Anthropology and Social History

These collections document the lives, experiences, and relationships of families, individuals, or social groups, or illustrate some aspect of social or cultural history. Materials may be accessed by request in the Reading Room in Seidman House. Contact Leigh Rupinski at (616) 331-8726 or [email protected] to schedule a research appointment.

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Manuscript Dedicated to "Abbie"

This autograph album has been made into a love token by the creator, filled with 45 original poems and 24 sketches. The poetry is varied in style and subject; many express love for Abbie, but others concern nature, the seasons, morality, family, death, and the Civil War. The majority are serious or pensive, but a few are humorous. The sketches are pen-and-ink with ink wash, and most are scenic landscapes with locations identified, such as St. Ignace, Manistique, Brule River, Fayette, Gogebic Lake, and L’Anse. The author/artist, presumably male and in his early 40s, is unknown. He seems to have lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or perhaps Wisconsin. Literate and semi-skilled as an artist, he may have been a school teacher. The only definite biographical fact is that his birthday is 31 January 1845. Dates range between 1886 and 1887.

View the Manuscript Book Dedicated to "Abbie" Finding Aid

All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Interviews (RHC-58)

The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was started by Philip Wrigley, owner of the Chicago Cubs, during World War II to fill the void left by the departure of most of the best male baseball players for military service. Players were recruited from across the country, and the league was successful enough to be able to continue on after the war. The league had teams based in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, and operated between 1943 and 1954. The 1954 season ended with only the Fort Wayne, South Bend, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Rockford teams remaining. The League gave over 600 women athletes the opportunity to play professional baseball. Many of the players went on to successful careers, and the league itself provided an important precedent for later efforts to promote women's sports.

View the All-American Girls Oral History Digital Collection

View the All-American Girls Collection Finding Aid  

American Picture Postcard Collection (RHC-103)

This artificially created collection contains approximately 660 picture postcards, dating from 1895 to 1970, with the bulk of the cards dating between 1900 and 1920. The collection contains illustrated postcards, real photo postcards, advertising postcards, and occasional postcards, addressed to a variety of individuals.

View the American Picture Postcard Collection Finding Aid

Angus Family Papers (RHC-60)

This collection documents the family of James and Alice (Griffen) Angus, and their sons John James, Francis Clark, and Donald James, who lived in Spring Lake, Michigan. The collection contains family history information, marriage certificates, deeds, a friendship book belonging to Alice Griffin, and correspondence between Alice, her friends and family and her future husband J.J. Angus. Routine correspondence and the friendship book includes mention of women’s rights, abolition, Quakers, and the Sodus Bay Phalanx utopian community utopian communities. Materials in the collection date between 1804 and 1966.

View the Angus Family Papers Finding Aid

Daniel M. Arbour Papers (RHC-92)

Daniel M. Arbour (c. 1817-1873), of Redford County, Michigan, headed west in 1860 to prospect for gold in California. He traveled to California and then Nevada, and established a saloon in Reno, Nevada before he fell into debt around 1969. Penniless, he then drove a team of cattle from Reno to White Pine, Nevada. Arbour eventually settled in Maryland Wells Station, Eureka, Nevada, where he died on December 21, 1873. The collection contains papers dating from 1845 to 1874, and include five letters from him to his daughter, Laura Drusilla Jane Arbour, several poems, two letters announcing his death in 1873 and one concerning his property. The collection also contains a lock of hair, marriage certificate, invitation to a ball in Eureka, Nevada, and obituary.

View the Daniel Arbour Papers Finding Aid

David M. Austin Diary (RHC-63)

David M. Austin was a carpenter in Elsie, Michigan (Clinton County). He enlisted as a private in Co. B, 8th Michigan Cavalry on 13 August 1864. He was born in 1845 and died in 1935. He was married to Allie Mudge, who died in 1919. Handwritten diary maintained by David M. Austin of Elsie, Michigan.  The diary is written in a day book. Entries begin on January 1, 1913 and conclude on December 31, 1916.  Austin records the details of his everyday life including the weather, his work around the farm and jobs he is hired to do, and details of friends and family.

View the David Austin Diary Finding Aid

Bachelder, Curtis and Kellogg Family Correspondence (RHC-75)

Correspondence of the Bachelder, Curtis, and Kellogg family consisting of 94 letters (many with their original envelopes) between family members and relatives, and from friends, dealing primarily with family and domestic matters, social engagements, attendance at Antioch College, and travel to Orange Heights, Florida and Santa Cruz, California. Two letters are from a Forty-Niner in the California gold fields.  Printed items include invitations to events held at Hallowell House (Maine), 1835-1840).  

View the Bachelder, Curtis and Kellogg Correspondence Finding Aid

Gertrude Barrette Photograph Album (RHC-217)

One photograph album containing 256 black-and-white photographs of various sizes, the majority identified with dates, places, and names. Most photographs were taken in West Warwick, Rhode Island and Fall River, Massachusetts; also represented are Tiogue Lake, R.I., Woonsocket, R.I., Camp Kalmia, New Jersey, Long Beach, N.J., West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, and Pawtuxet River, R.I. Dates range from 1927 to 1939. This photograph album was probably assembled by Gertrude ("Gert") C. Barrette (1920-2016) or her family, although it cannot be definitely attributed to her. In 1940 she was living at home with her parents and had attended college for one year. At some point she married John Joseph George (1927-1992) who was born in Warwick, Rhode Island and had subsequently lived in Cranston, R.I. and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II.

View the Gertrude Barrette Photograph Album Finding Aid


Irma Cheney Ionia High School Scrapbook (RHC-138)

Created by Irma M. Cheney (1903-1997), this scrapbook contains photographs, narrative descriptions, ephemera, programs of school plays, parties, athletic events, commencements, dance cards, and invitations that document the four years of high school (1919-1923) as experienced by Irma Cheney and her classmates. Irma graduated from Ionia High School in 1923, and at the time of her marriage to Howard Richards in 1928 she was a schoolteacher. In 1932 the couple had twin daughters, and by 1940 the family was living in Kalkaska, Michigan where Howard was employed by Standard Oil. He died in 1954 and at some point Irma had moved to Grand Rapids where she again taught school. She died 3 November 1997 and is buried with her husband in Balcom Cemetery, Berlin Center, Ionia County, Michigan.

View the Irma Cheney Ionia High School Scrapbook Finding Aid

Roy Kinsley Cronkhite Diaries (RHC-10)

Roy K. Cronkhite, draftsman and mechanical engineer, was born in Canada October 14, 1874. On his 32nd birthday, Mr. Cronkhite began recording his daily routine in a set of diaries. He continued the diaries for fifty years. 

View the Roy Cronkhite Diaries Finding Aid

Evelyn Stark DuVall Photograph Album (RHC-165)

Evelyn Mae Stark DuVall (1923-2008) was born in Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio and graduated from Monroe (Michigan) High School in 1940. Evelyn moved to Erie, Monroe County, Michigan, and married Carl Anthony DuVall (1921-2001), and together had four children. Evelyn had been the deputy treasurer of Erie Township, the president of the Erie Volunteer Fire Auxiliary, a member of the Erie V.F.W. Auxiliary, and the chairperson of the annual Erie V.J. Day parade for many years. She also was the proprietor of Evelyn's Variety Shop in Erie. Assembled by Evelyn, the 370 photographs document life in a small rural town in southeastern Michigan over a period of eleven years (1959-1970). Included are births, christenings, graduations, birthday and Christmas celebrations, and weddings among an extended family, as well as a vacation trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

View the Evelyn Stark DuVall Photograph Album Finding Aid

General 19th & 20th Century Correspondence (RHC-47)

Artificial collection of personal papers, official documents, and correspondence from the 19th and 20th centuries, collected by Harvey E. Lemmen and others. Correspondents include a variety of individuals, businesses, and organizations throughout the United States.

View the General 19th & 20th Century Correspondence Finding Aid

Edward V. Gillis Native American Publication Collection (RHC-14)

Edward V. Gillis worked in the tool and manufacturing business in Grand Rapids Michigan. As a collector, Gillis' focus was on Native Americans, human culture, and anthropology. This collection includes numerous newsletters, magazines, posters, maps, other published and some unpublished materials by and about Native Americans and First Nations people.

View the Edward V. Gillis Native American Publication Collection Finding Aid

View the Native American Publications Digital Collection

Dorothy “Dot” Clara Goodrich Scrapbook (RHC-158)

This collection contains a scrapbook/photograph album, correspondence, telegrams, school report cards, theatre and concert programs, invitations, dance cards, and other ephemera documenting the social life and school activities of Dorothy Goodrich, mostly in Owosso, Michigan. Date range between 1924 and 1933. Dorothy (“Dot”) Goodrich (1912-1967) was born in Owosso, Shiawassee County, Michigan and graduated from Owosso High School and matriculated at the University of Michigan in September 1931. While there she evidently met and married a fellow freshman, Frederick Griswold Patterson (1911-1998) in March 1932. Dorothy divorced her husband in 1933, and married Adelbert Orville Huff (1909-1992) in February 1934. Adelbert served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, reaching the rank of lieutenant before being discharged.

View the Dorothy "Dot" Clara Goodrich Scrapbook Finding Aid

Genevieve Burke Gulch Papers (RHC-101)

Collection containing numerous letters to Genevieve Burke Gulch (1901-1983) of Buffalo, New York, primarily from her sister Martha Burke Bahan (1900-1984) about family matters, gossip, and the care of their elderly father. Collection also contains bank books, financial and income tax information, receipts, and health insurance documents.

View the Genevieve Burke Gulch Letters Finding Aid

Kimbel-Wilson Correspondence (RHC-83)

This is a collection mostly of love letters between Frank Kimbel and Grace Wilson Kimbel, a young couple from Chicago, prior to their marriage in 1913. The collection spans from 1906 to 1913, but includes items up to 1948. 

View the Kimbel-Wilson Correspondence Finding Aid

Frances Krider Scrapbook (RHC-118)

This collection comprises Frances Krider's visual diary for 1941, beginning in January, proceeding through the months, and ending with New Year's Eve. Photographs consist of Frances' bedroom and other house interiors, gifts received for her birthday and Christmas, Indiana University campus where her sister Florence was enrolled, various relatives, horses, cats, and vacation trips. Her travels include Indiana University at Bloomington, Chicago, South Bend, Indiana, Turkey Run State Park, and Buchanan, Michigan. Frances was born in Middlebury, Indiana on January 21, 1920 and graduated from Middlebury High School, probably in 1938. In June 1966 she married Marvin Tolford Vollom (1910-1973) in Hennepin County, Minnesota.

View the Frances Krider Scrapbook Finding Aid

Kruse-Gilson Family Papers (RHC-77)

This collection of correspondence to Henry Gilson and his second wife, Hilda Kruse-Gilson, consists of letters primarily from family and friends, spanning from 1921 to 1952. Henry Gilson briefly worked as a salesman and engineer, but eventually became the Vice President of the U.S. Rubber Co. Hilda attended nursing school at the Clifton Springs Sanitarium and Training School for Nurses and worked as an assistant superintendent of nurses at the Clifton Springs Sanitarium in Clifton Springs, N.Y. After the birth of their last child, the Gilson family moved from New Rochelle, New York to Naugatuck, Connecticut.

View the Kruse-Gilson Family Papers Finding Aid

Harry Lui Linguistics Research Papers (RHC-143)

Collection contains the research materials, notes, and unpublished manuscripts on linguistics and the evolution of alphabets by Harry Lui. Harry Maurice Lui was born in Germany in 1914 and attended a Humanistic High School in Berlin. He began studying mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Berlin and continued at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where he served as editor of the "Wayne Engineer." In 1940, Harry married Bette Vineberg in Detroit, Michigan. Over his life, he maintained a passion for linguistics and in his spare time studied the history of alphabets and letter forms, compiling a volume of notes as well as an unpublished manuscript. These notes range from 1939 to 2005.

View the Harry Lui Linguistics Research Papers

Carol Ann Martin Scrapbook on Job's Daughters

Carol Ann Martin (1938-2009) graduated from Muskegon High School in 1956 in the college preparatory program. It is not known if she later matriculated at a college, nor is her subsequent career or work history. This scrapbook documents seven years of Carol Ann Martin's membership in the Bethel No. 26 (Muskegon) chapter of the International Order of Job's Daughters and other Masonic organizations, from her initiation on 27 March 1950 until 1957. This includes newspaper clippings, meeting announcements, installation, Grand Council, and banquet programs, and souvenirs relating to Job's Daughters. A number of leaves contain postcards, black-and-white photographs, and program of the 12th Annual Session, Grand Guardian Council, that Carol attended in Marquette, Michigan in June 1952. Also present are publications from the Muskegon Masonic Temple, DeMolay, and Order of the Eastern Star.

View the Carol Ann Martin Scrapbook on Job's Daughters Finding Aid

James McClafferty Polish Collection (RHC-26)

In August 1975, Grand Valley State College, in collaboration with the Grand Rapids Polish Heritage Society and the Grand Rapids Public Schools, sponsored a study tour to the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland.  The Collection contains materials collected and compiled by participant James McClafferty including maps, publications, scenic postcards, artifacts, and over 2,000 slides taken on the trip or that represent Polish history, scenery, cities, people, and lifestyles.

View the James McClafferty Polish Collection Finding Aid

Michigan Autograph Albums (RHC-111)

Although dating from the Middle Ages, the autograph album became very popular in the latter part of the 19th century. They were used to collect signatures of family members, friends, neighbors, and classmates and often displayed examples of fine penmanship, personal sentiments, verse, and drawings. Many varieties of commercially-available albums were produced, often with color lithograph vignettes on some pages; format was usually oblong with the average size being about 4½ x 7 inches. Examples in this collection were all owned by Michigan residents.

View the Michigan Autograph Albums Finding Aid

Murray Page Letters and Ephemera (RHC-147)

Murray Page (1881-1972) was born in Berrien Springs, Michigan. He was the son of William Page (1857-1913) and Anna May (Murphy) Page (1857-1936). He married Luella Mae Wallace on July 4, 1918, in St Joseph, Michigan. They had two children during their marriage. This collection contains letters, advertisements, and personal ephemera of Murray Page of Berrien Springs, Michigan. The majority of the collection consists of advertisements relating to educational programs, publishing, home maintenance and repairs, hair loss treatments, and male sexual wellness and impotence treatments. One folder contains letters relating to divorce proceedings from Murray Page's wife, Luella. Personal materials include a cemetery plot deed from the Oronoko Township Cemetery, and Page's 5th grade promotion certificate from the Berrien Springs School in 1892. Dates of this collection range from 1892 to 1940.

View the Murray Page Letters and Ephemera Finding Aid

Ruth Pagenkopf Photograph Albums (RHC-125)

Collection includes two photo albums created by Ruth Virginia Pagenkopf (1914-2001). The first album contains 145 black-and-white photographs affixed with corner mounts, with captions written in white ink; inclusive dates are 1923 to 1927. Subjects include Ruth and her parents; her aunt, uncle, and cousins (Frey family); friends; and pets. Locations include Wausau, Mayville, The Dells, Little Rib Creek, Yellow Banks Park, and Rib Mountain, all in Wisconsin; Fort Madison and Burlington, Iowa. The second album contains 170 black-and-white with inclusive dates of 1925 to 1931. Subjects include Ruth and her parents; visits with relatives in Fort Madison, Iowa; school friends in and around Wausau and in Larned, Kansas; choir picnics; outings to local parks and attractions; three summers at Camp Wakanda on Clear Lake near Wausau (1929-1931), with many campmates identified.

View the Ruth Pagenkopf Photograph Albums Finding Aid

George Quimby Correspondence (RHC-56)

Correspondence between George Quimby and Jimmy Griffin from 1939-1981. Both attended the University of Michigan and obtained degrees in anthropology. 

View the George Quimby Correspondence Finding Aid

June Rodal Photograph Album (RHC-126)

One photograph album created by June Margery (or Marjorie) Rodal (1920-2011) containing 703 black-and-white photographs of various sizes nearly all are identified, having subject, date, and/or location written in ink on white borders of photos. The photographs document June's life on a Red River valley, Minnesota, farm with her parents, siblings, grandparents, classmates, and other members of the Norwegian community; and her subsequent move to Minneapolis in 1940 where she lived at Garfield Villa apartments and made new friends. Subjects include Nielsville school and classmates; Lutheran confirmation photos; the family farmhouse, outbuildings, livestock, and pets; funeral service for June's grandfather, Jacob Thorson; Bible camp at Lake Carlos; visits to nearby communities and vacation venues; Minneapolis parks and street scenes; soldier acquaintances from Fort Snelling. Photograph dates range from 1928 to 1942. On 6 December 1944 June married Sherman Francis Luppens and together had two children.

View the June Rodal Photograph Album Finding Aid

Mabel Roys Scrapbook (RHC-164)

Mabel Roys (1870-1924) was born in Florence Township, St. Joseph County Michigan. Mabel was married three times: the first to Lincoln Parkhurst, M.D. (1865-1923) in St. Joseph County, Michigan on 21 August 1891; the second to Frank M. Newman (b. ca. 1869) in Florence Township, St. Joseph County, Michigan on 2 March 1897; and the last to Orson M. Lyman (1854-1934) in Three Rivers, Michigan on 15 March 1916. This scrapbook, created by Roys as a teenager, contains 10 unbound leaves, with color (mostly chromolithograph) illustrations glued on both sides of the leaves and endpapers. Included are die-cut images of flowers, animals, figures; trade cards; school awards, greeting cards, calling cards from relatives and friends from neighboring farms, and clippings from periodicals. Dates range between 1882 and 1885.

View the Mabel Roys Scrapbook Finding Aid

Unidentified Family Photograph Album (RHC-122)

One photograph album, containing 467 black-and-white family photographs of various size. The photographs are unidentified, although a few have penciled dates on the back. It appears that the unidentified owner and her or his family are residents of Detroit, Michigan. From internal evidence the family's last name may be Klebba, perhaps the children of John A. Klebba (1885-1952). Photographic subjects include: Niagara Falls, New York; Dodge Brothers Park, 1936; a family wedding in 1936; family picnics and other outings; Girl Scout Camp Innisfree near Howell, Michigan; Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan; The Cascades, Jackson, Michigan; Fort Michilimackinac, Straits of Mackinac, Sault Ste. Marie, lake freighters transiting the canal. Dates range from approximately 1928 to 1937.

View the Photograph Album Finding Aid

Young Lords in Lincoln Park (RHC-65)

This multi-faceted collection documents the history of the Young Lords movement in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. Over 100 video oral history interviews with members of the organization are available in our Digital Collection, and papers, photographs, and other materials are available in the Seidman House Special Collections.

View the Young Lords In Lincoln Park Project Page

Page last modified March 8, 2023