Special Collections Newsletter - April 2023

hennepin county library special collections

April 2023

Check out what’s new and noteworthy this month in Special Collections!

Exhibits on View


Seeds of Spring

Nokomis Library, April 7 – May 26, 2023

Garden and seed-related materials from the Special Collections including trade catalogs, glass lantern slide images, and other photographs. Did you know that several Hennepin County Libraries have community seed libraries? See a smaller version of this exhibit on the first floor of Minneapolis Central Library.

Black Twin Cities, The 1940s Photographs of John F. Glanton

Washburn Library, through May 19, 2023

The Glanton Collection is a rare look at the personal, professional, and social lives of what was then a very small African-American community in the post-war, pre-civil rights era Twin Cities. The exhibit highlights community, family, sports, and social life in a selection from over 800 photographs. The majority of people pictured in this collection are unidentified. Can you help us identify them? This exhibit was supported with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and will be traveling to several libraries throughout the year.

Meet Special Collections staff member Mike Hajostek


Mike started working in Special Collections in January of this year, digitizing photographs from various neighborhood archives. So far he has worked with prints, negatives, and slides in the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center Records (1960s-2000s photos of staff, facilities, and events from NorthPoint and its predecessor, Pilot City) and the Whittier Alliance Records (largely buildings and streetscapes of the Whittier neighborhood from the 1970s and 80s).

Mike has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Saint John’s University and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington. He recently moved back to Minnesota from Seattle, where he worked as a Media Specialist at MCAF Media, a company that primarily works with archival materials from movie studios, like Warner Brothers. In his free time he likes to play guitar, attend concerts, and collect vinyl records—he’s currently up to 200 separate releases in his collection! Here’s more from Mike:

Q: What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on in a library or archive?

A: My favorite project I’ve worked on is the Hegg Photograph collection at the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections department, which I worked on as a student worker during grad school. The collection, consisting of photographs by Eric A. Hegg, documents the Klondike and Alaska gold rushes from 1897 to 1901, and is likely the oldest collection I’ve ever worked with. I especially liked working with the glass plate negatives in the collection, which the photographer hauled with him along the trails and passes into the Yukon to document the mass migration to the territory, known as “the Stampede.” It was cool to work with materials with such a connection to the history of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

Q: What archival format do you prefer working with (paper, film, photos, etc.) and why?

A: I prefer working with photographs the most. Unlike text-based materials, I like the way that photographs show rather than tell. I also like how readily photographs lend themselves to digitization and inclusion in digital collections that the public can access.

Q: What’s your favorite place or building in Minneapolis or Hennepin County?

A: My favorite place in Minneapolis is First Avenue. Aside from being one of my favorite concert venues, I love its connection to the history of the Minneapolis music scene. From its origins as a disco club in the 70s, to its role in establishing the funk rock genre through artists like Prince in the 80s, it has become an integral part in the cultural fabric of the city, and you can feel this history when you’re there. I’m especially fond of the building’s exterior, which is emblazoned with stars commemorating the bands and artists that have played there over the years.

Q: What book are you currently reading or what’s your favorite book of all time?

A: While it’s hard to pick my favorite book of all time, one of my favorites that I’ve read over the last few years is An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. While the novel is primarily a science fiction story about humanity encountering an alien intelligence, it also takes a hard look at the power of fame, especially with the advent of social media and the internet, and our culture’s willingness, or unwillingness, to separate a person from their online brand or persona. The book also has a sequel, A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor, that I’m currently reading and enjoying.

In the Archives: New Finding Aids


Alive and Kickin 

Concert programs, photos, videos, fundraising mailers, and other promotional materials created by Alive and Kickin. Alive and Kickin is a non-profit "senior rock ensemble." Founded by Michael Matthew Ferrell in 2010, the group of seniors aged 60 and over performs at concert venues throughout the Twin Cities and region. Performances include sung rock music, as well as personal stories and memories shared by ensemble members.
View finding aid

Whittier Alliance Records

Board of directors materials, committee materials, administrative and financial documents, fundraising materials, legal records, housing and development plans, architectural drawings, correspondence, promotional materials, subject files, photographic prints, slides, negatives, and publications either created or collected by the Whittier Alliance. The Whittier neighborhood in South Minneapolis has been represented by the Whittier Alliance since 1978.
View finding aid

Hennepin County Library Board Records

The Hennepin County Library Board is an advisory board composed of county residents appointed by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners. Library Board responsibilities include determining the contents of the collection, use of library meeting rooms, and making recommendations to the county administrator about the appointment or removal of the library director. Additional responsibilities include establishing rules to govern library operation, reviewing the annual library budget, developing long range plans, and managing gift and trust funds. Collection includes signed board minutes, board packets, committee minutes and records, and administrative files related to the operation of the board.
View finding aid

Calhoun Yacht Club Records

Meeting minutes, annual yearbooks, membership applications, photographs and slides, newspaper clippings, financial statements, race results, and promotional material for regattas and club social events from the Calhoun Yacht Club. Founded in 1901, the club promoted sailing on Bde Maka Ska for over 100 years.
View finding aid


In the Archives: New Acquisitions


Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis Records

Minutes, financial records, and other materials documenting the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis. An addition to our collection on the local Audubon groups. Photo from the Minneapolis Newspaper Photograph Collection

From the Blog

James Hong, The Main Man 

Chances are, if you’ve watched movies in the last seven decades, you’ve seen or heard James Hong. With over 650 film and television credits, he is one of the most prolific actors of all time. But did you know he was born in Minneapolis and graduated from Minneapolis Central High School? Learn more about the Hong family in Minneapolis.


Contact Us

Special Collections vault

James K. Hosmer Special Collections

Hennepin County Library
Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Hours: Monday - Thursday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


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. Photocopier and scanners are available. Please bring a flash drive to store your scanned images.

Photo: Inside the climate-controlled Special Collections vault, where rare books, negatives, and AV material is stored.

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