Reference Materials

The Iron Range Historical Society has an ample archival library beyond the photograph, newspaper, genealogy, and obituary libraries. The reference library includes information on Iron Range cities, towns, townships, churches, and people in the region, manuscripts, theses on various aspects of the Range, articles and reports on general Range history including maps; transportation; ethnicities and ethnic recipes; schools; labor relations; mining; logging; the BWCA; Voyager’s National Park; occupations; recreation; business and industry; geology among many other topics too numerous to list here.

Reference books greatly sought after in the IRHS library include: History of Slovenes, parts 1 – 5; They Chose Minnesota; Those were the Days, My Friend; Minnesota History magazine years: 1915-1973; Walter Van Brunt’s Duluth & St. Louis County Volumes I, II, III; many years of Skillings’ Mining Review and the Annual Report of the Inspector of Mines; St. Louis County, MN. In the Society’s holdings are books about the Finnish, Italians, and Slovenes, churches on the Range, mining reports and directories, and many other subjects. Additionally, there are oral histories, videos, church records, the 1895 and 1905 Minnesota censuses, college and high school yearbooks, and many other historical documents of value. The library bookshelves contain many 50, 75, and 100 year anniversary booklets for local cities and towns including but not limited to; The First Century 1903-2003 Aurora, Calumet Diamond Jubilee 1909-1984, Impressions of Embarrass (1905-2005), Hoyt Lakes 50th Anniversary, Celebrating 100 Years: Buyck, Minnesota 1906-2006, Taconite 1907-2007: Centennial Celebration, and Coleraine Jubilee 1909-1984.

IRHS does not lend materials, however information may be digitized or copied for research purposes. All materials held by the Society are available to the public. On the rare occasion, an item may not be available due to the condition of the item. Staff will make every effort to make available materials or copies of materials requested.

IRHS is honored to say to date, more than 50 books contain acknowledgements to the Iron Range Historical Society by their authors. The most recent include Jill Johnson’s Little Minnesota in World War II; Megan Marsnik’s Under Ground; Mary Lou Nemanic’s One Day for Democracy; Tom Phillipich’s 1951 Basketball Buccaneers; Stephen Ivancic’s The Incident at the Bruce Shaft; John Leopard’s DM&IR Railroad; Rhonda Fochs’ Minnesota’s Lost Towns (north edition); Jill Johnson’s Little Minnesota 100 Towns around 100; Kenneth Ringer’s Gene Lorendo; and Marvin Lamppa’s Iron Country.

Every year, items are donated to the Iron Range Historical Society with archeological, geological, or historical significance. Each item is tagged and numbered and documented describing the item(s) and who donated it. IRHS is always happy to accept donated items that fit within the Society’s mission. Please contact the office if you have items to donate; (218)749-3150 or

Please Note: All members of IRHS are entitled to two hours of free research by office volunteers and unlimited research on their own plus three free photos from our collections. Non-members, who can't come to McKinley to do their own research, pay for research time at a rate of $5.00 per hour, with a $5.00 minimum charge. Photographs carry a charge of $5.00 for each digital copy.