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Robert C. Mitchell family papers

Identifier: S3027

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, reference materials, photographs and news clippings. The bulk of the collection is composed of correspondence,1853–1944, relating to the family and Mitchell’s newspaper. There is a file of papers on Horace H. Mitchell who was a civil engineer, circa1885-1888. Other records include material concerning a proposed tunnel between Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin, 1925–1933, some records of the Woodland Baseball Team,1913–1914, and family photographs.

The collection is divided into five groups.

Robert C. and Fannie Mitchell records, 1853-1944, contain all of the family's personal correspondence, although it is dominated by the correspondence of Robert C. Mitchell. Much information relating to the operation of Mitchell's newspaper may be found among the letters, including editorial positions such as anti-vaccination. A considerable amount of correspondence concerning Mitchell's practice of trading advertising space for mail order goods and of tending not to pay his bills has been weeded from the collection. The letter press book, 1885-1888, largely contains letters relating to the Tribune and some letters concerning Mitchell's effort to sell the paper. Many letters in the letter press are highly illegible.

Most of the correspondence occuring after Mitchell's death in 1907 is written to or by his wife, Fannie. Also included are contracts, genealogies of the Rockwells and Robinsons (related to the Mitchells) and records of the library board, 1898-1907, of which Robert C. Mitchell served as a member, including two cyanotype images of the Carnegie Library in Duluth, Minnesota.

Horace Mitchell records, 1890-1933, include correspondence and reference materials, 1925-1933, of a proposed tunnel between Duluth and Superior to replace the Interstate Bridge. Horace Mitchell was actively involved in the support and planning of the tunnel project. Also included is a scrapbook of engineering projects, 1924-1927, which contains articles on the tunnel project.

Max Mitchell records, 1913-1940, include correspondence, reference materials, news clippings, and photographs, 1913-1914, of the Woodland Baseball Team, a semi-professional team which was managed by Max Mitchell.

Photographs include family photographs, a photo of the front of the Tribune office, and some unidentified pictures, including two tintypes.

Miscellany, 1891-1914, includes various certificates and club membership lists, and additional correspondence from 1941-1957.


  • Creation: 1853-1957


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

Robert Chalmers Mitchell was born in Bloomberg, Ohio on September 16, 1832, son of William and Lydia (Robinson) Mitchell. After graduating from Wabash college, in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1861, Mitchell studied law in the office of Horace P. Biddle of Logansport, Indiana. He married Fannie Hulburd on December 22, 1862 and shortly after moved to Anoka, Minnesota where he served as county attorney. Mitchell was editor of the St. Joseph, Missouri Daily Union from 1867 to 1869 and then moved to Superior, Wisconsin where he established the Tribune. In May, 1870, Mitchell took the Tribune across the harbor to Duluth, Minnesota, where the paper remained until it was sold in 1889. Michell established a real estate business and returned to newspapers in 1894 by beginning the weekly Tribunal. Mitchell died on July 26, 1907 in Duluth.

Fannie Mitchell died in 1929 at age 90. She was survived by four sons: Horace H., Max R., Robert C., and Harold E. Mitchell. Horace H. Mitchell, a Duluth engineer, died in 1934. Robert C. Mitchell died in an industrial accident in 1939. Harold E. Mitchell followed his father's trade and became a newspaperman and editor of the Duluth News-Tribune from 1900 to 1913. He died in 1947 at age 78. Maximilian R. Mitchell became an engineer for the Oliver Iron Mining Company and died in 1965 at age 83.

Robert Chalmers Mitchell was born in Bloomberg, Ohio on September 16, 1832. He established the Tribune in Superior, Wisconsin in 1869 and moved the paper to Duluth, Minnesota in May 1870. The Tribune was sold in 1889 and Mitchell turned to real estate until 1894, when the weekly Tribunal was established. Mitchell died on July 26, 1907, survived by his wife, Fannie, and four sons: Horace H., Max R., Robert C., and Harold E.


3.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection contains correspondence, reference materials, photographs and news clippings.

Arrangement of Materials:

The collection, primarily composed of correspondence is divided into five groups: Robert C. and Fannie Mitchell, Horace Mitchell, Max Mitchell, Photographs, and Miscellany.

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.

Related Materials:

NEMHC Archival Collections S3028 Tribune Printing Company records


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, and are on permanent loan from the St. Louis County Historical Society.

Guide to the Robert C. Mitchell family papers
Finding Aid Authors: B.H. Bruemmer.
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