Gale Family Library

345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102



Library Hours

Tuesday: 9 am-8 pm
Wednesday: 9 am-4 pm
Thursday: 9 am-4 pm
Friday: 9 am-4 pm
Saturday: 9 am-4 pm
Sunday: Closed
Monday: Closed
Holiday Hours


$6 per day

Using the Library

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Research Collections

Since its founding in 1849, the Minnesota Historical Society has been collecting rare and interesting materials related to Minnesota’s people, places, history and culture. Much of that vast collection is accessible to the public at the Society's Gale Family Library. Watch this video to learn what sorts of materials you'll find at the library.
The Minnesota Historical Society’s Gale Family Library is filled with information and materials relating to Minnesota’s people, places, history and culture. The library serves researchers of all types and ages. This video explains what you need to know before visiting.

The Minnesota Historical Society provides a variety of research services including for obituary, court case, marriage, military, and naturalization records. This tutorial introduces the services provided and the process of placing an online research request.


Learn how to search for materials at the library using the online catalog.


Since 1948, the Minnesota Historical Society has used oral history to document Minnesota’s past and present. The Oral History Collection of the Minnesota Historical Society includes more than 1600 interviews with Minnesotans from across the state. Beginning in 1984, the Society has also operated a video history program to complement a number of its oral history projects. In 2009 the Oral History office began digitizing its entire collection and today can boast the largest digitized collection in the country. Full audio interviews and transcripts are now available online.


Oral history provides a rich resource of information that usually does not exist in any other form. The Society’s Oral History Collection includes information on such topics as politics, business, labor, agriculture, the environment, ethnicity, religion, and education. These and other topics are part of an oral history program that documents specific issues in the state’s history and current affairs.

The Society’s Oral History Office also offers advice and workshops to civic and community groups interested in using oral history in their own work. The PDF’s below have been produced by the Oral History Office as helpful guides that highlight some best practices to consider when undertaking your own oral history project.

The Minnesota Historical Society is one of the premier repositories in the nation for the documentation of politics and public affairs. The Society's interest in documenting public affairs began with its organization in 1849 by men who were themselves active participants in politics and government.


Today, the Society's collections provide one of the most comprehensive political histories of any single state. Yet their importance is far from parochial: Minnesotans have often achieved national and even international stature, so the Society's collections have attracted researchers from around the U.S. and the globe. They offer information on the quality of political leadership, the functioning of political parties, the governing processes, and the exercise of public opinion which ultimately affects the course of government.


The public affairs collections begin in 1819 with the journals of Indian agent Lawrence Taliaferro, the area's first resident public official, and continue to the present. They include the records and papers of all of Minnesota's governors, and most of its US Representatives and Senators, including the complete Senatorial and Vice Presidential "libraries" of Hubert H. Humphrey and Walter F. Mondale, as well as material relating to local political organizations. Under the terms of donor agreements, access to collections from individuals or active organizations may be restricted; please consult the Society's Reference staff for further information.


Hubert H. Humphrey at State DFL Convention, Brainerd, 1948
Minnesota State Capitol, 1913
Minnesota collage map, 1968
League of Women Voters banner, 1900 - 1941
Political discussion, Jordan, MN , 1895

This short video addresses the release of the 1940 Federal Census, including what kind of information it contains and how to access it without full computer searching.

The 1940 census can also be searched through computer databases like requires a subscription, but on-site Library users can access it free of charge.


Have you been wondering how to use our fabulous new search tool, Collections Online? Take a look at this video for helpful hints to get started finding photographs, objects, artwork, oral histories, moving images, maps, and more! You control the search; you have the power to make it as wide or narrow as need be, so have fun searching!