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Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, Published March 29 2014

Halgrimson: NDSU archives take another trip

It isn’t easy to find the new location of the North Dakota State University Archives. Stashed out in the old Knox Lumber Co. warehouse at 3551 7th Ave. N., it’s the last right turn before Interstate 29 on Seventh Avenue.

The NDSU Archives are the historical records of the university going back to its founding. The collection includes the archives for the Institute for Regional Studies.

I can’t imagine moving thousands of important documents and photographs, many of which must be kept in a temperature-controlled environment, from one place to another. But there they are, all arranged in an orderly fashion, for both researchers and the simply curious to revel in.

And this isn’t the first trip the archive materials have taken. When the NDSU Library was flooded in 2000, the collection was moved from that location to the Skills & Technology Training Center in the old Kmart building on 19th Avenue North.

Although I graduated from NDSU after 25 years of off-and-on attendance, my main interest is the Institute collections, which are a treasure house of the history of a region that includes the Red River Valley, the state of North Dakota, the plains and prairies of North America. That’s a lot of territory.

An adjunct to the Institute collections is their participation in Digital Horizons, an online resource available to the public. It was established by a group that includes the Concordia College Archives, Moorhead; the Institute for Regional Studies and University Archives, Fargo; Prairie Public Broadcasting, Fargo; and the State Historical Society of North Dakota, Bismarck.

Among items in the collections are Cass County, N.D., marriage records; pioneer biography files; North Dakota federal and territorial census records, tract books, naturalization records; microfilm newspaper holdings; indices and obituaries from The Forum; manuscripts, photographs (including the Fred Hultstrand collection) and historical exhibits and books.

They also have Fargo city directories back to 1881 and some directories from other North Dakota communities. Two post card collections donated to the Institute by John Caron and Dr. Ron Olin offer thousands of images of Fargo’s past and of North Dakota. They are a pleasure to peruse as are the photographs of Forum photographer Cal Olson.

There is just no end to the fascinating information available in this amazing repository. A comfortable reading room and knowledgeable and helpful staff add to the pleasure of a visit.

Plan a trip to the archives. They have something for everyone.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the academic school year, and 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday in the summer.

Readers can reach Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com