Skip to main content

Frank Keller Walter papers

Identifier: ua00800

Scope and Content

The collection consists of the personal and professional papers of Frank Walter and includes correspondence, writings, and personal notes/scrapbooks. Correspondence (1900-1944) with nationally known librarians from the early 20th Century, most notably Melvil Dewey (1915-1932) and Archibald MacLeish (1939-1941), and with the author Christopher Morley (1917-1939) are contained in the papers. Letters regarding library matters in general and the University of Minnesota Library specifically, including the establishment of the Arthur Upson Room (1925-1935) are also contained in the collection. There are letters from other prominent people including Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. President (Jan 22, 1917), Henrick Shipstead, senator from Minnesota (Jan 31, 1929), Cordell Hull, Secretary of State (Nov. 8, 1939).

Writings consist of notes and drafts for Walter's book Ninety Years of the University of Minnesota Library, 1851-1941, and other articles.

Personal materials include correspondence, humor files, scrapbooks, and diaries.


  • 1851-1945


Language of Materials

Collection material in English and German

Access to Materials

This collection is stored at an off-site facility and requires 3-5 business days for retrieval. Email to request access. Do not make travel arrangements or plans to visit Andersen Library without making prior arrangements with University Archives staff.


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.

Biographical Sketch of Frank Keller Walter (1874-1945)

Frank Keller Walter, B.A. (1899) and M.A. (1900) Haverford College; B.L.S. (1906) and M.L.S. (1913) New York State Library School. University Librarian (1921-1943), Director of the Division of Library Instruction (1928-1943) at the University of Minnesota. Reference Assistant, Brooklyn Public Library (1906-1907). Vice Director, New York State Library School (1908-1919). Librarian, General Motors (1919-1920). Instructor in Library Science, University of Illinois and University of Michigan (1920-1921).

Frank Keller Walter was born July 23, 1874 in Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania. He received a B.A. (1899) and M.A. (1900) from Haverford College and a Bachelor of Library Science (1906) and Master of Library Science (1913) from New York State Library School. After holding various librarian and instructor positions, Professor Walter accepted the position of University Librarian at the University of Minnesota in 1921. He helped organize a department of library methods in 1922, and the Board of Regents approved a Division of Library Instruction in 1928. Professor Walter served as both University Librarian and Director of the Division until his retirement in 1943, when he was named Librarian and Professor Emeritus.

During his tenure, a new Library was built and opened in 1924 (named Walter Library in his honor in 1959), the collection grew from 300,000 volumes to 1.3 million, a course for hospital librarians was established, and over 800 students completed degrees from the Division of Library Instruction.

Professor Walter held leadership positions in many national and state library organizations, including the Association of American Library Schools (president, 1919); American Library Association (council, 1912-1917; editorial committee, 1924-1927; executive board, 1924-1928); Minnesota Library Association (president, 1922-1923); American Library Institute (secretary and treasurer, 1930-1933); Association of College and Research Libraries (president, 1939-1940); and Association of Research Libraries (director, 1940-1943).

Frank Walter died October 28, 1945 in Rochester, Minnesota.


8.75 Cubic Feet (7 boxes)


The collection includes correspondence, University Library School history, drafts and notes of Walter’s book, Ninety Years of the University of Minnesota Library, 1851-1941, typewritten manuscripts, scrapbooks and diaries of Frank Walter, Librarian at the University of Minnesota.


Collection is arranged into the following series:

  1. Correspondence
  2. Writings
  3. Subject Files

Physical Location

Off-site (WBOB)

Source of acquisition

Papers were left in the Library at the time of Walter’s retirement. His wife, S. Ruth McMichael Walter, donated the collection to the University of Minnesota Archives in 1949.

Related Material

University of Minnesota Library Records

Frank Keller Walter papers, 1851-1945
Karen Klinkenberg
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area