Miller Center

Minnesota Historical Society

CPC Catalog > Organization: Minnesota Historical Society

Location [ map ]

Minnesota Historical Society

345 W. Kellogg Blvd.,
St. Paul, MN 55102

Description:

As its fifth official act, Minnesota Territory’s pioneer legislature established the Minnesota Historical Society in 1849. No other U.S. territory or state created a historical organization so rapidly. Charles K. Smith, Minnesota’s first territorial secretary with a reputation as a political rascal, drew up the legislative act, wrote the founding charter, and attached the names of eighteen distinguished supporters (several of whom had not given their permission). MNHS held its first annual meeting, for fewer than 100 members, on New Year’s Day 1850. Statehood followed eight years later.

 

In its earliest decades, MNHS hosted discussions of historical topics, established a library and collection of manuscripts and artifacts, began building an endowment, and published reminiscences and scholarly works — including a groundbreaking Dakota dictionary. It operated from a series of temporary quarters. The Minnesota Historical Society survived devastating fires in 1857 and 1881, guided the creation of Itasca State Park in 1890, and entered the 20th century with 300 members, 100,000 volumes in its library, and a dozen people on staff.

To protect its growing and scattered collections from another fire, MNHS needed permanent quarters. That home arrived with the completion in 1918 of a dedicated Minnesota Historical Society building in the capitol complex. (The Roman Renaissance-style structure currently serves as the Minnesota Judicial Center.) With a secure base of operations, MNHS could in the following years provide more public services — helping county and local historical societies organize, welcoming tens of thousands of visitors a year, and beginning radio broadcasts and other kinds of public outreach — while vastly increasing the size of the library and manuscript collections.

 

MNHS acquired its first historic site in 1958, eventually telling Minnesota’s stories through a network of sites across the state. As MNHS continued to grow in size and ambitions — launching educational programs, granting funds to local history organizations, and becoming a force in such fields as archaeology and historic preservation — the space and technological limitations of its old headquarters became clear. The Minnesota History Center — with marvelous facilities for exhibits, programs, library and collections — opened in 1992.

 

Today, the Minnesota Historical Society welcomes more than 800,000 guests each year, along with another 3.2 million website visitors, 50,000 social media followers, and 25,000 members.

 

http://www.mnhs.org/about/history

Categories: Millard Fillmore, Rutherford B. Hayes,

Collections:
James F. Babcock scrapbook, 1854 June
Henry Villiard correspondence with President Rutherford B. Hayes, 1880-1883
Selected papers of Ignatius Donnelly, 1880-1890
P.J. Smalley Papers, 1863-1944
John S. McLain Correspondence, 1879-1927
Frank M. Nye and Family Papers, 1881-1936
Moses E. Clapp Papers, 1873-1929

Note that this is an incomplete collections list. Please contact the organization directly for the most current information about their holdings.


James F. Babcock scrapbook, 1854 June

1 v.
A scrapbook with clippings of letters written by Babcock to the New Haven (Connecticut) Palladium, describing an excursion to Minnesota in which President Millard Fillmore participated.
A printed version of this catalog record is available in the repository; filed as A/-B112.
http://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/collection/data/122412043

Size
1 volumes

Presidential content includes:

- Millard Fillmore

[ TOP ↑ ]

Henry Villiard correspondence with President Rutherford B. Hayes, 1880-1883

1 folder.
Correspondence extending the hospitality of the steamboat and railroad line in the Oregon and Washington territories to Hayes, which was accepted. Also includes an invitation to attend the opening of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company's main line connecting St Paul, Minneapolis and Lake Superior with Puget Sound, Washington.
Original documents Rutherford B. Hayes Memorial Library (Fremont, Ohio).
A print version of this catalog record is available in repository, filed as P865.
 

Size
1 folder

Presidential content includes:

- Rutherford B. Hayes

[ TOP ↑ ]

Selected papers of Ignatius Donnelly, 1880-1890

Donnelly, Ignatius, 1831-1901. Letters from Donnelly to Grover Cleveland and other correspondence urging the prohibition of foreign labor under labor contracts, the selection of William F. Vilas of Wisconsin for a cabinet post, the selection of Donnelly as surveyor general, and the acceptance of recommendations on other appointments. There is also data on internal Democratic Party affairs and a communication from Secretary of War Alexander Ramsey verifying the reinstatement of William Baker as street commissioner of New Orleans. The main set of Ignatius Donnelly and family papers is cataloged separately.

 

https://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/collection/data/122580793

Size
11 items

Presidential content includes:

- Grover Cleveland

[ TOP ↑ ]

P.J. Smalley Papers, 1863-1944

Smalley, P. J. (Palemon Jared), 1842-1912. Autobiographical memoirs ([1900-1902]), correspondence (1863-1912), articles and addresses ([1894-1911]), scrapbooks of editorial columns (1887-1906), obituaries and news clippings (1912 and 1944), and additional papers of a Union soldier, lawyer, newspaper publisher, editorialist, and secretary of the Minnesota Democratic State Central Committee related to his service in the Civil War, party politics and national economic policy during the 1890s, and his thought as an editorial columnist. The correspondence includes letters from such prominent political figures as Grover Cleveland, Henry George, Robert M. LaFollette, Elihu Root, and J. Sterling Morton dealing mainly with the Democratic party's stand on tariff revision. Articles and speeches address the topics of free trade, bimetalism, Democratic party principles, Minnesota taxation, and public financing of education. Democratic party materials include a letterpress book largely concerning patronage (1893-1894); a record book concerning postmasterships (ca. 1893); a ledger (1892-1896); minutes of the State Central Committee and of the state conventions (1892-1894); and clippings on the Minnesota Democratic platform of 1890. The scrapbooks contain newspaper columns Smalley wrote while publisher of the Caledonia Argus as well as those he wrote for the St. Paul Dispatch.

Smalley's 170-page autobiography (1900, 1902) offers observations on frontier life in Wisconsin and Minnesota (1847-1860); information on his Civil War service with the Fourth Wisconsin Infantry at New Orleans, Louisiana (1862), on General Henry W. Halleck's invasion of the Red River Valley of the South (1863), his service as an officer in the 99th U.S. Colored Infantry (1863-1866), and his observations of graft and war profiteering; his experiences with the Freedmen's Bureau in the South (1868); the family's foundary work in Manitowac, Wisconsin; his law practice (1869-1889) and newspaper career (1880-1891) in Caledonia, Houston County (Minn.); and his life in St. Paul, where he served as clerk of the Minnesota House of Representatives (1891), secretary of the Dairy and Food Commission (1899-1900), officeholder in the Minnesota Democratic Association (1890s), and editorial writer for the St. Paul Daily Globe and the St. Paul Dispatch (1891-1906).

 

http://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/collection/data/313835934

Size
2 cubic feet

Presidential content includes:

- Grover Cleveland

[ TOP ↑ ]

John S. McLain Correspondence, 1879-1927

McLain, John Scudder, 1853-1931. Letters received by McLain, as editor of the Kansas City Journal (1878-1881), the Minneapolis Journal (1885-1908), the St. Paul Dispatch (1908-1912), and other newspapers, from various editors and public officials commenting on his editorial views and news coverage. Correspondents include William W. Folwell, Warren G. Harding, Delos W. Lovelace, Knute Nelson, William H. Taft, Oswald G. Villard, and William D. Washburn.

 

https://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/collection/data/86147596

Size
40 items

Presidential content includes:

- William Taft

- Warren G. Harding

[ TOP ↑ ]

Frank M. Nye and Family Papers, 1881-1936

Nye, Frank Mellen, 1852-1935. Letters received by this Minnesotan while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives (1907-1913) from Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, and the latter's secretary; copies of speeches delivered by Nye in the House; scrapbooks of clippings about his career and that of his brother, Carroll A. Nye of Moorhead, a judge in Minnesota's seventh judicial district; an advertisement of a program (1889) offered by James Whitcomb Riley and Edgar W. Nye (the humorist known as Bill Nye), Frank's brother; a letter of condolence (1896) written by Riley to Frank Nye; and letters by Edgar Nye about family matters.

 

https://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/collection/data/86096262

Size
.5 cubic ft

Presidential content includes:

- William Taft

- Theodore Roosevelt

[ TOP ↑ ]

Moses E. Clapp Papers, 1873-1929

Clapp, Moses E. (Moses Edwin), 1851-1929. Correspondence, newspaper clippings, programs, invitations, and similar papers documenting the career of Moses E. Clapp, a progressive Republican who represented Minnesota in the United States Senate (1901-1916). The papers from Clapp's senatorial years include letters from such prominent figures as Andrew Carnegie, Charles W. Fairbanks, Charles E. Hughes, John Ireland, Jeanete Rankin, Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Root, William H. Taft, and Woodrow Wilson, largely dealing with political campaigns, but with some information on issues of the day.

 

https://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/collection/data/122568795

Size
1 microfilm reel

Presidential content includes:

- Theodore Roosevelt

- William Taft

- Woodrow Wilson

[ TOP ↑ ]