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Collection on Arthur Naftalin

Identifier: M/A 0045

Description of Contents

This collection consists of newspaper clippings, brochures, correspondence, official messages and statements, and speeches related to Minneapolis Mayor Arthur Naftalin and his family.


  • 1917 - 2005


Access Restrictions

The collection is available for use in Special Collections during the department's open hours.


Arthur Naftalin was the Mayor of Minneapolis from 1961-1969. Naftalin was born in 1917 in Fargo, North Dakota, and was one of four children. He traveled to Minneapolis to attend college at the University of Minnesota and received a bachelor’s degree from the School of Journalism in 1939 and a Ph.D. in 1948. It was here that he met his future wife Frances Healy, whom he married in 1941. During this time, he worked as managing editor of The Minnesota Daily and worked on the night staff of the Minneapolis Morning Tribune. It was also during this time that he met Hubert Humphrey through a Political Science Professor at the university.

It was this meeting that would begin Naftalin’s political career. He worked on Humphrey's unsuccessful 1943 campaign for Mayor of Minneapolis as his publicity director. He also served as State Publicity Director for the Minnesota DFL party in 1944 and again worked for Humphrey in his successful 1945 campaign. After this Humphrey appointed Naftalin as his secretary. While he was involved in politics, he was also active at the University of Minnesota, and became a professor in the department of Political Science. Later in 1954 he was appointed by Governor Orville Freeman as the State Commissioner of Administration. He held this position until 1960.

In 1961, Naftalin was elected Mayor of Minneapolis beating out P. Kenneth Peterson. Naftalin was mayor for four terms until 1969 when he decided not to seek re-election. During his time as Mayor his policies attempted to improve urban areas, create new zoning ordinances, reform welfare programs, strengthen law enforcement, reduce juvenile delinquency, protect housing for the elderly, and reach out across racial boundaries. He also attended Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963, and made a bid for Lieutenant Governor in 1966.

After his terms as mayor, Naftalin returned to the University to work as a professor in the Department of Public Affairs. In 1975-1976, he was the President of the Board of the Citizen's League. In addition, he hosted a public affairs program titled Minnesota Issues that ran from 1976-1987 on Public Television. Finally he wrote and narrated a series of public television programs concerning former Minnesota Governors.

Arthur Naftalin passed away on May 16, 2003, due to complications from a blow to the head sustained during a fall.


1.08 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Donor Information

Correspondence, speeches, official messages, and statements from Arthur Naftalin's terms as mayor were donated to the library by Mrs. Arthur Naftalin in 1972. Newspaper clippings and additional materials were added by library staff.

Collection on Arthur Naftalin
Eve Johnson Brafford
April 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Hennepin County Library Special Collections Repository

Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis MN 55401 U.S.A.