Special Collections, located on the fourth floor of Minneapolis Central Library, holds several in-depth collections containing unique and historic materials on a variety of topics.
Watch Introducing...Hennepin County Library's Special Collections for a brief tour.
We welcome donations to our collections to increase their research value and preserve the record of our shared heritage. Please contact Friends of the Hennepin County Library about financial donations to support the collections.
See donation guidelines for more information
Special Collections shares space with the Minneapolis Athenaeum, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to acquiring and preserving books and manuscripts and making them available to the public.
Learn more about the Minneapolis Athenaeum
One of the area's best local history resources, the collection covers all aspects of the history of Minneapolis and Hennepin County and includes books, photographs, high school yearbooks, archival and manuscript collections, periodicals, maps, postcards, and thousands of files of newspaper clippings.
Learn more about the Minneapolis History Collection
The works of dozens of current local and national book artists, along with numerous examples of historic fine press books are included in this collection.
The collection was started in 1944 by J. Harold Kittleson and constitutes the largest collection of WWII material in the Upper Midwest. It includes approximately 8500 books, 700 posters and 3500 pamphlets, as well as, photographs, maps, personal scrapbooks and letters relating to all aspects of the war.
Watch Flashback: WWII Propoganda Posters for a brief tour
View posters online
This collection includes hundreds of books, tracts, speeches, pamphlets and manuscripts by and related to a number of figures in the movement, including Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. DuBois, John Greenleaf Whittier, William Lloyd Garrison, Sojourner Truth, Solomon Northup, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Generous contributions from the community allowed the Library to acquire the core of the collection in 1974 from Chicago attorney Robert L. Huttner who originally gathered the material. The Library has continued to build this collection adding hundreds of new items since its acquisition.
This collection consists of more than 400 books and pamphlets by or about Mark Twain. Included among the first editions in the collection are "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", "A Curious Dream and Other Sketches", "Mark Twain's Burlesque Autobiography and First Romance", "The Quaker City Holy Land Excursion", and "Following the Equator".
The core of the collection was donated to the Library in 1977 by Robert E. Hoag, a St. Paul librarian and long-time supporter of the Minnesota Historical Society.
The collection includes books, manuscripts, and ephemera by and about a broad cross section of 19th century New England authors including novelists, essayists, poets, ministers, reformers, and even some politicians. The authors represented are numerous. Among the more famous are Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Henry Ward Beecher, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville, James Russell Lowell, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Greenleaf Whittier. First editions of the works of most of these authors are included in the collection. There are also extensive holdings of biographical and critical materials both contemporary and modern.
This is comprised of over 1500 autographed letters, photographs, notes and documents with the signatures of famous figures in all walks of life; Political and military figures, authors, musicians and actors.
The core of the collection was donated to the library in 1932 by the widow of a Minneapolis businessman, Louis L. Dodge.
Special Collections is located on the fourth floor of Minneapolis Central Library.
We recommend that you call or email Special Collections at least one day before you visit. Some of our materials are in storage and must be retrieved in advance. When you arrive, the materials requested will be waiting for you at the Special Collections information desk.
You may also contact Special Collections to discuss your project with a librarian. We are happy to recommend materials that you may find helpful.
We look forward to your visit and to working with you!