RCHS publishes books on a wide variety of historical subjects, for all ages.

Current Books & Publications

RCHS Books & Publications

All of the following books and publications are available through RCHS.

To order books, use the order form here.
Or call 651-222-0701 to order, or Contact Us for more information.
Please allow 3-8 business days for orders to be shipped.

New Publications!

It is 1876—Christmas day—which just happens to be the eleventh birthday of Lillie Belle Gibbs. Her mother and father present her with a new journal. Now she must decide how to fill the pages.

Grasshoppers in her bed, a smudge pot to keep the mosquitos at bay, the one-room schoolhouse across the road, popping corn in the Victorian parlor, hired hands who work on the farm half the year, and her best friend, Minnesota Mae Hendrickson, all make appearances.

Using clues Lillie left behind through writings as a child and an adult, this important work of historical fiction is filled with stories and illustrations detailing a year in the ordinary life of a real Minnesota farm girl from the 1870s.

Grasshoppers in My Bed: Lillie Belle Gibbs, Minnesota Farm Girl, 1877 is a softcover book that includes additional historical materials and suggested reading lists. It is available for preorder beginning May 2, or it can be purchased from RCHS and other vendors after the May 28 book launch.

Softcover. 176-pages, with map and 138 diary entries from December 1876 through December 1877. Written for eight-to-eleven-year olds in third to sixth grade.

RCHS Member price: $18.00
Regular Price: $20.00
To order, see the form here.

Mairs & Power at 90: A Rich History, A Bright Future
Over the last nine decades, nearly all the firms in the tumultuous and unforgiving financial services industry have been rolled up, split up, spun out or blown up. A shining exception: St. Paul’s Mairs & Power, the oldest continuously independent investment management firm in Minnesota and one of relatively few such entities in the country to survive since the onset of the Great Depression. Author Dave Beal unpacks the improbable and colorful ascent of the firm in a new Ramsey County Historical Society (RCHS) book: Mairs & Power at 90: A Rich History, A Bright Future.

This hardcover book, richly illustrated with more than 150 photos and graphics and fully indexed, can be ordered by clicking the online order forms here:
clicking the online order forms here:
Mairs & Power at 90 Order Form for RCHS Members
Mairs & Power at 90 Order Form for non-members

Or by contacting RCHS at:
75 West 5th Street, #323, Saint Paul, MN 55102

Member Pricing: $40, tax included, and free shipping in Minnesota.
Non-Member Pricing: $45 plus $5 shipping & handling, tax included.

For more information, see https://www.rchs.com/news/mairs-and-power-at-90/

Neighborhood Architecture – Irvine Park, Saint Paul: a coloring book.
Twin Cities-based illustrator Jeanne Kosfeld and author Richard Kronick have together transformed a simple sketchbook featuring pen and ink drawings into a brief storytelling of the Irvine Park neighborhood’s unique 172-year history. Artists of all ages and abilities may colorize their own imagined versions of these historic edifices, including fanciful Queen Anne-style homes, simple clapboard houses, and elaborate French Second Empire-style mansions, while learning about the architecture and history of the area and its inhabitants at the same time.

Neighborhood Architecture – Irvine Park, Saint Paul: a coloring book is available in softcover with eighteen house sketches, brief histories of the homes’ owners and architecture; and an architectural style guide and glossary at the end of the forty-eight-page book. Cost is $20; $18 for RCHS members.

To order books, use the order form here.

The Board of Directors of the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, awarded the David Gebhard Award, Honorable Mention, to Neighborhood Architecture – Irvine Park, Saint Paul – A Coloring Book. The judges noted, “This book is an excellent and user-friendly contribution to the public history of Saint Paul and its built environment. It provides a summary of the history of each house arrayed around Irvine Park, as well as a nice history of the park itself. The hand-drawn illustrations of each house are inviting for both walking tours of the neighborhood and for folks who might want to color them, which adds to the book’s appeal to a range of ages. Houses are treated equally in their historical summaries, whether owned by a carpenter, like Alonzo Eaton, or by one of nineteenth-century Minnesota’s most prominent citizens, like Alexander Ramsey. The book demonstrates its seriousness by noting that evaluations of Ramsey have shifted of late, due to his role in the US-Dakota War of 1862.”

“Bought 2 Horses & a Wagon”: The Story of the Murphy Companies
Author: Virginia Brainard Kunz

This is the story of how E. L. Murphy Sr. established his business, gradually converted it from horses to trucks, suffered through the takeover of Murphy Transfer and Storage Company and Murphy Motor Freight Lines by a St. Paul bank in the midst of the Great Depression, and how brothers Edward L. Murphy Jr. and Richard T. Murphy Sr. were able to regain control of the family business and rebuild it for future growth. Acclaimed Minnesota historian Virginia Brainard Kunz also tells how the Murphy Companies dealt with all the changes wrought by World War II, federal deregulation of the trucking industry in the 1970s and ‘80s, and today’s growing demand for quality warehousing and rigging services in a highly competitive marketplace.

Hardcover. Members Price: $29.00; Non-Members Price: $32.00

Custom House Cover

Custom House: Restoring A Saint Paul Landmark in Lowertown
Author: James A. Stolpestad

Chronicling the history and revival of the historic Art Deco Post Office building on Kellogg Ave., this full-color book features over 220 maps, historic photos and other images, with engaging writing by author and historian James A. Stolpestad. Exhaustively researched, beautifully presented, and full of insights, this book will make the perfect gift for architects, historians, Art Deco enthusiasts, and anyone interested in the history of the Twin Cities.

Published by RCHS, produced by White Pine Press. Hardcover. Members Price: $40.00; Non-Members Price $45.00, available through RCHS or online with our order form.

Dahcotah; or Life and Legends of the Sioux around Fort Snelling
Author: Mary Henderson Eastman, Illustrations by Seth Eastman

First published in 1849, the book presents an unparalleled glimpse into Sioux (Dakota) customs and manners by a writer who had the advantage of long-term residency among the Indians. The wife of army officer and illustrator Seth Eastman, Mary Eastman gathered the material for this book during their seven years at Fort Snelling in what became the Minnesota Territory. Illustrated with watercolor drawings from Seth Eastman’s frontier portfolio, this new edition of a celebrated classic is a feast for the eyes.

Members Price: $24.00; Non-Members Price: $27.00

Dutiful Son
The Dutiful Son: Louis W. Hill Life in the Shadow of the Empire Builder, James J. Hill
Authors: Biloine (Billie) W. Young with Eileen R. McCormack

Local author Biloine (Billie) W. Young and researcher Eileen McCormack bring to light the extraordinary life and contributions of Louis W. Hill Sr., the second son of James J. Hill. Following the death of his father, Louis took on the management of the Great Northern Railway and banking empire, became the major force behind the establishment and development of Glacier National Park, restored the St. Paul Winter Carnival as a city-wide celebration and equitably settled his parents’ vast estate despite, at times, bitter opposition from members of his family.

Hardcover. Members Price: $34.00; Non-Members Price: $38.00

Farming in Early Minnesota
Author: Edward J. Lettermann

97 Pages, profusely illustrated by the author.

Softcover. Members Price: $10.00; Non-Members Price: $11.00

For the Good of the Order: Nick Coleman and the High Tide of Liberal Politics in Minnesota, 1971-1981
Author: John Watson Milton

Chronicles Nick Coleman’s role in the legislative cauldron that resulted in Minnesota being recognized throughout the country as “the state that works.” Nick Coleman provided the vision and leadership that enacted social and economic programs, and inspired voter support that sent Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, and Walter Mondale to national prominence.

Hardcover. Members Price: $24.00; Non-Members Price: $27.00

Fort Snelling and the Civil War
Author: Stephen E. Osman


One hundred fifty years ago, our state offered the first volunteers to defend the Union in the fight against slavery. Every Minnesota soldier passed through historic Fort Snelling to the fighting. Using detailed research and first-hand accounts, Stephen E. Osman’s new book, Fort Snelling and the Civil War, tells the stories of the men and women who created a community in the old Fort.

Fort Snelling and the Civil War is available in trade-size softcover, with 16 chapters, source notes, bibliography, index, more than 100 photos and 7 maps in 336 pages from the Ramsey County Historical Society.

$27.00 regular price, $24.00 for RCHS members
(price includes sales tax, if you are tax-exempt, please contact us)

From Arcade Street to Main Street: A History of the Seeger Refrigerator Company, 1902-1984
Author: James B. Bell

“St. Paul has long been famed for its Winter Carnival, but another sort of chill was big business for more than three quarters of a century on the city’s East Side. There, in a sprawling plant operated by the Seeger Refrigerator Company along Arcade Street, thousands of workers produced iceboxes and later refrigerators and freezers, including those sold by Sears, Roebuck under its popular Coldspot label. This carefully researched and richly illustrated book offers the first complete history of the Seeger Company and the remarkable St. Paul family, led by John A. Seeger, who founded it. … Later merged with Whirlpool Corporation and RCA’s Appliance Division, the workers on Arcade Street made their last appliances in 1984, and the plant is now gone. But the company still lives on in memory, and this fine book brings to life a vital and fascinating chapter in St. Paul’s history.”
Larry Millett, Author of Lost Twin Cities and Twin Cities Then and Now

Hardcover. Members Price: $34.00; Non-Members Price: $38.00

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The German Friend: War and Postwar Letters from German Anti-Nazi Prinz Hubertus zu Lowenstein to American Hans Christian, 1942-1947
Author: John W. Larson

The German Friend tells the fascinating story of Prinz Hubertus zu Lowenstein through his letters to his American friend, John W. Larson, (known to his family and friends by the nickname Hans Christian). The letters cover not only politics, but philosophy, ideals and the day-to-day activities of the two men. A testament to friendship and to the fight for freedom, the book is a deeply personal exploration of the thoughts, hopes and values of one of Germany’s most prominent wartime authors.

Over 700 pages, larger print
Trade size softcover. Members Price: $22.00; Non-Members Price: $27.00
Hardcover. Members Price: $48.00; Non-Members Price: $53.00

Great Northern Iron: James J. Hills’s 109-Year Mining Trust
James A. Stolpestad

For more information and to order the book, see the website at: https://www.greatnorthernironbook.com/
Revealing for the first time a story hidden from public view for a century, award-winning historian James A. Stolpestad and the Ramsey County Historical Society present the history of Great Northern Iron Ore Properties formed in 1906 by James J. Hill and Louis W. Hill to acquire, manage, and lease 67,000 acres on the 100-mile long Mesabi Range. The encyclopedic 348-page Great Northern Iron has original documents, photos, maps, and detailed tables taken from historic records woven into its narrative. The book also presents original maps and cross-sections that fold out 36 inches from its pages to depict the entire Mesabi Range in exceptional detail and color.
The book sells for $60.00.

Published by RCHS & White Pine Press, available through White Pine Press. For more information and to order the book, see the website at: https://www.greatnorthernironbook.com/

For a review of Great Northern Iron from Mining Engineer journal, see the page here.
For the Pioneer Press review of the book by Dave Beal, see the article here.

Jane Gibbs: Little Bird That Was CaughtAuthor: Anne E. Neuberger, Illustrations by Tessie Bundick

In 1834, five-year old Jane was placed into a covered wagon without her parents’ knowledge to travel with a family she did not know. They took her through great woods and savannahs in a covered wagon, boating across Lake Michigan and up rivers until they reached Minnesota. While her new family was building a log cabin, Jane discovered that the other people already there lived in houses made of tree bark or buffalo skins and spoke a language called Dakota. And she came to love these people. From then on, Jane lived in two worlds, that of the white missionary family, and of the native people who treated her like a daughter. She spoke two languages, lived by two sets of rules, and answered to two names: Jane and “Little Bird That Was Caught.” This story tells of Jane’s amazing experiences as a child of two cultures. A chapter book for ages 8-14.

Softcover. Members Price: $15.00; Non-Members Price: $16.00

John B. Sanborn: Speeches and Addresses
John Sanborn with John Lindley

Between 1869 and 1887, General John B. Sanborn (1826–1904) published ten speeches and addresses that ranged from the genealogy of the Sanborn family to his service in the Civil War to his efforts after the war to establish peace between the federal government and a number of Indian tribes of the Great Plains. Born and educated as a lawyer in New Hampshire, Sanborn came to St. Paul in 1854. Read More

Softcover. Members Price: $24.00; Non-Members Price: $27.00
Hardcover. Members Price: $44.00; Non-Members Price: $49.00

The Mississippi and St. Paul: A Short History of the City’s 150-Year Love Affair With Its River
Author: Virginia Brainard Kunz

Softcover. Members Price: $10.00; Non-Members Price: $11.00
Hardcover available, please inquire.

Painting the Dakota: Seth Eastman at Fort Snelling
Author: Marybeth Lorbiecki, Foreword by Lori K. Crowchild (Native American descendant of Seth Eastman).

Readers learn about Dakota Indian culture through the Seth Eastman paintings. Painted during seven years on the frontier, these watercolor and oil paintings comprise the most significant source of information about Native American life in pre-territorial Minnesota.

Softcover. Members Price: $15.00; Non-Members Price: $16.00

Pearl and the Howling Hound Farm
Author: Pearl Marea Schenk

Born in 1911, Pearl Marea Schenk grew up on a farm in rural Anoka County, Minnesota, and received her early education in a one-room schoolhouse similar to the one that Ramsey County Historical Society has preserved at the Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakotah Life. She then became a classroom teacher in several Minnesota districts and later, after earning a master’s degree, served as a school counselor in Roseville. This gifted educator’s memoir recounts the good times as well as the constant work her family shared on their Howling Hound Farm during the 1920s and ‘30s. Pearl Schenk also remembers her experiences with the changing nature of public education in a suburban district after World War II, when educators recognized they needed to provide better support to students with special needs. The book is published by the Ramsey County Historical Society.

Softcover. Members Price: $24.00; Non-Members Price: $27.00

Rocky Roots: Geology and Stone Construction in Downtown St. Paul
Author: Sr. Joan Kain & Paul D. Nelson

The second edition of Rocky Roots is a guide to the use of stone in downtown St. Paul’s architecture. It can be a flexible and useful guide to several different walking tours that will enrich a pedestrian’s stroll through town. It uses text, photos, and maps as a guide to the use of ornamental stone, particularly stone quarried in Minnesota. The user will see the city with new eyes and new appreciation.

A favorite of local teachers, students, geologists, and those who are interested in the architecture of downtown St. Paul buildings, the first edition of Rocky Roots came out in 1978. Written by dedicated science educator Sister Joan Kain. Over the past thirty years some buildings that are discussed in that first edition have been torn down and a number of noteworthy new buildings that use ornamental stone have been erected. The new edition will update and expand Rocky Roots to reflect these changes in the city’s built landscape and provide new maps showing the city’s current street layout.

Paul D. Nelson, a noted local historian and author, prepared the second edition under the auspices of Sr. Joan Kain and the Society. The new book retains the spirit and intent of the original while replacing many of the first edition’s black and white photos with photos in full color. In addition Nelson expanded the book’s coverage of the uses of ornamental stone to the interiors of many of the city’s public buildings.

Softcover. Members Price: $15.00; Non-Members Price: $16.00

Seth Eastman: A Portfolio of North American Indians
Authors: Sarah Boehme, Christian Feest, and Patricia Condon Johnston

A landmark publication that showcases the foremost collection of watercolors by the premier pictorial historian of the American Indian in the nineteenth century. A career U. S. Army officer assigned to frontier duty, Eastman preserved a visual record of Native American life, which was then undergoing rapid change. Hardcover.

Oversized Hardcover. Members Price: $34.00; Non-Members Price: $38.00

To order books, use the order form here.