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Minneapolis Writers Workshop Records

Identifier: M/A 0036

Description of Contents

The collection consists of 4 boxes containing biographical profiles, membership lists, examples of members' work, meeting minutes, scrapbooks, treasury information, conference programs, and photographs.


  • 1941 - 1997


Access Restrictions

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


The Minneapolis Writers Workshop was a byproduct of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) program. One of the programs formulated by Harold Ickes, Director of the WPA, was to write guidebooks for each of the 48 states in the Union. To accomplish this, the Minnesota office was instructed to hire 120 writers from the state relief rolls. Only one published author was found, Meridel LeSeur, plus one poet and two reporters. The others hired were people whose connection to the written word was tenuous: a typist from the newspaper, an English teacher, a classified ad seller, and 50 recently graduated English majors.

At the same time, unemployed teachers were hired by another arm of the WPA to teach writing. Many of the newly hired "writers" were inspired to take these writing classes which were taught at the Minneapolis Public Library. The students asked if one of the classes could be organized into a workshop. That workshop continued on as the Minnesota Writers Workshop even after WPA funds were discontinued in 1939.

The club initially met weekly at the Minneapolis Public Library or the 620 Club on Hennepin Avenue. Its members included a variety of writers, journalists, and academics from the Twin Cities area. Its members published work ranging from science fiction and romance novels to historical non-fiction and magazine articles. In 1972 the club was formally incorporated. Later meetings were held at the Minnesota Press Club and the Regency Plaza Hotel; and as of 2012, they were being held at the Black Forest Inn.


2.33 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Related Materials in Hennepin County Library Special Collections

The Hennepin County Library has a number of works by authors who were part of the Minnesota Writers Workshop, particularly C. D. Simak and Dan Brennan.

Special Collections also has the periodical Narrative Problem,1941-1943.

Processing Information

Photographs were removed to the library's uncataloged photograph collection during initial processing. These photographs were reintegrated into the collection by Jenna Himsl in 2018.

Minneapolis Writers Workshop Records
Nick Steffel
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.