The RCHS Mary Livingston Griggs & Mary Griggs Burke Research Center contains non-circulating collections documenting the history of Ramsey County and St. Paul.
The RCHS Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Research Center will be closed until January 11, 2021. Appointments can be made for Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for two hour time slots at 11, 1 and 3 p.m. after January 11, 2021.
Scheduled Research Center closure dates 2021 – please note that additional dates may be added:
May 31, July 5, September 6, November 22-26, December 27-31.
You may email research questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that we may not be able to address your question/request immediately, but will strive to do so within 10 business days. We appreciate your patience as we address the volume of requests received during the Stay Safe Minnesota Executive Order 20-99.
The collection contains books, periodicals, city directories, maps, photographs, personal papers, business and organization records, architectural information and materials on clubs, schools, and churches. Patrons include teachers, students, attorneys, genealogists, historians, historic preservationists, authors, journalists and others.
Mary Livingston Griggs & Mary Griggs Burke Research Center Collections page contains a list of the documents and archival items that are available for study. This is a non-circulating collection, visitors are able to conduct research on these items in the Research Center.
Please indicate the maximum amount of time we should spend on your research request.
List of Archival Collections
St. Paul Building Permits 1883-1975
To obtain a photocopy of a St. Paul Building Permit or Building Permit Index Card call 651-222-0701 or email email@example.com. Copies can be mailed to you within two weeks of your request or picked up at our Landmark Center offices.
There is a retrieval fee of $5.00 for each permit copy you request to see.
Copies of building permits are $.30 per page/side upon request.
RCHS Members receive a 50% discount on all orders.
No digital or cell phone camera use is allowed.
See the Research Fee page for more information and shipping and handling fees.
More than 1,000 volumes document the history of Ramsey County and the City of St. Paul and the State of Minnesota. The book holdings, which include many rare titles, reflect the rich history found throughout the communities of Ramsey County.
Complementing the book collection is the library’s core collection of serials. A variety of topics are featured in the Society’s quarterly publication Ramsey County History.
See Magazine Index
An incomplete set of R. L. Polk’s St. Paul City Directories, 1856-1998, lists businesses and individuals residing in the City of St. Paul. Other information often includes business and home addresses and occupation. The City Directories provide an abundance of information for genealogists.
Maps and Atlases
Dating from the 1860s to the present, our collection of published maps, plats, and atlases show the growth and changes to Ramsey County. A set of Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for the City of St. Paul, (1927/1955), drawn on a large scale, detail the location of buildings, their layout, and types of materials used for construction. No photocopies or digital scans of plat maps are allowed.
Ramsey County Historic Site Survey
Completed in the early 1980s, the Ramsey County Historic Site Surveys document 5,000 historic structures located in the county. Each survey form describes a structure through an architectural profile, a brief history of the building and its potential for historic designation on the local and national level. A black and white photograph of the structure accompanies most survey forms.
Directory of Architects
As a result of the Historic Site Survey, a directory listing architects who designed structures in Ramsey County was created. Information in the index includes biographical data and names and addresses of structures found in Ramsey County and Minnesota.
The photograph collection contains images dating to 1857. They are a valuable resource to Ramsey County. This collection includes a set of aerial images taken by Mark Hurd between 1937 and 1962, which trace changes in communities through construction of transportation routes and housing developments. When you visit you will find a photocopy of each photo in our collection in binders organized categorically. We keep the original photos in a climate controlled vault for their safety and preservation. We do make copies of photos in our collection, see the Research Fee page for more information and pricing.
Papers and Records of Minnesotans
The collections of letters and diaries from a variety of residents, including political figures, farmers, prominent, and everyday citizens highlight Ramsey County History with their personal stories. The most complete set of family papers was donated by the Gibbs family, dating from 1830s.
Business, Association & Church Records
Numerous county businesses and organizations have placed their records at the Ramsey County Historical Society. They include the American Hoist and Derrick Company, Yoerg’s Brewery, the Monday Literary Club, the Minnesota Club and the House of Hope Presbyterian Church. Typical records include board minutes, publications, annual reports, catalogs, ledgers, and photographs.
Numerous Ramsey County clubs, churches, schools, fraternal, and welfare organizations have donated a variety of pamphlets and histories that compromise a detailed history of community life.
Visitors and Researchers Please Note:
The Ramsey County Historical Society does not hold any birth, marriage, death or burial certificates, and the collection does not contain census records or naturalization records. They are held within the St. Paul & Ramsey County Department of Public Health. The Birth, Death or Marriage records are from 1870 to present (approx.) There is a cost involved in retrieving these records. For more information on the county’s Birth & Death records call 651-266-1333.
Some of these items can be found at the Minnesota Historical Society’s Library at 345 Kellogg Blvd. West in St. Paul. Visit their People Finder or call 651-296-2143. Also see the Helpful History Links page for help in finding those records.
Contact Us with your Research Center questions.