Historic Business Research


In addition to being economic drivers, businesses are vital parts of local communities and families.  This guide provides a brief overview to different ways to research the history of Minnesota businesses, including:

  • Schoch Grocery Store, St. Paul, 1909Business Filings & Licenses: Records filed with state or local authorities, including incorporation papers and permits to operate.
  • Taxes & Census: Often tied to the physical location, these records can provide information about business value, volume, employees, etc. 
  • Legal History & Courts: These records include details of goods/services; information about location(s), finances, and holdings; and insight into customer and/or labor relations.  
  • Directories & Maps: Tools for locating businesses and putting them into context with their neighbors/neighborhoods.
  • Business Records: Records of specific businesses, large and small
  • Books/ArticlesCorporate histories, articles, internal company publications, newspapers, etc. 
  • Images, Artifacts, Advertising: Visual materials related to MN businesses
  • More: Minnesota Business History materials held in locations other than MNHS

Research Options

Related Research Guides & Webpages

Guide Author

Jenny McElroy
Reference Librarian

Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Currently open by appointment only.