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State Institutions   Tags: adoption, family history, health, how-to, medicine  

A guide to researching records of hospitals, prisons, and other institutions operated by the State of Minnesota.
Last Updated: May 6, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Overview Print Page

Research Options

  • Visit the MHS Library
    Original materials, records, and newspapers on microfilm are available on site and reference staff can help with research.
  • MHS Research Services
    Order copies of records, articles, or other specific materials from the MHS collections.
  • Online Research
    Some items such as newspapers, articles, photos and objects are available online. Look for links within this guide.

Related Research Guides & Webpages


State Institutions Overview

The State of Minnesota has operated a number of residential facilities which have housed many residents for varying periods of time, most of them involuntarily, to treat or protect them or to protect others from them.  As the State Archives, the Minnesota Historical Society holds records from many of these institutions.  There are also records for state departments which oversaw the administration of multiple institutions.  For some institutions, there are extensive records, but for others there are few or no records.   

St. Cloud State Reformatory, ca. 1951


Restricted Records & Access

Records about individuals may be restricted to protect personal privacy.   Library catalog records and finding aids will contain guidelines on restrictions.  An application for access to records on individuals is available.


MHS Reference Staff

reading room bookshelves

Gale Family Library
MN Historical Society Library
345 West Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102

Contact Us:
By Phone (651-259-3300)
By Email

Library Hours
Tuesday: 9am to 8pm
Wed. to Sat.: 9am to 4pm
Sunday: Closed
Monday: Closed
Holiday Hours


Guide Author

Tracey Baker

Head of Reference

Minnesota Historical Society Library • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300

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