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.

Martha Bogner, a seminarian at the Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, is working toward becoming a Unitari...
02/10/2020

Martha Bogner, a seminarian at the Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, is working toward becoming a Unitarian-Universalist minister.

As part of her coursework, she’s writing a paper about the merger of the Unitarian and Universalist churches in the mid-1930s. It began as a grass-roots movement in a few cities, one of which was Detroit.

This has led her to the Bentley, where the papers of the First Unitarian-Universalist Church of Detroit—of which she is a member— are held.

“One of the things I found surprising,” she says, “was how much the financial pressures of the Great Depression had an effect on the merger.”

While she’s heard much of the oral history of these denominations coming together, she’s combing through pages upon pages of board meeting minutes, calling them “a treasure trove.”

University of Michigan
02/07/2020

University of Michigan

Niara Sudarkasa was the first tenured African American professor at U-M, joining the Anthropology Department in 1969.

While at Michigan, Sudarkasa became the director of the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies, and the associate vice president of academic affairs. #BlackHistoryMonth #ThrowbackThursday

University of Michigan Heritage Project
02/06/2020

University of Michigan Heritage Project

This week in campus history: Former presidents Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter discussed domestic policy at a conference on North Campus.

In 1872, William Henry Fitzbutler was the first African American student to graduate from the University of Michigan Med...
02/05/2020

In 1872, William Henry Fitzbutler was the first African American student to graduate from the University of Michigan Medical School. Fitzbutler went on to found and became dean of the Louisville National Medical College. #BlackHistoryMonth

150 years ago, Madelon Stockwell became the first woman to attend the University of Michigan, but she did not arrive at ...
02/04/2020
As to the Woman Question: The Admission of Women to the University of Michigan · Introduction · Exhibits at the Bentley

150 years ago, Madelon Stockwell became the first woman to attend the University of Michigan, but she did not arrive at this achievement in isolation. Explore our digital exhibit celebrating the anniversary of the admission of women to U-M.

One hundred and fifty years ago Madelon Stockwell became the first woman to attend the University of Michigan, but she did not arrive at this achievement in isolation. These are the stories of the women who initially asked for a chance, the opinions that had to change, and the pioneering women....

01/29/2020
Great Lakes Research Institute, 1958

This is the opening title to a film detailing the mission of the University of Michigan's Great Lakes Research Institute and its mission to the "encouragement and integration of studies of the physical, chemical, biological and other aspects of the Great Lakes and related areas."

The program has existed under several names since 1945. Today much of its work has been folded into the School for Enviroment and Sustainability.

In 1837, Michigan's new state geologist, Douglass Houghton, set off on a four year survey of the state's natural resourc...
01/28/2020

In 1837, Michigan's new state geologist, Douglass Houghton, set off on a four year survey of the state's natural resources.

You can see the final copy of Houghton’s extensive field notes and drawings displayed this week in our reading room!

Stereoscopic photo of Marquette Harbor on Lake Superior, 1868. This photo was taken as part of a University of Michigan ...
01/28/2020

Stereoscopic photo of Marquette Harbor on Lake Superior, 1868.

This photo was taken as part of a University of Michigan scientific expedition to Isle Royale and the north shore of Lake Superior. The Bentley has 103 of the 127 stereoscope cards, most which can be seen in our image bank here: http://myumi.ch/R50GD

You can also see these photographs and more in our reading room exhibit this week!

The popular Bentley symposium held in November 2018 "Teaching Undergraduates with Archives" has had its content distille...
01/24/2020

The popular Bentley symposium held in November 2018 "Teaching Undergraduates with Archives" has had its content distilled into a book. And it's FREE!

Read more here: http://myumi.ch/GkGVm

Kurt Vonnegut and dog at Canterbury house during his abbreviated stint as U-M Writer-in-Residence, January 1969. Vonnegu...
01/23/2020

Kurt Vonnegut and dog at Canterbury house during his abbreviated stint as U-M Writer-in-Residence, January 1969.

Vonnegut was scheduled to stay for two weeks, but left after just one. "It makes more sense, for me and for my audience, for me to go home and write more," he said to the Michigan Daily. #TBT

Newly elected Baseball Hall-of-Famer Derek Jeter had planned to play for the Wolverines before being drafted 6th overall...
01/22/2020

Newly elected Baseball Hall-of-Famer Derek Jeter had planned to play for the Wolverines before being drafted 6th overall by the Yankees in 1992.

"I said before the draft that if I wasn't picked in the top ten, I would play for Michigan," said Jeter in a November 1992 interview with the Michigan Daily.

"I really thought I was going to play at Michigan. But my dream has always been to play pro Baseball."

Jeter was a nearly unanimous selection for the Baseball Hall of Fame, appearing on 396 or the 397 ballots cast by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Photo is of Jeter in his Couzens Hall dorm room, via The Michigan Daily digital archive.

Waterman Gymnasium in snow, January 1977. The building was demolished a few months later. To make way for an addition to...
01/21/2020

Waterman Gymnasium in snow, January 1977.

The building was demolished a few months later. To make way for an addition to the Chemistry building.

The daughter of former slaves, Eva Jessye (pictured here in the far lower left) would stand in Washington, D.C., with Dr...
01/20/2020

The daughter of former slaves, Eva Jessye (pictured here in the far lower left) would stand in Washington, D.C., with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and teach at the University of Michigan. Meet a woman who changed the face of the arts—and America: https://historyofum.umich.edu/all-the-worlds-a-stage/

The Eva Jessye collection at the Bentley Historical Library is open to the public.

Join us this Monday for Brown v. The Board of Education: The Legacy Continues, 2 PM in the Michigan League Ballroom.Cher...
01/17/2020

Join us this Monday for Brown v. The Board of Education: The Legacy Continues, 2 PM in the Michigan League Ballroom.

Cheryl Brown Henderson will speak to the audience regarding the experiences she faced in relation to the landmark case.

University of Michigan Heritage Project
01/15/2020

University of Michigan Heritage Project

This week in U-M history: Leaders rolled out plans in 1952 for expanding the university with a 267-acre "overflow" campus north of the Huron River.

Peace Corps volunteers work in with U-M epidemiology instructors on studies of malaria, January 1962
01/14/2020

Peace Corps volunteers work in with U-M epidemiology instructors on studies of malaria, January 1962

And the Oscar goes to ...The Academy Award nominations are out, and Ford vs. Ferrari is in the running for Best Picture....
01/13/2020

And the Oscar goes to ...

The Academy Award nominations are out, and Ford vs. Ferrari is in the running for Best Picture. The character of Leo Beebe in the movie was actually a real person -- a Ford executive who played baseball for U-M and was also captain of the 1939 men's basketball team.

Originally, the Michigan Union was a built as a men’s club — women weren’t even allowed through the front door until 195...
01/09/2020

Originally, the Michigan Union was a built as a men’s club — women weren’t even allowed through the front door until 1956. The Michigan League was built 10 years later as a sister club for women.

As the Michigan Union prepares to re-open on January 13th after being closed for renovations since 2018, we invite you to step back in time to what it looked like when it was built … and why.

Our online exhibit, Constructing Gender, explores how the Union and League not only reflected the era’s ideas about gender roles but also sometimes perpetuated them:

https://exhibits.bentley.umich.edu/s/constructing_gender/page/introduction

100 years ago today: A dedication ceremony was held for the newly constructed General Library. The Albert Kahn-designed ...
01/07/2020

100 years ago today: A dedication ceremony was held for the newly constructed General Library. The Albert Kahn-designed building is still in use a century later, now a part of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library.

Christmas decorations on the Hudson Building in Detroit, 1962.
12/25/2019

Christmas decorations on the Hudson Building in Detroit, 1962.

On Christmas Eve 1981, the 125-year-old Economics Building burned to the ground.
12/24/2019

On Christmas Eve 1981, the 125-year-old Economics Building burned to the ground.

Testing a "Murray Car" for rural mail delivery around Adrian, MI, December 1902.
12/23/2019

Testing a "Murray Car" for rural mail delivery around Adrian, MI, December 1902.

The Moon, seen through the Fitz telescope at the Detroit Observatory, December 20, 1920.
12/20/2019

The Moon, seen through the Fitz telescope at the Detroit Observatory, December 20, 1920.

Darth Vader makes an appearance at the Campus Theatre for the opening of the latest Star Wars film, June 1980.
12/19/2019

Darth Vader makes an appearance at the Campus Theatre for the opening of the latest Star Wars film, June 1980.

The Bentley will close for the holiday recess at noon on December 24. Regular hours will resume on January 2.
12/18/2019

The Bentley will close for the holiday recess at noon on December 24. Regular hours will resume on January 2.

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor speaking at U-M Winter Commencement, December 1996.
12/18/2019

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor speaking at U-M Winter Commencement, December 1996.

The first party at the Martha Cook dorm, December 1915.(From the Sara Gladys Weir photograph album)
12/17/2019

The first party at the Martha Cook dorm, December 1915.

(From the Sara Gladys Weir photograph album)

12/17/2019
Michigan Medicine

Michigan Medicine

In December 1869, the first patients entered the nation's first university hospital, and a revolution in American medicine began. From that converted professor's house on the University of Michigan Diag grew the idea of the academic medical center -- a kind of institution that advances patient care, research and medical education for the good of all. Learn more about our history, and our plans to mark our 150th anniversary: http://michmed.org/dlDKA
Thanks to the Bentley Historical Library for most of the images used in the video!

Students finding their way home for Christmas break.
12/13/2019

Students finding their way home for Christmas break.

Are free thinkers able to put together a religion, and do they even want to? What would it mean if secular really were a...
12/11/2019

Are free thinkers able to put together a religion, and do they even want to? What would it mean if secular really were a religion?

That's what Leigh Eric Schmidt is researching at the Bentley Historical Library. Schmidt is a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, by way of teaching gigs at places like Harvard and Princeton (which is also where he got his PhD in religion).

Schmidt is diving into the papers of minister Jabez Sunderland (who was called to the Unitarian Church in Ann Arbor in the 1870s), and lawyer, socialist, secular humanist Paul Blanshard (another U-M grad).

Schmidt says when doing research, you "don’t solve all your puzzles, just generate new ones."

“It’s very exciting in an archive," he says, laughing a little as he gestures to the quiet room behind him.

Think you know a lot about U-M sports? Then join us THIS THURSDAY (12/12) for “We Must Work Off Our Surplus Animal Spiri...
12/10/2019

Think you know a lot about U-M sports?

Then join us THIS THURSDAY (12/12) for “We Must Work Off Our Surplus Animal Spirits” a FREE maize-and-blue-packed presentation by U-M sports history experts.

You’ll love this deep dive into the origins of athletics at U-M!

Join us on Thursday, December 12th at 7pm at the Ford Presidential Library, located at 1000 Beal Avenue, on U-M’s North Campus.

FREE parking will be available in the Ford Library lot or in the U-M lot across the street.

Bring your Go Blue pride, and we’ll see you there! Questions? Just email Gary Krenz: [email protected]

A doorway to the University’s past has been opened with the launch of a new history portal that leads to stories, exhibi...
12/09/2019
New history portal explores stories of U-M’s varied past | The University Record

A doorway to the University’s past has been opened with the launch of a new history portal that leads to stories, exhibits, videos and more.
The Bentley Historical Library is pleased to share this essential resource for exploring Michigan’s impact throughout the centuries:
http://myumi.ch/v2Kov

A doorway to the University of Michigan’s past is wide open with the launch of a new history portal that leads to stories, exhibits, videos and more.

Did you know a new website exists for U-M history? The History of U-M site provides access to U-M's past in one easy-to-...
12/09/2019

Did you know a new website exists for U-M history?

The History of U-M site provides access to U-M's past in one easy-to-use location featuring archival records, databases, and stories about U-M history, including a piece about U-M president James Angell and how he transformed Michigan and the face of higher education forever.

Click here to explore: https://historyofum.umich.edu/

There are so many interesting items in the Bentley archives that we occasionally have a seminar just to share our favori...
12/04/2019

There are so many interesting items in the Bentley archives that we occasionally have a seminar just to share our favorites with each other. Today's presentation included a map of Concord, Massachusetts drawn by Henry David Thoreau, a Hemingway manuscript, and three Olympic Gold Medals.

The Detroit Observatory has gone through many changes in its 160-year history. It was the center of important astronomic...
12/04/2019

The Detroit Observatory has gone through many changes in its 160-year history. It was the center of important astronomical research, including the discovery of 21 asteroids, before it fell out of use. Recent restorations have saved the building from destruction, and now we at the Bentley want to secure its future. We want your help in making the Detroit Observatory more accessible, more usable, and a place to celebrate and preserve U-M history.

Your gift today on Giving Blue Day will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10k. http://myumi.ch/QAjAO

The Detroit Observatory has hosted hundreds of people for viewing nights in recent years, providing the rare opportunity...
12/03/2019

The Detroit Observatory has hosted hundreds of people for viewing nights in recent years, providing the rare opportunity to see the heavens through a 162-year-old telescope. The Fitz Refracting Telescope was state-of-the-art technology when it was made. It is still in working order today thanks to ongoing restoration and maintenance by expert craftspeople.

You can help us preserve the Fitz Telescope and everything else in the Observatory with a gift today:http://myumi.ch/QAjAO

Happy Giving Blue Day! Today you can support the Bentley’s efforts to preserve and enhance the Detroit Observatory. The ...
12/03/2019

Happy Giving Blue Day! Today you can support the Bentley’s efforts to preserve and enhance the Detroit Observatory. The D.O. was built in 1854 as the first step in transforming U-M from a small Midwestern school into a world-class research university. It is the oldest U-M academic building still standing and the Bentley is working to make it a center of U-M history and learning.

Any gift you give to the Detroit Observatory fund today will be matched 1:1 up to $10k, and every dollar helps. http://myumi.ch/QAjAO

University of Michigan Heritage Project
11/27/2019

University of Michigan Heritage Project

This week in campus history: Tom Harmon became U-M's first Heisman Trophy winner when he received the 1940 award.

Students take a midterm exam using adding machines, November 1948.
11/20/2019

Students take a midterm exam using adding machines, November 1948.

11/19/2019

The Bentley will have additional reading room hours on Mondays until the end of the semester. We will be open late - until 9 pm - on November 25, December 2, and December 9.

Pounded Murphy? Frost Alakezoot? Tannin Juice??This Thursday come see anthropologist Lisa Young discuss how and what U-M...
11/13/2019

Pounded Murphy? Frost Alakezoot? Tannin Juice??

This Thursday come see anthropologist Lisa Young discuss how and what U-M students were eating a century ago. The talk is aided by work Young's students did at the Bentley, exploring the menus for student banquets.

7:00-8:30 at the Gerald Ford Library. Free parking!

University of Michigan Heritage Project
11/12/2019

University of Michigan Heritage Project

On this day in 1949, Ann Arbor kindergartner Eugene Waxman debuted as the Michigan Marching Band “drum minor.” Image: Ann Arbor District Library

On the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice ended the fighting along the Western Front of W...
11/11/2019

On the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice ended the fighting along the Western Front of World War I. In Ann Arbor, classes were canceled and people flooded the streets to celebrate.

U-M ROTC band escorting the football team to the train station for their trip to Harvard, November 6, 1930.
11/06/2019

U-M ROTC band escorting the football team to the train station for their trip to Harvard, November 6, 1930.

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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