Western Michigan University History Digital Collections

Get to know the history of Western Michigan University through images, recordings, yearbooks and more.

Librarian Jean Lowrie sitting at her desk looking at a piece of paper.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.

Hostorical image of Heritage Hall at Western Michigan University.Campus History Story Map

Take a tour of WMU and experience the history and growth of our campus. This interactive map combines text, images and geospatial tools to provide a contemporary and historical view of University buildings. It shows the beginnings of the campus starting in 1903 and continues to the present day.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sitting at a microphone.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.

Western Michigan University seal.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.

Screenshot of Western Michigan University Office of the President website from September 2017.Website Archives

This digital archive contains select WMU websites archived since 2016.

Front page of Western Hearld newspaper from November 7, 1988.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.

Table of contents page from 1965 Western Michigan University yearbook.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.