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MHS Press Receives Jeffris Family Foundation Grant for Book on Minnesota's Historic Homes


The Minnesota Historical Society Press (MHS Press) received a $250,000 grant recently from the Jeffris Family Foundation of Janesville, Wisconsin, to fund a book about significant historic homes in the state of Minnesota.

The book will feature twenty significant and grand historic homes in Minnesota, representing the five regions in the state—northwest, northeast, southwest, southeast, and metro area--as well as a wide range of architectural styles. The book features will include excellent writing backed by thorough research, high-end custom photography, historic photographs, and detailed architectural illustrations. The text will include architectural descriptions, historical context, stories of the homeowner and the community in which the house was built, and information on the style, design, architect, and builder of each house.

Through the financial support of the Jeffris Family Foundation, the Minnesota Historical Society Press will work with award-winning author Larry Millett. Millett is an architectural historian and the author of Lost Twin Cities, Twin Cities Then and Now, AIA Guide to the Twin Cities, and Once There Were Castles. He has also written six mystery novels featuring Sherlock Holmes, all but one of them set in Minnesota. He lives in St. Paul.

The Jeffris Family Foundation, based in Janesville, Wisconsin, since 1979, is committed to funding projects that preserve Wisconsin's cultural history through the preservation of regionally and nationally important buildings and decorative arts projects.

The Minnesota Historical Society Press publishes books on the history, art, and culture of the Upper Midwest. Founded in 1859, it is the oldest publisher in the state and the largest historical society press in the country.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to document and celebrate the state’s splendid homes and highlight the architects, homeowners, and communities that all played a part in the history of these grand houses. The generosity of the Jeffris Family Foundation allows us to produce a high-end, capstone publication to honor our state’s residential architectural heritage,” writes Pam McClanahan, director of the MHS Press. Thomas Jeffris, president of the Jeffris Foundation says, “One of the best ways to promote preservation is a book on a state’s significant historic homes. Minnesota has many of these and we are pleased to fund this project.”

The Jeffris Family Foundation also recently awarded a matching grant of $25,000 to the Minnesota Historical Society to fund 50% of the estimated costs of engaging a consultant to prepare a historic structure report of the Oliver Kelley farmhouse at the Oliver H. Kelley Farm in Elk River, MN. The matching 50% of this project was funded with an award from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The Oliver H. Kelley Farm is one of thirty-one historic sites and museums operated by the Minnesota Historical Society. A proposed revitalization project there will expand Minnesota’s agriculture story with an upgraded Visitor Center, a modern livestock facility and new public program spaces. The historic farmhouse will remain a site centerpiece and continue to recognize Kelley’s contributions to national agriculture and its relevance to the future. The historic structures report provides the foundation for future maintenance and preservation of the farmhouse while continuing to provide this important level of programming and public service.

For more information contact Alison Aten at (re.MHS Press grant) or Julianna Olsen at (re.Kelley Farm grant).


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