New North Dakota ‘Blue Book’ highlights state’s 125 years

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Farm Forum

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota’s new Blue Book pays tribute to 125 years of statehood, including a section of information and photos comparing the lives of pioneers to residents today.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger, whose office was in charge of putting the book together, formally unveiled the 30th addition of the history and reference manual on April 9 at the state Capitol. The first copy was presented to Ron Rauschenberger, Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s chief of staff.

“It’s really an extraordinary book,” Rauschenberger told about 50 people who attended the ceremony.

The 556-page softcover book contains lists, statistics and narratives on everything from agriculture to weather and the state’s American Indian tribes. It also identifies such things as the state insect (Convergent Lady Beetle), the state dance (square dance) and the state creed and motto.

“It’s such a unique publication,” Jaeger said. “There is a lot of information that is not readily available in other documents or publications.”

The theme of this year’s publication is, “North Dakota, Then and Now.” To highlight the theme, book’s traditional dark blue cover has been replaced by black-and-white and color photos of historic and modern farming equipment.

The book was first published in 1887, predating statehood by two years. The first editions were called the “state manual” and the “legislative manual,” and were intended to provide information for lawmakers.

The first North Dakota Blue Book was published in 1942. Subsequent editions were published sporadically until 1995, when the Legislature funded them. Since then, a new edition has been published every two years with the help of about 50 volunteers.

A thousand copies of the book were printed this year, at a cost of about $29,000.

The book is sold for $20 at the North Dakota Heritage Center’s museum store, and it can also be ordered through the store’s online site.

“It’s worth $100, but it’s available for $20,” Jaeger said. “Actually it’s probably priceless.”

Jaeger emphasized its value to reporters.

“You want to know who Miss Rodeo North Dakota was? It’s in there,” he said. “Where else are you going to find that?”

The book lists the 1955-2013 winners of Miss Rodeo North Dakota on page 119.