Research Library & Archives

The reading room is currently open Thursday – Saturday by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled by emailing: research@hennepinhistory.org .

To make the most of your research time, the archivist will discuss your research goals with you when you make your appointment. Please consider whether you need to consult resources in person before making a request to visit. Some research can be accomplished by email as well as in person.

If you are interested in self-directed research that does not involve archival materials here are some of the resources we provide:

  • Card catalog for archival collections and library materials
  • Sanborn fire insurance maps
  • Clipping files
  • City directories
  • Reference books on Hennepin County
  • Maps and atlases

The library has one computer station available for use with free access to Ancestry.com and newspapers.com as well as a scanner/copy machine (with a small printing fee).

Make Your Own History

Documenting Our Experiences:

The Research Library and Archives is currently seeking stories from Hennepin County residents regarding their experiences during the COVID-19 outbreak. Your story will contribute to the broader understanding to the history of Hennepin County during this time.

Archival Collections

A portion of our archival collection is processed with finding aids. Finding aids are documents that offer an overview of what is in each archival collection, letting you know if a collection is worth exploring further. Our list of online finding aids will continue to grow, so check back often!

The following collections are available for research by appointment. Some collections may contain restricted materials as noted on the individual finding aids. Please contact the Museum Archivist to schedule an appointment before your visit as materials must be retrieved from our archives. Please review library open hours before your visit as they are different from those of the general museum.

Andrew Riverside Church

(B549, 9 boxes)

Andrew Riverside Presbyterian Church was the result of the 1966 merger between Andrew Church and Riverside Church. This collection spans from 1888 to 2001, the year the original building collapsed. The collection includes administrative records from both churches. It also includes church bulletins, event and community materials and some photos of the church and its members.

Baker, Patricia D.

(B533, 4 boxes)

Patricia D. Baker served as Minneapolis Park Commissioner for the 4th district from 1982 to 1997 and president of the Park Board from 1985-1987 and 1996-1997. This collection includes correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, budget reports, local publications, and public event calendars of the Park Board. It also includes documentation, reports, and studies related to various committees and projects.

Central High School, Minneapolis

(B553, 5 boxes)

Central High School was the first high school in Minneapolis. It existed under three names: Union School (1860-1863), Washington School (circa 1867-1878), and Central High School (1878-1982). This collection dates from 1876-1984 with bulk being from 1913-1950s.

Coffeehouse Extempore

(B544, 18 boxes)

Coffeehouse Extempore was at one time the nation’s oldest continuously operated folk music and arts center. The non-profit organization, originally founded in 1964 as a youth drop-in center, attracted professional and semi-professional performers from around the country and world. This collection includes performance and marketing materials such as press releases, posters, artist’s promotional materials, newspaper clippings. It also includes information on the Country Store, Juice Bar and relocation and renovation projects.

Commedia Theatre

(B569, 5 boxes)

Commedia Theater Company was a professional, improvisational touring theater from 1975 until the early-1990s. The collection includes administrative materials, performance and marketing materials, performance programs, posters and newspaper clippings, photographs of performances and Commedia members and media-related materials.

Company B Last Man Club, 13th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry,

(B517, 6 boxes)

Company B Last Man Club was an organization of Spanish-American War Veterans from Company B of the 13th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. The collection includes meeting minutes, notices of upcoming meetings, and club newsletters both for Company B Last Man Club and the 13th Minnesota Regimental Association.

Confer Brothers Realty

(B564, 3 boxes)

This collection dates from 1917-1962 and includes materials relating to the Confer Brothers Realty Company. It features items specific to Ogden A. Confer, founder of the company, as well as company documents such as an early sales contracts, advertising news clippings and planning information for a housing development project in Maple Plain called Broadmoor.

Doell, Charles E.

(B515, 2 boxes)

Charles Edward Doell served as Secretary of the Board of Minneapolis Park Commissioners for 30 years. He was also the Superintendent of Parks from 1945 until his retirement in 1959. The bulk of the collection consists of articles and essays written by Charles Doell for both presentation and publication in Parks & Recreation and Parks Sparks, among other magazines.

Elwell, James T.

(B511, 5 boxes)

James T. Elwell served as Republican State Senator from the 39th District and had careers in manufacturing and real estate. The Elwell collection includes correspondences between Elwell family members and professional correspondences regarding Elwell’s political, business, and real estate career.

Girl Scouts of Minneapolis & Hennepin County

(B537, 1 box)

This collection contains annual reports from 1937 – 2000, issues of The Pioneer, Girl Scout News, The Bridge, Cookie News, Currents, Especially for Volunteers and Parent Newsletter newsletters, material from the annual meeting in 2001, information about Marjorie Edgar and a copy of the book The Rowan Tree by Joyce Hakala.

Greater Minneapolis Interfaith Housing Program

(B504, 1 box)

The Greater Minneapolis Interfaith Fair Housing Program promoted “residential dispersion,” or neighborhood desegregation, in Minneapolis and its surrounding communities between 1959 and 1964. This collection houses organizational records from the full span of the nonprofit’s existence, from 1959 to 1965.

Griswold, Rauma, Egge and Olson Architects

(B567, 2 boxes)

The Griswold, Rauma, Egge & Olson collection contains still images and documents related to the firm’s commissions, as well as several commissions executed by the principals John Rauma and David Griswold earlier in their careers. 1958-1986.

Hearing Society of Minnesota

(B541, 12 boxes)

The Hearing Society of Minnesota (HSOM) was founded in 1922 by Horace Newhart. Originally called the Minneapolis Society for the Hard of Hearing, and then the Minneapolis Hearing Society, the organization provided education and services for the hearing impaired as well as their families and the community. The bulk of the collection includes administrative materials from 1922 to 1999.

Hoyer, Eric

(B501, 3 boxes)

This collection is made up of newspaper clippings that covered various events during former Minneapolis Mayor Eric Hoyer’s time in office. The scope of the issues covered between 1948-1957 are very broad including: civil rights, desegregation, fair housing, the labor movement, police vice activities, public housing, civil defense and public transportation.

Metro & City Planning Bulletins

(B500, 2 boxes)

The Minneapolis City Planning Commission collection houses reports, plans, and proposals created or approved by the City Planning Commission between 1934 and 1979. Taken together, these materials document the growth, decline, and nascent resurgence of Minneapolis in that era.

Minneapolis Board of Education

(B509, 3 boxes)

The bulk of this collection dates from 1964-1971, when much of the Minneapolis Board of Education’s work revolved around school desegregation. Other major issues included the district’s overburdened buildings and the creation of new curricular programs, such as the federal Experimental Schools Program and the Twin Cities Institute for Talented Youth.

Minneapolis Housing and Redevelopment Authority (MHRA)

(B577, 14 boxes)

This collection includes materials created when the MCDA operated as the Minneapolis Housing and Redevelopment Authority (MHRA). The bulk of the material is from the 1960s -1970s and is composed of photographic slides of the city of Minneapolis and redevelopment projects initiated by the MHRA. The collection also features photographic prints of redevelopment in downtown Minneapolis including the Gateway district, urban renewal, senior housing projects and other redevelopment projects.

Minneapolis Teachers Retirement Fund Association

(B527, 16 boxes.)

This collection includes Board Meeting Minutes, governance and legal documents, capital campaigns, financial statements, newsletters, scrapbooks, and other memorabilia that covered various events during the 1956 to 2005 period of constructing the building and management of the Park Avenue residence, the funding to construct and maintain the residence, and the management of the portfolio and assets of the retirement fund itself.

MnDOT

(B508, 6 boxes)

The material in this collection was created by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, formerly known as the Department of Highways. It includes photographs and Right of Way surveys for potential highway projects between 1959 and 1978 within Hennepin County. The bulk of the collection features Hiawatha/Hwy 55, Hwy 100 and Hwy 94 (Minneapolis).

Prospect Park Neighborhood, Minneapolis

(B562, 5 boxes)

The Prospect Park Collection houses personal and organizational materials from residents of the Prospect Park and East River Road neighborhoods, particularly those involved in the Prospect Park and East River Road Improvement Association (PPERRIA) and the Sidney Pratt School. The collection dates from 1902 to 2017, with the bulk of the materials dating from the 1970s and 1990s.

Rosacker, Hans/Hans Rosacker Company

(B620, 2 boxes)

Hans Rosacker Floral Company was founded in Minneapolis in 1902 by Hans and Amalie Rosacker. This collection includes material about the Hans Rosacker Company and the Rosacker family. 1902-1999.

St. Andrews/St. Barnabas Hospital

(B593, 3 boxes)

The St. Andrew’s Hospital School of Nursing collection contains minutes, correspondence, notes, newsletters, financial records, membership lists, scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper and magazine clippings, and other documents and ephemera relating to the St. Andrew’s School of Nursing and its Alumnae Association. 1915-2004.

St. Anthony Elevators

(B531, 1 box.)

The St. Anthony Elevators collection houses insurance and real estate appraisals, technical drawings, and building photographs created for F. H. Peavey and Company and International Mineral and Chemicals Corporation between 1938 and 1982, along with materials related to the documentation of St. Anthony Elevator Number 3 for the Historical American Buildings Survey in 1992.

Stenvig, Charles

(B530, 8 boxes)

Charles Stenvig served three terms as Mayor of Minneapolis. This collection is composed of administrative documents related to aspects of Minneapolis governance, primarily during Charles Stenvig’s first two terms as mayor of Minneapolis from 1969 to 1973.

Temple Baptist Church

(B538, 16 boxes)

The Temple Baptist Church collection contains a wide range of documents, photographs, and artifacts from 1909 to 1999, covering the time from the church’s founding to its dissolution.

University of Minnesota

(B523, 1 box)

The University of Minnesota is a public research university that was founded in 1851. The materials in this collection originated on the Twin Cities campus and include publications, programs, personal papers and news clippings donated from various sources.

USS Minneapolis

(B518, 1 box)

The USS Minneapolis (CA-36, 1934) collection contains photographs, ship’s manuals, schematics for various systems and ephemera from the ship’s christening.

Digital Collections

In order to better serve our patrons, the Hennepin History Museum partnered with Minnesota Digital Library and Hennepin County Library Digital Collections to create digitized copies of some of our collections. The original content still remains in the museum archives.

Hennepin History Museum collection hosted by Hennepin County Library Digital Collections

Hennepin History Museum collection hosted by Minnesota Digital Library

Need Further Assistance?

For researchers that require additional assistance, please contact our Museum Archivist.