Gale Family Library Legacy Research Fellowships

Applications for the 2024 program have now closed. Please check back in fall 2024 for information on applying for the 2025 cohort! If you have any questions please email us at

The Minnesota Historical Society is pleased to once again offer financial support to researchers through the Gale Family Library Legacy Research Fellowships. Eligibility is open to any Minnesota scholar who is engaged in Minnesota-related research/scholarship that draws on Gale Family Library resources and collections, and that adds to the body of knowledge and interpretation of Minnesota’s history (pre- and post-statehood) and culture.

Independent scholars and researchers (defined as not eligible for funding through employment at academic institutions) are eligible to apply. Applicants of diverse backgrounds and voices and those focusing on lesser-known and underrepresented topics are especially encouraged. We are encouraging proposals for projects that make connections between past experiences and the times in which we currently live.

Before beginning

The best applications will clearly identify which Gale Family Library resources and collections will be used and discuss how they will support the project plan. Librarians are happy to help you prepare your application by answering questions regarding our collections, available resources, and services at (please allow plenty of lead time for response). 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

Application components

  • Project title and applicant 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; plan for project outcome (published book or article, manuscript, etc.); a dissemination strategy for sharing project work and a brief but relevant bibliography or references.
  • Curriculum vitae/Resume: Limited to two pages, includes any relevant experience or focus in the area of interest.
  • Two letters of support: Letters need not be written by academic sources or employers. Anyone with knowledge of the importance of the project, the applicant's familiarity with the research topic, and/or the ability of the applicant to complete and make useful their research findings can write a letter of support. 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 Friday, March 1, 2024
    • Email:
    • Mailing address:
      Minnesota Historical Society
      ATTN: Legacy Research Fellows Program
      Gale Family Library
      345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
      St. Paul, MN 55102

Criteria for selection

We will choose awardees based on these demonstrated criteria:

  • Compliance with application requirements.
  • Heavy reliance on the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society.
  • 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.
  • Reasonable project scope within the award timeframe and with currently accessible collections and resources.
  • Reasonable proposed outcomes and dissemination plan.

Program structure

  • Awards are $3,500 total, issued in separate payments during the course of the Fellowship.
  • Fellows will participate in a framework of checking in with staff and showing progress throughout the year.
  • Awards are currently available only to Minnesota residents.
  • Application does not guarantee an award. The application process and available program funding may change unexpectedly.
  • Undergraduates are not eligible to apply. Fellowships are not available for undergraduate work.
  • Graduate students are eligible to apply if research funding/support is not available through their academic institution.
  • Awards support work conducted through/at the Gale Family Library by using the resources of the Gale Family Library and MNHS collections.
  • Fellows will attend four Fellowship meetings with MNHS staff. Staff may request brief updates of projects for social media use and promotion of the Gale Family Library Legacy Research Fellowship program. Meetings may be in-person, virtual, or hybrid at staff discretion.
  • Fellows will deliver a presentation during the award period for MNHS staff, volunteers, and interns, summarizing their research.
  • Fellows must write and submit a MNopedia article (subject to editor approval for publication) or short article to be cataloged in the Gale Family Library collection 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 and may be recorded for future outreach with awardee permission.
  • MNHS Press will have the right of first refusal on manuscripts created with Legacy Research Fellowships; exceptions may be negotiated.
  • Fellowships will run from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding your interest in the Legacy Research Fellowship Program by emailing

Current awardees for 2024

  • Alison Bergblom Johnson: The Patient Records of 12 Female Patients Transferred to Fergus Falls State Hospital on Valentines Day 1899 as a Window into Physician’s Beliefs and Practices
  • Ralph Brown: St. Paul’s WSCO: Building Democracy in a Multicultural Urban Community
  • Kim Heikkila: ’Everyone had a place’: African American Girls’ Sports at Oxford Recreation Center, 1960-1975
  • Louis Johnston: James Ford Bell: Insights from His Diaries, 1907 to 1960
  • Jessie Merriam: The Legacy of Minnesota’s Wetlands: An Environmental History
  • Karen Sieber: Moses Dickson and the Underground Railroad in St. Paul, Minnesota, 1849-1858 

Past awardees


  • Eric Hankin-Redmon: The Neighborhood Press and Urban Redevelopment in Minneapolis-St. Paul, 1970-2000
  • Margaret Miles: Shelter: An Origin Story
  • Brayden Rothe: Minnesota Remembering the Maine: Cuba & The Philippines in Minnesota Memory & Historiography
  • Emily Shepard: 120 Years as an Urban Gathering Place: The Development of Saint Paul’s Cherokee Park
  • Jonathan Soucek: Rainbows Through the Storm: Anti-Poverty Activism, Racial Rainbow Rhetoric, and the Impact of Multiracial Coalition Building in Minnesota on National Politics
  • Kathleen Thomas: History of Rural Women’s Clubs, Minnesota, Pre- and Post-WWII


  • Shayna Allen: Biography of Carl Ross
  • Alison Bergblom Johnson: The Letters of Lydia B. Angier
  • Greg Gaut: Minnesota During the Great War
  • Jennifer Kleinjung: Partisan Politics & Public Health in a Pandemic: A Close Look at the AIDS Crisis in Minnesota History
  • Fionn Mallon: “I Think About The Future”: Athelstan Spilhaus and the Minnesota Experimental City (MXC)
  • Christine Stark: Mining and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Northern Minnesota- not completed
  • Tom Weber: MINNESOTA ‘76: A historical research of Minnesota’s role in the 1976 presidential election


No awardees in 2021 due to circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic.


  • Ariel Butler: 'A Great Wrong': The August Ruther Case and Anti-German Sentiment During World War I
  • Ying Diao: The Taste of Migration: Southeast Asian Kitchen in Post-Vietnam Minnesota
  • 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 an 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.. This article must be submitted and accepted before the final fellowship payment is made. If an article will be produced for MNopedia, 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

Questions about the Gale Family Library and its collections should be directed to