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Transportation Research: Automobiles

Minnesota transportation from animal-drawn carts and wagons to airplanes and mass transit.

About Automobile Transportation

With the development of the automobile, people and businesses could travel beyond the rivers and railroad lines.   Increased ownership of cars allowed people to live further from their work places and to travel to new places near and far.  Trucks provided local, regional, and national transportation of goods.  An extensive system of streets, roads, and highways has developed to carry the increasing automotive traffic throughout Minnesota.

Researching Automobile Transportation

Search the library catalog for books and other published materials, manuscript collections, and State Archives collections about automobile transportation. Useful search terms: automobiles, automotive transportation, automobile industry, roads, express highways

Selected manuscript and State Archives collection finding aids detailing box locations and contents are available online.  Others are available in notebooks in the Library.

Photographs, artwork, and artifacts documenting automobiles and roads can be found in Collections Online. Useful search terms: automotive transportation, automobiles, trucks, road, traffic

Newspapers may contain advertisements and stories about automobile transportation.

Selected Automobile Transportation Resources

Minnesota Department of Highways, Statewide Road Inventory Files, 1936-1950.
Manuals, instructions, memoranda, field notes, news bulletins, statistical tables, and work sheets relating to an inventory of Minnesota roads conducted during the 1930s and early 1940s as part of a statewide Minnesota Highway Planning Survey.  
MNHS call number:  Digital finding aid

Minnesota Department of Highways, Miscellaneous Historical Materials, 1906-1966.  
Primarily material concerning the history of roads and highways in Minnesota and the Minnesota Highway Department.
MNHS call number:  107.J.7.9B

Minnesota Department of Highways, Subject Files, 1923-1976.   
Topical files on a variet of subjects, including highway and roadside use and maintenance, bridges, federal funding, planning for trunk highways and expressways, and traffic safety.
MNHS call number: Digital finding aid

Politics and Freeways:  Building the Twin Cities Interstate System, prepared by Patricia Cavanaugh for the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) and Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) at the University of Minnesota.  
Minneapolis, Minn.:  University of Minnesota, 2006.
MNHS call number:  HE356.5 T8 C38 2006, also available online.

"Pioneering with the Automobile in Minnesota," by Dorothy V. Walters.
In Minnesota History, vol. 26, no. 1 (March 1945, pp. 19-28).
MNHS call number:  Digital copy of the article.

"Tracing the Hound:  The Minnesota Roots of the Greyhound Bus Corporation," by Margaret Walsh.
In Minnesota History, vol. 49, no. 8 (winter 1985), pp. 310-321.
MNHS call number:  Digital copy of the article.

Motor Vehicle and Driver License Registration Records, 1909-1921
Register of motor vehicles (1909-1914, with indexes), automobile license applications (1921), chauffeur’s record (1909-1911), and motorcycle registration record (1909-ca. 1913).
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Secretary of State: Motor Vehicle Division). 

Becker County Motor Vehicle Index, 1919-1921
A register of motor vehicles sold in the county, recorded with the Register of Deeds as required under Laws 1919 c510. Each entry gives names of purchaser and seller, vehicle make and model, motor number, application number, and date and time of filing.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Becker County: Register of Deeds). 

Dakota County Motor Vehicle Index, 1919-1921
Information recorded: application number, filing date, number of motor, from whom purchased, make and model of vehicle.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Dakota County: Register of Deeds). 

Lac Qui Parle County Motor Vehicle Index, 1919-1921
Information recorded: application number, filing date, number of motor, from whom purchased, make and model of vehicle.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Lac Qui Parle County: Register of Deeds). 

Wabasha County Motor Vehicle Index, 1919-1921
Information recorded: application number, filing date, number of motor, from whom purchased, make and model of vehicle.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Wabasha County: Register of Deeds). 

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