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The Minnesota Historical Society is nearing the halfway point in its Basic Project supported by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This grant significantly increases public access to the Society's archival collections by supporting the cataloging of 4,600 cubic feet of unprocessed government records and manuscript collections.

Throughout June work continued on local government records with substantial cubic footage, including the tax lists, assessment rolls, and court records of Clay, Murray, Red Lake, Stearns and Washington counties, as well as materials from Willmar State Hospital. At the same time, we concentrated on cataloging many small collections of personal and family papers and also began work on larger collections such as those of Herschel V. Jones and family, Virginia E. McKnight Binger and family, and Marjory Burns.

When processing a collection, it is not uncommon to find 3-D objects in the acquisition that may or may not relate directly to the accompanying manuscripts. For example, these elephants from the Marjory Burns papers (pictured below) will be evaluated by our objects curator for possible addition to our objects collection.

3D objects from Marjory Burns papers

Learn more about the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and how its strategic plan helps support non-Federal institutions like the Minnesota Historical Society through grants.

New and Revised Finding Aids - June 2011

Alldritt, Edwin. [Letter] 1864 July [to] Joseph S. Alldritt, Excelsior, Minnesota.
Letter from Edwin Alldritt, Private of Company A, 2nd U. S. Sharpshooters Regiment, to Joseph S. Alldritt, Excelsior, Minnesota. The eight-page letter is a day-by-day account of Alldritt's experience in Berdan's Regiment.
American Association of University Women of Minnesota: An Inventory of Its Records 00503
Records of the Minnesota state division and local branches of a national organization for college-educated women.
American Chemical Society. Minnesota Section: An Inventory of Its Records 00008
Organizational records of the Section include minutes, reports, membership data, financial records, and correspondence, as well as historical information and official documents such as the charter, articles of incorporation, and bylaws. Also included are files concerning meetings, conferences, and symposia, particularly the series of undergraduate symposia held annually at various colleges and universities throughout Minnesota.
Aurora Lutheran Church (Owatonna, Minn.). Aurora Lutheran Church pastoral records.
One roll of microfilm containing the church records of an Owatonna, Minnesota congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, established in 1871. The records include pastoral records (1870-2001), minute books (1873-1989), and ladies' aid secretary's reports (1943-1950).
Becker, James M. James M. Becker family history manuscript.
Several installments of a manuscript created by James M. Becker, a native of Dundas, Minnesota, that include histories of the Becker family of Rice County, Minnesota, and Becker's reminiscences of his World War II and educational experiences.
Blumstein Family Circle. Blumstein Family Circle minute books.
Minute books of a benevolent society formed by an extended family of Eastern European Jewish heritage to provide financial support for the family's matriarch.
Ransom Chadwick: An Inventory of His Andersonville Prison Diary 00882
Chadwick's 2-volume diary written mostly while in Andersonville Prison, Georgia, as a member of the Eighty-fifth New York Infantry; a typed transcription of the diary's narrative portion; and ephemera.
Richard Chute and Family: An Inventory of Their Papers 00105
Correspondence and papers of a pioneer Minneapolis businessman and his family. Includes information about Chute's involvement in the fur trade and his association with the Ewing and Chouteau fur trade interests; real estate deals in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota; the construction of the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railroad line; the promotion and development of Princeton, Minnesota with associate John S. Prince; the activities of the St. Anthony Falls Water Power Company, including the development of water power at Saint Anthony Falls; and the family's involvement in Twin Cities real estate through its Chute Brothers and Chute Brothers Company.
Dahlgren, Oscar R. World War I journals, undated.
Dahlgren's three volume journal relating his experiences as a private in World War I.
Elfmann, Alvin J. Alvin and Bonnie Elfmann oral history transcript, 2007 October 11.
Alvin and Bonnie Elfmann discuss their activities growing up, their parents, the history of their dairy farm near Annandale, Minnesota, local politics, the organic farming movement, corporate farming, the rural/urban population shift, and the Federal Highway Act of 1956 (Interstate Highway Act).
Fraler, John T. [Letter] 1907 June 17, Leech Lake Agency, Onigum, Minnesota [to] Frank Ellis, Onigum, Minnesota.
Letter from John T. Fraler, U.S. indian agent at Leech Lake, Minnesota, to Frank Ellis, Captain of Indian Police at Onigum, Minnesota, regarding medals purportedly taken from the graves of Chief Buffalo and Chief Quay-se-quod by one James B. Blackeater. On the reverse side of the letter is a reply from Blackeater dated June 23, 1907.
Gerry, Edson. [Letter] 1856 December 25, Winona, Minnesota Territory [to] Aunt Grace and cousins.
Letter written by Edson Gerry, then living at or near Winona, Minnesota Territory, to his relatives, discussing the purchase of land in Minnesota, his farm, and urging his relatives to leave their homes in the East and join him there.
Giesen, Reinold Peter. Reinold Peter Giesen papers.
Handwritten personal narrative detailing Giesen's service as a gunner with the United States Navy during World War II, a travel itinerary, notes and lessons from gunnery school, photographs of Giesen, shipmates, and places stationed, and two newspaper clippings containing news of his service.
Glasby, William Francis. William Francis Glasaby and family papers.
Typed copy of Selfridge-Glasby-Eskra Family History; family histories/genealogies of Addie Ottilie Kiesling Glasby and Charles Shedd Glasby; family history notes on the Glasby and Coon families; letters to William Francis Glasby from Edward LeRoy Glasby (1859, 1871-1876); and letters to Charles Glasby from George M. McGregor (1899). The family history covers the years before the family's migration from New York to Wasioja Township, Dodge County, Minnesota in 1855, to 1960. The William Glasby correspondence concerns farming and other activities and events in Wasioja Township. McGregor's letters document his service in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War.
Great Northern Railway Company: Advertising and Publicity Dept.: An Inventory of Its Lantern Slides 00908
Glass lantern slides consist mainly of views of the western United States. Includes views of Great Northern trains, Glacier National Park, other parks in Washington, the Badlands, agriculture and industry, dude ranches, the construction of the Cascade Tunnel, areas of California, and a few slides of China and the Philippines.
Joan Anderson Growe: An Inventory of Her Papers 00043
Personal papers, primarily consisting of campaign files, speeches, and subject files, of a former DFL state legislator from the Minnetonka and Eden Prairie area who later served as Minnesota Secretary of State for 24 years.
Hanscom, Bertha Lucia. Bertha Lucia Hanscom Diary, 1898-1899.
Diary of Bertha Lucia Hanscom, of Willmar, Minnesota, kept when she was 18 years old.
Louis W. Hill: An Inventory of His Papers 00702
Correspondence, legal documents, financial records, photographs, printed materials, newspaper clippings, biographical data, and maps related to the personal life and wide ranging business ventures of the St. Paul businessman, president and chairman of the Great Northern Railway Company, and son of James J. Hill.
J.M. Dalglish Company: An Inventory to Its Business Records 00022
Photographs, design blueprints, motion picture films, and correspondence of a metal fabricating company established in 1927 as general manufacturing agents for various products. The company fulfilled defense contracts during World War II and manufactured lawn mowers and similar items afterward.
Klaus, Christian. Christian Klaus and Family Papers.
Two small volumes kept by Christian Klaus and his sister Henriette, who migrated from Germany and lived in Dakota County, Minnesota. Christian's volume contains Biblical passages and confirmation instructions. Henriette Klaus' writing book contains poems as well as an account of their trip from Germany to Nininger, Minnesota..
Lawrence, Frank. Frank Lawrence Diary, 1876.
Diary kept by Frank Lawrence of Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, noting his daily activities, comments on the weather, his infatuation with Nellie, and his removal to Littleton, Missouri near the end of the year. He comments on talks by Bishop Henry B. Whipple and on the Younger Brothers raid on Northfield, Minnesota.
League of Women Voters of Minnesota: An Inventory of Its Records 00191
Records documenting the activities of the state league founded in 1919, its local leagues, and their participation in the national League of Women Voters.
[Letter] 1934 May 2, Minneapolis, Minnesota [to] Billie.
A letter of uncertain authorship addressed to Billie and signed Eddie, with a postscript signed Snooks, mentioning individuals named Dillinger and Floyd.
John and James Lewis reminiscence, circa 1890s.
Narrative of unknown authorship recounting the journey of John and James Lewis from New York to Wisconsin and into Minnesota Territory in 1857-1858, their settlement on a farm in southern Minnesota, relations with the Indians, and their lives through the Civil War.
Luce Line Trail Association (Minn.). Luce Line Trail Association records.
Minutes, petitions, reports, legislation and clippings of a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the Luce Line Trail, a recreational trail from Plymouth to Cosmos, Minnesota, established in 1976.
Marsh, George H. [Letter] 1877 January 9, Mankato, Minnesota [to] Mary Jane Reid, West Boylston, Massachusetts.
Letter from Mankato, Minnesota real estate dealer George H. Marsh to his cousin, Mary J. Reid of West Boylston, Massachusetts, discussing family matters; life in Mankato; a grasshopper infestation; and setting forth his opinions of Native Americans.
Murray County: Assessor: An Inventory of Its Assessment Rolls gr00390
Assessment rolls for the civil subdivisions of Murray County, recording the value of taxable real and personal property for the years 1873-1874, 1877-1892, 1894-1901 and subsequent sample years 1910-1911, 1920-1921, 1930-1931, 1940-1941, 1950-1951, 1960-1961, 1970-1971, and 1980-1981.
Murray County: Auditor: An Inventory of Its Tax Lists gr00359
Tax lists for the civil subdivisions of Murray County, recording the taxes assessed and paid on real and personal property for the years 1873-1874, 1876-1879, 1891-1901 and subsequent sample years 1910-1911, 1920-1921, 1930-1931, 1940-1941, 1950-1951, 1960-1961, 1970-1971, and 1980-1981.
Thomas Corwin Myers and Samuel Isaac Myers: An Inventory of Their Family Papers 00898
Biographical and background data, photographs, architectural plans, and maps drawn by Samuel Isaac Myers and Thomas Corwin Myers relating to Itasca State Park, Park Rapids, and surrounding areas.
Knute Nelson: An Inventory of His Papers 00578
Correspondence and miscellany documenting Nelson's career as a soldier with the Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry (1861-1864), as a country lawyer and politician at Alexandria, Minnesota (1871-1892), as governor of Minnesota (1893-1895), and particularly as United States senator (1895-1923). The majority of the papers focus on political and legislative affairs, either in Minnesota or reflecting Minnesota interests.
Nichols, Anna. [Letter] 1862 December 21, Summit Township, Wisconsin [to] Ezra Nichols.
A letter written by Anna Nichols to her husband Ezra, who was then away serving with the 8th Minnesota Regiment during the Civil War, discussing family and friends and the deaths of several area children from illness. Anna and Ezra lived and farmed near Morristown, Minnesota.
Northwest Bancorporation: An Inventory of Its Records of Member Banks 00376
Minute books, stock ledgers, journals and cash books, bank histories, subject files, biographies, financial information, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, press releases, advertising material, and photographs of a Minneapolis-based bank holding company and of affiliated banks and financial companies, particularly the Northwestern National Bank of Minneapolis.
Olin, Rollin C. [Letter] 1864 June 17, Saint Paul, Minnesota, [to] Major John Clowney, Fort Snelling, Minnesota.
Letter from R. C. Olin, Assistant Adjutant General, to Major John Clowney, Commanding detachment in camp near Ft. Snelling, relaying orders from General Henry H. Sibley that Lt. Hubbard remain at Fort Snelling to make arrangements for the outfitting of scouts.
Olson Sisters: An Inventory of Their Papers 00900
News clippings and published items, programs, recording agreements, and photographs of Eleonora and Ethel Olson, Norwegian-American singers and comediennes.
Pettie, George Clinton. George Clinton Pettie diaries.
Photocopied transcripts of two diaries kept by Pettie while on the Sibley Expedition (1863) into Dakota Territory and while later serving with the Union Army (1864-1865) in Kentucky and Indiana, as well as a folder of genealogical information about Pettie and his descendants compiled by Pettie's great-grandson, Norbert McCrady.
Public Examiner. Audit Reports of county welfare boards
Reports on the examination of the financial affairs of county welfare boards by the public examiner. They generally cover the calendar or fiscal year, plus a portion of the following year.
Ray Family: An Inventory of Its Papers 00899
Genealogical materials relating to the Ray, Brewster, Eldredge, and Potter families; papers of Philip Lacey Ray, including biographical materials, correspondence, portraits, and family photographs.
Red Lake County. District Court. Business name records
Business name index, Volume 1 (circa 1921-1978) and certificates, Nos. 1-26, 28-56 (1911-1970).
Red Lake County. District Court. Torrens record
Transcripts of court decrees in land title cases.
Red Lake County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Civil and Criminal Case Files gr00322
Civil and criminal case files; the civil records include an index, by plaintiff and defendant (1897-1975), case file numbers 1-1774 (1897-1919), and select transcripts and related documents (1906-1949). The criminal records include case file numbers 3-553 (1897-1978) and select transcripts and related documents (1932-1957).
Red Lake County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Coroner's Records gr00324
Coroner's inquest records, 1897-1978, 1985, and autopsy reports, 1978-1895.
Red Lake County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Judgment Dockets gr00327
Each entry notes judgment debtor(s), judgment creditor(s), court (justice or district), date of judgment, date of docketing, amounts of damages and costs, register number, attorney for the creditor, and sometimes information on the satisfaction (settlement) of the judgment.
Red Lake County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Oaths and Bonds Registers gr00329
Register for local officials.
Red Lake County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Real Estate Tax Judgment Books gr00328
Record of real estate found to be tax delinquent; may include names of owners, description of the property; year or years for which taxes are delinquent; total tax and penalty; costs; and total amount of judgment.
Red Lake County: Juvenile Court: An Inventory of Its Juvenile Court Record Books gr00325
Records relating to juveniles; includes petitions for county aid for mothers of dependent children, findings and orders for county allowance, and warrants of commitment to the state school for juveniles at Owatonna.
Red Lake County: Probate Court: An Inventory of Its Probate Records gr00323
Records of the activities of the probate court, including final decrees of distribution, order books, wills, and insanity records.
Red Lake County: Probate Court: Municipal Court Division: An Inventory of Its Traffic and Criminal Action Registry and Judgment Books gr00326
Kept by the probate court prior to the formal establishment of a County Court. Gives case title and number, charge, date the complaint was filed, and memorandum of action (defendant's plea and the court's fine or sentence, occasionally with additional case information).
Stearns County. Juvenile Court. Juvenile Court minute book.
Case number, description of case, and court orders for January 1918-April 1927.
Stearns County. Probate Court. Judgment Record No. 3.
For each case, may include petition (information in insanity), judgment, and related administrative orders.
Stearns County: Auditor: An Inventory of Its Tax Lists gr00358
Tax lists for the civil subdivisions of Stearns County, recording the taxes assessed and paid on real and personal property for the years 1859-1901 and subsequent sample years 1910-1911, 1920-1921, 1930-1931, 1940-1941, 1950-1951, 1960-1961, 1970-1971, and 1980-1981.
Stearns County: County Court: An Inventory of Its County Court Civil Indexes gr00280
Plaintiff and defendant civil record books, 1972-1984) and petitioner and respondent family indexes, 1972-1983.
Stearns County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Coroner's Inquest Files gr00255
Inquest registers, 1858-1955, and files, Nos. 37-1922, 1878-1958. The latter include jury verdicts, post-mortem examinations, and coroner's certificates.
Stearns County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Criminal Actions Registers and Indexes gr00250
The entry for each case may include case file number; names of plaintiffs, defendants, and their attorneys; and a chronological list of each document filed or other action taken in the case, with the dates and any associated fees.
Stearns County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Plaintiff's and Defendant's Indexes gr00254
Plaintiff's and defendant's indexes to District Court civil case files. Entries may include case file number, parties to the case, type of action, date and amount of judgment, and citation to the register of action volume and page number indexed.
Stearns County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Real Estate Tax Judgment Books gr00253
Record of real estate found to be tax delinquent; includes names of owners, description of the property, year or years for which taxes are delinquent, total tax and penalty, costs, and total amount of judgment.
Stearns County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Record of Oaths and Bonds and Index. gr00252
Record of oaths and bonds of town and county officials, 1855-1859, 1871-1983, and index, 1859-1977.
Stearns County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Registers of Civil Actions gr00251
Summaries of actions in Stearns County district court civil cases, covering case file numbers 1 to 45000. Also includes transcripts, 1899-1978.
Stearns County: Probate Court: An Inventory of Its Probate Actions Registers and Indexes gr00256
Registers of documents filed and actions taken in individual probate, guardianship, and insanity cases.
Stearns County: St. Cloud: Municipal Court: An Inventory of Its Civil and Criminal Registers and Indexes gr00257
The records contain civil actions indexes, 1936-circa 1965, and registers, 1936-1972, listing names of plaintiffs, defendants, and attorneys, documents filed, and fees paid, criminal actions indexes, 1936-1972, and registers, 1969-1972, listing names of defendants and case file numbers, trial dates, types of cases, and sentences.
Upper Mississippi Waterway Association: An Inventory of Its Records 00911
Correspondence, memoranda, reports, brochures, articles, clippings, and financial records of this company formed in 1932 to promote and develop water transportation routes in the Mississippi Valley. The records give information on development and use of the nine-foot Mississippi River channel, federal regulations, competition with railroads, Minneapolis harbor facilities, relations with other interested groups and individuals, promotional activities, water supply and usage problems, industrial development in river communities, attitudes of various U.S. congressmen, and distribution of barges and war production plants during World War II.
Washington County: An Inventory of Its Marriage Records of Washington County (Minn.) and Environs gr00333
Photocopied marriage licenses and certificates, kept by the justice of the peace of territorial St. Croix County, Wisconsin, covering that part of the county west of the St. Croix River and east of the Mississippi River (present-day Washington and surrounding Minnesota counties).
Washington County: Assessor: An Inventory of Its Assessment Rolls wash006
Microfilmed and original assessment rolls for the civil subdivisions of Washington County, recording the value of taxable real and personal property for the years 1856-1901 and subsequent sample years 1910-1911, 1920-1921, 1930-1931, 1940-1941, 1950-1951, and 1960-1961.
Washington County: Auditor: An Inventory of Its Miscellaneous Records gr00334
Oaths and bonds of county officials; chattel mortgages; estray records; ferry, peddlers' and auctioneers' licenses; 1921 inventory of county property; a tax account record with the state of Minnesota; a 1906 or 1908 Republican primary ballot; South Stillwater plat index; and subject files.
Washington County: Auditor: An Inventory of Its Miscellaneous Tax Records gr00335
Delinquent tax lists, mainly for the city of Stillwater; tax lists for school taxes collected in Oakdale Township and Greenfield (renamed Grant in 1864) Township and for School District 5: Townships 27-28, Range 21; and tax record book.
Washington County: Auditor: An Inventory of Its Road Records gr00336
A road plat book (1868-1910); road record book (1887-1891); road warrant registers (1916-1939); loose road papers including orders, petitions, maps, and road committee reports (1854-1967); and road commissioner's minutes and tax sales (1858-1872).
Washington County: Auditor: An Inventory of Its Trial Balance Books gr00344
Periodic balances of county ledgers into debit and credit columns.
Washington County: Auditor: An Inventory of Its Warrant Registers gr00337
A record of payments from county funds authorized by the county auditor for the years 1850-1947 and 1956-1966.
Washington County: Auditor: Real Estate Tax Judgment Books gr00332
Judgment books for real estate in Washington County.
Washington County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Calendars and Court Commissioner's Record Books gr00330
Calendars recording actions of the United States District Court under both the territorial (Wisconsin and Minnesota) and state governments.
Washington County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Civil and Criminal Case Files gr00331
Civil and criminal case files in three consecutive sequences and a separate set of criminal case files only (1942-1951).
Washington County: District Court: An Inventory of Its Real Estate Tax Judgment Books gr00332
Record of real estate found to be tax delinquent.
Washington County: District Court: Lands Forfeited for Taxes
Lists of parcels of land forfeited for nonpayment of taxes.
Washington County: Equalization Board: Equalization Board Records
Proceedings and minutes, correspondence, and related papers of the board.
Washington County: Forest Lake Township: An Inventory of Its Records gr00342
Town meeting minutes; accounting records; election records, including poll lists; assessment roll abstracts; a tax list; road and road tax records; wolf bounties; a chattel mortgage record; and a variety of ordinances, contracts, petitions, and other miscellany. Included are a list of old age assistance recipients, and articles of agreement and bylaws of the Forest Lake Co-operative Creamery Association.
Washington County: Oneka Township: Records
Meeting minutes and chattel mortgage record book.
Washington County: Pine Point Nursing Home: An Inventory of Its Pine Point Nursing Home Records gr00338
Minutes of the nursing home's governing board, audit reports and a financial statement, reports on income from patients, historical data, a financial feasibility study, and sample patient documents and miscellany.
Washington County: Poor Farm: An Inventory of Its Poor Farm Records gr00339
Records of this county farm, including registers of inmates, financial records, property inventories, a sketch map, payroll records, a visitors register, and the commissioner's book.
Washington County: Probate Court: Calendar
Daily record of the court's activities.
Washington County: Treasurer: An Inventory of Its Treasurer's Records gr00340
Records documenting the activities and duties of the county treasurer. Included are records of receipts and expenditures and tax, school land, and soldiers' bounty records.
Washington County: Welfare Board: An Inventory of Its Welfare Board Records gr00341
Minutes, 1937-1969; audit reports for 1948-1961, incomplete; and survey reports, 1946-1969, of the county's welfare board.
Wells, Willoughby. Willoughby and Louisa Wells and family correspondence, 1861-1866.
Letters to and from Willoughby and Louisa (France) Wells, residents of Blue Earth County, Minnesota, principally while he served in the Civil War with the 5th Iowa Cavalry (1861-1864) and with Brackett's Battalion.

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