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Business Forum Records

Identifier: M/A 0273

Description of Contents

Records of the Business Forum, including meeting minutes, scrapbooks, membership rosters, newsletters, financial records, correspondence, and print photographs.


  • Creation: 1900 - 2008


Access Restrictions

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


The Business Forum traces its origins to 1872 when a group of young office workers started meeting informally over lunch at the old Nicollet Hotel. The original gatherings had no real structure, met irregularly, and kept no records. The group continued meeting, however, and eventually adopted a formal structure under the name "The Minneapolis Association of Accountants and Bookkeepers." The association was not formally incorporated, however, until 1912, when it adopted the name "Minneapolis Association of Office Men" to broaden its appeal to all male office workers.

The content of the group's meetings also changed and began to include guest speakers and debates of current topics among members. In recognition of this development, the organization changed its name again in 1922 to "the Business Forum." Over the years, the Business Forum has featured hundreds of speakers including local and national business leaders, politicians, educators, government officials, and representatives of foreign governments.

In addition to its role as a social and intellectual outlet for city businessmen, the Business Forum has also been a service organization, promoting and funding a wide variety of social and educational causes. Among them, persuading the State Legislature to establish the CPA degree in 1904, promoting the establishment of the University of Minnesota's Business School, encouraging the transformation of the Parade Grounds into a recreational area in the 1920s, promoting the sale of bonds during the two World Wars, and contributing thousands of dollars to charitable organizations, such as the Parent & Teachers Association and the Louise Whitbeck Fraser School (now Fraser).


5.73 Linear Feet (7 boxes, 17 volumes)

Language of Materials


Processing Information

The collection was originally processed by Edward Hathaway in July 2012. Additional materials from the unprocessed boxes inventory were processed into the collection by Jenna Himsl in March 2018. The Financial Records series was reprocessed at this time.

Business Forum Records
Edward W. Hathaway
July 2012
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.