Help Us Recover Minnesota's Heritage

Since its founding in 1849, the Minnesota Historical Society has been collecting materials to document and tell the story of Minnesota’s history and culture. The scope of the collections is vast. Today, MNHS manages a collection of more than 250,000 museum objects, nearly 100,000 cubic feet of paper records, half a million books, and more than 6,000 works of art. With a collection this old and this large, and especially with a collection that is accessible to the public, occasionally items go missing. Most of these turn out to be misplaced and are recovered through standard collections management practices. Some, however, are not so easily located and apparently have left the collection completely. Some of these were most likely stolen while others have been missing so long that we believe they are unlikely to be recovered in our own collections. 

MNHS asks for your help to locate and recover Minnesota’s missing heritage. The items listed on this website are those that we believe are no longer within our facilities and that can be positively identified as being from the MNHS holdings. If you have seen any of these objects, or if you know of any items belonging to MNHS that might be for sale or up for auction, please contact us.

Contact Us

If you believe that you have found an item that belongs to MNHS or if you are aware of an item that is for sale or about to be auctioned that may belong to MNHS, please let us know.


Phone: (651) 259 – 3256

Mail: Collections Department
345 Kellogg Blvd W.
Saint Paul, MN 55102

Missing Item List


  • Collection/Series
    Title or other identifying information of missing item
  • Great Northern Railway Company (U.S.). Land Dept.
    Volume 2. St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba and Great Northern town site register, 1867-1934.
  • Northern Pacific Railway Company. President.
    Northern Pacific and Foreign Road circulars and notices of appointment: • Volume No. 1, Circulars and Notices of Appointments, Northern Pacific and Foreign Roads, 1896-1903.
  • Northern Pacific Railway Company. President.
    Volume No. 2, Circulars and Notices of Appointments, Northern Pacific, 1903-1910.
  • Northern Pacific Railway Company. President.
    Volume No. 3, Circulars and Notices of Appointments, Northern Pacific, 1910-1921.
  • Northern Pacific Railway Company. President.
    Volume No. 4, Circulars and Notices of Appointments, Northern Pacific, 1921-1935.
  • Northern Pacific Railway Company. Treasurer
    Mexican Employment File, 1943-1948.
  • Northern Pacific Railway Company. Treasurer
    Japanese Employee Material, 1941-1943.
  • P. J. Smalley papers
    Booker T. Washington letter, October 6, 1908.
  • Rollin A. Lanpher papers
    Roll book of the Second Minnesota Regiment, Company D kept by Lanpher during the year 1864.
  • Thomas and Carmelite Christie and family papers
    Volume 45. A Little Journey Into Asia Minor, 1904.
  • Great Northern Railway Company (U.S.). Advertising and Publicity Dept. records
    Publicity Dept photo files: Empire Builder interior views by Wm. Bull, 1939.
  • James Gray and family papers, 1862-1960.
    Albert Einstein letter to James Gray, September 4, 1946
  • First Minnesota Infantry Regiment letters and research files, 1991-1993.
    2 photocopies of letters from John McEwen to his cousins. Transcribed
  • Allyn K. Ford Collection
    42. Arnold, Benedict, West Point, New York to [Timothy] Pickering, n.p., August 16, 1780. LS. 2 pages.
  • Great Northern Railway Company. Valuation Division. Valuation Records. St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway Company.
    Many; 5-08-2-01 through 5-08-3-19, and 5-08-3-21 through 5-08-3-22, 5-08-3-33,

State Archives

  • Saint Paul. Miscellaneous Records.
    St. Paul and Ramsey County Miscellany, 1858-1873 (1 folder).
  • Saint Paul. Human Rights Department, Subject Files (1955-1982).
    American Indian Movement (1 folder).
  • Education Department.
    Annual Reports of the High School Board, 1883-1887 (2 volumes).
  • Highway Department. Engineering Division. Urban Facilities and Projects Files.
    Rept: Proposed East-West Interstate through St. Paul, circa 1950 (1 folder). Contains content regarding Rondo neighborhood.
  • State Auditor. Land Department. Land Examiners Records.
    Land Examination Reports, 1909 (1 bundle).
  • Roseau County. ISD No. 690, Warroad.
    Clerk's and Treasurer's Receipt and Disbursement Register, 1928-1932 (1 volume).

Museum Objects

  • The People's Bank of St. Peter currency sheet 
    Sheet of blank State Bank Notes, Civil War period. 1860s
  • Letter/envelope with U. S. Postage Lindbergh 10c airmail stamp 
    A: Envelope with Lindbergh commemorative stamp containing B: letter from L.H. Brittin, Vice President and General Manager of Northwest Airways, Inc. to Mr. H.P. Clark of the West Publishing Company in St. Paul, Minnesota, 1927.
  • Ojibwa leggings given to Herbert McDuffee 
    Navy stroud cloth (est.) leggings each appliqued with long strip of lazy stitched beadwork in red & yellow triangles & diamonds on blue field, rawhide fringe laced up 1 side of each strip, bound with red/white cotton prints at bottom, indigo/white cotton print ties at top. Given to Herbert McDuffee by an Ojibwa brave in a ceremony recognizing McDuffee as a Comrade-in-arms during World War I, 1920.
  • Gavel 
    Used by H. H. Sibley as President of Democratic wing of Constitutional Convention. 1857
  • Seal 
    Brass seal of the State of Minnesota. State Captiol - 1858.
  • Bag associated with Iron Heart 
    Used by Iron Heart (Chantay-Maza), a Sioux sub - chief from near Standing Rock, South Dakota. D.A.R. 1931 ledger: 'Brilliant blue on white background.' Bag formerly belonged to "Iron Heart" Chantay-mah-za, a Sioux sub chief whose village was nead Standing Rock, SD and who lived at date bag was presented in civilization near that post.
  • Spurs 
    Spurs in shape of eagle worn by Gen. C. C. Andrews 1861 - 1865.
  • Bridle 
    Army bridle was used by Lt. Colonel William W. Folwell.
  • Ink well 
    Paneled pressed glass ink well with hinged brass top (1 3/4" x 1 3/4"). Top inscribed: ENCRIER de VOYAGE FCJ ne A PARIS BREVETE. Used by Robert Lyle, donor's great- grandfather, at the 1857 Minnesota Republican Constitutional Convention.
  • Bible printed in 1797 
    Made by Mash-ko-wa-ni-ma-doke (Strong Wind) Ely, Minnesota. D.A.R. 1931 ledger: 'Belonged to Col Samuel McPhail, who was Gen. SIbley's first assistant in charge of Fort Ridgely during the Sioux Uprising in 1862. Donor is great grandson of Col. McPhail. Bible came from Ireland, printed in 1797.' and 'Oct 1964 Loaned to descendant Geo. A. Sutton, Phoenix, Ariz., to be returned Je. 1965.'
  • Currency 
    1 Paper note, warrant of Minnesota state treasurer, for $1.50, act of Jan. 29, 1858.


  • "Daguerreotype. Gentleman. Number: 1403."
  • Daguerreotype. Man with lace cravat. name unknown.
  • "Daguerreotype of the parents of Mrs. Frances Earhart Warner and Miss Gertrude Earhart. Made in Philadelphia, PA on their wedding trip in 1853."
  • "Carte-de-visite: Ne-bah-guah-om (Big Dog)., circa 1865."


  • The first four years /by Laura Ingalls Wilder ; illustrated by Garth Williams.
    New York :Harper & Row,c1971.
  • The Northern Ojibwa and the fur trade :an historical and ecological study /Charles A. Bishop.
    Toronto :Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada,[1974].
  • The Mississippi valley flood disaster of 1927;official report of the relief operations.
    Washington, D.C.The American National Red Cross[1929]
  • The Hudson's Bay Company as an imperial factor, 1821-1869.
    Berkeley, University of California Press,1957.
  • Voyage pittoresque dans les deux Ameriques; résumé général de tous les voyages de Colomb, Las-Casas, Oviedo ... Humboldt ... Franklin ... etc., par les rédacteurs du Voyage pittoresque autour du monde; publié sous la direction de M. Alcide d’Orbigny ... Accompagné de cartes et de nombreuses gravures ... d’après les dessins de MM. de Sainson ... et Jules Boilly.
    Paris, L. Tenré [etc.] 1836.
  • The border outlaws. An authentic and thrilling history of the most noted bandits of ancient or modern times, the Younger brothers, Jesse and Frank James, and their comrades in crime. Comp. from reliable sources only ... By J. W. Buel ... Illustrated with portraits and colored plates.
    St. Louis, Mo.,Historical publishing company,1881.
  • Lights and shades of missionary life :containing travels, sketches, incidents, and missionary efforts during nine years spent in the region of Lake Superior /by John H. Pitezel.
    Cincinnati :Walden and Stowe,1883.
  • Hand-Atlas zur Geschichte Asiens, Afrika's, Amerika's und Australiens.Achtzehn colorierte karten.
    Gotha :J. Perthes,1855.
  • Yellowstone Park /Northern Pacific.
    St. Paul, Minn. :The Company,1922.
  • Edward Gein :America's most bizarre murderer /by Robert H. Gollmar.
    Delavan, Wis. :Chas. Hallberg,c1981.
  • Statistics of Dane County, Wisconsin :with a sketch of the settlement, growth, and prospectus of the village of Madison.
    Madison, Wis. :Carpenter & Tenney,1852.
  • An atlas of ancient geography /by Samuel Butler.
    Philadelphia :Lea & Blanchard,1844.
  • City of Superior, Lake Superior :its position, harbor, stage roads, rail roads, Northern Pacific rail road, steamboats, ocean commerce, lumber, fur trade, fisheries, climate, agricultural resources, U.S. agricultural diploma, U.S. public lands, &c., &c. May 1, 1859.
    Superior, Douglas County, Wis. ;Philadelphia, Pa. :For sale by T.B. Peterson & Bros.,c1859.
  • Why Wounded Knee? :a report /from Why Wounded Knee? Coordination and Information Committee.
    [Minneapolis, MN :Why Wounded Knee? Coordination and Information Committee,1974].
  • Indian treaties, and laws and regulations relating to Indian affairs :to which is added an appendix, containing the proceedings of the old Congress, and other important state papers, in relation to Indian affairs /compiled and published under orders of the Department of War of the 9th February and 6th October, 1825.
    Washington City :Way & Gideon, printers,1826.
  • Capture of Little Six and Grey Iron in 1864.Statement of John H. McKenzie and Onisime Giguere.Ordered printed by the Legislature, Feb. 1, 1867.
  • Report of Hon. Oliver Gibbs, Jr. :Commissioner of Minnesota to the World's Exposition at New Orleans, 1884-85 on the exhibit made by this state.
    St. Paul :Pioneer Press Co.,1887.