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General Mills: Primary Sources: Archives & Records

Manuscripts

General Mills, Incorporated, view of mill from below the Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1940.

John Crosby Interview, 1955.
A typewritten transcript of an interview between John Crosby and Lucile Kane of the Minnesota Historical Society. John Crosby briefly describes his father’s business relationship with William D. Washburn, C. C. Washburn, and William H. Dunwoody; the formation of the Washburn-Crosby Company; the investment by the British Syndicate in the company; and the Dunwoody Institute.
MNHS call number: See finding aid in the library (P2381).

James Ford Bell and Family Papers, 1861-1961.
Business and personal correspondence (1861-1961), newspaper clippings (1920-1961), print materials, scrapbooks, and miscellany of a Minneapolis flour-milling executive who was an active participant in public affairs, and papers of other Bell family members.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Leslie L. Anderson and Family Papers, 1883-1981 (bulk 1883-1930).
Papers documenting several generations of a Minneapolis family including papers of daughter Ruth G. Anderson from her work in the General Mills Test Kitchen (1930s-1950s).
MNHS call number:  See finding aid in the library (Anderson, Leslie L.).

Harry A. Bullis Papers, 1898-1963.
Primarily scrapbooks of articles, speeches, public statements, letters, reports, clippings, photographs, and memorabilia of Bullis, an engineer, Minneapolis milling executive, and active participant in political, governmental, business, religious, educational, social, civic, and cultural organizations. There is information on his career (1919-1963) with the Washburn-Crosby Company, which in 1918 became General Mills, and correspondence with James Ford Bell.
MNHS call number: See finding aid in the library (P290).

Donald N. Gregg Flour Milling Collection, 185?-198?.
Subject files, including photocopies, photographs, and printed items, related to flour mills and milling in Minnesota and other Midwestern states (ca.1850s-1980s). The largest group of materials consists of files arranged by Minnesota city, with individual files for each mill within a city. There are also files containing background material on milling technology and the milling industry in general, files arranged by state (mostly Minnesota, but also including North Dakota and Wisconsin, with a few items from other states), files arranged by county and city (including large files on the many Minneapolis milling firms), biographical files on individual millers, and files of postcards and other graphic material. Individual files typically include photocopies of news, notes, and advertisements from the Northwestern Miller magazine and other printed sources; notes derived from various directories; and (in some cases) photographs and other original advertising materials.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Richard Ferrel Flour Milling Industry History Collection, mid 1800s-1900s.
Items produced by Minnesota-based millers form the core of the collection, but it also includes material from companies in neighboring states, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada. Among the approximately 3,000 three-dimensional objects are flour bags, barrels, advertising broadsides, company premiums, toys, and marketing displays, as well as many items featuring that company's celebrated advertising icon, Poppin' Fresh/Pillsbury Doughboy.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

General Mills, Inc.: The World's Largest Producer of Flour.
New York? N.Y. : National City Co., 1929.
Descriptive and illustrated material including a history of General Mills to 1929, a map of its mills, daily capacity charts, and earnings information.
MNHS call number: HD9009.G46 G46 1929

Books & Other Publications

Company Reports & Publications

Company Reports

  • General Mills, Inc. : Annual Report. 
    Minneapolis, Minn.: General Mills, 1928-current issue.
    Note: Report year for 1928/29-1963/64 ends May 31; for 1964/65- ends last Sunday in May.
    MNHS call number: HD9057.U62 G413 (1957/58 IN FOLIO)
     
  • General Mills Review.
    Minneapolis, Minn.: Corporate Communications Dept., General Mills, Inc., 1985-1994.
    MNHS call number: HD9009.G46 F352
  • General Mills, Inc.: Corporate Citizenship Report.
    Minneapolis, Minn.: General Mills, 1989-
    MNHS call number: AS911.G45 A3 1989-
  • General Mills, Inc.: Midyear Report.
    Minneapolis, Minn.: General Mills, 2003.
    Includes annual meeting summary.
    MNHS call number:  HD9057.U6 G414

Company Publications

  • Selected Editorials of James F. Bell. 
    Minneapolis, Minn.: General Mills, 1946.
    MNHS call number: BF636 .B44 1946
  • General Mills, Nuclear Equipment Department, Mechanical Division.
    Minneapolis, Minn.: General Mills, 1958.
    MNHS call number: TK9151.6 .G46 1958
     
  • Progress Thru Research.
    Minneapolis, Minn.: James Ford Bell Technical Center of General Mills, vol. 1- (Fall 1946-)
    Note: Vols. for 1946-57 published by the General Mills, Inc., Research Laboratories; 1958-v. 22, no. 1, 1968 by the Central Research Laboratories of General Mills; v. 22, no. 2, 1968- by the James Ford Bell Technical Center.
    MNHS call number: TP1 .P68 
     
  • Sketches.
    Minneapolis, Minn.: Public Relations Dept., General Mills, Inc., 1973.
    A "travelogue" of highlights from General Mills including its birth; the inception of Wheaties, Gold Medal Flour, Betty Crocker, and other products; and advancements in food science.
    MNHS call number: HD9009.G46 S53 1973

  • The Story of Wheat from Seed to Flour.
    Minneapolis, Minn.: Washburn Crosby Co., 1927. 
    A promotional booklet urging consumers to "eat more wheat." Includes brief history of the Washburn-Crosby company and information about the milling process, and promotional materials for Gold Medal Flour.
    MNHS call number: TS2145 .S86 1927

Employee Publications

Employee Newsletters

  • Millwheel. 
    Minneapolis, Minn.: General Mills, vol. 43, no. 4-6 (June/July-Nov./Dec. 1979).
    News for the people of General Mills.
    MNHS call number: HD9057.U62 G4122 FOLIO
  • GMI Twin Cities.
    Minneapolis, Minn.: General Mills, vol. 1 (Mar. 1980).
    News for the people of General Mills in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
    Note: MHS Holdings: vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar. 1980) - vol. 4, no. 6 (Sept. 1983). Lack: vol 2, no. 1 and 8 (1981).
    MNHS call number: Microfilm 1767
  • Cities: News for General Mills People in the Twin Cities Area. 
    Minneapolis, Minn.: General Mills, Inc., vol. 1, no. 1 (Nov. 1983).
    MNHS call number: Microfilm 1004

 

Company Guidebooks

  • Guide Book: Information for Employees. 
    Minneapolis, Minn.: Washburn-Crosby Co., 1921.
    MNHS call number: HD9056.U54 W373 1921
     
  • General Office Handbook /General Mills.
    Minneapolis, Minn.: General Mills, 1958.
    MNHS call number: HD9057.U62 G444 1958

Oral Histories

Oral History Interview with Charles H. Bell, 2 sound cassettes (60 min. each)
Produced by Minnesota Historical Society. Interviewed by James E. Fogerty at the Minneapolis Club. Minneapolis, Minn.: October 2, 1998.
Bell is the retired chairman and president of General Mills, Inc. He recalls the various positions he held at the company and the people with whom he worked. He discusses the Company’s creation by his father, James Ford Bell, its growth and development, and both structural and management changes over the years. 
MNHS call number: Digital copy of the transcript; Digital recording of the interview: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Oral History Interview with E. Robert Kinney, 4 sound cassettes (60 min. each)
Produced by Minnesota Historical Society. Interviewed by James P. Shannon. St. Paul, Minn.: 2009.
E. Robert Kinney talks about his early life in Maine, his crab canning business, the acquisition of the business by Gorton’s, his term as a leader in Gorton’s and its merger with General Mills, his tenure as president, chairman, and CEO of General Mills, and his impressions of life in Minnesota.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid; Digital copy of the transcript; Digital recording of the interview: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Oral History Interviews of the Mill City Museum Test Kitchens Oral History Project, 5 sound cassettes (90 min. each)
Produced by Minnesota Historical Society. Interviewed by Linda Cameron. St. Paul, Minn.: Aug.-Sept. 2002.
Interviews were conducted as part of the interpretive program development for the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, operated by the Minnesota Historical Society. The primary purpose of the interviews was to gain insight into the work of the test kitchens of the two leading flour milling companies with roots in the Minneapolis milling district. Five women, who had been employed as home economists for General Mills or Pillsbury, were interviewed: Marcia Copeland, Barbara T. Lockwood, Sylvia Ogren, Barbara Jo Davis, and Ralcie Ceass. They were asked about their educational backgrounds, job responsibilities, product development, work environment and careeer opportunities at each company, company promotions, and public tour programs.
MNHS call number: Digital copies of the transcripts:  Barbara Jo DavisRalcie CeassMarcia CopelandBarbara Thornton LockwoodSylvia Ogren; Digital recording of the interview with Barbara Jo Davis: Part 1 ,Part 2; Ralcie Ceass:  Part 1; Marcia Copeland: Part 1Part 2; Barbara Thornton Lockwood: Part 1, Part 2 ; Sylvia Ogren: Part 1, Part 2

Maps

Flour Milling District of Minneapolis, Minn.
Publisher of original map: Walter I. Fisher. Minneapolis, Minn.: June, 1911.
Surveyed by General Inspection Company ; Guy W. Wilson, inspector.
MNHS call number: Digital copy of the map

Search for Primary Sources at MNHS

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