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Richard J. Kunz oral history interview

 Collection — Box: OH
Identifier: S4541

Scope and Contents

The interview was conducted by social worker Elizabeth T. Blue April 24, 1993. There is no transcript of the interview.


  • Creation: 1993 April 24


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Kathryn A. Martin Library, Archives and Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Richard J. Kunz (March 29, 1927-November 5, 1998) was a social worker and Executive Director of the Center on Alcohol and Drug Treatment in Duluth, Minnesota. He retired to the house he built on property in Lake county and died in his home near Two Harbors.

Mr. Kunz was born in West St. Paul and graduated from Hamline University, St. Paul, and University of Minnesota Minneapolis with a Masters in Social Work in 1957. He began his career devoted to human, social and community service as a child protection worker for Ramsey County Department of Public Welfare, St. Paul (1957-1961), and served as social services coordinator at Brainerd State University.

He relocated to Duluth to staff the Center of Alcohol and Drug Treatment that had opened in Duluth in September, 1961. The Center and its staff were housed in the Miller hospital, in downtown Duluth in the Torrey building, and in the new Ordean building downtown. The Center operated the Duluth Receiving Center, commonly referred to as the Duluth Detox program, when it was started in December 1972. Located initially at 2001 West 3rd street, the detox center served persons in St. Louis, Carlton, Lake and Cook counties. It was moved in 1974 to 1001 East First street within St.Luke's Hospital. Most of its funding came from the United Way. In 2000, the Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment purchased and remodel the former Kolar auto dealership at 1402 East Superior Street. It opened its new $2.7 million Duluth detox center home in August 2001.

Dick Kunz's career spanned the shift in public and professional attitudes from the drinker as a "drunk" and a criminal to the assessment of alcoholism as a disease. Drunkenness was taken out of the criminal category by the Minnesota Legislature, which called for detoxification centers to replace jails for drunks.

He served for many years in the ranks and as an office and as president of Minnesota's social work and drug program professional organizations.

He met his wife, a classically trained musician, Joyce Nichols of St. Paul, at Hamlin. Dick and Joyce moved to Duluth from Brainerd, Minnesota in 1965 with their two children, Cynthia and David.


2.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The interview was conducted by social worker Elizabeth T. Blue April 24, 1993. There is no transcript of the interview.

Physical Location

This collection is located at the University of Minnesota Duluth Archives. For more information about this collection or to make an appointment, contact us at or 218-726-8526.


This collection is part of the Northeast Minnesota Historical Collections, which are housed in the University of Minnesota Duluth Archives at the Kathryn A. Martin Library.

Guide to the Richard J. Kunz oral history interview
Finding Aid Authors: P. Maus.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University of Minnesota Duluth Archives and Special Collections Collecting Area

Kathryn A. Martin Library
University of Minnesota Duluth
416 Library Drive
Duluth MN 55812-3001
(218) 726-8526