Skip to main content
MNHS Library Custom Header

Governors' Records: Governors' Records

How to find Governors' records

The Governors of Minnesota is a useful starting point for finding the records of a particular governor. As noted previously, it includes, biographical information, references and links to other resources about the governor. A useful aspect are links to the finding aid/s and/or catalog description of the governor's records as a starting place of research. 

The size of the governor's records vary depending upon the individual and the time frame in office. Thus, in some instances, not all records relating to a governor have a link to one centralized finding aid. There may be several finding aids relating to the different series or records may include both online finding aid/s and catalog references to the print copy of the finding aid. It is generally a good practice to check the catalog to determine that all relevant resources have been located.

To locate the records of an individual governor search the catalog

Governor [name] and then limit to "State Government Records" using the Collections facet to the left of your results list. 


  • Some governor's records will have online finding aid/s to a portion of the records. 

For example:

Minnesota. Governor (1876-1882 : Pillsbury)
Records of Governor John S. Pillsbury
1875-1891 (bulk 1876-1882)

Assorted files on public policy matters, including materials relating to public lands, railroads, grasshopper relief, seed grain, pardons, and applications for and appointments to office.
MNHS call number:  Digital Finding Aid

Minnesota. Governor (1905-1909 : Johnson)
Records of Governor John A. Johnson

General correspondence, correspondence concerning pardon matters, and certificates of absolute property tax sale.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Minnesota. Governor (1925-1931 : Christianson)
Records of Governor Theodore Christianson

General correspondence, subject files on public policy matters, files on state departments and agencies, federal departments files, and organizations files.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid 


  • Some governor's records will have both online finding aid/s to a portion of the records and print finding aids for the other records in the series.  The print finding aids are available in the library. 

For example:

Minnesota. Governor (1971-1976 : Anderson, Wendell R.)
Subject files, 1973-1976

Correspondence, reports, legislation, print and near-print items, and other materials covering a wide variety of topics relating to public policy issues, Governor's Office administration, state agencies, legislation, and budget. Specific topics covered include taxes, crime and prison reform, education, and agriculture.
MNHS call number:  Digital Finding Aid

Minnesota. Governor (1971-1976 : Anderson, Wendell R.)
Land conveyance files, 1972

Land conveyance files include correspondence, certificates, recommendations, quit claim deeds, and right of way maps for sections of highways.
MNHS call number:  See the finding aid in the library (Governor: Anderson, Wendell R.). 

Check Library catalog for a complete listing of Governor Anderson's records

Minnesota. Governor (1961-1963 : Andersen, Elmer L.)
General Files, 1961-1962

State department and agency files, subject files on public policy matters, and files on Minnesota organizations. 
MNHS call number:  Digital finding aid

Minnesota. Governor (1961-1963: Andersen, Elmer L.)
Committee Files, 1961-1963

MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Governor: Andersen, Elmer L).


  • Some governor's records will have only print finding aids . The print finding aids are available in the library. 

For example:

Minnesota. Governor (1967-1971 : LeVander)
Subject Files

Incoming and outgoing correspondence, memoranda, statistical information, reports, newspaper clippings, copies of legislative bills, and budgets concerning a wide range of topics including the Republican Party, state government appointments, legislation (especially LeVander’s tax program), professional associations, civil disturbances in Minneapolis (1967), and protests against the war in Viet Nam.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Governor: LeVander, Harold). 

Other Governors' records

As noted, there are also other records that can be found as separate series from the individual gubernatorial records.  Included are such items as:

  • Proclamations
  • Disaster Relief
  • Pardons
  • Councils, commissions, and task forces

Examples of these records include: 

Minnesota. Governor.
1850-1997 (bulk 1901-1978)

Proclamations and executive orders, primarily executive office copies of those issued during 1901-1978. Includes printed copies and some miscellaneous typescripts for the years 1850-1927 and occasional later years, primarily for holidays and other celebratory occasions, and indexes for the years 1901-1965 and 1977-1978. Of particular interest are proclamations declaring the creation of new or partitioned counties, 1895-1912.
MNHS call numberDigital Finding Aid

Minnesota. Governor.
Chisholm Fire Relief Records.

Reports, correspondence, and financial records of a committee that coordinated relief to sufferers from a forest fire that destroyed the town of Chisholm on September 5, 1908.
MNHS call numberDigital Finding Aid

Pardon Records
Are found as part of the records of each individual governor's records generated during their term.  

For example:
Minnesota. Governor (1866-1870 : Marshall)
Records of Governor William R. Marshall 

Includes appointment records; letters received; attorney general's opinions; records relating to pardons and commutations; and requisitions.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

To locate other Governors Pardon files/records search the catalog:
Governor Pardons (then narrow to "State Government Records" using the Collections facet to the left of your search results)


Councils, Commissions and Task Force Records
Councils, commissions and task forces were created by the governors and the legislature (i.e. Governor's commission on the arts, council on developmental disabilities, council on health promotion and wellness) to study, report and provide recommendations on a variety of issues relevant to the state. These records are generally cataloged in their own series under the name of the commission, committee or task force, etc.  If the title of the commission, etc. is known  the catalog can be searched with that title.

For example:
Governor's Commission on the Arts
Records 1975-1977

Minutes, tape recordings of meetings and hearings, correspondence, survey responses, research background files, final report, and other records of the commission and its subcommittees on private sector, public sector, education, quality of life, and needs of the artist. Most of the files were accumulated by or under the direction of David Durenberger as executive vice chairman.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Governor’s Commission on the Arts).  

Governor's Commission on Crime Prevention and Control
Plans, 1969-1978

Printed or mimeographed plans for commission activities: under P.L. 90-351, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (1969); for meeting priorities and needs of the Minnesota criminal justice system (1970, 1971); and comprehensive law enforcement plans (1971-1978). 
MNHS call Number:  Digital Finding Aid

To locate council, commission or task force records:
Search the catalog by the title of the council, commission or task force:  i.e. "Commission on the Arts" and limit your results to "State Government Records" using the Colletions facet.  

Or search by the subject/interest of the council, etc. and limit to State Government records

For example: "crime prevention" and limit to State Government records.  

Lieutenant Governors

Information on the Lieutenant Governor's of Minnesota is available on the Governors site. It includes biographical information, references, and links to resources about the lieutenant governor. 

The lieutenant governor's  records represented in the collection are much less extensive than those found in the Governor's office.  There are links to the finding aid and/or catalog description for the lieutenant governor's records available at the Library. 

For example:
Minnesota. Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
Files of Alec Olson, 1972-1978

Subject files, newspaper clippings, constituent correspondence and requests, invitations, and speech files.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Minnesota. Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Records of Marlene Johnson

Subject files, women's issues and groups files, speech files, and correspondence.
MNHS call number:  Digital Finding Aid and additional finding aids found in the library (Lieutenant Governor: Johnson, Marlene). 

For more Lieutenant Governor records:  Search the catalog: "Lieutenant Governor [name] records" and limit to "State Government Records" using the Collections facet to the left of your results list.  

Search for Primary Sources at MNHS

MNHS Reference Staff

reading room bookshelves

Contact Us:


Email Us

Visit our Main Website

Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Tuesday: 9am to 8pm • Wed. to Sat.: 9am to 4pm • Sunday & Monday: Closed • Holiday Hours