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Frederick T. Witzig papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: S6089

Scope and Contents

At this time, the collection consists of Voyageurs National Park Reference Files, 1891-2006.


  • Creation: 1891-2006
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1964-2000


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

Frederick T. Witzig, a native of Morton, Illinos, served three years in the U. S. Navy during WWII, including duty in the South Pacific. At the conclusion of his military service, Dr. Witzig went on to receive a B. S. degree from Bradley University. He earned his M.S. and Ph. D. in geography from the University of Illinois. After teaching at both the Bradley and Illinois campuses, he joined the University of Minnesota Duluth faculty in 1953 and was named head of geography in 1965. He served as chair of the Division of Social Sciences and received the Outstanding Teacher Award in 1967. He has been active in conservation and civic groups in Duluth including Co-chair with David Zentner of the Duluth chapter of a Citizen’s Committee for Voyageurs National Park. See an oral history interview transcript, February 23, 1987 in Dr. Witzig’s biographical file.

When President Nixon signed the legislation authorizing the establishment of Voyageurs National Park on January 8, 1971, almost eighty years had passed since Minnesota’s government initially petitioned to create a national park in the northern portion of the state. Fred T. Witzig’s book Voyageurs National Park: The Battle to Create Minnesota’s National Park [University of Minnesota Press, 2004] chronicles the complex legal and political campaign to found Minnesota’s only national park. Witzig’s thoroughly documented and referenced research allows him to offer a detailed view of the unanticipated disappointments and defining moments of achievement that accompanied this complicated legislative battle. Concentrating on the period from 1962 to 1975, Dr. Witzig identifies and explains the central issues surrounding the campaign including land acquisition policy, local concerns and opposition to the park, interagency conflict over inclusion of U.S. forest lands, antifederal attitudes in northeastern Minnesota, and the overstated case for the economic benefits a national park would bring. Dr. Witzig covers of the dispute over the inclusion of Crane Lake in the park and focuses on the many individuals and groups who were instrumental in the establishment of Voyageurs National Park, such as Governor Elmer L. Andersen, John A. Blatnik, Sigurd F. Olson, and Rita Shemesh.

Fred T. Witzig is professor emeritus of geography and urban studies at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He also served on Duluth City Planning Commission from 1969-1983, receiving an Award of Excellence from the Minnesota Planning Association in 1984.


3.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection consists of Voyageurs National Park Reference Files.

Arrangement of Materials:

Box 1 1891 – 1974

Box 2 1975 - 2006

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 S2387 Voyageurs National Park newspaper clippings

NEMHC Archival Collections S4482 Conservation History Project papers

Guide to the Frederick T. Witzig papers
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