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More Oral Histories From Minnesota’s Greatest Generation

Posted byottokd on 27 May 2009 | Tagged as: Resources

The latest oral histories from the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation project are now available to view and to listen to in the Library. This news is very timely because the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation exhibit at the History Center just opened.

This project chronicles the lives of Minnesota men and women through the World War II years. The interviews include the perspectives of war veterans, Japanese-Americans, German citizens, business leaders, and minorities.

This collection gives users the opportunity to hear the stories of Minnesota’s own Greatest Generation. If you feel inspired, you can share your own Greatest Generation story, too.

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Ferrell Flour Milling Industry History Collection Now Available

Posted byottokd on 19 May 2009 | Tagged as: Resources

The materials in this newly available manuscript collection were gathered by Richard Ferrell, who once managed Pillsbury’s historic A Mill. They include flour milling advertisements, marketing materials, promotional items, cookbooks, newsletters, periodicals, architectural drawings, moving images, sound recordings, and photographs. Items produced by Minnesota-based millers form the core of the collection, but it also includes materials from companies in neighboring states, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada.

You can view images from this collection in the Minnesota Historical Society’s Photo and Art Database.

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Minnesota History Articles Linked from MnPALS Catalog

Posted byottokd on 08 May 2009 | Tagged as: Resources

The Minnesota Historical Society Library is pleased to announce that the MnPALS catalog records for 1,347 Minnesota History quarterly articles, from Volume 1 through Volume 56, have been enhanced with links to their digital versions. Now you will be able to access the digital versions of these articles via the library catalog. We will be regularly adding links as the articles become available online.

See the links in action for yourself by browsing the list.

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Swine Flu Records Available

Posted byottokd on 29 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Resources

The State Archives has 1 box of Swine Influenza Immunization Program records from 1975-1979 in the Minnesota Dept. of Health records. The records document the statewide program to immunize vulnerable segments of Minnesota’s population against swine influenza, which in the middle 1970s was epidemic in many parts of the world.

The records include files on the administration of the program and on public outreach and informational activities; data on a grant received by the state from the federal Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare as part of the National Influenza Immunization Program; statistics on vaccine usage and immunizations; and program evaluations from the majority of Minnesota’s counties.

There is also a photo of a woman receiving a swine flu vaccination, a circular advertising swine flu immunization clinics, and a poster (”Roll Up Your Sleeves Minnesota”), all three in the MHS Photo and Art Database.

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MnKnows—Dig Deeper @ Your Library

Posted byottokd on 22 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Resources

MnKnows—Dig Deeper @ Your Library ( is the new portal that gives Minnesota students and library patrons one-stop access to five statewide library services: the MnLINK Gateway, Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM), Minnesota Reflections, AskMN, and the Research Project Calculator. 

  • Find books, CDs, DVDs, articles and more through the MnLINK Gateway and have them delivered to a local library.
  • Search trusted information resources in the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM) to find online articles and electronic books on a vast array of topics.
  • Discover photos, documents and maps related to Minnesota history through Minnesota Reflections.
  • Get real-time answers from a librarian 24/7 at AskMN.
  • Use the Research Project Calculator to create sensible timelines for student’s homework.

A link to the portal is also available on the MHS Library page.

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New Oral History: Richfield in the Postwar Era

Posted byottokd on 15 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Resources

The newest part of the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation project, Richfield in the Postwar Era, is now available for the public to use. This collection chronicles the lives of men and women who lived in the suburb of Richfield, Minnesota, following World War II.  It follows Richfield’s transition from farmland to thriving suburb. The interviews were conducted with city and community leaders including former mayors, members of the Rotary Club, members of the Chamber of Commerce, city managers, members of the Richfield League of Women Voters, members of the state House of Representatives, and local business owners.



This collection coincides with “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation:The Depression, The War, The Boom,” an exhibit opening on May 23.  The exhibition relies substantially on first-person narratives drawn from oral history interviews, published memoirs, and reminiscences and letters in which a generation of Minnesotans narrates its own story.  The finding aid provides an overview of the Richfield in the Postwar Era oral histories.

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Jane Freeman Stories

Posted byottokd on 14 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Resources

The Minnesota’s Greatest Generation project has yielded some great stories through oral history interviews. One of the best is a twelve-hour interview with former Minnesota First Lady Jane C. Freeman, wife of three-term Governor and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Orville L. Freeman. Mrs. Freeman shared stories about her days at the University of Minnesota, her wartime romance with her dashing young Marine, her experiences as a politician’s wife in Minnesota and in Washington, DC during the 1950s and 1960s, and her philanthropic work. To showcase the life of this remarkable woman, a special timeline and story collection with audio clips has been added to the Share Your Story web project.

Get to know Jane Freeman.  Read her stories today!

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Minnesota State Census Available

Posted byottokd on 10 Mar 2009 | Tagged as: Resources

The Minnesota Historical Society now has available on its website an index for and images of the Minnesota State Census, 1849-1905. This is the same index and images currently available on but unlike Ancestry, MHS will be able to correct the index and even replace bad images.

The index works like the Minnesota Birth Certificates and Minnesota Death Certificates indexes, with drop-down menus for “exact,” “contains,” “starts with,” and “ends with” for both last and first names; Soundex and extended Soundex; and the ability to limit the search by year and county.

The Society’s innovative WOTR (Write On The Record) comment feature is usable on the census index. This means that you can report errors and MHS will make corrections. Also, the census images can be purchased online, with electronic delivery within minutes, just like the birth certificate images.

Unfortunately, the Minnesota State Census is not included in the PeopleFinder. So please use the link provided above, or the link on the Family History homepage.

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Minnesota on the Map

Posted byottokd on 06 Mar 2009 | Tagged as: Classes, Events, Resources

A new exhibit - Minnesota on the Map: Four Centuries of Maps from the Minnesota Historical Society Collection - just opened on February 28. The exhibit features dozens of maps, atlases, and artifacts from the Society’s collection, including an atlas from 1595, displayed alongside current road, city, and tourist maps. The Society’s extensive collection of early exploration and travel maps of North America includes document maps and atlases used by Europeans to understand the geography of the “New World” and illustrates how that understanding changed over time. For more information visit the exhibit’s webpage.

If you’re a real map lover, you’ll want to take the library class “Minnesota on the Map: An Introduction to the MHS Map Collection” on March 10 (6:00-7:30 pm).  Class participants will walk through the exhibit with Patrick Coleman, the Society’s map curator. The class will continue in the Library where other maps and cartographic resources not included in the exhibit will be viewed and their value in conducting historical research discussed.  Register online to make sure you get a spot.

Partie occidentale du Canada ou de la Nouvelle France, 1688

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Abraham Lincoln in Minnesota

Posted byottokd on 14 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: History Day, Resources

Lincoln and Minnesota?

Surprising but truethere are a number of connections between Abraham Lincoln and Minnesota!

  1. Lincoln was the first president Minnesotans could vote for, because we had become a state just two years before his election.
  2. Lincoln was president during the Civil War, and the first troops that volunteered to serve were from Minnesota.
  3. Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which encouraged settlement in Minnesota and other frontier states.

To honor the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, the Minnesota Historical Society has gathered information about this great president, his connections to Minnesota, and Minnesota during the Lincoln years on a special Lincoln Bicentennial webpage. 

Abraham Lincoln and one or all of his connections to Minnesota would make an excellent History Day topic for the theme “The Individual in History: Actions and Legacies.” 

For more information on President Lincoln and the Dakota Conflict in Minnesota, see the Minnesota History Topic on the Dakota War of 1862. Included is a digital image of the December 6, 1862, letter that President Lincoln wrote to Henry Sibley listing the names of the 39 Dakota Indians to be hanged in Mankato for their participation in the Conflict (in the Edward D. Neill and Family Papers).

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