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Marvin R. Anderson Special Collections Room


Materials in this room have been collected by State Law Librarians since the Minnesota Territorial Legislature established the Library on March 3, 1849. Before the Minnesota Judicial Center was constructed in 1990, then State Law Librarian Marvin Anderson dreamed of an appropriate and pleasing space to house these special materials. For making this dream a reality, the room was renamed the Marvin R. Anderson Special Collections Room in his honor when he retired in 2002.


The focus of the special collection is early Minnesota legal history, with additional titles relating to Minnesota-based cases and history.  Writings by and about Minnesota and U.S. Supreme Court Justices also make up an important part of the collection.  The Minnesota Justices Series, produced by the State Law Library, details the legal careers of a number of recent Minnesota Supreme Court Justices.  In addition, we have materials from the territorial days of many of the other United States.  Other collection areas are legal history (which includes some ancient legal and religious documents), famous trials, jurisprudence and philosophy.

Arrangement and Flagging

Materials are arranged by Library of Congress Classification numbers, starting on the left as you enter the room. Minnesota materials are shelved separately in a case to the right. Since spine labels are not used on rare or delicate materials, call numbers—as well as brief author and title information—can be found on strips of colored paper inserted into the books like a bookmark. The colors of these flags also denote the condition of the book. A PINK flag indicates that the book is in particularly delicate condition and must be handled with special care.


Materials in the Special Collections Room do not circulate. If a book needs to be borrowed, permission may be granted by the Head of Technical Services or the State Law Librarian.

Rules of Use

The Special Collections Room is available to anyone doing historical legal research, however, we request that you please contact the library prior to your visit to be sure someone is available to assist you. To preserve the collections, the following rules apply:

  • Only paper and pencil are permitted in the room.
  • Do not lay notepaper on the books while taking notes.
  • Do not write in the books.
  • Do not remove materials from the room.
  • Food and drink are not permitted in the room.
  • No briefcases, bags, etc., are permitted in the room.
  • Please let the librarian know when you are leaving the room, either temporarily or for the day.
  • Photocopying only by permission of the Head of Technical Services or the State Law Librarian.
  • If any of the materials you are using have unopened or unslit pages, please bring this to the attention of the librarian.  Do not try to cut or slit them yourself.
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