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Archive for August, 2008

J. William Trygg Papers Now Available

Monday, August 18th, 2008

The J. William Trygg Papers (1950s-1960s) are now available for use.


J. William Trygg was born September 17, 1905, at Cook, Minnesota. He was a professional forester who worked for the United States Forest Service (USFS) from 1926 until 1954. He was in charge of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps in the Ely, Minnesota, area, and at the time of his retirement from the USFS was a district forest ranger. In addition to his expertise in forestry he had experience with Indian claims throughout the Great Lakes region.


After leaving the Forest Service Trygg worked as a land use consultant and as an apprasier of natural resources. Through an intense interest in the history of the area he developed a system he used to make historical appraisals on behalf of various Indian tribes in the Midwest (including both Dakota and Ojibwe), appraisals for Indian lands already ceded to the United States. With his son he owned the Trygg Land Office, a real estate agency located at Ely.


Trygg was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1966 from District 62 (St. Louis County) and served one term. Trygg died in Washington, D.C. on April 11, 1971, where he was testifying on Indian land claims. He is buried in the Ely Cemetery.


The collection includes legal and background papers related to Trygg’s work as an appraiser for the Indian Claims Commission. The papers are largely organized by docket and Royce designation and include tree tally sheets, land sale information, documentation of terrain, abstracts from U.S. Land Surveyors’ Field Notes, printed reports, and court exhibits. There is some reference material for earlier time periods. An electronic inventory is available, giving more details and locator numbers for the 25 boxes.

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Annals of Minnesota Online Inventory

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

The Minnesota Historical Society Library is pleased to announce that a detailed inventory to the microfilm edition of the Annals of Minnesota, compiled by the Minnesota Federal Writers Project of the Works Projects Administration between 1938-1942, is now available online with text search capability.

The annals consist of transcripts or excerpts of hundreds of newspaper articles relating to the history of Minnesota, its local jurisdictions, and its people. The microfilm edition is divided into three segments: a chronological file, a topical set of subject files, and geographical files. The inventory contains a description of the Federal Writers Project and the annals themselves, a roll contents list, and a detailed list of the persons, associations, societies, boats, and buildings represented in the “Names” portion of the subject files of the annals.

The microfilm is available for use in the Hubbs Microforms reading room of the Minnesota Historical Society Library and is available for sale (scroll down about half way) and on interlibrary loan.

The chronological file (rolls 1-45) consists of a single set of transcripts/excerpts dated from 1849 to 1922 (with most dated before 1887) and from 1941-1942. The subject files (rolls 46-131) are arranged topically into the following main categories: agriculture, business and industry, conservation, cooperatives, education and culture, federal government, folkways, immigration and settlement, labor, names, nationality groups, natural resources, politics, public welfare, social attitudes, taxation, transportation, utilities, and weather/climate. The geographical files (rolls 132-167) include major sections on counties, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, lakes, rivers, caves/falls, valleys, and ghost towns.

The annals are an excellent starting point for students beginning research on a particular time period or topic in Minnesota history, for experienced scholars searching for additional sources and examples to illustrate their works, and for genealogists striving to place their ancestors in the contexts of their localities.

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Rod Grams Senatorial Files Now Available

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

The Senatorial papers of Rod (Rodney D.) Grams, a businessman and broadcast journalist who served as a Republican United States senator from Minnesota (1995- 2001) and prior to that as congressman from Minnesota’s sixth congressional district (1993-1994), are now available.

The papers include personal/political/official records; legislative records; constituent services records; press relations/media activities records; office administration records; and two boxes of congressional papers. There are correspondence and subject files, bills, government and other publications, some voting and attendance records, a CD-ROM disk of constituent correspondence, audiocassettes, videocassettes, press releases, statements and position papers, and some newspaper clippings documenting Grams’ legislative work and his interaction with constituents, businesses and organizations, interest groups, federal and state officials, and with colleagues and others. There are no photographs.

An inventory that provides additional information about the collection is available in the repository; filed in the green ALPHA notebooks under the heading: Grams, Rod. An electronic version of the inventory is also available.

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NP Secretary Records Have Expanded Online Description

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

The Minnesota Historical Library is pleased to announce that an expanded description to its Northern Pacific Railway Company’s Secretary’s unregistered letters received and related records (1864-1876) microfilm edition is now available online with full text search capability. This expanded inventory to the records includes an historical sketch and chronology of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, a detailed description of the records, a selected list of authors, and a roll list to the 36 rolls. The microfilm edition consists of a single chronological series of letters and records, supplemented on the last roll by a series of editor’s notes giving additional information on the content of the records.

The microfilm is available for use in the Hubbs Microforms reading room of the Minnesota Historical Society Library and is available for sale (scroll down about half way) and on interlibrary loan.

The records include letters and telegrams, memoranda, reports, financial statements, legal documents, meeting notes, maps, mechanical drawings, and printed materials documenting many aspects of the Northern Pacific Railway Company’s early history, including its organization, design and construction of the line, and financial management. Especially significant is the documentation of the company’s problematic financial condition and the role played by the banking firm of Jay Cooke & Co. in its financial management; lawsuits and legal issues; and, notably, the operations and concerns of the Land Department relating to its management of the railroad’s land grant, such as the sale of the railroad lands, immigration and domestic migration to and settlement of the region tributary to the line, protection of timber lands from illegal logging, and Indian claims in Dakota, Montana, and Washington territories.

The correspondence and other records are addressed primarily to Northern Pacific officers and other officials (especially presidents Josiah Perham, John Gregory Smith, and George W. Cass, but also the vice-president, secretary, and general counsel), Jay Cooke, and officials of Jay Cooke & Co. Correspondents range from internationally known financiers and railroad magnates to ordinary citizens seeking assistance. Selected correspondents include George L. Becker, Frederick Billings, Thomas Hawley Canfield, D.C. Linsley, Alvred B. Nettleton, William Milnor Roberts, Thomas Lafayette Rosser, William S. Rowland, George G. Sanborn, Charlemagne Tower, H.A. Towne, Samuel Wilkeson, and Charles B. Wright.

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Railroad Equipment Drawings Access Enhanced

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

Access to the equipment drawings of the Northern Pacific (NP) and Great Northern (GN) railway companies in the Minnesota Historical Society has been enhanced by the recent availability of two series of index cards. These cards cover parts for freight cars, passenger cars, wreckers, snowplows, and other facilities of the railroads.

The card indexes (ca. 1900-1960s) for the Great Northern Mechanical Department drawings consist of 11 small file boxes of 3×5 cards contained in 3 standard archives boxes. They are grouped according to specific category of parts (air brakes, draft lugs, etc.), tools (repair tracks, air brake tools, piping, etc.), and equipment (box cars, gondolas, ore cars, etc.). The cards reference the specific drawing number for the specific piece of equipment. An inventory providing additional description and the location of the boxes is filed with the Equipment Drawings series in the GN Mechanical Department finding aids notebook.

A similar set of card indexes (ca. 1880s-1960s) for the Northern Pacific Mechanical Department drawings consist of 54 small file boxes of 3×5 cards contained in 9 standard archives boxes. They are grouped according to type of car (box, caboose, flat, ore, hopper, passenger, refrigerator, etc.) or by type of equipment (air brake details, uncoupling levers, heating apparatus, etc.). The cards reference the specific drawing number for the specific piece of equipment. An inventory providing additional description and the location of the boxes is filed with the Equipment Drawings series in the NP Mechanical Department finding aids notebook.

Neither of these specific series of indexes have individual catalog records in MnPALS. They are included in the MnPALS entries for the records of the Northern Pacific Mechanical Dept. and the Great Northern Mechanical Dept.

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