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Capital Punishment: Primary Sources: Archives & Records

Manuscripts

Gerald W. Heaney Papers, 1910-2006 (bulk 1946-2006).
Legal case files and political and personal papers of United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit) judge Gerald W. Heaney, a Duluth lawyer and Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party activist appointed to the appeals court bench in 1966. Case Files (1966-2006) include correspondence and memoranda, court documents, transcripts, judicial opinions, clippings, and conference notes pertaining to appeals of lower court decisions in murder, drug, sexual abuse, product liability, immigration, robbery, age discrimination, and other cases, some involving the death penalty. Appellants and respondents include individuals, federal and state agencies, insurance companies and banks, labor unions, and prison inmates. Correspondents include fellow appeals court judges, appeals court staff, and attorneys. Some of the cases are from the second and fourth circuits.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Government Records

Stillwater State Prison, Attorney General's Opinions (1887-1970).
Primarily opinions of the attorney general's office regarding such prison related matters as prisoners' rights, convict labor, personnel, pardon and parole, prison finances and property, sentencing, jurisdiction, and prison industries. The files include correspondence, legislation, contracts, and related documents.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Stillwater State Prison). 

Stillwater State Prison, Annual and Biennial Reports (1867-1952).
Reports documenting the activities and accomplishments of the prison.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Office of the Governor, Execution Records (1888-1910).
Certified copies of minutes of conviction and sentence, and sometimes copies of other trial documents relating to convicts sentenced to death. Usually also includes notations of date set for execution and date the execution warrant was issued.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid
 
Ramsey County (Minn.) Sheriff: Expense Document Concerning William Williams' February 1906 Execution, 1905-1906.
Itemized and verified statement of expenses incurred in carrying out the execution of Williams, convicted in 1905 of homicide in Ramsey County. The botched hanging of Williams led to the abolishment of capital punishment in Minnesota. His was the last execution to take place in the state and the death penalty was removed from the state criminal law in 1911. The itemized expenses include the lumber and labor for constructing the gallows, clothing for the condemned man, and the rope. The document is signed by Ramsey County Sheriff Anton Miesen.
MNHS call number: 119.C.4.3B (User copy).

Books & Other Publications

American League to Abolish Capital Punishment. 
New York, NY: League to Abolish Capital Punishment, 1927-28.
A bound copy of a series of monthly bulletins (February 1927- January 1928) from the American League to Abolish Capital Punishment. The bulletins detail updates on the movement to abolish capital punishment in the United States.
MNHS call number: FOLIO HV8699.U5 L4
 

Sound Recording

The Last Words of Harry Haywardsound recording [1984].
The final statement of Harry Hayward, who was executed on December 11, 1895 for the murder of Katherine Ging. Statement was recorded by H. Benedict and T.C. Hough of Minneapolis at the Hennepin County Jail. Recorded from an original wax cylinder owned by Tim Brooks.
MNHS call number: Audiotape 89

Search for Primary Sources at MNHS

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