Politics and Government

Collections listed below relate to politics and government in the United States. 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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Wyckoff Planning and Zoning Center Collection

The Wyckoff Planning and Zoning Center Collection documents land zoning and use changes across the entire state of Michigan in the late 20th century. The collection consists of zoning ordinances, master plans, land use plans, maps, research studies, correspondence, growth plans, farmland maps, and urban planning trainings from the United States and the Ontario province, with the bulk of the material coming from Michigan. The items in this collection span mainly from 1946-2015; most materials were created from 1970-1999.
Finding Aid  Digital Collection

L. William Seidman Papers (RHC-12)

L. William Seidman was an American economist and financial commentator born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was one of the founders of Grand Valley State College and considered the 'father of Grand Valley.' Seidman worked as an advisor to Presidents Ford and Reagan. He served as the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and worked extensively during the American savings and loan crisis to restore solvency to the failing savings and loan institutions. The collection documents his personal, civic, and professional life. It also includes records of his participation in the founding of Grand Valley and of his service on the Board of Control. The bulk of the collection consists of his files as chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) from 1985-1991.

View the L. William Seidman Papers Finding Aid


Harold Sawyer Congressional Papers (RHC-01)

Republican Congressman Harold (Hal) Sawyer represented Michigan's Fifth District in the U.S. Congress from 1977 to 1984. The California native worked in Grand Rapids law firm Warner, Norcross & Judd, and served on the Michigan Law Revision Commission before his election to Congress. The collection includes files from both his Washington and his Grand Rapids, Michigan offices and documents his committee work including his participation on the Select Committee on Assassinations.

View the Harold Sawyer Congressional Papers Finding Aid


William Nicholson Papers (RHC-13)

William Nicholson was the appointments secretary under President Gerald R. Ford from 1974 until 1977. The collection includes personal notes and calendars, White House briefings, travel information, political reports, election information, and newspaper and magazine articles.

View the William Nicholson Papers Finding Aid


Ella Koeze Weed Papers (RHC-18)

Ella Koeze Weed was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was involved in Republican Party politics and participated in the Michigan Constitutional Convention of 1961-1962. She was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Republican Women's Federation and later became the President. Ella Weed served on the Board of Control of Grand Valley State College from 1967 to 1981. The collection includes her political files, convention materials, news clippings, publications and photographs.

View the Ella Koeze Weed Papers Finding Aid


Paul I. Phillips Collection (RHC-19)

Paul Phillips was a prominent African-American community service leader and was the first African-American to hold elected office in Grand Rapids. The collection includes biographical information, copies of speech notes and testimony, writings, newspaper clippings, and magazine articles from 1947-1980 about blacks in America.

View the Paul Phillips Collection Finding Aid


A. Robert Kleiner Papers (RHC-25)

A. Robert Kleiner was a founding partner of the Kleiner, De Young, and Fayette law firm in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He served as a chairperson for the Michigan Democratic Party Committee on Apportionment. The A. Robert Kleiner collection documents the reapportionment of the districts in Michigan for political representation in the 1960s until the 1980s.

View the A. Robert Kleiner Papers Finding Aid


Citizen Bee Records (RHC-30)

Citizen Bee was an educational competition originated by Robert Clarke, a political science professor at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, to challenge high school students on their knowledge of American history, government, geography, economics, and current events. This collection includes organizational records, contest materials, photographs, and videos of competitions.

View the Citizen Bee Records Finding Aid


Robert H. Phinny Writings on South Africa (RHC-36)

Robert H. Phinny served as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Swaziland from 1982-1984. After serving as Ambassador, Phinny was a free-lance journalist who wrote on South African apartheid. Collection documents the published writing of Robert H. Phinny on the subject of South Africa during the period of apartheid. Materials include correspondence between Phinny and publishers of national newspapers, and articles published from 1984-1997.

View the Robert Phinny Papers Finding Aid


Frank J. Schulte Papers (RHC-06)

Frank J. Schulte is known as the Father of Civil Service in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Schulte worked in civil service throughout Michigan and on the proposed personnel system for the royal government in Afghanistan in the early 1960s. The collection includes materials from Grand Rapids and other Michigan cities, budget reports, civil service board files, newspaper clippings, and Public administration reports from Afghanistan.

View the Frank Schulte Papers Finding Aid

William Mercer Diaries (RHC-91)

William Mercer was born in Donegal, Ireland in 1811 and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1819. Settling in Hillsdale County, Michigan in 1835, the Mercer family was one of the earliest settlers of Somerset. William Mercer was involved with local politics, elected Associate Judge of the Circuit Court in 1844, and county judge in 1850. He also served in other minor office and as justice of the peace. This collection contains twelve handwritten diaries by Mercer, dating from 1877 to 1897. They detail the weather, activities and travels of Mercer, and incidents of daily life in Hillsdale County at the end of the 19th Century. 

View the William Mercer Diaries Finding Aid

Page last modified January 17, 2024