Glensheen and Congdon Family Archival Materials Open to the Public

a historic photograph from 1920 of Glensheen Estate's greenhouse and gardens
January 31, 2020

Glensheen and Congdon family history archival materials are now available to the public.

"These unique records tell the story of the Congdon family and those who worked for them with an amazing level of detail. We are so excited to be able to make these records available to the public, many for the first time!"

The history of the Congdon family and the picturesque Glensheen Estate have fascinated community members for years and now a portion of that history is available to the public.  

Shana Aue, Archives Assistant, said, “When Glensheen was donated to the University of Minnesota, the donation included more than the house itself. Many archival materials created and collected by the Congdon family, such as letters, photographs, and business records were included. These unique records tell the story of the Congdon family and those who worked for them with an amazing level of detail. We are so excited to be able to make these records available to the public, many for the first time!” 

UMD Archives staff is currently at work organizing and indexing the Congdon Family papers, a large collection of archival materials created by the Congdon family during their residence at Glensheen. A portion of this work is now complete and is ready to be shared with the public. This sizable physical collection includes photographs of the Congdon family and their friends, the estate, and employees; materials related to the house and grounds; business, financial, and political records; and materials from Chester A. Congdon’s 1914 trip around the Pacific Ocean. 

Archives staff has compiled a list detailing all of the items currently available to the public. Materials on this list may be accessed by appointment at the UMD Archives. Those interested in utilizing the collection are encouraged to explore the online materials list and set up an appointment with the Archives. Archives Assistant Shana Aue noted that “the collection is sizable, with 38 boxes of materials currently open to the public. And there’s more to come!.” Archives staff can also provide insight and guidance to those interested in the collection.

A number of items from this collection are also available digitally through the University Digital Conservancy. These materials can be accessed at any time from anywhere.  They include Congdon family photographs; Congdon family diaries and letters; and newsletters, photographs, and other documents from the Glensheen historic house museum. 

A libguide is available on the Library’s website: https://libguides.d.umn.edu/glensheen/resources

The cover image used for this news story is a 1920 photograph of the Glensheen greenhouse and gardens. Author unknown. This image is available through the University Digital Conservancy (UDC).