State Archives Collection
The Minnesota State Archives’ collection dates from the territorial period to the present, and while most of the collection is in paper form (over 70,000 cubic feet), the collection also includes photographs, microfilm, moving images, recorded audio, and terabytes of digital content.
Minnesota state and local government records are added frequently to the State Archives collection, which is available through the Gale Family Library. This page highlights recent acquisitions by the month they were added to the State Archives collection. Although the records were recently acquired, they may not be available yet in the MNHS Library and Archives Catalog. For assistance finding and accessing these records, please contact the staff of the Gale Family Library.
Continuing a collecting strength of the State Archives, many local government records were added this month to the collection and will be valuable for local and family history research and to document the governance, policies and major activities of the local government entities.
Received from the Edina school district are superintendent’s reports to faculty (dated 1934-1947), board minutes and superintendent’s reports (dated 1936-2000), school district newsletters (dated 1989-1995), and enrollment statistics (dated 1950s-1970s). The minutes and superintendent’s reports continue existing records in the State Archives dating from 1917. Also, a school district record book (dated 1869-1897) for School District No. 17 which was the predecessor of the Edina independent school district. The St. Louis Park Historical Society donated records that complement other records donated by the historical society several months ago. Included in the donation are annual reports of the supervisor of elementary instruction (dated 1942-1948); include photographs and color illustrations by unnamed students. Also, high school graduate follow-up surveys (dated 1953, 1960-1973, 1976).
The Steele County Auditor transferred a school district plat book dated 1880-1971. For each school district, includes a plat depicting the school district’s boundaries, plus each school district’s date of establishment, along with attachment, dissolving, reorganization and consolidation dates and related information. Wright County transferred board of commissioners’ records including board agenda packets (dated 1977-2011), board committees’ minutes (dated 1980-2011), resolutions (dated 1975-2009), and annual reports of several county departments (dated 1977-2010). Also, minister ordination credentials (dated 1957-1992) of the District Court which continue an existing set of records dating from 1881.
Finally, the state Human Services Department transferred bulletins dated 2017-2019. The bulletins continue an existing set, dating from 1937, concerning such topics as statutes, regulations, and operating procedures that affected services and programs administered by the department and the counties, particularly those involving administrative services, finances, personnel, information systems, and various aid programs, especially those dealing with children, disabled, aged, mentally ill, and chemically dependent. Digital copies were transferred and have been posted online via the Library catalog.
- Hennepin County. Independent School District No. 273 (Edina). Records dated 1869-2000. 29 boxes.
- Hennepin County. Independent School District No. 283 (St. Louis Park). Records dated 1942-1976. 3 folders.
- Human Services Department. Bulletins dated 2017-2019. 1 box and digital copies.
- Steele County. Auditor. School district plat book dated 1880-1971. 1 bound volume.
- Wright County. Board of Commissioners. Records dated 1957-2011. 40 boxes.
Local government records are a collecting strength of the State Archives
collection, and records added this month will be valuable for local and family
history research. Many of the records added to the collection are the result of the
ongoing and positive relationships State Archives staff have cultivated with
Minnesota government agencies over the years.
Beltrami County transferred assessment rolls (dated 2000) and tax lists (dated
2010) of the Auditor; extension committee meeting minutes (dated 2010-2020),
and minutes and agenda packets (dated 2012-2016) of the Board of
Commissioners. The records continue existing records series, dating from 1876,
preserved in the State Archives. Received from the Nicollet County Assessor are
assessment rolls for the sample years 1950-1951, 1960-1961, 1970, 1980-1981,
1990-1991, and 2000-2001; the 1971 year is not included. This is the first transfer
of the county’s assessment rolls to the State Archives. The Kerrick Township
Clerk (Pine County) transferred birth and death records dated 1913-1953 of the
township, and School District No. 125 (Kerrick) clerk’s register of receipts and
disbursements dated 1947-1953. Neither the township nor the school district are
represented in the State Archives collection.
The Public Safety Department commissioner’s office transferred legislative
mandate reports dated 2016-2017 that continue an existing series dating from
2009. The reports, mandated by the Minnesota Legislature, concern such topics as
auto theft prevention, emergency assistance to victims, fire safety, Minnesota
crime information, motor vehicle insurance coverage, permit to carry, pupil
transportation, response to accidents related to the transportation of high level
radioactive waste, and much more.
- Beltrami County. Assessment rolls (dated 2000) and tax lists (dated 2010) of the Auditor; extension committee meeting minutes (dated 2010-2020), and minutes and agenda packets (dated 2012-2016) of the Board of Commissioners. 17 boxes.
- Nicollet County. Assessor. Assessment rolls for the sample years 1950-1951, 1960-1961, 1970, 1980-1981, 1990-1991, and 2000-2001; the 1971 year is not included. 32 boxes and 38 loose oversize volumes.
- Pine County. Kerrick Township. Birth and death records dated 1913-1953 of the township, and School District No. 125 (Kerrick) clerk’s register of receipts and disbursements dated 1947-1953. 2 boxes.
- Public Safety Department. Commissioner’s Office. Legislative mandate reports dated 2016-2017. 4 expansion folders.
A variety of functions and topics are reflected in the records added this month to the State Archives. Additional records of the state Geographic Board were added to the existing set of Board records preserved in the State Archives. Included are index cards, dated circa 1920-1960s, regarding geographic place names for villages, townships, post offices, lakes, streams, resorts, islands, peninsulas and other geographic locations. Each index card may include the geographic name in use, approved geographic name, other names, type of feature, location, and comments. Also, index cards (dated circa 1930s) of the Minnesota Gazetteer project concerning village and post office names. The Board was established by the legislature in 1937 and consisted of the commissioner of conservation, the commissioner of state highways, and the director of the Minnesota Historical Society. Prior to the board's establishment, geographic names were changed by petitioning county boards. The functions of the Board were to determine the correct and most appropriate names of the lakes, streams, places, and other geographic features in the state and the spelling thereof; to pass upon and give names to unnamed geographic features in the state; and to cooperate with county boards in changing geographic names to eliminate duplication of names as far as possible. The Board also sponsored the Minnesota Gazetteer project which was designed to compile and publish a gazetteer of Minnesota place names and was carried out with WPA funds. It was never completed. The board was abolished by the legislature in 1971 and its functions transferred to the Natural Resources Department.
Senate staff transferred Senate bills dated 2019-2020 that continue an existing set dating from 1957. Documenting the Minnesota Legislature is a State Archives collecting priority, and these records continue our commitment to fulfilling that priority.
The State Demographer Office transferred records (dated 1972-2006) of former State Demographer Tom Gillaspy including correspondence, subject files and reports. Mr. Gillaspy was the Minnesota State Demographer for 32 years and retired in 2012. The records are a valuable addition to the State Archives, since the office is not well documented in the State Archives. The Office, established in 1974, is the main provider of demographic data and analysis for the state, provides yearly population estimates and long-term projections each decade, and analyzes and distributes data from the federal government and other sources to monitor key trends. For most of its existence, the Office was part of the state Planning Agency (now defunct), and is now located in the state Administration Department.
St. Paul public schools were operated by the City of St. Paul from 1856 to 1965 when the state legislature converted the St. Paul special school district into the present day Independent School District No. 625 (St. Paul). School district staff transferred a City of St. Paul Board of Education school building data volume dated 1950s-1960s, and a record of real estate abstracts compiled in the 1880s. Also, a City Planning Board school property book dated 1958 with 1960s updates, school property plats of existing properties and proposed expansion dated 1965, and a City Comptroller real estate record dated 1938-1939. The records complement other records of the city documenting the ownership, construction, renovation, and demolition of school properties in the city.
- Geographic Board. Index cards, dated circa 1920-1960s, regarding geographic place names for villages, townships, post offices, lakes, streams, resorts, islands, peninsulas and other geographic locations. Also includes index cards (dated circa 1930s) of the Minnesota Gazetteer project concerning village and post office names. 24 boxes.
- Legislature. Senate. Senate bills dated 2019-2020. 20 boxes.
- Planning Agency. State Demographer Office. Files of Tom Gillaspy, dated 1972-2006, including correspondence, subject files and reports. 1 box.
- Ramsey County. St. Paul (City). Various Offices. Records dated 1880s-1960s. 3 boxes.
A collecting strength of the State Archives are local government records, and records added to the collection this month are a welcome addition useful for family and local history research.
Over a year ago Mower County transferred their Board of Commissioners’ minute books, dated 1856-2021, but upon receipt State Archives staff noted a volume was not included in the transfer. After several inquiries to county staff, and over a year later, the missing volume of minutes (dated 1870-1879) was located and transferred to the State Archives.
With the assistance of Allison Broughton, MNHS Development & Membership Department, records of the Horace Mann Elementary School PTA (St. Paul) were donated to the State Archives. Included are scrapbooks that contain photographs, newspaper clippings, art work, certificates, awards, lists of students and teachers, correspondence, meeting minutes (scattered), and annual and periodic reports (scattered). Also, group photographs of the school’s classes, and of student and teacher activities. The records, dated 1931-2002 (bulk dated 1931-1960s), complement a set of the school’s records preserved in the archives.
MNHS Honorary Council member, Dennis Dvorak, donated a record book (dated May 1858-1870) for Cedar Lake Township in Scott County. Included in the record book are township meeting minutes, road establishment information (including petitions), lists of voters, township officer annual election results, state and county officer election results, and registers of dog licenses. The bound volume pre-dates a set of the township’s records preserved in the archives.
The City of St. James (Watonwan County) recently moved into a new city hall, and transferred a number of records (dated 1871-2022) including board of trustees and city council minutes, agenda packets, resolutions and ordinances. The board of trustees’ minute book begins in 1871 when the city was incorporated.
State government records are also included in this month’s acquisitions. Records concerning a unique topic, genetic engineering, were transferred by the Biotechnology Program of the Agriculture Department/Plant Protection Division. The records, dated 1989-2015, document setting up genetic engineering statutes and administrative rules, specifically Minnesota Statutes 18F and Minnesota Rules Chapter 4420. The statute and rules concern the establishment of permits for the release of certain genetically engineered agriculturally related organisms to protect humans and the environment from the potential for significant adverse effects of those releases. Included are correspondence, internal memoranda, reports, meeting minutes, and copies of proposed and final legislation.
- Agriculture Department. Plant Protection Division. Biotechnology Program. Establishment of genetic engineering statutes and administrative rules records dated 1989-2015. 3 folders.
- Mower County. Board of County Commissioners. Minute book dated 1870-1879. 1 bound volume.
- Ramsey County. Independent School District No. 625 (St. Paul). Horace Mann Elementary School PTA records dated 1931-2002 (bulk dated 1931-1960s). 4 boxes.
- Scott County. Cedar Lake Township. Record book dated May 1858-1870. 1 bound volume.
- Watonwan County. City of St. James. Records dated 1871-2022. 24 boxes.
A variety of Minnesota government functions and activities are documented in state and local government records added this month to the State Archives collection, and will be valuable for state, community and family history research. Received from the Minnesota Health Department are meeting minutes and agenda packets (dated June 2012-December 2018) of the State Trauma Advisory Council; speech files (dated July-December 2017) and subject files (dated 2011-2016) of Dr. Edward Ehlinger; and speech files (dated February 2018-March 2020) of Jan Malcolm. Dr. Ehlinger and Ms. Malcom were Health Department Commissioners, and some of Ms. Malcom’s 2020 speeches concern the department’s preparations in anticipation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The records continue existing records series preserved in the State Archives.
The St. Louis Park Historical Society donated records of Independent School District No. 283 (St. Louis Park) dated 1888-1965 and 2015. Included are board meeting minutes (dated 1888-1925), clerk’s and treasurer’s receipt and disbursement registers (dated 1900-1954), payroll registers (dated 1949-1965), selected student records (dated 1900-1933), and a poster (dated 2015) commemorating the 125th anniversary of the school district’s establishment. The school district is not well-documented in the collection, so the records are a valuable addition useful for community and family history research.
Received from the Transportation Department are bridge plans, dated 1926, for the Arrowhead Bridge, including the lift bridge or draw bridge located in the central span of the bridge. The Arrowhead Bridge connected the twin port cities of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin, and was named after the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. It opened in July 1927 and was built to offer a second harbor crossing at a time when the Interstate Bridge was reaching its capacity due to the advent of the automobile. It opened as a toll bridge, but the tolls were removed in 1963. The Arrowhead Bridge was built mostly as a wooden trestle, with wooden support piers driven into the muddy bottom of the Saint Louis Bay. The trestles started very near water level, and rose up to about 25 feet above water level to align with the central span. The central span consisted of a draw bridge (Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge) with two steel spans that would tip up into the air, allowing room for ships to pass through the opening. The draw bridge was very simple in design, consisting of a truss that held the roadway, a pivot point, and a large weight. A small motor and several gears were enough to open and close the spans. The bridge also had an earthen causeway on the Duluth side, which was also the location of the toll booth. The bridge closed in 1984, and was replaced by the Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge. The bridge plans complement an existing set of bridge plans, dated circa 1895-1973, preserved in the State Archives.
Added to Municipal Board records preserved in the State Archives are dockets, dated 1959-2008, concerning municipal annexations, consolidations, detachments, dissolutions, incorporations and Section 5 (incorporation or annexation of townships according to population) documents filed by cities and townships with the Board. The Sherburne County Recorder transferred birth and death returns (dated 1870-1909), and birth and death certificates (dated 1891-1934; bulk dated 1907-1910) submitted to the District Court; burial or removal permits (dated 1953-1981) issued by the District Court; burial or removal permits, dated 1911-1938, of Clear Lake Township; burial or removal permits, dated 1911-1922, of Lake Fremont (village); burial or removal permits, dated 1928-1939, of Palmer Township; maternity registers, dated 1942-1950, of the Brown Maternity Hospital located in Elk River. The Sherburne County Recorder is responsible for vital statistics records (birth, deaths, and marriages) but, previously, the Sherburne County District Court performed that function.
- Health Department. Meeting minutes and agenda packets (dated June 2012-December 2018) of the State Trauma Advisory Council; speech files (dated July-December 2017) and subject files (dated 2011-2016) of Dr. Edward Ehlinger; and speech files (dated February 2018-March 2020) of Jan Malcolm. 2 boxes.
- Hennepin County. Independent School District No. 283 (St. Louis Park). Records dated 1888-1965 and 2015. 11 boxes.
- Highway Department. Bridge Division. Bridge plans, dated 1926, for the Arrowhead Bridge, including the lift bridge or draw bridge located in the central span of the bridge. 2 rolls of plans.
- Municipal Board. Dockets dated 1959-2008. 1 box.
- Sherburne County. Records dated 1870-1981. 5 boxes.
A range of functions performed by state and local government agencies, and valuable for an array of research topics, are represented in records added this month to the State Archives. The Minnesota Data Practices Office transferred non-binding advisory opinions (dated 1993-2008, 2014-2018) on issues related to data practices or the Open Meeting law issued by the Commissioner of Administration. Received from the City of Chanhassen is a birth and death register dated 1900-1938 which complements a set of Chanhassen Township birth and death records dated 1870-1953.
State Archivist Shawn Rounds transferred a subject file concerning the Electronic Real Estate Recording Commission’s website (photocopies) dated 2008-2012; Rounds is a member of the Commission. The files complement an existing set of Commission records preserved in the State Archives dating from 2008. The Commission was established by the Legislature in 2008 to adopt standards to implement electronic recording of land records. These standards would allow Minnesota counties to implement electronic filing of real estate documents. Submitters would have the option of sending documents electronically to the county, resulting in a more secure transfer and faster turnaround then the current paper process.
Former Ombudsman for Corrections, Theartrice Williams, donated files dated 1972-1989. Included is correspondence, dated 1972-1983, primarily concerning Williams’ appointment in 1972 as Minnesota’s first Ombudsman, and his educational presentations and consulting activities. Also, a file with information concerning the 1989 reunion of the University of Minnesota African-American students who took over the ground floor of Morrill Hall in 1969 to protest the university’s neglect of African-American students. Minnesota’s Ombudsman for Corrections was first established in 1972 by Governor Wendell Anderson in Executive Order 14 as an independent agency in the executive branch, then by the legislature as an independent agency in 1973. Minnesota was the first state to create an ombudsman specifically for corrections and to give the office independent authority and in doing so established a standard for how to independently and justly investigate complaints. The office was eliminated by the legislature in 2003. In 2019, the Minnesota Legislature newly re-created the Office of the Ombuds for Corrections.
Ramsey County staff transferred Parks and Recreation Commission meeting minutes and agenda items dated 1990-2003. The Commission advises the Ramsey County Parks & Recreation Department and Ramsey County Board of Commissioners on matters related to the planning, development and operation of the county's parks, trails, open space and recreation facilities.
Received from the Tax Court are closed (completed) decision files dated 2017-2019, and closed (completed) property taxes files dated 2011-2021 (bulk dated 2015-2021). The files continue, or inter-file with, existing sets of records. The Minnesota Tax Court has existed since 1939, and is a specialized executive branch court specifically established by the Minnesota Legislature to hear only tax related cases. The Court’s mission is to provide timely and equitable disposition of appeals of orders issued by the Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue and local property tax valuations, classification, equalization and/or exemptions. All of the judges have expertise in the tax laws and apply that expertise in a manner to ensure that taxpayers are assessed only what they owe, and no more.
- Administration Department. Commissioner’s Office. Advisory opinions dated 1993-2008, 2014-2018. 3 boxes.
- Carver County. Chanhassen (village). Birth and death register dated 1900-1938. 1 bound volume.
- Legislature. Electronic Real Estate Recording Commission. 1 folder.
- Ombudsman for Corrections. Files of Theartrice Williams dated 1972-1989. 6 folders.
- Ramsey County. Parks and Recreation Commission. Meeting minutes and agenda items dated 1990-2003. 1 box.
- Tax Court. Tax Court. Closed (completed) decision files dated 2017-2019, and closed (completed) property taxes files dated 2011-2021 (bulk dated 2015-2021). 30 boxes.
Government records added this month to the State Archives collection document a number of important functions and activities, and will be valuable for various types of research. Staff of the Accountancy Board transferred meeting minutes, dated August 1960-December 2000, which continue an existing set of meeting minutes dating from 1909. The mission of the Board is to protect the public through the regulation of the practice of accounting by Certified Public Accountants, Registered Accounting Practitioners and others in Minnesota. The Board has nine members appointed by the Governor for four-year terms.
The state Agricultural Society transferred century farm applications, dated 2023, which continue an existing set of records. Dating from 1976, the century farm program was begun as a United States Bicentennial joint project between the State Fair and the Farmer magazine; later the Minnesota Farm Bureau became the co-sponsor. Include application forms for residents who wished to have their farms declared century farms, signifying that the farm had been in the same family for 100 or more years. The forms provide biographical and genealogical information and ownership history of the farm, and some include additional documentation and/or reminiscences. This new acquisition will be digitized by the Library & Archives Department digitization staff to join the set of records already digitized by our staff http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gr00094.xml.
Staff of the Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design Board transferred meeting minutes dated 1921-2000. The Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors was established in 1921. In subsequent years the Board changed its name and expanded to include Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design professionals. The Board regulates the professions and enforces state statutes and rules in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public by ensuring that individuals meet the education, examination and experience for licensure or certification and maintain their records in good standing. The Board has 21 members appointed by the Governor for four-year terms. The regulated professionals are represented by 16 individuals, complemented by 5 members of the general public.
The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) transferred reports, dated 2018-2023, including Financial Audits Division audit reports, Program Evaluation Division program evaluation reports, and investigation reports and reviews. The reports continue existing sets of reports dating from 1972. Throughout each year, the OLA examines the financial operations of state agencies and the performance of state-funded or state-authorized programs. The OLA conducts audits, evaluations, and investigations, and reports the results to the Minnesota Legislature, as well as to the officials responsible for the programs and organizations examined; the reports are available to the public.
With the assistance of Mower County Historical Society staff, records (dated circa1920-1967) of the Mower County Superintendent of Schools were transferred. The records include pupil, teacher and school district officer record cards, and selected subject files. In Minnesota the office of the county superintendent was established in 1851, while Minnesota was still a territory, and was abolished in 1970 after all rural common school districts had merged with independent school districts state-wide. The county superintendent oversaw the operations of the various school districts in the county, including examination and licensure of teachers, school inspection, curriculum planning, and planning of school facilities. While the State Archives preserves many records of individual Mower County school districts, the Mower County Superintendent of Schools is not well documented in the collection. These records provide concise summary information concerning pupils, teachers and school district officers county-wide, and are a valuable addition to the collection.
- Accountancy Board. Meeting minutes dated August 1960-December 2000. 2 boxes.
- Agricultural Society. Century farm applications dated 2023. 2 folders.
- Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design Board. Meeting minutes dated 1921-2000. 4 boxes.
- Legislative Auditor. Reports dated 2018-2023, including Financial Audits Division audit reports, Program Evaluation Division program evaluation reports, and investigation reports and reviews. 1 box.
- Mower County. Superintendent of Schools. Records, dated circa 1920-1967, including pupil, teacher and school district officer record cards, and selected subject files. 4 boxes.
Local government records with historical value are a major strength of the State Archives collection, and records added this month greatly enhance the collection. Birth and death records of townships and cities are particularly valuable and often their preservation and subsequent access is at risk, since townships and cities have no longer been required to register births and deaths since 1953. Often these records are neglected, stored in poor storage conditions, and their historical value is forgotten. With the assistance of the Heritage Preservation staff and the Mille Lacs County Historical Society, birth and death records (dated 1887-1942) of Princeton Township (Mille Lacs County) were transferred to the State Archives. The records join other birth and death records of the township preserved in the State Archives.
Ramsey County Public Works Department staff transferred Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority resolutions dated 1987-2020 (bulk dated 1987-2018), and agenda packets dated 2008-2018. The records continue an existing set of records dating from 1987. The Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority is established as a separate government unit that works on various transit and transit-oriented development projects that address the region’s need for mobility, improved transportation affordability, mitigation of traffic congestion, and enhanced environmental quality. Organized under Minnesota Statute 398, it is considered a separate taxing district from Ramsey County. The Authority consists of the seven members of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners
- Mille Lacs County. Princeton Township. Birth and death records dated 1887-1942. 2 boxes.
- Ramsey County. Regional Railroad Authority. Resolutions dated 198702020 (bulk dated 1987-2018), and agenda packets dated 2008-2018. 5 boxes.
Unique functions and activities of state and local government agencies are documented in records added this month to the State Archives. Staff of the Governor’s Developmental Disabilities Council transferred meeting minutes and agenda packets dated 2006-2014, published records and reports dated 1982-2019, and Olmstead Plan chronology dated February 2019. All of the records continue, or inter-file with, existing Council records preserved in the State Archives. The Council traces its roots back to the early 1970s, and at different times was under the State Planning Agency and the state Administration Department. The Council’s mission and function is mandated by state statute, and it is responsible for preparing and implementing a three-year state plan describing the quality, extent, and scope of needed services being provided or to be provided to persons with developmental disabilities; monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the state plan; and reviewing state service plans for persons with developmental disabilities. Consistent with its mandate, it is also an agent for change and an advocate for the improved quality of life of people with developmental disabilities.
Attorney John Diehl, who worked with the Western Pope County Hospital District, during a multi-year effort to consolidate health care services in Pope County, donated a bound volume of documents concerning the proposed merger of the District and the Glacial Ridge Hospital District (Glenwood). Included are legal documents, reports, recommendations, newspaper articles (photocopies), financial information, proposed joint powers agreements, correspondence, memoranda and related documents. The records inter-file with an existing set of records dating from 1912 when the District was formed by eleven townships and three cities in western Pope County to construct a hospital and maintain hospital services for the area.
In early 2022 the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners decided to close the Ramsey County Care Center (as known as the Ramsey County Nursing Home), and in the summer State Archives staff visited the facility to appraise and select eligible records for transfer to the State Archives. The transferred records (dated 1932-2008) include death certificate stubs concerning residents who died at the facility; photograph albums and photographs of staff, residents, and activities and events held at the Home; Among Ourselves newsletter regarding staff and resident activities; and selected subject files documenting policies, major activities, and organizations that contributed goods and services to the nursing home. The records complement other records of the facility preserved in the State Archives, whose history dates back to 1854 as the county’s alms house and poor farm.
- Governor’s Developmental Disabilities Council. Meeting minutes and agenda packets dated 2006-2014, published records and reports dated 1982-2019, and Olmstead Plan chronology dated February 2019. 5 boxes.
- Pope County. Western Pope County Hospital District. Merger of hospital districts records (dated 2004), compiled by attorney John Diehl, regarding the proposed merger of the Western Pope County Hospital District (Minnewaska) and the Glacial Ridge Hospital District (Glenwood). 1 bound volume.
- Ramsey County. Welfare Board. Ramsey County Nursing Home Records (dated 1932-2008) including death certificate stubs, photograph albums and photographs, Among Ourselves newsletter, and selected subject files. 3 boxes.
A wide variety of research topics are represented in the records added this month to the State Archives, such as documenting state aid to women, children and infants; legislative history; family and local history; and administration of the state's tax laws.
Health Department staff transferred records of the Minnesota Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) which provides specific supplemental foods and nutrition education services to Minnesota residents who meet specific categorical and income requirements; the CSFP has been providing benefits in Minnesota since 1988. The CSFP is designed to identify and serve those individuals who are within a target population of low income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants and children up to six years of age, as well as participants 60 years of age and order. The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program was started in Minnesota in early 1974, and works with many local agencies covering all 87 counties in Minnesota. The WIC Program was established on the basis of findings presented to the U.S. Congress which indicated that pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and young children who had inadequate nutrition and/or health care were at risk with respect to their physical and mental health. The program consists of three major components: 1) nutrition assessment, counseling and education services; 2) health education and referral services; 3) prescribed supplemental foods high in key nutrients. These integrated components provide intervention during the critical times of growth and development to prevent the occurrence of health problems and to improve the overall health status of eligible persons.
Staff of the House of Representatives transferred House Bills for the 2019-2020 legislative session which continue an existing set dating from 1957. Documenting the Minnesota state legislature is a collecting priority of the State Archives, and these records continue that effort. Champlin Township birth and death records (dated 1870-1909) were donated by the Champlin Historical Society, and will join other records of the township preserved in the State Archives. Included in records (dated 1873-1992) transferred by the City of Madelia is a birth and death register, dated 1887-1900, which pre-dates the city’s birth and death records already preserved in the State Archives. Birth and death records pre-dating 1900 are especially valuable for family history research, since the state government did not start recording birth and deaths until 1900. State Archives staff advised city staff for over a year, prior to their move into a new city hall, which also resulted in the transfer of village/city council meeting minutes, ordinances, justice court civil and criminal dockets, lockup registers, and financial records. These records will be particularly useful for local history research.
The Minnesota Tax Court has existed since 1939, and is a specialized, executive branch court specifically established by the Minnesota Legislature to hear only tax related cases. The Court's mission is to provide timely and equitable disposition of appeals of orders issued by the Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue and local property tax valuations, classification, equalization and/or exemptions. All of the judges have expertise in the tax laws and apply that expertise in a manner to ensure that taxpayers are assessed only what they owe, and no more. Tax Court staff transferred closed (completed) case files, dated 2013-2018, that inter-file with the existing set dating from 1939.
- Health Department. Family Health Division. Supplemental Nutrition Programs Section. State plans of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program dated FY1999-FY2006, and other records of the WIC Program dated 2002-
2004. 1 box.
- Hennepin County. Champlin Township. Birth and death register dated 1870-1909, and reports of a birth dated 1905-1907. 1 oversize folder.
- Legislature. House of Representatives. House bills for the 2019-2020 legislative session. 45 boxes.
- Tax Court. Closed (completed) case files dated 2013-2018. 30 boxes.
- Watonwan County. Madelia (village/city). Records (dated 1873-1992), including village/city council meeting minutes, ordinances, justice court civil and criminal dockets, birth and death records, lockup registers, and financial records. 11 boxes, 2 oversize bound volumes.
Records added this month to the State Archives collection inter-file with, or continue existing sets of state and local government records preserved in the collection; see below for details. The Agricultural Society century farm and sesquicentennial farm applications received fill in gaps in the existing set of records dating from 1976 which has been digitized http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gr00094.xml. The newly received records will be digitized after they are cataloged with the digital content will be available via our Library catalog.
Preserved in the State Archives are records of the City of Edina http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gr01884.xml, and the Village of Morningside http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gr01883.xml. Included in the City of Edina records is a copy of the petition to incorporate the village and a census of land owners dated 1888. Morningside was a distinct neighborhood in the Village of Edina when the community voted to secede from Edina and form their own village in 1920. In 1966 Morningside citizens voted to rejoin Edina. Included in the recent transfer are ballots (sample) of the May 3, 1966 special election held on the question of annexation of the Village of Morningside to the Village of Edina.
Minnesota has been a national leader in public welfare reform, and the Minnesota Family Investment Program http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gr01605.xml is well documented in the State Archives. The purpose of the program was to help families work their way out of poverty; the recently received records were donated by two long-time Human Services Department staff members (recently retired) who led the program from its inception.
Court records from all of Minnesota’s 87 counties are one of the strengths of the State Archives, and recently the Martin County District Court transferred adoption case files dated 1878-1985. In 1981 when the court transferred its set of civil case files (dated 1861-1951), it retained the adoption case files for ongoing use. The transfer was well-documented at the time, so it will be fairly easy to catalog and add these records to the court’s records preserved in the State Archives. In accordance with state law, adoption case files must be closed for 100 years, and can only be accessed with a court order. However, the files are important to permanently preserve for legal and historical purposes.
- Agricultural Society. List of century farm awardees dated 2007, century farm applications dated 2010-2011, and sesquicentennial farm applications dated 2010-2020. 1 box.
- City of Edina governance records, including petitions, by laws, and ordinances (dated 1888-1948), and redistricting and precinct boundaries changes files (dated 1972-1994); special election ballots (dated 1966) and poll lists/election registers (undated, 1934-1946, 1958, 1960) of the Village of Morningside. 1 box.
- Human Services Department. Minnesota Family Investment Program. Correspondence of project director Chuck Johnson (dated 1992-2000), and publications and reports (dated 1999-2008). 1 box.
- Martin County. District Court. Adoption case files dated 1878-1985. 7 boxes.
A wide variety of research topics and functions are represented in the records added this month to the State Archives collection. Local government records with historical value are a collecting strength of the State Archives, and the collection was strengthened with the transfer of Mower County Board of County Commissioners minute books dated 1856-2021, and Murray County Assessor assessment rolls dated 1990-1991, 2000, 2010-2011. The assessment books continue an existing set dating from 1873, and are useful for family and local history research. The Mower County records are particularly valuable because they pre-date Minnesota statehood, and are a unique and primary source for researching the county's history, development and life over more than 150 years.
Key functions (municipal boundary adjustments, protecting the natural environment, public health safety) of Minnesota state government are documented in records transferred by the Municipal Board, the Natural Resources Department, the Pharmacy Board, and the Public Service Department. Actually, the Municipal Board was terminated in 1999 by the state legislature, with its function now located in the Administrative Hearings Office as the Municipal Boundary Adjustment Unit. The Unit acts on boundary adjustments between a city and the adjacent land, and rules on incorporations of cities. In 1959, Minnesota became the first state in the country to create a quasi-judicial commission, the Minnesota Municipal Board, to hear and decide local incorporation and boundary adjustment questions. Prior to this, the Minnesota Legislature was confronted with municipal boundary chaos. Municipal annexation, detachment and incorporation files (dated 2006-2011) were transferred, and continue existing sets dating from 1957.
While the Natural Resources Department (DNR) is well-represented in the State Archives, there is no documentation concerning its extensive alumni and volunteer programs which support protecting and enjoying Minnesota's natural environment. The DNR Alumni and Volunteer Programs unit was formally established in 1984, and initially was funded with support from the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources. The unit had a two-directional focus: responding to requests from the public to be involved in DNR activities, and responding to requests from DNR staff for assistance from the public. Currently, more than 14,000 volunteers enable the DNR to expand and improve services to the public, and help to preserve and enhance Minnesota's natural beauty for the enjoyment of people of all ages, interests and abilities. Volunteer opportunities occur throughout the state at state parks, state forest campgrounds, wildlife management areas, fisheries and hatcheries, the 150+ DNR area offices, four regional headquarter offices, the St. Paul central office and at special event sites.
An early 1990s environmental protection issue, which continues to this day, is the storage of nuclear waste in steel casks at the Prairie Island nuclear generating facility located in Red Wing along the Mississippi River and adjacent to the Prairie Island Indian Community reservation. The plant is owned by the Northern States Power Company, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, and is operated by Xcel Energy. The nuclear power plant began operating in 1973, and has two nuclear reactors. The power plant attracted controversy in the early 1990s when its operator decided to store nuclear waste in large steel casks on-site. The area where the facility is located is a floodplain of the Mississippi River, and many opponents of the decision feared the risk of water contamination through breach of the casks during seasonal flooding of the river, and opposed renewal of the federal license at the plant. Eventually, storage of the steel casks was allowed at the facility, but the number of casks was reduced from 48 to 17. A timeline concerning the issue is available on the Community's website at: https://prairieisland.org/policy-positions/nuclear-positions.
Protecting the health of Minnesotans is an important function of the state government, and meeting minutes of the Pharmacy Board, dated 1970-2017, help document that public health function; the minutes continue a set dating from 1885 preserved in the State Archives. The Board regulates pharmacists, pharmacies, pharmacy technicians, controlled substance researchers, drug wholesalers and drug manufacturers. The Board approves licenses or registrations for these individuals or businesses, and also decides when to impose disciplinary action.
- Mower County. Board of County Commissioners. Minute books dated 1856-2021. 22 boxes.
- Municipal Board. Annexation, detachment and incorporation files dated 2066-2011, and published reports, dated 1969, regarding municipal boundary changes in Minnesota. 23 boxes.
- Murray County. Assessor. Assessment rolls dated 1990-1991, 2000, 2010-2011. 7 boxes.
- Natural Resources Department. Communications and Outreach Office. DNR Alumni and Volunteer Programs. Subject files (undated, 1983-2014) including newsletters, retirees' meeting minutes, reports, project files and related records. 1 box.
- Pharmacy Board. Minutes dated January 1970-October 2017. 2 boxes.
- Public Service Department. Prairie Island nuclear generating plant waste storage case file dated 1991-1993. 4 boxes.
Missing Item List
Since its founding in 1849, the Minnesota Historical Society has been collecting materials to document and tell the story of Minnesota’s history and culture. The scope of our Government Records collection is vast, spanning from the Territorial era to modern digital records. With a collection this old and this large, and especially with a collection that is accessible to the public, occasionally items go missing. Most of these turn out to be misplaced and are recovered through standard collections management practices. Some, however, are not so easily located and apparently have left the collection completely. Some of these were most likely stolen while others have been missing so long that we believe they are unlikely to be recovered in our own collections.
Government records in particular are subject to several state statutes regarding their security, safety, and obligation to be returned to the State Archives:
- 138.225 Prohibition Against Unauthorized Disposal of Records; Penalty
- 138.163 Preservation and Disposal of Public Records
- 138.226 Replevin Authority
- 138.17 Government Records; Administration
The Minnesota State Archives asks for your help to locate and recover Minnesota’s missing heritage. The items listed on this website are those that we believe are no longer within our facilities and that can be positively identified as being from our holdings. If you have seen any of these records, or if you know of any items belonging to MNHS that might be for sale or up for auction, please contact the State Archives Team:
- Saint Paul. Miscellaneous Records. St. Paul and Ramsey County Miscellany, 1858-1873 (1 folder).
- Education Department. Annual Reports of the High School Board, 1883-1887 (2 volumes).
- State Auditor. Land Department. Land Examiners Records. Land Examination Reports, 1909 (1 bundle).
- Saint Paul. Human Rights Department, Subject Files (1955-1982). American Indian Movement (1 folder).
- Highway Department. Engineering Division. Urban Facilities and Projects Files. Rept: Proposed East-West Interstate through St. Paul, circa 1950 (1 folder). Contains content regarding Rondo neighborhood.
- Roseau County. ISD No. 690, Warroad. Clerk's and Treasurer's Receipt and Disbursement Register, 1928-1932 (1 volume).