Interested in photographs of tractors? The Minnesota Historical Society is the place to look!
The Minneapolis-Moline Negative Collection is now available to the public. This collection holds 14,180, black and white negatives of tractors, agricultural implements, machinery, and power units manufactured by that company between the 1930s and 1960s. Each of these images is described in a searchable list now available in the Society’s online library catalog. In addition, almost 2,000 of them have been printed and can be viewed in the online Photo and Art Database. Any image can be ordered from the Library’s Copy Service.
The Minneapolis-Moline Company was formed in 1929 and located in Hopkins, Minnesota. Many images in this collection depict Minneapolis-Moline tractors, implements, and power units, in the factory or dealer showroom or working in farm fields or other outdoor settings. There are also images with perspectives of machinery parts for use in sales publications. A large number depict the interior and exterior of factories, especially the Hopkins and Lake Street plants. There are aerial views of the factories, closer views of specific factory buildings and machinery, as well as views of company dealerships and branch offices around the United States. The Minneapolis-Moline Company’s commercial photographer, Arthur H. Jensen, photographed these images and donated them to the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) in 1975.
The cataloging needs for a collection this size required years of time, people and resources. The Minneapolis-Moline Collectors group, its many supporters and other enthusiasts, contributed gifts of both funds and labor toward documenting this collection. Other volunteers and Society staff scanned and cataloged material in recent years, and the Society is now able to provide full access to this important and vast collection of images.
The only immediate and remaining task for this collection is to follow-up on a 1995 recommendation to sleeve the negatives. Over 50% of the collection is covered by red opaque (masking) that is flaking off the negatives. Almost the entire collection of negatives is covered with scratches. It was recommended that buffered, acid-free, enclosures be used to sleeve the negatives. This final step is an important one to advancing the preservation of the Minneapolis-Moline Negative Collection. We hope to secure funds for this important, preservation effort, in the coming year.
Diane Adams-Graf, Sound and Visual Curator