Special Collections Newsletter - December 2022

hennepin county library special collections

December 2022

Check out what is new and noteworthy this month in Special Collections.


Digital Collections Tips and Tricks: Searching and Browsing by Location


Many people come to our Digital Collections looking for photographs or records of their house or neighborhood. We don’t always have something, but here are a few tips and tricks to help you with your hunt.

1. First try a keyword search for the address. Use abbreviations for street (St.), avenue (Ave.), Boulevard (Blvd.), etc. Sometimes intersections are also indexed.

2. Try browsing or searching by street name and/or neighborhood if you don’t find your exact address. See the Minneapolis neighborhood list under Browse by Topic (from the home page). Or go to Advanced Search and type the neighborhood as a subject, selecting exact phrase. Ex: Seward Neighborhood, Downtown West Neighborhood, Kingfield Neighborhood.

3. Some photographs in our Digital Collections are browsable on a map! Click the “Collections map” link at the top of the site.

Need help finding something in the Digital Collections? Email us!

Meet Special Collections Archivist Jenna Jacobs


Jenna arrived as Special Collections’ first official archivist nearly five years ago. (She started the day after Minneapolis hosted the 2018 Super Bowl!) The arrival was actually a return—Jenna interned in Special Collections back in 2010. As an archivist, Jenna’s responsibilities include organizing and preserving archival collections, creating and maintaining our online finding aids, working with donors to bring new archival collections to the library, starting and growing our web archive program, assisting patrons with reference needs, and contributing to our blog. Jenna has an MLIS and an MA in History from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Q: What’s one of the most memorable things you’ve encountered while working here?

A: In my first big processing project in Special Collections (the Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc. records), I discovered an early draft script for The Mighty Ducks. Parts of the movie were filmed in Elliot Park with the help of the neighborhood group. The script and other odds and ends are still in the collection. Here it is in the finding aid.

Q: What’s the weirdest object you’ve encountered in our collections?

A: We have a paperweight made from a diffused Japanese artillery shell detonator that a Minnesota serviceman made on Guadalcanal. We also have a custom Teddy Bear made to look like Star Tribune columnist Barbara Flanagan.

Q: What is your favorite archival collection?

A: This is a little like being asked to pick your favorite child, but I really like the Lord Family World War II Correspondence. It’s neat that it is a two-way correspondence (letters home and letters to the front), but I especially like the ingenious code Harry Lord developed to try to evade the government censors. I wrote a blog post on it.

Q: What is your favorite place or building in Minneapolis?

A: I love the lakes. You can’t beat a nice walk around Lake of the Isles or listening to a concert at Lake Harriet on a summer day.

Q: What should people know about archives?

A: Archives really are for everyone. Everyone is encouraged to use our materials, and we are always looking to add the papers of everyday people and grassroots organizations. Before you throw away your great-grandma’s diaries or your dad’s neighborhood council minutes, call us up. We’d love to talk to you.

In the Archives


New acquisitions

Mizpah United Church of Christ Records

Minutes, annual reports, newsletters, membership information, photographs, and other church records from Mizpah United Church of Christ in Hopkins. Founded in 1888, the church held its last service on September 25, 2022.

Extra Alarm Association Records

Manuals, records, compiled histories and photographs created or collected by the Extra Alarm Association of the Twin Cities, a nonprofit organization for fire buffs. Materials document the Minneapolis Fire Department.

New finding aids

Herb Paul Papers 


Photographs, correspondence, and limited newspaper clippings of Herbert Paul. The correspondence is primarily letters addressed to Paul at the time of his retirement from the Minneapolis Star in 1957. Herb Paul worked for the Minneapolis Star for decades, both as a war correspondent during World War II and as city and business editor. 

He worked for the Pioneer Press and the Minneapolis Civic and Commerce Association before covering the Pacific theater of World War II for the Star. After retiring in 1957, Paul worked for the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Zoological Society.

View finding aid online

Exhibits on View

You can see Special Collections exhibits at several Hennepin County Library locations. This month stop by Washburn Library to learn about the heyday of department stores in Downtown Minneapolis, Nokomis Library for highlights from our artists’ book collection, and Oxboro Library for a history of the African American community in the Twin Cities through the 1940s lens of photographer John F. Glanton.


From the Blog


Charge it 

In 1946, a new credit card debuted in Minneapolis, though it bears little resemblance to the ones we use today. This new card, called a Charga-Plate, was designed to make it easier for local shoppers to use their store-specific charge accounts. Eight of the top Minneapolis retailers—including Dayton’s, Donaldson’s, and Young-Quinlan—collaborated to send Charga-Plates to their customers.

Read more on our blog.

In-person and Remote Research


Special Collections is 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.

Don’t forget, even though Special Collections is open, we can still help you with your research needs remotely.

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

Photo: Minneapolis City Planning Engineer Herman Olson in front of a 1948 comprehensive zoning map of Minneapolis.
Photo from the Minneapolis Newspaper Photograph Collection in the HCL Digital Collections.

We don’t have this gigantic map in our collection, but you can find more zoning maps in our Map Collection.

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