From 2015 to 2018, the University of Minnesota's Center for Integrative Leadership, in partnership with Patrick Coleman of the Minnesota Historical Society and Executive Leadership Fellow, facilitated first-person, substantive oral histories of Minnesota gubernatorial administrations. Under Coleman's mentorship, an interdisciplinary group of University of Minnesota graduate students researched and conducted the interviews. Interviewees included Governor Tim Pawlenty (served 2003-2011), Governor Jesse Ventura (1999-2003), Governor Arne Carlson (1991-1999), and Lieutenant Governor Marlene Johnson (1983-1991). Additionally, this collection includes an oral history of Reatha Clark King, a former university president and business leader active in Minnesota from 1977-2003.
Watch the video below to learn more about the project, and visit the University of Minnesota Libraries Digital Conservancy to read and download the oral histories.
Special thanks to Patrick Coleman, Kate Conners, Vanessa Laird, Elizabeth Sopdie, Caleb Murphy, and Meaghan McSorley, for their teamwork to create this video.
Patrick Coleman, Executive Leadership Fellow
Patrick Coleman was named the “Indiana Jones of Minnesota manuscripts” in a 2011 article in for his determined efforts to bring books, manuscripts and other artifacts to the Minnesota Historical Society in his role as Senior Curator and acquisitions librarian. In his 35 years at the Minnesota Historical Society, Patrick has worked tirelessly across many sectors to build the MHS’s collection of rare and historical documents with a focus on novels and poetry by Minnesotan authors. He hunts far and wide for materials to help document our rich Minnesota history; bringing them to the Historical Society where they can be properly cared for, preserved and made available to the public. During his Executive Leadership Fellowship, Coleman has worked with an interdisciplinary group of graduate students to research and conduct a first-person, substantive oral history of Minnesota governors, including their experiences in collaborating across party and sectoral boundaries. This oral history will be a University resource and will be offered to the Minnesota Historical Society for their permanent public affairs holdings. Coleman is also working with others to explore a similar project related to Minnesota women leaders during the 1970s and 1980s.