Searching MNHS Finding Aids

Use the instructions and tools in this guide to search for and within MNHS finding aids
Subjects: How-To Guides
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2023 Updates

The Library's dedicated finding aids search is currently undergoing updates.  During this time, there are other ways to search them.  

Here are some of the other options for searching for finding aids:

Using the Catalog to Search

Search by title, subject, etc. in our Library and Archives catalog.  

  • Links to online finding aids are located in the detailed descriptions and look like this:
  • If there is no link to an online finding aid in the catalog description, contact Library staff and we can send you a scan of the paper copy that is stored onsite.  

Temporary Full Text Search System

While our dedicated online finding aids search is unavailable, you can use this custom google search to search to find collections that might interest you.  Please note that:

  • Not all collections have online finding aids (contact us to get a copy of a non-online finding aid)
  • The search opens a popup for your results, close it to return to or edit your search terms

Browse Finding Aids by Creator Name

Use these links to browse online finding aids by title or creator name.  Please note that not all finding aids have online versions

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I-K | L | M | N | O-Q | R | S | T | U-V | W-Z | Whats New


Search Within a Finding Aid for a Particular Term

Once you have an online finding aid on your screen, you can search for a particular term or name using your device or browser's "search on this page" function. 

  • For a PC, hold ctrl down, press the f key, and let both go.  
  • For a Mac, hold cmd down, press the f key, and let both go. 


Need Help?

Contact the Library by phone (651-259-3300) or email. 

What is a Finding Aid?

A finding aid is an inventory that lists the contents of an archival collection. Archival collections typically contain unpublished, primary source materials that were all created by the same person, family, agency, or organization. Our collections include state and local government records, manuscripts, personal and family papers, business and organizational records, photographs, sound recordings, moving images, oral histories, sheet music, telephone directories, and newspaper collections.

A finding aid includes an overview explaining what each collection is, who created it, when, and what materials or topics are included. A more detailed description lists the contents of the collection. A finding aid will not list every item, but it will give enough detail to help you discover parts you can explore further by visiting the Library.


Guide Author

Jenny McElroy
Reference Librarian

MNHS Reference Staff

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Minnesota Historical Society Library

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St. Paul, MN 55102

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