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Local History Collections

Kalamazoo College Archives

Phone: 269-337-7151

Location: Third floor of Upjohn Library Commons, ULC 329, 1200 Academy St., Kalamazoo, MI 49006

Kalamazoo College History

The College Archives serve as the repository for materials that trace the history of Kalamazoo College from its founding in 1833 through the present day. The Archives also holds a collection of documents related to the history of Baptists in Michigan. Although archival materials do not circulate, it is possible to photocopy many of the materials with the permission of the archivist. Book bags, purses, and briefcases should be checked with the attendant, and only pencils may be used for note taking.

Significant records and documents housed in the College Archives include:
Personal papers of many individuals who have had close associations with the College; Minutes, correspondence, memoranda and other records and documents of the faculty, administration, and trustees; Personal publications of faculty, alumni, and friends of the College; Records of student organizations; Yearbooks dating from 1896, literary magazines, and other student publications; The College newspaper (Kalamazoo College Index), dating back to 1877, and name indexes to the Index for the years 1877 to 1931; The Daily Bulletin dating from 1947 to 49 and 1962 to the present, Who's New at Kalamazoo (a photographic yearbook of faculty and first-year students), and other student services publications; A large collection of scrapbooks prepared by alumni, friends, and College personnel, catalogues for subject access; Photographs; Miscellaneous mementos.

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Local History Collection at the Kalamazoo Public Library

Phone: 269-553-7808 | Fax: 269-342-0414
Email Form

Location: Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 South Rose St. Kalamazoo, MI 49007.

The History Room is located on the second floor of the library. The door is just to the right of the stained glass window. No library card is necessary to use their services. No History Room materials can be checked out, but photocopy machines are available. The staff will answer brief mail and telephone inquiries. There is a charge for copying and postage.

The History Room maintains an extensive collection of materials about all aspects of the history of Kalamazoo County, including businesses, institutions, buildings, and biographical and genealogical information about county residents. To a lesser extent, we also collect information about Michigan, and the areas from which Kalamazoo drew its original settlers. In addition, KPL's award-winning Local Information Database combines indexing of local newspapers, magazines and historical materials. A separate database, KPL's Local Organizations Directory, provides information about human service agencies and non-profit organizations.

Kalamazoo Public Library Photograph Collection

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Zhang Legacy Center, WMU Archives and Regional History Collections at Western Michigan University

Phone: 269 387-8490 or 269 387-8497 | Fax: 269-387-8484 

Location: 1650 Oakland Drive, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

In the Kalamazoo College Library Collection: Guide to the Western Michigan University Regional History Collections,
edited by Phyllis Burnham [et al.]. CD 3309 .K3 G84 1998, Reference.

The Regional History Collections is designated by the Michigan Historical Commission as a State Archives repository for the public records of twelve counties in southwest Michigan, including Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, St. Joseph and Van Buren. Various county, township, city and village materials including tax records, court records and minutes, as well as selected naturalization records, are on deposit through the State Archives. Some materials are located off-site and may require an appointment to access. In addition to repository records, the Regional History Collections contains manuscript materials, including letters, diaries, journals, oral histories, photographs, minutes, and ephemeral materials reflecting the history and activities of the people, institutions, organizations, and businesses of southwest Michigan. Detailed finding aids exist for the manuscript collections. Materials do not circulate. Photocopy and duplication services are available for most materials.

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Portage Public Library Local History

Phone: 269-329-4544  |  Fax: 269-324-9222

The Portage District Library's Heritage Room is a repository of historical information pertaining to the City of Portage and surrounding communities.  It is also home to an ever-growing number of genealogical reference materials. The Local History web page includes historical photographs of the area.

The John Todd Photographic Collection consists of over thirteen-thousand negatives of South West Michigan spanning a forty year time period beginning in 1940 and ending in 1981. The primary focus of the collection is on the City of Kalamazoo and the surrounding communities of Kalamazoo County.

The John Todd Photographic Collection

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Kalamazoo Valley Museum

Phone: 269-373-7990 | Phone: 1-800-772-3370 | Phone: 269-373-7989 Recorded Information Line

Location: 230 North Rose Street; Kalamazoo, MI 49007

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is a participatory museum of history, science and technology linking southwest Michigan to the world through collections, exhibitions, media and programs. Its purpose is to offer learning experiences that foster the understanding of significant issues shaping our regional community. While our scope is regional, we also explore topics and times remote from our own. The Museum seeks to develop cultural, historical and scientific literacy through innovative exhibits, special exhibitions, planetarium programs, educational programs and weekend family events. Exhibits incorporate the evidence of artifacts, oral histories, written documents and images to step back in time.

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Ladies Library Association

Phone: 269-344-3710

Location: 333 S. Park Street; Kalamazoo, MI 49007

The first women's club in Michigan, the Ladies Library Association of Kalamazoo, was founded by Lucinda Hinsdale Stone in 1852. In 1878, the Ladies Library Association of Kalamazoo built the first clubhouse in the nation for a woman's organization. It was the first building to be built by and for a women's organization in the United States. The Ladies Library is also an example of Queen Anne style architecture.

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