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The Bakken

Library; Museum
3537 Zenith Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55416
United States
Juliet Burba, Phd, Chief Curator
(612) 926-3878 ext.217
1 612-926-3878
Fax: (612) 927-7265

The Bakken, established in 1976 by Earl Bakken, inventor of the first wearable cardiac pacemaker, is a non-profit institution. Its collections of books, manuscripts, and instruments document the historical role of electricity and magnetism in the life sciences and medicine, encompassing the history of electricity, electrophysiology, and electrotherapeutics, and their accompanying instrumentation. In addition, the collections include primary sources in mesmerism, animal magnetism, and hypnotism, as well as works documenting the history of para-psychology, psychical research, and phrenology. These collections serve as material for research, exhibits, and educational activities. The collections are open to researchers 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Researchers should make appointments in advance with a member of the curatorial staff.

Materials may be used only on the premises, but photocopies, scans, or photographs may be made, depending on the condition of the item. SERVICES: Reference service is provided by the librarian and the curator of instruments onsite, by telephone, email, mail, and fax. Although works do not circulate locally or via interlibrary loan, every effort is made to provide information to researchers need.


Monographs: Incunabula: 8 titles; 16th century: 42; 17th century: 116; 18th century: 800; 19th century: 2,400; 1900-1940: 1,850. Monograph count includes about 400 trade catalogs, mostly from 1875-1930 -- cf. Davis and Dreyfuss, The Finest Instruments Ever Made, 1986, pp. 383-385, for partial listing. Manuscripts and archives: collections of papers and book-length manuscripts: 25; A.L.S., T.L.S., short items: about 100; archive collections: 2. Thorough inventories of archival materials exist at the library and photocopies of many of the items are available. The collection is catalogued on OCLC’s WorldCat and may be searched there or on the local search box on the Bakken’s web page (“Library Catalog”). Ephemera (ads, programs, broadsides, circulars, instructional pamphlets): about 400. This collection is informally cataloged. Journals: 231 titles. Of these titles, over half (168) are represented by four volumes or fewer. These volumes were usually acquired for single articles. Of these 168 titles, 11 are 18th century, 106 are 19th century, and 51 are 20th century. The remaining 63 titles are represented by longer or complete runs. Two are 17th century, 11 are 18th century, 31 are 19th century (or begin in those centuries), and 19 are 20th century. Journal titles and holdings are informally cataloged on cards. Instruments and Apparatus Collection: about 2,000 items Prints, Slides and Photographs: about 1,000 items, not cataloged. The collection also includes transcripts of oral history interviews done by the Minnesota Historical Society for the "Pioneers of the Medical Device Industry in Minnesota" project.

1. Adducci, Anthony
2. Bakken, Earl
3. Blackshear, Perry
4. Dann, Norman
5. DeWall, Richard
6. Hollenhorst, Sandra
7. Holloran, Thomas
8. Lillehei, C
9. Matricara, Ronald
10. Neuman, Patricia
11. Nicoloff, Demetre
12. Timm, Gerald
13. Villafana, Manuel
14. Waters, George
15. Winston, Wallin
Subject Strengths:
History of Animal Magnetism; History of Cardiology; History of Early Hypnotism; History of Electrotherapy; History of Medicine; History of Mesmerism; History of Quackery and Health Fraud
Last Updated:
25 Jan 2016