Special Collections donations

The Minneapolis and Hennepin County Collection in Hennepin County Library’s James K. Hosmer Special Collections department contains hundreds of thousands of documents related to all aspects of Hennepin County's history, including books, periodicals, yearbooks, annual reports, programs, photographs, newspaper clippings, reports, pamphlets, menus, manuscripts, letters and other archival material. Significant parts of the collection are also available digitally.

Use of all parts of the collection is free and available to the public. Our collections are used extensively by students, researchers, writers, artists, teachers, architects, businesspeople and other library patrons

Started in 1940, the Minneapolis and Hennepin County Collection has benefitted from the generous contributions of countless individuals, businesses and organizations over the years.

We welcome donations to our collections to increase their research value and preserve the record of our shared heritage.

Why donate?

  • The records of individuals, organizations, businesses and communities provide important historical information about our community.
  • Donated records are arranged, described, preserved and made accessible by professional staff.
  • The records will become part of our community's heritage and made available to everyone and preserved for future generations.
  • Use of the collection is free and available to the public.

What we collect

From community, civic and cultural organizations based or operating in Hennepin County:

  • Annual reports, financial reports, meeting minutes
  • Newsletters or other organization publications
  • Research or other special reports
  • Legal documents
  • Architectural records, maps and diagrams
  • House or building histories
  • Catalogs, programs, menus or other descriptions or schedules of products or services
  • Yearbooks from colleges, academies, and public and private secondary and elementary schools
  • Manuals, guides or other instructional materials produced by the organization and related to their operations
  • Photographs(with identification) and other visual media (e.g., 16mm film, VHS, DVDs, posters etc.)
  • Audio recordings
  • Official correspondence and administrative files
  • Manuscripts of published material
  • Advertisements, flyers, pamphlets, postcards and other promotional material

Related to individuals who lived/are living in Minneapolis or Hennepin County or are/were active with an organization (e.g., a sports team) based in Minneapolis or Hennepin County:

  • Photographs (with identification)
  • Manuscripts, and other creative output (e.g.,musical score)
  • Memoirs, diaries and journals
  • Correspondence
  • Other materials directly related to the individual
  • Personal scrapbooks directly related to the individual
  • Audio and video recordings

Electronic versions of all of the above are acceptable.

What we don't collect

  • Non-printed realia (e.g., furniture, furnishings, equipment, knickknacks)
  • Routine financial information such as receipts, statements, invoices or ledgers
  • Material not directly related to the subject areas covered by our collections 
  • Art work will be considered on a case-by-case basis but is not normally collected

Donation guidelines

Before donating

Call or write to us before you make your donation. We will help you determine whether your donation is appropriate for our collections. We may also be able to suggest a more appropriate recipient for your donation.

Preparing your donation

After determining if your donation is appropriate for our collections, staff will work with you on preparing your collection. Please discuss preparation with staff before sorting, weeding or reorganizing your collection. It is often helpful for us to receive collections in their original order. Materials which seem unimportant may be significant in light of our other collections.

Donation agreement

Before receiving your donation, you may be asked to sign a donation agreement. This documents the transfer of ownership from the donor to the Library. Any material donated becomes the property of the Library. Because of expenses associated with the storage, preservation and servicing of archival material, we can only justify doing so for collections we own. Transfer of materials does not affect the copyright status of materials unless copyright is specifically owned by the donor and the rights are specifically transferred to the Library.


We do not appraise materials or collections. It is the donor’s responsibility to determine the monetary value of donated items before the actual transfer.

Contact us

Special Collections
Hennepin County Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55401