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IHRC News Online July 19, 2004

This is the Immigration History Research Center's monthly newsletter. If you would like to be notified by email when each issue has been published, please contact the IHRC to sign up using our e-notice system.

The IHRC website has a new address: Be sure to bookmark it!

This issue contains:

Note: Originally Headline News, IHRC News Online is the IHRC's primary communications vehicle. The News Online is posted once a month, generally at mid-month. Please send any comments or news relating to the IHRC to Editor Judy Rosenblatt.

Feature Story

Finn Forum VII: Cultural Encounters: Migration, Ethnicity, and Identities at U of MN, Twin Cities, October 28-30, 2004

An Interdisciplinary Conference in Finnish and Finnish-North American Studies; Gala to benefit IHRC Fund for Finnish American Studies

Finn Forum VII is the latest in a series of international, interdisciplinary conferences on Finnish immigration and ethnicity held since 1974, alternating sites in the USA, Canada, and Finland. IHRC staff along with scholars who have used the Center's vast Finnish American collection have been deeply involved in the conception, planning, and reporting of these conferences. This year the conference returns to the Twin Cities, to be held at the U of MN.

Special aspects of the event this October 28–30 include tributes to scholars, living and recently deceased, who have made important contributions to the body of knowledge about Finnish emigrants AND a final gala reception / musical cabaret, open to everyone, that will benefit the IHRC's Timo Riippa Fund for Finnish American Studies.

The Finn Forums have been responsible for a great deal of late 20th century scholarship on Finnish migration to North America. They resulted in a series of five published essay collections. In addition, 30 years of PhD dissertations, Master's papers, and Senior Honors projects have been helped by the research on Finns nurtured by the Forums.
(The preceding includes some information excerpted from an essay on the history of Finn Forum by Marianne Wargelin, scholar and Honorary Consul of Finland, Minneapolis. See the entire essay at the Forum website,

As a cosponsor of the conference, the IHRC is helping with the planning. Director Rudolph Vecoli will participate in the welcome/opening and will chair a session. Curator & Asst. Director Joel Wurl is a member of the committee organizing the event and will also chair a session. Many of the presenters from both Finland and North America are well known at the IHRC, having been frequent researchers. Some of the themes to be explored by participants are identity, settlement patterns, community, literature, culture, architecture, and genealogy research. (See the preliminary program at the website.) Tours of the Center will be included in the pre-conference events on October 27. Books from the Michael Karni inventory will be on sale, to benefit the Karni Scholarship (see below) within the Finnish American Studies Fund.

The conference ends Saturday, October 30, with the reception and gala to benefit the Center's Riippa Fund. The cabaret-like event will be held in the atrium of the Hubert H. Humphrey Center, 301-19th Ave. S, Minneapolis (West Bank Campus), beginning at 7:00 p.m. The gala will feature performances by a variety of talented local musicians offering several genres of music from (or inspired by) the IHRC's Finnish music Sheet Music for "Jolly Finns"collection (may include dancing by attendees to the music of performers, including the Finnish brass septet Amerikan Poijat / Boys of America, shown above right at the celebration of the opening of Andersen Library.) A buffet of Finnish food will be served. Watch for more details as the event planning progresses.

Finnish or not, you are invited to attend the gala and enjoy the food and music while you help support the IHRC endowment. More information on the Riippa Fund for Finnish American Studies.

Left: Sheet Music for "Jolly Finns" from the IHRC's Finnish American collection and COLLAGE.


General Students
Early registration for conference (until September 16, 2004) $85.00 $25.00
Late registration for conference (after September 16, 2004, or on-site) $100.00 $35.00
One-day registration for community members (Friday evening and Saturday daytime) $30.00 $30.00
Closing reception and gala, benefit for IHRC's Riippa Fund $30.00 $20.00

Hotel Rooms

Blocks of low-cost rooms are held for conference participants and attendees at the Radisson Metrodome and the Days Inn University, but only for reservations made before September 23, 2004. After that, rates will be significantly higher. If you are planning to come, reserve early; the hotels anticipate a larger number of guests for the end of October than usual.

See the preliminary program and further details, including registration materials, at

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Collection Development

COLLAGE Image Count Tops 1,000

With the recent addition of nearly 200 images from the International Institute of San Francisco collection (including the one at the right, near the Golden Gate Bridge), the image count in the IHRC’s Web resource has topped 1,000. COLLAGE (Collections Online: A DigitaL Library of American ImmiGration and Ethnic History, found here, is an online searchable database of digitized items from the IHRC's photograph, print, and manuscript collections. See the complete press release.

Needed: Volunteer with Finnish translation skill for COLLAGE project
The IHRC is looking for a volunteer to assist with translating Finnish captions into English for a project to digitize visual materials that document the Finnish American community in the United States. The volunteer should have a strong command of written Finnish, including grammatical structure, as well as native fluency in English. In addition, the volunteer should be comfortable with data entry into either a Microsoft Access database or Microsoft Excel worksheet on a PC.

The translation and data entry are expected to take approximately 20–30 hours, to be completed by this fall. On-site assistance is preferred; off-site work will be considered. Benefits include the opportunity to help preserve historical documents, work in a university research and archival environment with friendly professionals, and receive weekday parking fee reimbursement.

For more information, or to submit a brief written description of qualifications, please contact Erik Moore, COLLAGE Coordinator, at or 612-624-8353.

Wolkovich-Valkavicius, Rev. William, ca.1970–2000, supplement to papers,
1 lin. ft. addition to 2 lin. ft. received previously
Rev. William Wolkovich (b. 1929) served as pastor of the St. George Roman Catholic parish in Norwood, MA, before he retired to Marlboro, MA, in 2004. He is author of a number of published works dealing primarily with Lithuanian Americans but with other ethnic groups as well. In March 2004, Father Wolkovich received an honorary doctorate from the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Supplement received in June 2004 adds to published and unpublished materials and resource files dealing mainly with religion and ethnicity, predominantly pertaining to the Lithuanian and Lithuanian American cultural heritage. Included are manuscripts and typescripts of Wolkovich's articles, newspaper clippings, research notes, and resource files on Lithuanian Americans as well as various other US immigrant groups.

Announcements & Events

Special Presentation
"How a Hungarian POW Survived 19 Soviet Prison Camps in Siberia, 1945–1949"
2003 interview with Hungarian American Laszlo Tekler

presented by interviewer Rezsoe (Ralph) Gracza, independent researcher

                      Thursday, July 29, 2004, 5:00 p.m.

Room 308, Elmer L. Andersen Library,
222-21st Ave. S, Minneapolis (West Bank Campus)

light refreshments will be served
cosponsored by the Friends of the IHRC

questions/details: Email

directions/parking: go to about/visiting.php

To request disability accommodations, contact the IHRC, <>

First Michael G. Karni Scholarship for grant-in-aid of research at IHRC to be awarded this fall

The IHRC will make its first award this fall of the Michael G. Karni Scholarship, established to help defray expenses of a visiting professor, lecturer, or graduate student who will use IHRC collections for at least two week's research. Preference will be given to those using the Finnish American collection, with next preference to those using the Baltic collections (i.e., Estonian, Latvian, or Lithuanian). The deadline for applications is September 15. The award, a memorial to Mike Karni, pioneering historian, early developer of the IHRC's Finnish American collection, and publisher of Finnish American scholarship and literature who passed away in March 2002, will help researchers with up to $750 for travel and research-related expenses. Gifts from Mike's friends and family, along with other supporters of Finnish American scholarly activity, have made this fund possible.

Complete information on applying for the scholarship

For information on a book sale to benefit the Karni Scholarship Fund, see the Friends section below.

Guide toOOSIA BookSIA records and papers now available

The IHRC'snewrevised and enlarged guide to the lodges, leaders, and activities of the Order Sonsof Italy in America is available from the Center.
See for more information about OSIA. See the previous issue of this newsletter fora more detailed feature story about the book.
To order the new guide, go to the IHRC online catalog or download an order form to print out.

Guide to the Records of the Order Sons of Italy In America
Second Edition
Compiled by Jennifer M. Guglielmo;
first edition compiled by John Andreozzi
267 pages +unpaged middle section with 53 black and white photographs
ISBN: 0-932833-16-0
Cost per book: $19.95 + $1.40 sales tax (Minnesotans)
+ $2.00 postage+ $3.00 handling per total order

Total:    $26.35 (MN)       $24.95 (non-MN)
Please make check payable to Univ. of MN

Jennifer Guglielmo wins Best Dissertation Award

The U of MN Graduate School recently named four winners of the 2004 Best Dissertation Awards, including Jennifer Mary Guglielmo,PhD in history. Jennifer was a graduate assistant at the IHRC for four years, helping to arrange and describe Italian American manuscript collections and compiling the IHRC's just-published second edition of the Guide to the Records of the Order Sons of Italy in America (see above item). Each winner receives a $1,000 honorarium and a special certificate.

Guglielmo's dissertation is titled “Negotiating Gender, Race and Coalition: Italian Women and Working Politics in New York City, 1880 to 1945.” It documents the multiethnic, multilingual, transnational world of urban, working-class women's political activism in the first half of the 20th century and examines how Italian American women's participation in this culture diminished due to their acquisition of national and racial identities as "white" Americans. Guglielmo is now an assistant professor at Smith College, Northhampton, MA.

Book "The Nelson Brothers" based on collection at IHRC

The IHRC is cooperating to help broaden circulation to the academic community of a soon-to-be-published book, "The Nelson Brothers; Finnish-American Radicals from the Mendocino Coast" by Allan Nelson (Mendocino, CA: Mendocino County Historical Society, forthcoming). In the photograph at right, the editors of the book, RThe Nelson Brothersussell Bartley and his wife, Sylvia (both of Noyo Hill House, a heritage preservation service), show the manuscript to Joel Wurl (seated) and Rudolph Vecoli (standing at right) on a June visit to the IHRC.

Materials donated to the IHRC by Allan Nelson (his father, Arvid's, papers), along with Allan's Master's thesis, form the foundation of the book he has written: The family papers include letters between the two Nelson brothers, Arvid and Enoch when Enoch lived in Soviet Karelia. A description of the IHRC collection will be in an appendix.

Additional contributions to the book from the IHRC are a preface by Joel Wurl and photographs from the Finnish American collection as displayed in COLLAGE (the online database resource). Some funding for this collaboration comes from the grant the IHRC received from the National Park Service for the "Save America's Treasures" initiative. The Center will receive copies of the book to sell.

From the Introduction by Donald R. Nelson:

My cousin Allan Nelson wrote the following biographical accounts after a long career as a US diplomat in Finland, South Africa, Greece and Vietnam, among other foreign postings. He completed the first as a Master's thesis in history at Sonoma State University ("Arvid Nelson: A Rare Kind of Finn," 1980; the second ("Uncle Enoch"), as a piece of family history inspired by the discovery of previously unknown relatives in the former USSR. Together these writings offer a rare glimpse into the lives, loves and political beliefs of two Mendocino County Finns who were active in the socialist movement during the early decades of the twentieth century: one, Enoch Nelson (1897–1938), a radicalized mill and woodsworker who migrated to Soviet Karelia, where he perished in the Stalinist purges; the other, Arvid Nelson (1890–1967), a prominent socialist journalist for the Finnish-American press.

(Information on another book about Finns in Karelia is in the Friends section, below.)

Estonian-Swedish children's book illustrator talks about Estonian influence on her artwork; see Minneapolis exhibit until Oct. 3

Ilon Wikland, an award-winning artist-illustrator of children's books, was born in Estonia and immigrated to Sweden as a 14-year-old refugee in 1944. She spoke to a large group of book lovers and members of the Estonian American community at Andersen Library on the evening of June 17, discussing "Estonian Influence on My Writing and Illustrating Children's Books, including Those of Astrid Lindgren." 

Wikland evokes scenes from her childhood in Estonia in her work, which combines imagination and reality. Many of the books she has illustrated have been translated from Swedish into other languages; they are found around the world.

Refreshments were provided by the Friends of IHRC and the Estonian Association of Minnesota. The U of MN's Children's Literature Research Collections, a major sponsor of the event, had a large display of books Wikland has illustrated, including many by well-known Swedish author Astrid Lindgren.

A related exhibit, "Small Heroes, Great Journeys: The Art of Ilon Wikland," will be at the American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis, until Oct. 3, 2004. For more information about the exhibit, see the ASI website,, or contact Jan McElfish, 612-871-4907 or

McKnight Presidential Fellows Awards

These awards have been given to 10 recently promoted U of MN associate professors in recognition of research, scholarship, and leadership in their fields. The awards provide research funds for three years. Among the five in the 2005 cohort is Erika Lee, History Department, a member of the IHRC's Faculty Advisory Committee and author of last year's award-winning book At America's Gate: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882–1943. These awards complement McKnight awards for new assistant and full professors, all designed to identify and support promising faculty at critical stages of their careers.

U of MN creates new library position: Elmer L. Andersen Director
of Archives and Special Collections

At Elmer L. Andersen's 95th birthday party June 18 at Andersen Library (see photo at left of Andersen and the receiving line of wellwishers), U of MN Pres. Robert Bruininks announced the creation of a new leadership position in University Libraries named for Andersen and designed to provide strategic direction for the libraries, archives, and special collections. The Elmer L. Andersen Director of Archives and Special Collections will, according to University Librarian Wendy Pradt Lougee, work to "dramatically enhance access...and position the Andersen Library as a catalyst for learning, both on campus and globally." To accomplish this, the library intends to "provide more opportunities for visiting scholars, improve online access to databases and digital facsimiles, develop engaging research publications, and offer innovative education programs for students of all ages," according to a press release.

Old Art Building across the street demolished, to be replaced with green space

The edifice that staff have referred to for the last four years when giving directions to the IHRC at Andersen Library —"We're just across the street from the old Art Building"—is no more. The site is on its way to becoming a green space. A new art building opened earlier this year in the West Bank "Arts Quarter" two blocks south of Andersen, near the theater and dance buildings; so it was just a matter of time before the old, unsafe building would come down. The rubble has now been hauled away. It will be a while yet before dirt is spread on the concrete slab and grass is planted—but the landscape has already changed radically. Staff will have to practice saying, "We're across the street from the new grass."

Events and announcements between issues of this newsletter and items of general interest are publicized in the "Community Events & Announcements" section of the Friends of IHRC section. Changes are made frequently, so check it often. Both Twin Cities area and national items are listed. Categories and section headings have been added, to make it easier to navigate through the list. You may submit news of ethnic events to the editor for posting.

Some of the current listings:

  • Concert by three Latvian tenors, Aug. 24 in Minneapolis.
  • Ethnic Dance Theatre costumes on display in Minneapolis through Aug. 14

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IHRC Endowment Campaign:"Stories Worth Remembering"

American Latvian Assoc. contribution received for fellowship

As noted in the February 2004 news, the American Latvian Association pledged $50,000 toward an ALA Graduate Fellowship, along with funds from other Latvian American organizations. That pledge has been fulfilled; the IHRC recently received a check for $71,000 from the ALA that combined its gift with those of three other groups. The Center is grateful for this show of support for its Latvian American collection, widely regarded as the nation's premier resource for study of the ethnic group's history. Additional contributions have also been received. The goal for full funding of the fellowship is $150,000, which will support a graduate student to serve the collection and provide assistance to researchers who use it.

Contributions will be matched through the NEH Challenge Grant. See more about the fund.

Make a contribution

If you appreciate the IHRC's work, make a contribution to the Annual Appeal (to help fund general day-to-day expenses) and/or to the Endowment (for investment in the long-term future of the Center). Your help is urgently needed and greatly appreciated. 

This is a good time to make a pledge for the endowment. You have until July 2005 to complete payment. Follow the directions in ways you can help the campaign.Thank you for supporting the documentation, preservation, and promotion of the history of our nation's immigrant experience. 

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Researchers & Visitors

Greek Americanwomen visit

Leaders in the Daughters of Penelope (DOP), complement to the AHEPA,Greek American men's fraternal organization, were visitors to the IHRC in June. Angie Speliopoulos, former national president and member of the Minneapolisarea chapter (left in photo), escorted Demi Kapolis, current Grand Vice President of the organization, visiting from the Boston area. Kapolis is running for Grand President at the National Convention of the DOP in Miami, FL, which will be held this month. After a tour, Kapolis noted that she is very enthusiastic about the IHRC and wants to continue the DOP efforts to support it.

They are shown here with Curator & Asst. Director Joel Wurl, who provided the tour and discussed with them the significance of the archives.

New Book

The IHRC has received an inscribed and signed copy of June Granatir Alexander's new book, Ethnic Pride, American Patriotism: Slovaks and Other New Immigrants in the Interwar Era (Philadelphia: Temple U Press, 2004), mentioned in the March News Online prior to its publication this month. In the Preface and Acknowledgments essay, June has laudatory words for IHRC staff and collections, noting "I am particularly grateful to the staff of the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) at the University of Minnesota, where much of the research for this book was conducted. …Early research for this project was supported by an IHRC grant-in-aid."

Halyna Sarancha, a PhD student of history at the Ternopil State Pedagogical University in Ukraine, returned to the IHRC for 10 days (June 22–July 2) to continue research for her dissertation on the social-political adaptation of the third wave of Ukrainian immigrants to the USA (post-World War II to 1954). This time her research touched on dedicated community activists in the Ukrainian diaspora who emigrated after World War II, with special interest in the life and works of the Ukrainian emigré writer Dokia Hummena. She also researched the Ukrainian American community of Minneapolis and activists such as Luba Mensheha, V. Pakulak, O. Bulavytsky, M. Derbush, and Oksana Solovey. Sarancha was impressed with the richness of IHRC sources and thinks this won’t be her last visit.

Piret Noorhani, head of the Estonian Cultural History Archives, Tartu,  visited June 11, 2004. She toured the Estonian collection, where she saw the large, new Estonian Archives in the US holdings, and met with Dir. Rudolph Vecoli and curators Joel Wurl and Daniel Necas.

Paul Lubotina, Northern Michigan U, researched multi-ethnic community building for his PhD dissertation.

Tapio Hietalahti, a Master's student at the U of Helsinki, Finland, and Jennifer Niemala, a private researcher working on a book, did research for a thesis on the religious life of Finnish immigrants and Finnish immigrants in northern Minnesota in the 1920s, respectively.

Visiting scholar at U of MN Pamela Parnell did research for a conference paper comparing incarceration rates of foreign-born/noncitizens in the United States post 9/11 with earlier rates, dating back to the early 1800s.

Anita Kocnar, a student at the U of Ljubljana, Slovenia, did research for her Master's thesis on Slovene immigrant literature, particularly the work of Andrew Kobal.

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Ukrainian Conference

Sr. Asst. Curator Halyna Myroniuk attended the Twenty-Third Annual Conference on Ukrainian Subjects at the U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, June 16–19, 2004. The theme of the conference was “Contemporary Ukraine and Its Diaspora as Seen by Scholars in Ukraine and Abroad.” Some 60 scholars from Ukraine, Europe, and North America participated.

During the meetings of the World Scholarly Council of the World Congress of Ukrainians and the American-Ukrainian Association of University Professors, historian Lubomyr Wynar (see Researchers section of the last issue, May/June, for more about him) informed the members about the rich archival resources in the IHRC’s Ukrainian American collection and then introduced Myroniuk, who spoke briefly about some of the major collections held at the Center and the importance of supporting the Ukrainian American Studies Fund of the IHRC endowment.

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Friends of the IHRC

Link here to the Friends section of the website for more information about the organization, including how to join this nonprofit support group for the IHRC (or use the drop-down navigation box at the top of this newsletter).

Louis P. Novak
(died July 12, 2004, at age 77)

Lou Novak, president of the Croatian Cultural Society of Minnesota and its Louis P. Novakrepresentative on the Friends Board of Directors for 10 years (1994–2004), died of complications following heart surgery. He was a retired engineer who had worked for Honeywell for 32 years. Devoted to preserving his Croatian American heritage, he served very actively as cultural attaché for the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Croatia in Minnesota. In that capacity, he promoted visiting Croatian artists and performers. He also led fund raising efforts for the newly independent Croatia. He began a Friendship Force Club in Croatia and led the first exchange of visitors in 1999.

As a Friends board member, he contributed some of the knowledge he had acquired about public relations and fund raising as a leader in the Toastmasters Club, another passion. He and his wife, Mary Ann, worked very hard to help make the 2001 Friends gala Annual Meeting and fund raiser for the IHRC endowment an outstanding success. His congenial personality and big grin will be missed at board meetings.

Book sale benefits Karni Scholarship Fund

To raise funds for the Karni Scholarship Fund (see above), the Friends of the IHRC has been authorized to sell items remaining in the inventory of Michael Karni's company, Sampo Publishing, Inc. The books (and one music videotape), all with Finnish American themes, are being sold at HALF PRICE, and all the proceeds will be contributed to the fund. As a gift from the Friends to the Karni Fund, this money qualifies for matching funds (1:4) from the National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant.

Find the catalog and order form to print out here.

To find out more about or to contribute to the Karni Scholarship Fund, see the infomation about it here.

Friends award State History Day prizes

The 2004 State History Day was held at the U of MN's Coffman Union on May 2. The theme was "Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange in History." This was the 12th year the Friends participated in Minnesota's History Day, providing prizes for the best senior and junior projects relating to immigration history. Andrea Burns, IHRC COLLAGE research specialist and former coordinator of History Day for the U's History Department, was a volunteer judge for the Friends.

"Aqui Me Quedo: Latinos on Lake Street," a group exhibit by Minneapolis South High School students Marley Alexis, Brian Fitzpatrick, Erik Underwood, and Emily Hager-Garman, was awarded the $100 senior prize. The exhibit explores the businesses and community institutions that have been created by Latino immigrants living in the culturally and linguistically diverse Lake Street neighborhood in Minneapolis. As part of their research, the South High students conducted interviews with Latinos living in the Lake Street community. The interviews explored issues such as what the Lake Street neighborhood means to them, why they immigrated to Minnesota, and why, as the project title indicates, "here I stay."

"Coming to America: A Collision Between Two Worlds," a Junior Group Media project by Capitol Hill Magnet School (St. Paul) students Mary Vang, Janette Xiong, and Sai Vang, won the $50 junior prize. It is a documentary-style video project that tackles the history of Hmong immigration to the United States—and more specifically, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area—after the Vietnam War. The documentary, which is composed of many oral interviews with family members and Hmong American junior high school students, examines the cultural transitions and challenges that many young immigrants face, such as what it means when Hmong is spoken at home but English is spoken at school, the merging of Christianity and traditional Hmong beliefs, and the conflict and compromises that occur when one claims both a "Hmong" and an "American" identity.

The History Day competition is a nationwide effort first held in 1980 that encourages young people to take an interest in history. Minnesota's State History Day is cosponsored by the U's History Department and the Minnesota Historical Society. About 30,000 Minnesota students in grades 6–12 take part each year, placing Minnesota among the top five states in participation. Students are always encouraged to use the Center's resources for their projects.

Memoir on Finns in Soviet Karelia reissued

The book and history on which, by coincidence, both winners of the Friends' 2003 State History Day Awards based their projects (see awards notice on the Friends page), has been reissued this year by the U of MN Press after having been out of print for some time. They Took My Father; Finnish Americans in Stalin's Russia, by Mayme Sevander and Laurie Hertzel, is "a riveting memoir of one family's struggle under a totalitarian regime" (Press flyer). A discounted price of $13.50 (20% off list) is available until September 15, 2004. (shipping: $4.50 first book; $1.00 each additional book). Find at your bookstore or order from U of MN Press, c/o Chicago Distribution Center, 11030 S. Langley Ave., Chicago, IL 60628. Or call 773-702-7000. Discount code is MN 65340 65342.

Announcements of Ethnic Events

Click on Friends in the navigation box at the top of the page and then click on "Community Events & Announcements." This list is changed frequently, so check it often. You may also click here.

Board Meeting

The  Board of Directors meets next in September 2004, in Room 308 Andersen Library. Board committees will meet over the summer. Friends members are welcome to attend board meetings. email Judy Rosenblatt ( for more information or phone 612-624-5774.

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About the IHRC

Find out more about the IHRC from the About section. Click on "Visiting the IHRC" and then "virtual tour," an excellent, detailed introduction to the building, the IHRC offices and collections, and how to conduct research at the Center.

The IHRC welcomes volunteers to help with both curatorial and administrative tasks. Find the opportunities in the Volunteer section.

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