Special Collections newsletter - January 2022

hennepin county library special collections

January 2022

Greetings local history friends,

Our big news from December is that Special Collections received a $50K Legacy Grant to support processing several of our Minneapolis neighborhood association archival collections. The grant will be used to hire two processing archivists to assist our archivist, Jenna Jacobs, in organizing and describing these collections.

This effort will help preserve and make accessible the records of organizations such as:

  • Cedar Lake Park Association
  • Central Neighborhood Improvement Association
  • Dinkytown Business Association
  • Elliot Park Neighborhood Association
  • Jordan Area Community Council
  • Linden Hills Neighborhood Council
  • Lowry Hill Residents, Inc.
  • Nokomis East Neighborhood Association
  • Seward Neighborhood Group
  • Whittier Alliance

Our process will also identify materials suitable for addition to our Digital Collections.

Friends of the Hennepin County Library grant renewed

Our grant with the Friends of the Hennepin County Library (approximately $50K), was also renewed! This grant supports the digitization of a collection of newspaper photographs that were donated to the library in 1970. Photographs in this collection date from the 1910s to 1950 and cover all matters. The multi-year effort to digitize this collection is more than half-completed and has added over 75,000 images to our Digital Collections. Returning in 2022 to work on this grant are our excellent project workers, Katie Falbo and Sara Murphy.


Rare book collections

New Collection: The Arts Collection



This collection consists mainly of oversized and folio volumes collected by the library many years ago. It is a legacy of the early days of the library when Central Library also housed the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts and the Minneapolis School for Fine Arts—now the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) and the Minneapolis College of Arts and Design (MCAD). In those days, the library also used to send selecting librarians to the East Coast and even to Europe to purchase notable materials for its collections, including this one. Many of the volumes are rare, some even unique to this library in North America.

The collection contains a few thousand volumes and spans nearly all types of art, including drawing, printing, ceramics, glass and metal work, furniture, textile arts, sculpture, painting, and architecture. The focus is on European art, but there are also many fine examples of Asian and other non-Western art.

All time periods are reflected, but the publications date mainly from the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. Works in the collection are notable for the high quality of their illustrations, particularly in the folio volumes.

The collection is being stored in the climate-controlled Special Collections vault. Most books in this collection are listed in the library’s catalog and are available upon request during Special Collections’ open hours.

Digital collections

All About Kids! video recordings


Airing from 1988 to 1999, All About Kids! was a local television program for parents and adults who work with children. The series focused on children and family issues, including children's literature, education, and community resources for children and families.

Most episodes featured a central interview or panel discussion on a given theme. Shorter segments, including book reviews and special announcements about local events, were occasionally included. All About Kids! aired on Metro Cable Network/Cable Channel 6 on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. as a half-hour program. The series ended after 283 episodes. From 1988 to 1995 (episodes 1-220), All About Kids! was produced by the Hennepin County Library. Gretchen Wronka, Children's Services Coordinator for the library, oversaw production and hosted the program. Most episodes were taped at the Ridgedale Library production studio, with editing managed by Dave Carlson. These first 220 episodes are now in our digital collections.
View finding aid.

From the archives

New finding aids

Old Settlers' Association of Hennepin County Ledger


Oversize ledger book containing articles of incorporation, meeting minutes, membership certificates, and related documents from the Historical and Old Settlers' Association of Hennepin County from 1867 to 1877. The Historical and Old Settlers' Association of Hennepin County was founded in January 1867 as a social club and historical preservation organization. Membership included only those Hennepin County residents who had moved to the area as settlers before January 1, 1853.
View finding aid.

Poster collection

Over 850 posters related to Hennepin County and Minneapolis events, organizations, and topics. Posters have been collected by library staff over decades. Majority of the collection contains promotional posters for musical concerts, theatrical performances, and sporting events.
View finding aid.


Howard S. Abbott Papers 

Correspondence compiled by Howard S. Abbott. Most letters are incoming correspondence addressed to Howard S. Abbott, William Lochren, Oliver Mink, or J.D. Springer from 1864 to 1942. All men are connected to Abbott, often through his relationship with the railroads. The William Lochren series contains many letters addressed to Lochren as Commissioner of Pensions (1893-1896).
View finding aid.

COVID-19 in Hennepin County Web Archive Surveys 

Thirty-nine survey responses collected by Hennepin County Library Special Collections staff documenting the responses of local organizations to the COVID-19 pandemic. Surveys were sent by library staff to the owners of all private websites included in the COVID-19 in Hennepin County Web Archive.
View finding aid.

Recent Acquisitions

Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum records

Minutes, directories, financial records, recital programs, correspondence and photo albums documenting the activities of the Minneapolis Music Teacher's Forum from 1941 to the present. Founded in the 1940s, the Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum is a non-profit association of local independent music teachers.

From the blog

The Snowtron


What do you do with the snow that builds up on Minneapolis streets in the wintertime? Over the years, Public Works has tried all sort of options – stack it, dump it in the river, leave it be. In the 1960s, they decided to melt it with a Snowtron. Read more about it. And check out more snow removal photos in the HCL Digital Collections.

Check out more cool local history tidbits on our blog at https://hclib.tumblr.com/

In-person and remote research

Special Collections is now open Monday through Thursday 9am-4:30pm. Appointments are not necessary, but you do need to call Special Collections or check-in at the 4th floor reference desk upon arrival for department access. You can speed up your visit by requesting materials be pulled in advance. Masks are currently required regardless of vaccination status.

Don’t forget, even though Special Collections is now open, we can still help you with your research needs remotely. Need a scan of a book chapter from the Minneapolis History Collection? Looking for newspaper articles on a topic? Need a city directory look-up? We are here to help.

Email specialcoll@hclib.org or call 612-543-8200.


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