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Library News

A photo grid showing pictures of four Minnesota legislators from the pastOur Legislators Past & Present database is a rich source of biographical information and includes all 5,353 individuals who have served in the Minnesota Legislature -- a number that will soon grow as we look ahead to the start of the 93rd Legislature.

In addition to biographical details and specifics about a member’s legislative service, the database includes photographs of members when available. Many of the photographs in our database were originally printed in the Minnesota Legislative Manuals. While all Minnesota Legislative Manuals are available digitally, the scan resolution was not high enough for us to include additional images from those publications in our database without some extra work. We've partnered with the Minnesota Digital Library in recent years to include more than 3,000 photographs scanned from those publications specifically for inclusion in our database.

Until recently, many legislators were still not pictured in our database. This summer and fall, Library staff worked on filling some of those gaps and have now incorporated more than 2,500 photographs from 13 additional Legislative Manuals. 

Among those newly pictured are Sen. Laura Naplin (1927-1934), the first woman to serve in the Senate; Rep. Rosanna Payne (1927-1932), Rep. Harriet Weeks (1929-1932), and Rep. Bertha Hansen (1939-1940), some of the earliest women to serve in the House; Rep. Coya Knutson (1951-1954), who, after serving in the House, went on to be the first woman to represent Minnesota in Congress; and Rep. Charles Munn (1927-1934), who served one term as House Speaker and was the only speaker since 1905 not pictured in our database.

In addition to Rep. Coya Knutson, we've now added photographs of several other state legislators who also served in Congress: Rep. Victor Christgau (1927-1928), Rep. Dewey Johnson (1929-1934), Rep. James Bede (1931-1932), Sen. Henry Teigan (1933-1934), Rep. Richard Gale (1939-1940), Rep. Rick Nolan (1969-1972), and Rep. Betty McCollum (1993-2000).

The Library plays a vital role in preserving the history of the Minnesota Legislature as an institution. Legislators Past & Present is one of our richest and most unique resources, and expanding the photographs in this database -- which now total more than 8,500 -- enables researchers to better visualize Minnesota’s past.