiences about Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage.

Application guidelines for 2019 submissions

Before beginning

The best applications will clearly show which resources in the Gale Family Library collections will be used and how the applicant plans to use these resources. Librarians are happy to help you prepare your application by answering questions regarding our collections, available resources, and services at reference@mnhs.org.

For assistance with substantive issues related to the Legacy Research Fellowship Program, such as whether or not the research proposed is responsive to the solicitation, contact LegacyResearchFellows@mnhs.org.

Application components

  • Project title and author name, email address, mailing address, and phone number
  • Project narrative: The narrative should not exceed 1,000 words, and should include: purpose, goals, and objectives; connection to Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage; research design and methods, including which MNHS collections will be used and how they will be used; plan for project outcome (published book or article, manuscript, etc.); a public dissemination strategy; and a brief but relevant bibliography or references
  • Curriculum vitae: Limited to two pages, includes any relevant professional publications
  • Two letters of support: Letters addressing the importance of the project and the ability of the applicant. Writers must email or mail their letters to the Legacy Research Fellows Program at MNHS and letters must be received by the deadline. Please include the applicant’s name in the subject line for emailed letters. It is the applicant’s responsibility to verify that letters of support are submitted on time.


  • Proposals must be submitted electronically as PDF or Word files
  • Letters of support may be emailed or sent via US mail
  • All application materials must be emailed or postmarked on or before 11:59 pm on Monday, October 21, 2019
    • Email: LegacyResearchFellows@mnhs.org
    • Mailing address:

      Minnesota Historical Society

      ATTN: Legacy Research Fellows Program

      Library and Collections Division

      345 W. Kellogg Blvd.

      St. Paul, MN 55102

Selection and structure

Criteria for selection

We will choose awardees based on these demonstrated criteria:

  • A deep and direct connection to Minnesota history and cultural heritage
  • A contribution that advances knowledge or fills a scholarly gap in Minnesota history and cultural heritage
  • Evidence of sound research intentions and practices
  • The project relies heavily on the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society, and the majority of research will take place at the Gale Family Library
  • The project scope coincides with the size of the award, the timeframe for research, and the resources available at the Gale Family Library
  • Currently available to only Minnesota residents
  • Undergraduates are not eligible to apply; Fellowships are not available for undergraduate work

Program structure

  • Awards allow for work to be conducted at the Minnesota History Center’s Gale Family Library.
  • Projects must use MNHS collections and the Gale Family Library
  • Fellows will attend four Fellowship meetings with MNHS staff
  • Fellows will deliver a final presentation for MNHS staff, volunteers, and interns, summarizing their research
  • Fellows must write and submit a MNopedia article based on their research in order to receive the final payment of the fellowship award. Guidelines and consultation with MNopedia staff will be available during the scholar’s residency.
  • Public presentations of research are highly encouraged
  • MNHS Press will have the right of first refusal on manuscripts created with Legacy Research Fellowships; exceptions may be negotiated
  • Fellowships will run from January to December 2020, with staff presentations possibly scheduled into 2021

Past awardees


  • Ariel Butler: 'A Great Wrong': The August Ruther Case and Anti-German Sentiment During World War I
  • Ying Diao: Hearing Refugee Margins in the Twin Cities: Aspiration and Emerging Religiosity among the Ethnic Burmese
  • Katie Himanga: Anna B Underwood’s 1871–1929 Involvement with the Federation of Women’s Clubs in Minnesota
  • Katya Oicherman: Bed Linen in Minnesota: From the Private Armoire to the Department Store
  • Steve Parliament: Competing Utopias: Visions and Conflict in the Redevelopment of Cedar Riverside area of Minneapolis, 1950–2000
  • Sebastian Renfield: The People’s Highways: Minnesotans’ Experiences of the State Trunk Highway System, 1921–1940
  • Emily Shepard: Inmate Labor in the Stillwater Prison Industries, 1891–1914
  • Katie Thornton: The Vote or the Bottle? Suffrage, Temperance, and the Balancing Act of Womanhood in Early 20th Century Minnesota


  • Heather Carroll, Minneapolis: Minnesota’s Art and Feminism in the 1970s

  • Patricia Cavanaugh, St. Paul: The Early Development of Watershed-based Governance in Minnesota

  • Steven Dornfeld, Woodbury: 1969 Bus Strike: A Critical Turning Point

  • Chris Hommerding, Minneapolis: The Otherness of Ober: Queerness, Wilderness, and Place-Making

  • Louis Johnston, St. Cloud: The Work of the Minnesota Resources Commission, 1939-1947

  • Jessica Milgroom, Elk River: Access to Wild Rice

  • William Millikan, Minneapolis: Financing the Development of Minnesota with Indian Lands: The Homestead Act

  • Barbara Scott, St. Paul: European American Women at Nineteenth-Century Fort Snelling


  • Carol Ahlgren, Crystal, MN: The Jefferson Highway in Minnesota
  • Krista Finstad Hanson, St. Paul, MN: Assisting Japanese-Americans from Resettlement Camps
  • Cory Haala, Inver Grove Heights, MN: The Many DFLs in Rudy Perpich’s Minnesota: Grassroots Liberalism in the Age of Reagan
  • Michael Lansing, Minneapolis, MN: The Cradle of Carbohydrates: Minneapolis and the Making of the World's Food
  • Cecelia McKeig, Federal Dam, MN: History of Ah-Gwah-Ching Sanatorium Focusing on Cultural and Social Interaction
  • Joshua Preston, Minneapolis, MN: The Early 20th Century Professionalization of Nursing in Minnesota
  • Alan Slacter, Plymouth, MN: The Visionary, the Hero and the Russian Jews: September 1, 1894 in Brook Park, Minnesota
  • Barb Sommer, Mendota Heights, MN: The Little-Known History of Romansh Immigration to Minnesota


  • Johannes Allert: In the Shadow of the Great War: Minnesotans Reflections and Remembrances of the War to End All Wars

  • Greg Gaut: Fighting on the Home Front: The Minnesota Home Guard in World War I

  • Katherine Goertz: Art of the North: Visual Arts in Minnesota

  • William Millikan: Financing the Development of Minnesota with Indian Lands: Public Schools and the Lumber and Mining Industries

  • Tamatha Perlman: Fallen: Murder, Madness and Unrequited Love in 19th Century Minneapolis

  • Marjorie Savage: Frances Andrews: Minnesota Philanthropist and Conservationist

  • Thomas Shaw: Post US-Dakota War of 1862 Forts of Southern Minnesota


  • Kirsten Delegard: City of Light and Darkness: The Making of a Progressive Metropolis in Minneapolis, a comprehensive history of Minneapolis, post-1940
  • Mary Krugerud: History of tuberculosis treatment at Minnesota’s sanatoriums
  • Eric Colleary: Social history and cookbooks, based on research into the James J. Hill House kitchens
  • David LaVigne: Ethnic and multi-ethnic public commemorations on Minnesota’s Iron Range from the 1960s to the 1980s


  • William Millikan: Indian lands and the financing development of Minnesota's industrial, transportation, and mining empires
  • Lois Glewwe: Jane Williamson and mission schools
  • Howard Vogel: Rev. Stephen R. Riggs and his role in the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux of 1851
  • Ellen Manovich: Urban renewal and neighborhood change in the Minneapolis University Districts in 19th and 20th centuries
  • Andrea Klein Bergman: Socio-cultural integration of Tibetan Americans in Minnesota
  • Therese Cain: Analyzing the voting patterns of Swift County, MN, from 1932 to present
  • Bruce White: Biography of Henry M. Rice

Frequently asked questions

Q: Should I apply for a fellowship or a Legacy Grant? What is the difference between this fellowship and Legacy Grants?

A: Legacy Research Fellowships are for independent scholars. MNHS considers “independent scholars” to be individuals seeking support outside of traditional academic settings, who are not employed as, or seeking to be employed as, full-time academic faculty or graduate student. Appropriate applicants may include scholars, journalists, writers, filmmakers, public historians, and other humanists. Fellowships are available to graduate students and to historians and independent scholars who are not affiliated as employees of scholarly institutions or other nonprofit organizations. (The Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants program is available to researchers who can apply through sponsoring organizations.) Applicants must be Minnesota residents.

Q: Are fellows considered employees of MNHS?

A: No, they are considered visiting fellows. However, in addition to the award, fellows are provided with parking at the History Center and a photocopying budget.

Q: What is the requirement for a MNopedia article?

A: Recognizing that not all fellowships will immediately result in completed work, it is required that fellows write an article based on their research to be published in MNopedia. This article must be submitted and accepted before the final fellowship payment is made. The topic will be agreed on by the fellow and the MNopedia editorial team.

Q: What if I have additional questions?

A: Please direct questions about the Legacy Research Fellowship or application process to LegacyResearchFellows@mnhs.org.

Questions about the Gale Family Library and its collections should be directed to reference@mnhs.org.

Email is the fastest way to contact us. However, you can also leave a message for Anne Thayer at 651-259-3317. Please note that your call may take up to 48 hours to be returned.