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A History of Minneapolis: an Overview by Staff at the Hennepin County Library

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Featuring historical photos and items from the collections of the Hennepin County Library, with contemporary photos from the Phototour of Minneapolis by Chris Gregerson.

Printing and Publishing

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By the end of the 19th century, Minneapolis had several renowned publishers and publications. When the first edition of the Northwestern Miller rolled off the press in 1873, Miller Publishing Company became one of the first specialized business publishing companies in America. The Miller served as an important news medium for the cereal processing industry and was long considered the international aristocrat of trade and business publications. More than 125 years later the company is still in business publishing specialized periodicals. Miller Publishing remained in Minneapolis more than 100 years before moving to Minnetonka. Other significant early Minneapolis publications included the Bellman, the American Bar, and the American Worker. Another early major publisher, the Augsburg Fortress Publishers, owned and operated by the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America, was established in 1891. It originally served as a supply depot for the church but as its business grew, it began publishing materials for many denominations nationally. Buzza Greeting Card Company published cards and small books with a loyal following from 1910 to 1942. A leader in book publishing for many years, Lund Press, Inc. was founded in 1924. It published house organs, school publications, books and pamphlets published by universities, as well as promotional material. A major player in the city's publishing industry is the Bureau of Engraving, Inc. It has been important in publishing as well as in the education of young artisans since 1900. In 1999, CityBusiness ranked the Bureau of Engraving in the top 25 list of commercial printing companies.

Open Book center on Washington Avenue South.
Minneapolis Public Library

Leading nonprofit publishing houses in Minneapolis, Minneapolis' leaders include Lerner Publications Co, Graywolf Press, Milkweed Editions, Coffee House Press, and New Rivers, have a significant presence nationally. These companies bring a rich diversity of publishing to Minneapolis. A recent development for those interested in the book publishing industry is the literary arts center that opened in 2000 in the old warehouse building at 1011 Washington Avenue. The Open Book houses the Loft Literary Center, the Minnesota Center for Books Arts, and Ruminator Books (formerly Hungry Mind).

Today the printing and publishing industry is made up of periodical printing or publishing, book publishing, miscellaneous publishing, and commercial printing. Minnesota has the most concentrated printing and publishing industry in the United States, ranking third in the category of employment in the book publishing industry behind New York and California. The printers' future role in the printing and publishing industry will be dramatically different than the traditional ink and paper process. Consumers are demanding more non-print product formats like electronic databases, CD-ROM, audio and videocassettes. Digital technology and electronic media are rapidly changing the face of the commercial printing and publishing industry.

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