James K. Hosmer Special Collections

Preserving and promoting the library's greatest treasures

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Tucked behind the vintage wooden arch on Minneapolis Central Library’s fourth floor, the James K. Hosmer Special Collections houses some of the library’s greatest treasures—valuable maps, vintage yearbooks, and historic materials on a broad array of topics. Special Collections is a treasure trove of history and unique artifacts, all available to generations of Hennepin County residents.

From the Kittleson World War II Collection and the Huttner Abolition and Anti-Slavery Collection to local history collections covering Minneapolis and Hennepin County, Special Collections encompasses fascinating materials from the rich history and experiences of local communities through the years. With support from Friends of HCL, Special Collections staff not only acquire and preserve valuable antique books and media, they also digitize historical materials and items representing local history for patron’s ease of access.

This rich digital collection includes more than 250,000 photographs, school yearbooks, newspapers and magazines, posters, postcards, property records, manuscripts, restaurant menus, and more. This digitized content is available virtually to be viewed, printed, or downloaded with no logins or library card required.

250,000+  historic local photographs and more

available digitally and free of charge

Browse HCL's Digital Collection

12,700 books and materials preserved in the World War II Kittleson Collection

including nearly 900 war-related posters

Browse WWII posters


2,175+ local high school yearbooks

available digitally and in print

Browse Yearbooks

Curiosity piqued?

Check out these most intriguing resources from Special Collections!

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