Minnesota Author Biographies.

Grace Lee Nute

Grace Lee Nute

From Lake Superior (1944) by Grace Lee Nute

The word "superior" suggests something a little remote, a trifle chilly, decidedly unusual and unique. Lake Superior has all of these characteristics. It is the largest body of fresh water in the world. Its geological origin has distinction and even the allure of mystery. The great basin in which it lies is unique in geological history and grand in scenic effect. The other lakes of the quintet are large and impressive; Lake Superior is awe-inspiring.

Biographical Notes

Birth: October 13, 1895, North Conway, New Hampshire
Death: May 4, 1990, Menlo Park, California

Historian and teacher Grace Lee Nute earned an A.B. in American literature from Smith College in 1917, an A.M. from Radcliffe College in 1918, and a Ph.D. in American history from Harvard University in 1921. Nute moved to Minnesota in 1921 and was the curator of manuscripts at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul from 1921-46, and a research associate from 1946-57. She taught Minnesota history at Hamline University from 1927-60, conducted study courses for business women from 1930-34, was a lecturer on Minnesota history for the University of Minnesota Extension Division from 1948-52, was a visiting professor at Macalester College from 1956-59, and the director of the James J. Hill papers project for the Hill Reference Library in St. Paul from 1960-66.

Nute wrote manuals on collection preservation and organization and she pioneered the use of microfilm and photocopies to preserve manuscripts and make them more accessible to scholars. Nute also wrote books and articles on the fur trade and the exploration of Minnesota, including The Voyageur (1931) and Caesars of the Wilderness (1943). Nute was on the editorial board from 1957 on for The Naturalist, the Natural History Society of Minnesota magazine. She was a consultant for the Encyclopedia Britannica film Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle (1950) and Chairman of the Clarence W. Alvord Memorial Commission, Mississippi Valley Historical Association from 1940-56. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship to fund research in Europe from 1934-35, an Honorary Litt.D. from Hamline University in 1943, a Ford Foundation grant in 1945, and an Award of Merit from the Western History Association in 1981.

Selected Works

The titles below link to the catalog record in MnPALS, the Minnesota Historical Society’s library catalog. Please click on your browser's back button to return.

Caesars of the Wilderness: Medard Chouart, Sieur Des Groesilliers and Pierre Espirt Radisson, 1618-1710
Rainy River Country
The Voyageur
The Voyageur's Highway: Minnesota's Border Lake Land

Additional Resources

Minnesota Historical Society Library Links

• Search MNHS Library and Archives Catalog for author - Searches for works by this author in the Minnesota Historical Society’s library
Minnesota Historical Society Collections Online
Grace Lee Nute Papers, 1924-45, 1957
• "Peter Rindisbacher, Artist" (1933); "Rindisbacher’s Minnesota Water Colors" (1939); " Rindisbacher Water Color" (1942) - A series of articles by Grace Lee Nute on artist, Peter Rindisbacher and his depictions of Native Americans from 1822 – 1834.

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