Special Collections Newsletter - October/November 2023

hennepin county library special collections

October/November 2023

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

Rare Art Book Exhibit Now Open

Cargill Gallery's Storied Leaves - Art folio exhibit

Visit Minneapolis Central Library to see Storied Leaves: Unveiling the Library’s Rare Art Book Collection. The exhibit, located in Cargill Gallery, features over 80 titles from our rare art folio collection and includes some stunning prints of art from all over the world! There’s also some library and collection history, explanations of printing techniques, and more. If you like what you see in the exhibit, stop by Special Collections to see many of the folios in the exhibit in their entirety.

View the exhibit guide on the Friends of the Hennepin County Library website.

Central Library (gallery) hours and Special Collections hours

The exhibit runs October 4 – November 29, 2023.


Archiving basics

Archiving Basics for Community Groups

Monday, October 30, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Golden Valley Library

Learn how to archive, organize, and preserve the records of your organization or group for the future. Led by the Hennepin County Library Special Collections archivist, this class is designed for staff and volunteers from any type of community group and anyone who has an interest in preserving local history. Leave class knowing how to store and preserve documents, photos, digital files, recordings, and more, and be prepared to organize your group's history. Register online.

Meet the Curators: Heather Carroll and Maya Powell

Special Collections Staff - Heather Carroll and Maya Powell

Heather Carroll (left) and Maya Powell (right), who both have library and art backgrounds, began immersing themselves in the Arts Collection in April. After six months of exploration, research, decision making, writing, framing, and hanging, the Storied Leaves exhibit is now on view at Minneapolis Central Library.

When not researching, teaching or engrossed in archives and memory work, Heather loves gardening and appreciating art. She lives in south Minneapolis with her spouse, two kids and two cats, most of whom help her garden grow in one way or another. Maya is wrapping up a Master's in Library and Information Science, with a focus on archives and special collections. Prior to entering the library world, she worked as a letterpress and screen printer and still has an active printmaking-based studio practice. She has a dog named Luanne, two cats named Priya and Gwen, and loves all things art, movies, music, and video games!

Here’s more from Heather and Maya:

Q: What’s your favorite folio that you’ve selected to include in this exhibit? (Yes, you have to pick just one!)

Heather: It was a hard decision because there are so many great folios, but I went with a less obvious choice: Les Monuments Mauresques du Maroc. The photogravures included in this folio are so beautiful, with lush velvety blacks only the photogravure process can produce. And the masking, burning, dodging and other editing techniques of the original photographs are so artfully executed. These are excellent specimens of the analog techniques that Photoshop and generative AI were invented to emulate in the digital realm.

Heather's favorite piece - Les Monuments Mauresques du Maroc
Maya's favorite - M.P. Verneuil's "Kaleidoscope"

Maya: M.P. Verneuil's Kaleidoscope folio captured my attention from the moment I laid eyes on it. Each page is filled with a unique series of shape, color, and pattern, all in a bold, matte printing style. Verneuil is clearly having fun with this series, while also taking risks and making daring and beautiful design choices—I kept coming back to this folio over and over.

Q: What’s one thing you learned when curating this exhibit?

Heather: Pochoir! I had a vague understanding of this method before working on this exhibit, only to find that pochoir is an intricate and versatile method of stencil work developed as an antithesis to the flat appearance of early production lithography. I remember wondering how we might explain the process to viewers when I discovered Traité d'Enluminure d'Art au Pochoir by Jean Saudé in the library catalog. This book is amazing! The illustrations and examples of the techniques are so descriptive that it hardly mattered that I understand only a little French. I cannot wait to try my hand at some of these pochoir techniques!

Q: What’s your favorite artistic medium and what do you like about it?

Heather: Hands down, artists’ books [works of art in the form of books] are my favorite artistic medium, both to create and to partake in. The medium necessarily entails interaction between the book and the viewer - you have to handle it to truly experience it. I believe that kind of multisensory experience builds truly meaningful and impactful connections.

Maya: Screenprint, letterpress, and book arts are my three favorite mediums, both as an artist and a consumer. I love the flexibility and DIY nature of these artistic forms—there is space for both the delicate, fine press works and the messy, made-in-a-basement-studio projects. I also appreciate that works made in multiples tend to be much more accessible to folks who enjoy experiencing and collecting art on a budget (me!).

Q: Book you’re currently reading or favorite book of all time?

Maya: I'm currently reading Bennett Sims' short story collection White Dialogues and Stephen Vladek's The Shadow Docket: How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power and Undermine the Republic—two very different reading experiences, and I am really enjoying both.

Q: Why should people come and see this exhibit?

Heather: Each object in this exhibit has many layers and stories to share. I think almost everyone will find something that grabs their interest. An aspect of this exhibit I find really exciting is that if you see something on the wall that you are curious about, you can head up to Special Collections on the fourth floor and page through the rest of the folio that work came from—no appointment necessary! Special Collections location and hours

In the Archives: New Acquisitions

Tim O'Toole Location Photographs - panorama sofa

Tim O'Toole Location Photographs

Tim O'Toole is a Twin Cities location manager and scout for movies, television, and advertising. The collection includes folders of print photographs of local houses, businesses, streetscapes, and outdoor locations. Each folder contains multiple photos of one location. These often include a "panorama" made by taping together several 4x6 prints. Folders are labelled with type of location (e.g. bowling alleys, offices) and location name and/or address. View finding aid

Seward Neighborhood Group Additions

Seward Neighborhood Group history committee files, including binders on Kings Fair and photographs, and organizational records.

In the Archives: New Finding Aids

Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis Records

Board minutes, annual reports, and other materials documenting the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis from 1953 to 2015. View finding aid

Larry Millett Lost Twin Cities Databases

Microsoft Excel databases of lost architecture in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Compiled by local author and journalist Larry Millett. Millet has written several books on lost architecture in the Twin Cities. View finding aid

Hennepin County Library Realia

Three-dimensional promotional items from the Hennepin County Library Communications Department from the 1960s to 2020s. The collection includes bags, buttons, clothing, pens and pencils, stickers, other objects.
View finding aid

Hennepin County Library Communications 1960s - 2020s. The collection includes bags, buttons, clothing, pens and pencils, stickers, other objects.

New Additions to the Digital Collections: House Plan Collection

Keith’s Home Builder Magazine cover

Keith’s Magazine on Home Building, 1899-1931

Digitization of Keith’s magazine is complete. Keith’s was published in Minneapolis from 1899 to 1931 and includes house plan designs, articles on interior decorating, landscape design, furnishing, housekeeping, and construction techniques, as well as advertisements for building materials. The magazine had a few title changes: Keith’s Home-Builder, Keith’s Magazine on Home Building, and Keith’s Beautiful Homes. Browse the collection online

The Small Home, 1922-1932

A monthly publication of the Architects’ Small House Service Bureau Northwestern Division. The Small Home features illustrations, photographs, and floor plans for house designs in various styles from this time period. Designs include detailed descriptions and costs to build. Also includes articles on home building, interior decor, and landscape design, as well as advertisements for home furnishings, accessories, and building materials. Browse the collection online

Browse the entire house plan collection online.

The Small Home magazine cover January 1932

From the Blog

Corner Stone Laying - The New Minneapolis Public Library - September 27, 1959

Library Time Capsule

On September 27, 1959, a who’s-who of Minneapolis gathered to lay the cornerstone for the new Minneapolis Central Library at 300 Nicollet Mall. Beneath the cornerstone, a copper box held a time capsule of library memorabilia. When that new library was demolished in 2002 to make way for our current downtown library, the time capsule was opened and the contents are now a part of Special Collections.

Read more to see what was included in the time capsule.

Schedule a Group Tour

Group of people on a Special Collections Tour at Minneapolis Central Library

Are you part of a group that may be interested in a “behind the scenes” tour of Special Collections? Tours are available for groups of up to 20 and cover all parts of the Special Collections department including the archives, rare book collections, and digitization. Tours can also be tailored to specific interests. Email specialcoll@hclib.org to request a tour.

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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