Bentley Historical Library

Bentley Historical  Library The Bentley serves as the official archives of the University of Michigan and documents the state of Michigan, its people, and organizations.
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The Bentley Historical Library was established in 1935 by the University of Michigan Regents to carry out two functions: to serve as the official archives of the University and to document the history of the state of Michigan and the activities of its people, organizations and voluntary associations. Originally sharing space with the Clements Library and then moving to the basement of the Rackham Building, library moved to its current building in 1972. The library is comprised of four divisions: the Michigan Historical Collections, the University Archives and Records Program, Digital Curation and Access and Reference Services. The library also manages the historic Detroit Observatory. Some seven decades after its founding, the library has amassed extensive holdings on the history of the state and the university, including more than 50,000 linear feet of archives and manuscripts, 90,000 printed volumes, 1.5 million photographs and other visual materials, over 10,000 maps and nearly 60 terabytes of digital content. The library's holdings are consulted by Michigan's citizens, the university's students, faculty, staff, alumni and administrators, scholars from across the nation and around the world, and others interested in the history of the state and the university.

Operating as usual

You can judge us by our book covers.The Bentley isn't open to researchers yet, but we are still busy conserving, catalog...
09/04/2020

You can judge us by our book covers.

The Bentley isn't open to researchers yet, but we are still busy conserving, cataloguing, and digitizing collections. We hope to see you soon!

#TBT Welcome week registration 1975.What advice would you give to the incoming class of 2020? Maybe something you wish s...
09/03/2020

#TBT Welcome week registration 1975.

What advice would you give to the incoming class of 2020? Maybe something you wish someone would have told you during your first week?

A couch convoy makes its way to Mary Markley Hall during the 1986 move-in day.
08/28/2020

A couch convoy makes its way to Mary Markley Hall during the 1986 move-in day.

George Romney arrives in San Fransisco for day 1 of the 1964 Republican Convention. Michigan would pledge its 40 delegat...
08/24/2020

George Romney arrives in San Fransisco for day 1 of the 1964 Republican Convention. Michigan would pledge its 40 delegates to its governor, but Romney fell well short of Barry Goldwater's count of 883.

Romney would make another run at the presidency in 1968, doing well enough for President Nixon to make him the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Women's suffrage was and is a generational movement. This is Emily Grimes, daughter of Lucia Grimes, suffragist and lead...
08/19/2020

Women's suffrage was and is a generational movement.

This is Emily Grimes, daughter of Lucia Grimes, suffragist and leader of the Michigan Branch of the National Woman's Party.

Lucia Grimes ('02 BA, '06 MA) developed a card index filing system that included every Michigan legislator and his attitude toward women's suffrage. In 1916 she was invited to Washington D.C. to implement her system for the US congress.

The efforts of suffragettes like Lucia and Emily helped Michigan become one of the first three states to ratify the 19th amendment on June 10, 1919.

No adjustment needed! The "Seater Meter" was a special research device to measure comfort factors in automobile seats. I...
08/13/2020

No adjustment needed! The "Seater Meter" was a special research device to measure comfort factors in automobile seats.

It was created by Walter E. Lay, the authority on seat design during his 50 years as a U-M Professor at the Automotive Engineering Laboratory.

Leaps and bounds ahead! Did you know that the University of Michigan won 14 national titles in Men's Trampoline before t...
08/13/2020

Leaps and bounds ahead! Did you know that the University of Michigan won 14 national titles in Men's Trampoline before the NCAA discontinued the event for safety reasons?

This photo is the 1965-66 trampoline team having a great time.

Put on your Sunday best, we're going to a fish fry!Maybe a three-piece suit or a floor-length skirt isn't what we would ...
08/06/2020

Put on your Sunday best, we're going to a fish fry!

Maybe a three-piece suit or a floor-length skirt isn't what we would wear to the beach in August, but this was the style in 1907.

This party took place on Coryell Island, one of the Les Cheneaux by the Southeastern tip of the Upper Peninsula.

The photo is from the Andrew W. Tanner photograph collection.

Election day is here! It's not the presidential election, but many important local races and initiatives are being decid...
08/04/2020

Election day is here!

It's not the presidential election, but many important local races and initiatives are being decided today (including in Ann Arbor City Council Ward 2!).

John Lewis was just 23 years old in 1963 when he came to Ann Arbor. As national chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coor...
07/30/2020

John Lewis was just 23 years old in 1963 when he came to Ann Arbor. As national chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Lewis spoke about the need for voter registration drives as well as social programs in the south.

You see the Michigan Daily's coverage of that visit as well as many more moments in John Lewis's life of public service in the Michigan Daily Digital Database here: http://myumi.ch/88eOW

Recently, the Bentley digitized the over 3,000 responses to the 1924 Alumnae Survey and made it available online (link b...
07/27/2020

Recently, the Bentley digitized the over 3,000 responses to the 1924 Alumnae Survey and made it available online (link below). This incredible resource elevates the voices, experiences, and accomplishments of the first generations of women who attended U-M.

We could not have done this important projects without the support of our donors.

Thanks to their support, the Bentley is able to give researchers more access to history online, making primary sources available anytime, anywhere.

http://myumi.ch/Gk88P

Not Fair. The Ann Arbor Art Fair, in some form, has been a part of local life since 1960. Like many events this year, it...
07/24/2020

Not Fair.

The Ann Arbor Art Fair, in some form, has been a part of local life since 1960. Like many events this year, it was canceled due to Covid-19, but there already plans in the works for next year.

The somewhat awkwardly-named Manpower Mobilization Corps enlisted civilian students to perform jobs understaffed because...
07/22/2020

The somewhat awkwardly-named Manpower Mobilization Corps enlisted civilian students to perform jobs understaffed because of World War II.

The students did many jobs, including harvesting crops from local farms, gathering scrap metal, volunteering at local hospitals, and selling war bonds.

Soap Box Derby down the streets of Ann Arbor, July 1941.
07/20/2020

Soap Box Derby down the streets of Ann Arbor, July 1941.

"The South is involved in a real social revolution, aimed at basic social and political structure, not just getting a ha...
07/18/2020

"The South is involved in a real social revolution, aimed at basic social and political structure, not just getting a hamburger or a theatre ticket,"

John Lewis visited Ann Arbor in 1963 when he was the national chairman of the Student Non-Violating Coordinating Committee.

In 1939 aviators Chauncy E. Spencer and Dale L. White (pictured here) flew a biplane on a 10-city tour starting in Chica...
07/15/2020

In 1939 aviators Chauncy E. Spencer and Dale L. White (pictured here) flew a biplane on a 10-city tour starting in Chicago and ending in New York City. They set out to prove that black Americans could capable pilots.

The Chauncey E. Spencer Papers are archived at the Bentley.

Stories in our archive, much like the students, staff, and faculty at U-M, come from many places. They all share a point...
07/14/2020

Stories in our archive, much like the students, staff, and faculty at U-M, come from many places. They all share a point of contact with the university or the state, but Michigan stories reach every corner of the globe.

This photo is part of the collection of former U-M Library director Theodore Wesley Koch, and was probably taken between 1918-1920 when Koch was working for the Library of Congress. He captioned the photo of the women looking at the Statute of Liberty from Ellis Island: "In Sight of Their Goal."

In 1922, the Detroit News came up with a plan to reduce the price of bread - hold a bread-baking contest to encourage De...
07/10/2020

In 1922, the Detroit News came up with a plan to reduce the price of bread - hold a bread-baking contest to encourage Detroiters to make their own loaves. First prize: $1,000.

The News expected 3,500 entries but more than 12,000 loaves flooded the Detroit News auditorium.

A boat floating on flood waters across the Diag? Impossible, you might say.Well, you'd be right. This postcard (created ...
07/09/2020

A boat floating on flood waters across the Diag? Impossible, you might say.

Well, you'd be right. This postcard (created circa 1910) shows that you don't have to have to have the latest edition of Photoshop running on a state-of-the-art computer to do convincing photo manipulation.

Water, food, shelter, and books!During World War I the New York Public Library held the "War Library Book Drive" to prov...
07/08/2020

Water, food, shelter, and books!

During World War I the New York Public Library held the "War Library Book Drive" to provide reading material for "our men in camp and over there."

This photo is from the papers of Theodore Wesley Koch, former Director of the University of Michigan Library.

International students have been an important part of the University of Michigan and its history.In 1938, the U-M Intern...
07/08/2020

International students have been an important part of the University of Michigan and its history.

In 1938, the U-M International Student Center was created to serve its growing population of foreign students, providing non-academic advising, English-language programs, and social opportunities.

This photo is from the International Student Center collection at the Bentley, circa 1950.

North Campus really knows how to throw a party!The October 1996 Lurie Tower dedication ceremony included a "multi-media ...
07/02/2020

North Campus really knows how to throw a party!

The October 1996 Lurie Tower dedication ceremony included a "multi-media presentation" with "fireworks, a laser light show and video projections." There were also performances by the U-M Symphony Brass Band and university carilloneurs, Margo Halsted and Ray McLellan.

Happy birthday, Canada!These workers are 200 feet (~61 metres) above the Detroit River on the span of the Ambassador Bri...
07/01/2020

Happy birthday, Canada!

These workers are 200 feet (~61 metres) above the Detroit River on the span of the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit, USA with Windsor, CAN, 1928. The bridge opened on November 15, 1929 and is still one of the busiest border crossings in North America.

The "tip of the thumb" Pointe Aux Barques, Michigan has intrigued many, including longtime Detroit Free Press environmen...
06/30/2020

The "tip of the thumb" Pointe Aux Barques, Michigan has intrigued many, including longtime Detroit Free Press environment writer Jack Van Coevering. JVC's collection at the Bentley includes many photos of Michigan's majestic scenery, this one taken circa 1955. ⁠

Can you recognize this street?These horse-drawn carts and buggies (including one for State Street Bakery) are clopping d...
06/25/2020

Can you recognize this street?

These horse-drawn carts and buggies (including one for State Street Bakery) are clopping down State Street in front of the Law Building and University Hall. Things looked a lot different in 1873!

The Law Building would be renamed Mason Hall in 1933.

#ThrowbackThursday

Ever wonder where suavity resides in the brain? How about sublimity? Vitativeness?This "Regional Map of the Head" was pu...
06/24/2020

Ever wonder where suavity resides in the brain? How about sublimity? Vitativeness?

This "Regional Map of the Head" was published in the phrenology-plus-Cosmo-quiz book "Yourself in the Light of Vitosophy" which offered a "scientific delineation of character."

The copy held by the Bentley is half-filled out, it's previous owner looking for Vitosophic insights into compatible professions, mates, and interests.

#BentleyHistoricalLibrary #PersonalityQuiz

Esther Williams, star of the silver screen and of ... water ballet? It's point-your-toes true! Williams trained in compe...
06/22/2020

Esther Williams, star of the silver screen and of ... water ballet?

It's point-your-toes true! Williams trained in competitive swimming and in water ballet (now known as synchronized swimming) when she jumped into the pool for her role as Leonora Cambaretti in the 1947 film This Time for Keeps.

The pool she *literally* jumped into was at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan, where much of the movie was filmed. And that's how the Bentley came to have this stunning image of Williams on set.

The Bentley has partnered with the Grand Hotel to digitize, conserve, and preserve thousands of photos from the hotel’s 130-year history. The Library is in the process of creating a digital collection to make many of these images available online.

To see more our favorite snapshots from the Grand Hotel’s long and colorful history, click here: http://myumi.ch/L4Bkg

Today is Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. The history of Juneteenth, from when it b...
06/19/2020
Celebrate Juneteenth

Today is Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. The history of Juneteenth, from when it began to how it's observed today, is important and timely.

The School of Social Work has put together a list of events happening around U-M today:
https://ssw.umich.edu/juneteenth-2020

Juneteenth is a Black/African American celebration of family, freedom and liberation celebrated annually on the 19th of June. While the Emancipation Proclamation declared people who were enslaved to be free by January 1, 1863, many African Americans did not receive the news or its enforcement ...

Michigan Medicine
06/18/2020

Michigan Medicine

One hundred and thirty three years ago this month, the state legislature made an investment in protecting Michiganders from infectious diseases, by approving funding for a new laboratory to be built at the University of Michigan.

The Hygienic Laboratory, as it was called, was the first of its kind in the country - and served as the state's official lab for investigating outbreaks and developing preventive strategies until a new one was built in Lansing in 1907. The lab also allowed U-M professors to pursue research and train medical students in the "germ theory" of disease. This was cutting-edge science in the 1880s -- and controversial enough that the university chose the less edgy term "hygiene" for the lab's name. It was originally housed in the West Physics Building on the Diag near where the Hatcher and Clements Libraries stand today.

As part of our #MichMed150 celebration of our medical history, learn more about the Hygienic Laboratory:
This account from 1942 traces the history of the laboratory's formation: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.13950886.0003.005

Ruth Ellis was an activist for LGBTQ rights for all of her 101 years. In the '40s, '50s, and 60s she turned her home in ...
06/15/2020

Ruth Ellis was an activist for LGBTQ rights for all of her 101 years. In the '40s, '50s, and 60s she turned her home in Detroit into a haven for black Americans who came out before the Civil Rights Movement and Stonewall.

Her collection at the Bentley Historical Library contains photographs, letters, and journals that paint a picture of a woman who changed lives simply by being herself.

Read more in our story "Living with Pride" written by Katie Vloet: http://myumi.ch/r87jP

University of Michigan History Department
06/05/2020
University of Michigan History Department

University of Michigan History Department

"'Remember, we are bigger than the white supremacists.'

That was Austin McCoy’s message in 2016 to like-minded students, faculty, and community members who wanted to join him in fighting racism that was sprouting up on campus in the form of speeches, fliers, and threats."

Read more about the Austin McCoy collection at the Bentley Historical Library which includes correspondence, sound recordings, meeting minutes and notes, topical files, photographs, event programs, and flyers from campus activist activity between 1994 and 2018.

Although Governor Whitmer has removed her “stay at home” order, the Bentley Historical Library remains closed.The Univer...
06/05/2020

Although Governor Whitmer has removed her “stay at home” order, the Bentley Historical Library remains closed.

The University is proceeding on its own plan for the safe re-opening of University buildings which will be conducted in phases. The University’s primary concern in this possibly lengthy process is the safety of staff and patrons and so it will move carefully. The Bentley has not yet been assigned a date to re-enter and, later, re-open the building.

In the meantime, the Bentley will continue to receive research requests and duplication orders through our normal online process, however, we will be unable to respond to these requests immediately.

For more information, please see our full update here: https://bentley.umich.edu/news-events/news/bentley-updates-concerning-covid-19/

Jane Briggs Hart was part of the Mercury 13, a group of women who passed the same grueling physical and mental tests as ...
06/01/2020

Jane Briggs Hart was part of the Mercury 13, a group of women who passed the same grueling physical and mental tests as men in order to fly the manned Mercury spacecraft. But before it could ever, ahem, get off the ground, the Mercury 13 program was cancelled.

This month marks the 37th anniversary of Sally Ride becoming the first American woman to fly in space. We are honored to salute the women of NASA, and Jane Briggs Hart, whose papers we hold in our archives.

Address

1150 Beal Ave
Ann Arbor, MI
48109-2113

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 13:00

Telephone

(734) 764-3482

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