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FNS Photo by Mike Nowatzki Secretary of State Al Jaeger, left, presents a ceremonial first copy of the 2013-2015 North Dakota Blue Book to the governor’s chief of staff, Ron Rauschenberger, on Wednesday at the Capitol in Bismarck.

‘Priceless’ Blue Book highlights N.D.’s 125th anniversary of statehood

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BISMARCK — It’s been called a compilation, a complete resource and a treasure trove of information about all things North Dakota. But people here know it simply as the Blue Book.

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Secretary of State Al Jaeger unveiled the Blue Book’s 30th edition Wednesday at the Capitol, recognizing the roughly 50 volunteers who started working on the book in July 2012 and extolling its collection of facts not readily available in other publications.

“If you want to know who Miss Rodeo was, it’s in there,” he said. (See Page 119.)

The 556-page book contains oodles of statistical data and information about the state’s symbols and awards, elected officials, agencies, lawmakers, federal-state relationships, education and elections.

A feature chapter customarily leads the book, and the latest edition profiles “North Dakota, Then and Now” in celebration of the state’s 125th anniversary of statehood on Nov. 2. The chapter covers changes in technology, transportation, housing and other topics from before statehood to the present day, said Brynn Radcliffe of Results Unlimited, which compiled the chapter.

The Blue Book’s history dates to books published in 1887 and 1889 under the authority of the Dakota Territory legislature. The first volume with the title “North Dakota Blue Book” appeared in 1942, and this marks the 10th time Jaeger’s administration has published the book.

The state prints only 1,000 copies of the Blue Book but has 16 editions of it available online through the secretary of state’s website at www.nd.gov/sos and the State Historical Society’s website at www.history.nd.gov.

“And so this history is not lost just because the books are out of print,” Jaeger said.

Jaeger joked that the Blue Book is worth $100 but sells for $20 at the North Dakota Heritage Center’s Museum Store.

“Actually, it’s probably priceless,” he quipped.

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