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Comptroller records

Identifier: ua-00847

Scope and Content

The collection consists of materials regarding the construction of University buildings and financial operations of University departments. The records include correspondence, general reports, salary comparisons, financial reports, building and electrical contracts, construction contracts, and enrollment statistics. Also included in the collection are proposed budgets and records regarding the removal of the Northern Pacific Railway Tracks from the center of campus.

Reflected clearly in the records are the details of the University's problem of operation under the State Board of Control, and later its problems connected with the construction of buildings with federal funds during the 1930s. Numerous blueprints showing architectural detail occur throughout the records.


  • Creation: 1877-1970


Language of Materials

Collection materials in English

Use of Materials

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


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Historical Note

The Board of Regents appointed Dean William M. Liggett purchasing agent for the department of agriculture and Judge Stephen Mahoney, then secretary of the Board of Regents, as purchasing agent for the rest of the University in 1903. These two positions were responsible for directing the finances of the University. In 1905, Judge Mahoney resigned and Calvin D. Decker was appointed as purchasing agent and secretary of the Board of Regents. He served until 1911, when all administrative financial decisions were consolidated with the establishment of the Office of the Comptroller by the State Legislature.

The position of comptroller and secretary to the Board of Regents was first held by George H. Hayes (1911-1921). He was followed by Albert J. Lobb (1921-1925), William T. Middlebrook (1925-1943, who was promoted to Vice President of Business Administration in 1943) and Laurence R. Lunden (1943-1951). In 1951, the position title was changed to Comptroller and Treasurer, with Laurence R. Lunden continuing his appointment until 1959, when he was promoted to Vice President of Business Administration after the retirement of William Middlebrook. He was briefly replaced by Edwin C. Jackson and then by Clinton T. Johnson. In 1960, the title was again changed to Assistant Vice President of Business Administration, while the title of the assistant comptroller was changed to comptroller.

The comptroller was responsible for delivering the appropriation request of the University to the State Legislature, distributing grant money awarded to the University, setting tuition rates for students and handling the overall finances of the University.


19 boxes + one map case drawer (19.3 cubic feet


Collection contains the records of the Comptroller at the University of Minnesota.


The collection is arranged into the following series:

  1. Buildings
  2. Financial Documents/Correspondence (FDC)
  3. Miscellaneous

The numbering scheme developed by the Comptroller has been preserved; thus the files on buildings are all labeled "21," while the financial documents/correspondence is "99." Some miscellaneous folders are labeled with various number schemes, while other files were never assigned a number by the Comptroller's Office.

Source of acquisition

The collection was transferred to University Archives between 1948-1973.

Related Materials in University of Minnesota Archives

James Gray papers

Fred Beal Snyder papers

Board of Regents records

Central Files records

Office of the President records

Office of the Vice President for Business Administration records


Comptroller Records, 1877-1970
Marian H. Christensen; revised by Karen Spilman
August 2005
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area