Time Travelers

Archives staff, left to right, Anne Stenzel, Heidi Southworth, Daardi Sizemore Mixon and Adam Smith.


When it came to chronicling Minnesota State Mankato’s history, the Archives staff had a very good year. 

The University’s sesquicentennial was nothing less than a showcase for the work that takes place by the Archives staff. The books, online resources and other materials are the culmination of determined, focused work by archives staff. Here, Heidi Southworth, Adam Smith, Anne Stenzel and Daardi Sizemore collectively shared some details of the workload and results. 

How has the University’s sesquicentennial affected your work?  

We have been preparing for the Sesquicentennial since roughly 2014-2015 by prioritizing digital projects in ARCH: University Archives Digital Collections and enhancing our staffing to accommodate the anticipated increased reference requests.  We have received many, many photo requests, research questions on college and department histories, and requests for the Sesquicentennial portable exhibit.   

We have been involved in three books: the Mankato Free Press’s “Evolution of Education,” Dr. Wiliam E. Lass’ history book and a postcard book. At the same time, we provided photographs for three other Mankato Free Press books (one on the Vikings and two on history of Mankato).   

We developed the 27-panel portable Sesquicentennial exhibit.  Our research for this project started in January 2017 and lasted through July 2017, culminating with its first display at Convocation on August 14, 2017.   

Bill Lass’s history book looks fantastic. How long and extensive a project was that for Archives?  

That project began in October of 2015 and concluded in September of 2018. Our team was actively involved in all aspects of the book. We did extensive research support, selected all images and captions for the book, worked on book design and layout, and indexed the book. Daardi Sizemore Mixon served as project co-editor with Sara Frederick and was involved in all major aspects of the creation of the book, from research and photo selection to editing and indexing. Mee Xiong worked extensively on research requests; Adam Smith selected photos; Anne Stenzel did on-demand digitization for parts of the book and assisted with research; and Heidi Southworth assisted with research.    

Are there blank spots in the University’s history you’re particularly eager to find? 

Images from the 1990s and early 2000s.  We are also interested in acquiring college and departmental histories such as meeting minutes and promotional materials.  Another great resource that we could use more of are records from student organizations such as minutes, scrapbooks, photographs, budgets or similar type materials.  In addition to paper and electronic records, we also look for memorabilia that represents a part of the university history such as clothing affiliated with the university or student organizations and buttons or promotional materials. There is a wealth of materials out there, and people, especially alumni, may not realize the Archives is an option to help preserve this part of their history.  Please contact the University Archives if you have records and/or artifacts that you no longer want to hold on to (email us at archives@mnsu.edu).  

You recently announced that all issues of the school newspaper, The Reporter, are now available and searchable online at the archives siteExplain how that works. 

ARCH is the University Archives Digital Collections repository and is freely accessible to all at https://arch.lib.mnsu.edu/.  It is fully text searchable, which means you type in a name or topic and then filter your results by newspaper format facet on the left-hand side.  You can also browse The Reporter by year all the way back to 1926. 

Are there more significant projects in the works? 

We recently added the Student Handbook from 1927-2004 to ARCH.  That includes all student handbooks in our collection.  It’s fascinating to see what rules and guidelines were in place for students over the years.   —Joe Tougas