Western Michigan University has digital collections that can be used in family history research including yearbooks, photographs, historic newspapers, maps, military collections, and oral histories. Some highlighted collections are listed below.

 

WMU Digital Collections

  • Ancient & Medieval

  • Images 

    • Ward Morgan Photography Collection–These photographs reflect the people, industries, built environment and commercial activities of the Kalamazoo area from 1939 to 1980. This is just a selection of the nearly 27,000 original black and white photographic negatives that are available at the Zhang Legacy Collection Center.

    • WMU Archives Photograph Collection–This collection contains images from WMU’s history including faculty, staff, students and views of the campus from its origin to more recent times. Additional photos continue to be added and will eventually include buildings and athletics. This is just a selection of the thousands of original photos located at the Zhang Legacy Collections Center.
    • WMU Libraries Portfolio Collection–The diverse items in this collection demonstrate the digitization capabilities at University Libraries.
    • World War I POW Camp Photos–The images in this collection include a wide range of photographs, drawings, paintings, maps, and other images from Austrian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, German, and Turkish prison camps during World War I. These items illustrate the daily life of Allied war prisoners inside and outside of the camps.

 

  • Maps

    • Index Map Collection–This digital collection includes index maps for map series and sets, such as the Army Map Service topographic series, that are annotated to show WMU Libraries’ holdings.
    • South Asia Map Collection–This digital collection is made up of intermediate scale maps published by the Army Map Service, primarily in the 1940s and 1950s. It covers Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Burma.

 

  • Newspapers

    • Western Herald Archive–The Western Herald is the longest-running publication on Western Michigan University’s campus. This digitized archive includes an almost complete run of the newspaper from 1916 to 2009.
    • Focus–An African-American newspaper based in Kalamazoo, Focus was published bi-weekly from June 1965 to July 1966. It was published monthly after that. In April 1968, the name was changed to Focus News.
    • Focus News–Kalamazoo’s longest, continuously produced newspaper reporting on news of interest to the African-American community, Focus News was published from 1968 to 1982.
    • Kalamazoo News–The Kalamazoo News was an alternative weekly newspaper that was published by John Prange from August 23, 1979, to February 19, 1987. It focused primarily on regional news.
    • Kalamazoo Augustinian–The Kalamazoo Augustinian was a Catholic newspaper and included news of area Catholic churches, schools and organizations. Published initially as the Kalamazoo Angelus in April of 1893, it changed its name to the Kalamazoo Augustinian in July 1893. Issues not digitized are at at the Zhang Legacy Collections Center.
    • Augustinian–In 1905, the Kalamazoo Augustinian became simply The Augustinian filled with news of area Catholic churches, schools and organizations. It continued until the 1930s. Issues not digitized are at the Zhang Legacy Collections Center.

 

 

  • War: Military Experience

    • World War I and II Personal Narratives–This collection contains photo albums, scrapbooks, postcards and letters detailing soldiers’ experiences during WWI and WWII.
    • World War II Propaganda Collection–Also known as the N.S.D.A.P. (National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei) Collection, this collection includes Nazi German and Allied Forces publications, photographs and ephemera (collectible memorabilia).
    • United States Civil War Collection–This collection contains eight diaries and 29 letters written in the mid-1860s by men with connections to Michigan and the Midwest. From musician to prisoner of war, the writers’ of these items are as diverse as their military experiences.
    • World War I POW Camp Photos–The images in this collection include a wide range of photographs, drawings, paintings, maps, and other images from Austrian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, German, and Turkish prison camps during World War I. These items illustrate the daily life of Allied war prisoners inside and outside of the camps.

 

  • WMU History

    • Archives Photograph Collection–This collection contains images from WMU’s history including faculty, staff, students and views of the campus from its origin to more recent times. Additional photos continue to be added and will eventually include buildings and athletics. This is just a selection of the thousands of original photos located at the Zhang Legacy Collections Center.
    • Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 WMU Speech–The tape recording of the live broadcast of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech at WMU on December 18, 1963, was lost for almost 30 years. This guide includes details about the recovery of the recording, transcriptions of the speech and question and answer session, the historical context of the speech, and more.
    • Music Performances Collection–This collection contains live recordings and printed programs of concerts and recitals from the WMU School of Music. It features primarily graduate recitals and concerts by student ensembles from the 1970s to 2000. Concert programs are available for public viewing, but recordings are restricted to on-campus use only.

    • Oral Histories Collection–Oral histories by alumni, faculty, staff and friends collected from 1987 to 2003 for the WMU Centennial in 2003 are in this collection.

    • Website Archives–This digital archive contains select WMU websites archived since 2016.

    • Western Herald Archive–The Western Herald is the longest-running publication on WMU’s campus. This digitized archive includes an almost complete run of the newspaper from 1916 to 2009.

    • Yearbooks Collection–WMU yearbooks from 1906 through 1985 are available as searchable PDFs in this collection. The files are complete digital versions – cover to cover.

 

 

WMU Special Collections

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