Archives and Regional History Collections

Housed at the Zhang Legacy Collections Center, our WMU Archives and Regional History Collections contain items that document the history of southwest Michigan and Western Michigan University.

Print and manuscript collections

  • Regional History

    These collections consist of letters, diaries, business records, organizational records, photographs, publications, newspapers and other materials documenting the social, business, political and institutional history of southwest Michigan. Publications include an extensive genealogy library and cover the Midwest and beyond. Records on deposit from the Archives of Michigan include the public records of 12 counties in southwest Michigan: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, St. Joseph and Van Buren. Holdings for each county vary and may include tax records, court records and township minutes.

    Locate materials in these collections through Library Search

  • WMU History

    Documenting the history of WMU, this collection includes yearbooks, catalogs, alumni publications, scrapbooks and issues of the Western Herald. It also includes many of the historical records of WMU. Some departmental records require permission from the originating department to access.

    See more about collecting, preserving and accessing WMU records


  • Regional History Image Collections

    Images depicting individuals and the social, institutional and business activities of the region from the 1860s to the 1990s, includes the work of Ward Morgan (Kalamazoo), Adolf Haan (Berrien County), Grace Weeks (Van Buren County), Schiavone Studio (Kalamazoo) and John Lacko (Kalamazoo).

    View a selection of regional history photos

  • Ward Morgan Photography Collection

    Nearly 27,000 black and white photographic negatives from 1939 to 1980 reflect the people, industries, built environment and commercial activities of the Kalamazoo area.

    View a selection of Ward Morgan photos

  • WMU Archives Photograph Collection

    Images from WMU’s history including views of the campus from the construction phase of the original campus in 1904 through the present, campus athletics, buildings, some faculty and staff, and the 250,000 plus image collection of photographs from the Office of Marketing and Strategic Communications.

    View a selection of WMU Archives photos

Digital collections

  • Regional History Digital Collections

    Collections that depict the history of southwest Michigan including the Caroline Bartlett Crane Everyman’s House Collection, “Michigan Manual of Freedmen’s Progress” book, South Haven Lighthouse Logs, United States Civil War Collection and more.

    Regional History Digital Collections

  • Newspaper Digital Collections

    Digital copies of past issues of the Western Herald, Focus, Focus News, Kalamazoo News and Augustinian newspapers.

    Newspaper Digital Collections

  • WMU History Digital Collections

    Digital versions of yearbooks, music performances, oral histories, the Western Herald newspapers and websites that document WMU’s history.

    WMU History Digital Collections