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Fred Beal Snyder papers

Identifier: 978

Scope and Content

The Snyder papers represented one of the most significant donations to University of Minnesota Archives at the time of their accession. Presumably there was no major administrative problem between the years of 1912-1950 upon which these papers do not touch. Certainly they would be invaluable to serious student of University history for the light they shed upon administrative policies during the 38 year period represented.

Subject headings, though numerous, do not indicate the scope of the collection. The papers are, for the most part, filed in chronological order. Of peculiar interest is the advanced thinking that has been done on projects that had not materialized at the time the collection was created. Some of these projects include the Botanical Gardens, discussed in connection with the University Farm for the land adjoining the Minnesota Fair Grounds (see correspondence of December 1934), the proposed Washington Avenue tunnel, and an extensive scheme for aquatic sports on the Mississippi River, and a chemical storehouse.

A list of staff members of Scandinavian origins and information regarding their service to the University of Minnesota is filed under August 21, 1915. This is an impressive record considering its early date.

Many of the carbon copies of letters mentioning significant enclosures did not include the enclosures. These letters were retained as they may serve as a means of cross reference to the papers of the president and other administrative officers.


  • 1912-1950


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Requests for permission to quote from the Fred Beal Snyder papers should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives head.

Biographical Sketch of Fred Beal Snyder (1859-1951)

Fred Beal Snyder was born on Feb. 21, 1859 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Snyder enrolled in the University of Minnesota preparatory school (forerunner of the University High School) in 1875. After graduation, he enrolled at the University in 1877, earning a bachelor of arts degree in 1881. In 1882, Snyder became a member of the Minnesota Bar and began practicing law in the firm of Snyder & Jamison. In 1885, Snyder married Susan Mary Pillsbury, daughter of Minnesota governor John S. Pillsbury. She died in 1891. In 1895, Snyder was married to Leonora Stuart Dickson.

Snyder was elected alderman of Minneapolis (1892-1896), and later to the house of representatives (1896-1898) and the state senate (1898-1901). He was a practicing lawyer throughout his life, becoming senior member of the law firm Snyder, Gale and Richards. In 1940, Snyder was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by the University. He was primarily known in Minnesota for his activities in behalf of the University of Minnesota, which included the removal of the railroad tracks from campus, increased tax support for the University, and led the Regents to independence from oversight of the Minnesota Legislature.

Snyder was appointed to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents in 1912. He served as a regent for 38 years retiring in January 1951. He was elected chair of the board in 1914 and served in this capacity until 1950. In 1949, Snyder was named as one of the 10 greatest living Minnesotans. Snyder regarded as his greatest tribute as being named a “Builder of the Name,” the first of such medals awarded by the University of Minnesota in 1948 to leaders in the development of the institution. Fred B. Snyder died on February 14, 1951.


14 boxes + 1 oversize box (7.0 linear feet)


Collection contains the papers of Fred Beal Snyder, chair of the Board of Regents at the University of Minnesota.


The collection is arranged in chronological order with the exception of material filed in boxes 10-14 which contain folders arranged by subject matter.

Source of acquisition

The papers were donated to University of Minnesota Archives by the Snyder estate on May 8, 1951. Three volumes of pencilled notes were purchased at an estate sale of the Snyder home and donated to University Archives by Robert Sutton.

Related Materials in University of Minnesota Archives

William Watts Folwell papers

Everett Fraser papers

James Lewis Morrill papers

University of Minnesota. Office of the President papers

University of Minnesota. Vice President of Business Administration papers

Snyder, Fred Beal, “The Story of Fred Beal Snyder as Told by Himself, Commemorating His Ninety-first Birthday, February 21, 1950 (Minneapolis, 1950)

Annotated Subject Index

  1. August 16, 1919 concerns gifts and intended uses.
  2. Dr. Frank C. Todd will: see letter and enclosure, Jan. 13, 1920.
  3. Caleb Dorr bequest: May 22, 1922 and attached report.
  4. Murphy estate: 1922-1934.
  5. Howard W. Baker will: May 12, 1924.
  6. Mayo Foundation: see folders so labeled.
  7. Edward A. Everett: 1929.
  8. Pillsbury home (donated as home for university presidents) March 3, 1945 and March 7, 1945.
  9. American Legion check for Heart Research Professorship (date not noted).
  10. Variety Club Heart Hospital, 1945.
Fred Beal Snyder papers, 1912-1950
Alma O. Scott, revised by Penelope Krosch
October 1953; revised November 2002
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area