Minnesota State Law Library

Ask a Law Librarian

Home Research Legal Topics Skills Center Services About Us

State [Law] Librarians Since 1849

Librarians were appointed by the Governor until 1965 (Minn. Laws ch. 45 s. 67) when appointment authority was transferred to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The Court had controlled the management of the Library since July 1, 1878 (Minn. Laws ch. 88).

Before the appointment of the first State Law Librarian, Dr. Thomas Foster, who served as private secretary to first Territorial Governor Alexander Ramsey, also served as ex-officio territorial librarian from May 27, 1849 to November 1849.   *Librarians with asterisks before their names served both as State Librarian and Private Secretary to the Governor of Minnesota.

    Territorial Librarians

  1. Charles Cavalier, November 1849 to November 6, 1850
            - issued Library's first annual report

  2. Wallace B. White, February 1851 to 1853

  3. Robert A. Smith, May 1853 to 1858
            - contended with 1857 Capitol fire which destroyed much of the Library
            - subsequently served as Mayor of St. Paul

    Since Statehood

  4. *William F. Wheeler, August 12, 1858 to January 2, 1860
            - earned $600/year; paid $50 to index Minnesota Constitution

  5. *S[amuel] P[ierce] Jennison, January 2, 1860 to January 24, 1861
            - previously practiced law with former Justice David Cooper
            - resigned to enter the Second Regiment of Minnesota Volunteers, General
            - later served as Secretary of State

  6. *Dr. Thomas Foster, January 24, 1861 to November 7, 1861
            - resigned to accept appointment of Commissary of Subsistence,
              in the service of the General Government

  7. *Robert F. Fisk, November 7, 1861 to December 16, 1863
            - "his recent sudden death has robbed the State of a worthy citizen"

    Pennock Pusey, Assistant Secretary of State, served very briefly as Acting State Librarian after Fisk's death and issued the 1863 Annual Report. He was never appointed as State Librarian and his name was not included in the list of state librarians published in editions of the Minnesota Legislative Manual. When this list was developed for the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Library in 1999, Pusey was numbered as a librarian. We now correct that error. [February 2009]

  8. DeWitt C. Smith, January 14, 1864 to April 30, 1864
            - fought in civil war with 1st Minnesota Regiment; wounded at Antietam
            - resigned to return to the military where he died a hero

  9. *George H. Oakes, April 30, 1864 to March 3, 1865

  10. (Mrs.) L[ouisa] F. Goodwin (Jones), March 3, 1865 to April 1, 1867
            - civil war widow; first woman state librarian in county

  11. (Mrs.) M[elissa] R. Smith, April 1, 1867 to April 1, 1873
            - civil war widow of former State Librarian DeWitt Smith
            - first husband & wife to hold same position in Minnesota state government

  12. John C. Shaw, April 1, 1873 to August 1877

  13. William H[enry] H[arrison] Taylor, August 1, 1877 to January 1894
            - a grandson of President William Henry Harrison

  14. C[harles] A[ndrew] Gilman, February 1894 to January 24, 1899
            - previously served as state senator, state representative, and lieutenant governor

  15. F[red] W. Johnson, January 24, 1899 to January 29, 1901

  16. E[mil] A[lfred] Nelson, January 29, 1901 to March 1, 1905

  17. John E. King, March 1, 1905 to January 1911

  18. Elias J[ohnson] Lien, January 1911 to January 1921
            - Assistant Librarian from January 1905 to January 1911
            - President of American Association of Law Libraries, 1914-1916

  19. Charles F. Ebel, January 15, 1921 to May 30, 1925

  20. Paul Dansingberg, June 1, 1925 to July 30, 1945
            - died during his bus commute to the office at age 61

  21. Josephine W[ernicke] Smith, September 10, 1945 to June 1, 1953

  22. Margaret S. Andrews, June 9, 1953 to 1977

  23. Ronald L. Cherry, 1977-1979

  24. Marvin Roger Anderson, March 5, 1980 to September 24, 2002

  25. Barbara L. Golden, October 31, 2002 to June 9, 2009
            - she was followed by a period of state-wide budget crisis and an acting state law librarian, Judy Rehak, 2009-2012.

  26. Elizabeth Reppe, September 4, 2012-


Minnesota State Law Library: State [Law] Librarians Since 1849
statelibrarians.html

Last updated on February 11, 2013.
Links checked on May 31, 2012.

Please send suggestions to the Web Manager.