Historic Business Research

Finding Business Records at MNHS

MNHS is the home to many different types of historical business records, usually donated by the company or an individual from the company.  They represent many different types of industries, workplaces, geographic location within Minnesota, time-periods, and sizes of business.      

If you are looking for the records of a specific company:

  1. Visit the MNHS Online Catalog on your internet browser

  2. Enter the name of the company in the search box and select "Manuscripts and Railroad Collections" from the MHS Catalog Options dropdown menu before clicking Search
  3. Look for the Finding Aids line in the catalog.  If there is a web link, click it to view a detailed inventory called a finding aid.  If there is not a link, the finding aid is available on paper here at the library. 


If you want to browse a variety of business records:

  1. Visit the MNHS Online Catalog on your internet browser
  2. Enter either "corporate records" or "business records" (include the quotation marks) in the search box and select "Manuscripts and Railroad Collections" from the MHS Catalog Options dropdown menu before clicking Search 

Examples of Business Records at MNHS

The Minnesota Historical Society holds a wide variety of business records, including

  • Records of large, multinational corporations, like:3M Plastic Tape
    • 3M historical corporate records, 1892-2010.
      Historical corporate records of a Minnesota-based international manufacturing company that has produced a wide variety of products for industrial and household applications, including abrasive, adhesive, and magnetic tape products; sound, visual, and data recording equipment; nonwoven fiber technologies; and health care products.
      MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid 

  • Records of smaller, local businesses, like:
    • Andrew Schoch Grocery Co. (Saint Paul, Minn.). Business records.
      Accounting records (1890-1922), newspaper advertisements (1909-1943), correspondence and related records (1886-1935), biographical and historical information (1914-1925), and photographs (undated and 1911-1929) of this St. Paul grocery firm established by Andrew Schoch in 1874 and operated by his children into the 1950s. Additional information on the gro cery, and a few originals of the microfilmed records, are found with the Andrew Schoch and family papers, also at the Minnesota Historical Society.
      MNHS call number: See inventory in the library (M383) 
  • Papers of people or groups that contain business records, like:
    • Nancy Osborn Brataas papers, 1880-2014 (bulk 1960-1992).
      Personal, family, and legislative papers, business records, and files relating to the activism and involvement of Nancy Osborn Brataas, a Republican politician living in Rochester, Minnesota, who was the second female state senator to serve in the Minnesota legislature and who owned a management and data processing business.
      MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Business Records Links

MNHS Reference Staff

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Gale Family Library
Minnesota Historical Society Library

Located on the Second Floor of the Minnesota History Center
345 West Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102

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