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State Fair: The Great Minnesota Get-Together: Primary Sources: Archives & Records

Manuscripts, Annual Reports & Publications

Giant Slide, State Fair, 1972.

Agricultural Society Annual and Related Reports, 1887-2007.
Annual reports (1887-1980) contain the society secretary's report; financial transactions and balance sheet for the year; synopsis of proceedings of board and committee meetings; narrative and statistical reports of all judging and operations departments of the state fair, including lists of all premiums awarded; and the proceedings of the Agricultural Society's annual meeting. Also the State Fair's reports to the society's annual meeting (1972-2007, incomplete) and miscellaneous reports (1910-1980), including secretary's narrative and financial reports and selected appendices that are known or suspected to contain information that was condensed for or not included in the published reports, particularly itemized voucher lists and property inventories.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Midwest Dairy Association Records, 1894, 1904-1991 (bulk 1935-1980)
The Midwest Dairy Association was formed in 2000, becoming the record keeper for the Minnesota Dairy Promotion Council and similar dairy concerns. Collection includes minutes (1894, 1904-1989), corporation documents, audit reports (1945-1980), some correspondence (1932-1974), photographs (1940s-1985), radio spots and television commercials (1980-1982), newspaper clippings (1938-1972), and other printed matter largely documenting a number of predecessors of the Minnesota Dairy Promotion Council, a trade association serving the Minnesota dairy industry and closely affiliated with the American Dairy Association. A large set of photographic negatives document the promotional activities of "Princess Kay of the Milky Way," an industry symbol and spokesperson.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Annual Report / Minnesota State Fair Foundation
Saint Paul, MN: Minnesota State Fair Foundation, 2006-present
A collection of annual reports from 2006 to present. Highlighted are revenues, donors, the State Fair Foundation’s board of directors, and what was new at the fair that year.
MNHS call number: Current Periodicals

Minnesota State Fair News
Saint Paul, MN: State Agricultural Society, 1924-1930
A bi-monthly publication by the State Agricultural Society highlighting events that year. Listed are Grandstand acts, new booths or displays, new food, attendance statistics, and revenues.
MNHS call number: FOLIO S555.M6 A1m

Premium Lists, Programs & Recipes

Minnesota State Fair Premium List Collection, 1857-1964.
Premiums and regulations for entering into a competition at the State Fair. Included are events for competition, the location of each event and its rules. Also included is general information for those staying at the fair that year, such as where the dormitories are located, what is needed to stay at the fair, where to take meals, etc.
MNHS call number: S555.M6 A2r

Minnesota State Fair Premium List Collection, 1924-2006.
An expanded version of the previous premium list collection, including years up to 2006.
MNHS call number: S555.M6 A22

Minnesota State Fair Daily Program Collection, 1936-1964.
Programs giving a chronological list of which events take place where and when for the duration of the Fair that year. Included are maps, Grandstand performances, competition judging, and other activities.
MNHS call number: S555.M6 A23

Minnesota State Fair Annual Program Collection, 1947-1984.
Programs giving a comprehensive overview of the fair, including lists of daily events, Grandstand performances, and new items at the fair that year.
MNHS call number: S555.M6 A24

Great State Fair Recipes Cookbook Project Files, 1975-1976.
The files include correspondence, newspaper clippings, and documentation about the winning contestants and their recipes and applications. The latter, submitted to the editor from former state fair contestants, include biographical statements, reminiscences about their fair experiences, and memories associated with the recipes. Some contain clippings and/or photographs documenting their sweepstakes wins. Includes records documenting the production of the Great State Fair Recipes Cookbook, edited by Karen A. Humphrey.
MNHS call number: 118.A.3.8F

Motion Pictures & Films

Minnesota State Fair, motion picture.
By Lester Hansch, 1933. 4 min., silent, black and white.
Video of the famous train collision during Thrill Days at the State Fair in 1933.
MNHS call number: D-87

State Fair Auto Races, motion picture.
KSTP-TV, 8/23/1968. 1:30 min., silent, color
MNHS call number: Digital Copy

Thrill Days, motion picture.
KSTP-TV, 1948. 6 min., silent, black and white.
MNHS call number: Digital Copy

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.