Parker’s Minnesota Handbook


Travel guide to the Minnesota Territory published on the eve of statehood.

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“The author of the following pages, from extensive acquaintance both East and West, perceiving a great want of reliable information on the Territory of Minnesota and her resources, has, by extended tours through various portions of the Territory, by careful observation and frequent inquiry, placed himself in possession of information which enables him to present in this work a true exposition of the resources, the climate, the soil, the condition of cities, towns, and villages, and the actual settlement and present condition of this growing Territory, which, though organized but six years ago, now possesses the requisite population to enable her to knock at the door of the Union for admission as a state!”

This long-winded introduction, written by Nathan Howe Parker, can be found in the preface of his Minnesota Handbook, published in Boston by John. P. Jewett & Company in 1857. It contains the promised information and more; an invaluable (albeit probably biased) resource for emigrants looking to take advantage of available lands in the Minnesota Territory in the years immediately prior to statehood.

Colton’s map of Minnesota, with corrections furnished by Parker himself, is included as a fold-out. The image presents a number of counties awaiting survey, and townships are largely concentrated in the southeast along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Annotations promising ‘good water in numerous ponds’ and vast prairie land are shown along with the proposed route of a Pacific Railroad – temptations for the aspiring farmer and real estate speculator alike.

These settlers, many of whom were from Europe, would conflict forcefully with the local indigenous people. A note in the upper left warns of Native American hunting grounds and several agencies and tribes are labeled across the image.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1857

Author: Nathan Parker

Sheet Width (in): See Description

Sheet Height (in): See Description

Condition: A

Condition Description: 160 pp. guidebook, measuring approximately 7.5" x 5", bound in original embossed gilt cloth boards. Moderately toned title page. A bit of light soiling on the endpapers and faint scattered spotting throughout, consistent with age. Includes a fold-out map of Minnesota by Colton that measures approximately 16.25" x 13.5". Light creasing along fold lines and a few very faint spots in the margins, otherwise in near fine condition.


1 in stock