Alumni Association (University of Michigan) records, 1845-2001
Using These Materials
- The records are open for research. The collection contains audio tapes from which digital copies have been made. Source tapes are for staff use only. Audio files are only available in the Bentley...
- University of Michigan. Alumni Association.
- The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan was established in 1897 following a consolidation of the Society of Alumni with the alumni societies of the professional schools. The Michigan Alumnus became the association's official organ. As the organization grew, local chapters were established and provided greater structure. The records include files pertaining to the Alumni Association's administrative office and various chapters and interests groups. This includes national and international U-M alumni and alumnae clubs, the Alumnae Council, the Society of Alumni, the University of Michigan Black Alumni (UMBA-formerly the African American Alumni Council (AAC)), and the Reunion of Black Graduates (RBG). The records include but are not limited to correspondence, minutes, reports, and survey responses, audiovisual materials, digital files, photographs, and publications.
169.8 linear feet (in 171 boxes)
1 oversize volume
84.4 GB (online)
- Call Number:
- 8730; Bimu; H1a; 2
- Finding aid prepared by: Bentley Historical Library Staff. Most recent update by Nichole Manlove, April 2019.
- Scope and Content:
The collection spans 1845-2001. The textual records of the Alumni Association (boxes 1-133) are largely unprocessed, and are described in only general terms in this finding aid. Exceptions include files maintained by Marjorie Williams who served as the vice chair and chair of the Alumnae Council from 1960 to 1962, Class Reunion files, and Topical Files.
Additions to the collection (boxes 168-171) incorporate records, audiovisual materials, photographs, and publications pertaining to the University of Michigan Black Alumni (UMBA). To note are materials specifically related to the African American Alumni Council (AAAC)-formerly the UMBA, and the Reunion of Black Graduates (RBG). This includes information about the Dr. Leonard F. Sain Award, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. scholarship and symposium, the Camp Michigania retreat, and annual reunion for black graduates photographs, planning materials, and souvenir books.
- Biographical / Historical:
Alumni activities at the University of Michigan began almost as soon as there were alumni. The Society of Alumni was formed in 1845, immediately after the first commencement. At first the society accepted graduates of any college as members, but by 1853 it had defined itself as the alumni organization of the University of Michigan, and specifically of the Literary College. The society combined social activity with promotion of the interests of the University in its early years, but was not particularly important to the running of the University. In 1874, however, the society began to take a more active role, establishing the Williams professorship fund, which was used for the support of retired professors.
In the 1870s alumni of the professional schools began to organize their own societies, law alumni in 1871, the Association of Medical Alumni in 1875, and dentistry, pharmacy, and homeopathic medicine alumni by 1884. After a financial scandal in the Society of Alumni came to light in 1889, a movement began to consolidate all the alumni societies, in order to improve confidence in the organizations. In 1897 the societies were combined into the Alumni Association.
The new society soon began to expand its activities. It bought the Michigan Alumnus, a private publication founded in 1894, to serve as its official organ. The number of local alumni clubs was expanded and an endowment fund was established to support the association's activities.
Although the University began to support the Alumni Association financially during Shirley W. Smith's tenure as secretary of the association (1901-1904), the University's support of the association increased greatly with the appointment of Harry Burns Hutchins to the presidency of the University in 1910. Hutchins saw the association as a potentially important source of funds for the University. The Association's ties with the University's development activities became even stronger after World War II, when the Phoenix Project, the $55 Million campaign, and other campaigns relied heavily on alumni support.
In 1923 the structure of the association was changed, with the local alumni chapters becoming the basic units of the organization. At this time a field secretary was also appointed, to stimulate the development of the local chapters and organization of districts.
By the end of the 20th century the Alumni Association boasted more than 104,000 members. The mission statement described the association as "an independent worldwide organization that nurtures lifelong relationships with and among current and future Michigan alumni. As a committed partner of the University, the Association offers programs of relevance and service to alumni and creates support for the University. Underlying all that we do is the belief in the value of education to the well-being of society, and a commitment to integrity, diversity, and service." Activities include organizing alumni excursions and lecture tours, coordinating reunions, operating a career assistance network, and offering lifelong learning opportunities.
The Alumnae Council
Until 1914, when an alumnae representative was added to the board of directors of the Alumni Association, alumnae were not organized at the university level. A number of alumnae clubs had been organized in various localities, but there was no central organization. In 1917 a Central Coordinating Committee was formed as a part of the Alumni Association, to allow alumnae to support the needs of women students. At that time, the University was the first co-educational institution to be represented at an Alumnae Conference held in Washington, D.C. Prior to the establishment of the university organization, however, University of Michigan alumnae took an active role in the building of the national Association of Collegiate Alumnae, now referred to as the American Association of University Women. Alice Freeman Palmer, President of Wellesley College, (1876, Ph.D. hon, 1882) was one of three University of Michigan women who established the Association in 1882 in conjunction with women from the University of Wisconsin, Oberlin College, Boston University, Cornell, Vassar, Smith, and Wellesley.
The original University of Michigan organization functioned as a central correspondence committee whose purpose was to keep in touch with the needs and life of women at the university and report activities to the alumnae. In the first year, there were 14 alumnae groups in various cities throughout the United States. The first meeting of all University of Michigan alumnae was held in 1917 in Ann Arbor to discuss projects for the organization to undertake that were important to the University's women. From that meeting came the plans to fund and construct Alumnae House, the first women's residence.
In 1920, the central correspondence committee changed its name to the Alumnae Council of the Alumni Association to better reflect the growing function of the committee as an integral part of the Alumni Association. It was also decided to admit representatives from each of the alumnae groups to the Council. In 1921 a constitution for the organization was adopted. It was also in 1921 that the Council began a campaign to raise $1,000,000 for a women's building to meet the social as well as the educational requirements for women on campus. By 1926, the money was raised and in 1928 the cornerstone was laid for the Michigan League building.
In 1930, the Council began a program in cooperation with the Graduate School to aid women with financial needs. The first graduate endowment fund established was the Lucy Elliot Fellowship. This was soon followed by the Alice Crocker Lloyd Fellowship. The Henderson House, a women's cooperative dormitory, was also established, with residence based on scholastic achievement. The Council continues to sponsor scholarships for women in addition to other fellowships and loans.
The Council's activities remained somewhat independent of those of the Alumni Association until 1955, when an attempt was made to integrate alumnae activities into those of the Association.
University of Michigan Black Alumni (UMBA)
Established in 1976, and under the guise of its former title (the African American Alumni Council (AAAC)), the UMBA was created with the purpose of addressing issues, providing support, and enhancing the educational experience and performance of African American faculty, staff, and students of the University of Michigan. The Council also serves to increase the involvement of African American alumni in University of Michigan programs, activities, and events. In 1994, the African American Alumni Council was formally incorporated as an affiliate member of the University of Michigan's Alumni Association. In conjunction with the Alumni Association, the Council sponsors several key events, programs and awards including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium and Scholarship, the Dr. Leonard F. Sain Award, the Annual Reunion of Black Graduates, the Camp Michigania retreat, as well as numerous programs, including the Minority Recruitment program.
Current information is available at the Alumni Association's web site at the following URL: https://alumni.umich.edu/
General Secretaries and Executive Directors of the Alumni Association Date Event 1897 Louis P. Jocelyn (Acting Secretary) 1897 Ralph C. McAllaster 1898-1901 James H. Prentiss 1901-1904 Shirley W. Smith 1904-1929 Wilfred B. Shaw 1929-1958 T. Hawley Tapping 1958-1962 John E. Tirrell 1962-1966 Robert O. Morgan 1966-1994 Robert G. Forman 1994- Steve Grafton
- Acquisition Information:
- The records were transferred from the Alumni Association (donor 1617 ) in a number of accessions beginning in 1945. The photographs were transferred in 1975. The most recent accessions were received in 2017.
- Processing information:
Box 54 was eliminated during reprocessing.
In preparing digital material for long-term preservation and access, the Bentley Historical Library adheres to professional best practices and standards to ensure that content will retain its authenticity and integrity. For more information on procedures for the ingest and processing of digital materials, please see Bentley Historical Library Digital Processing Note. Access to digital material may be provided either as a direct link to an individual file or as a downloadable package of files bundled in a zip file.
The collection is arranged into 14 series: 1. Administrative Files; 2. Alumnae Council Files; 3. Alumni Club Files; 4. Alumni Societies; 5. Classes and Reunions; 6. Class Officer and District Files; 7. Class Reunion Files; 8. Scrapbooks, Registers and Accounts; 9. Society of Alumni; 10. Special Projects and Topics; 11. Topical Files; 12. Audio-Visual Materials; 13. Photographs; 14. Publications.
- Physical Location:
- Portions of the collection (boxes 1-53, 55-108, 111-133, mainly textual records) are stored off-site, two days notice required for retrieval. The photographs are stored in the library.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
Bentley Historical Library maintains the University of Michigan Alumni Files Index, 1841-1968, formerly known as the Necrology File or the Necrology File Index.
- Alternative Form Available:
Digitization: The Library has undertaken the digitization of a number of sound recordings within this collection. The resulting audio files are available for playback only in the Bentley Library Reading Room. Links to item images and additional information are available within this finding aid. Original sound recordings are only available for staff use.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
African Americans -- Education (Higher) -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
Minorities -- Education (Higher) -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Participation, Female.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Michigan.
Digital file formats.
University of Michigan. African American Alumni Council.
University of Michigan. Alumnae Council.
University of Michigan -- Alumni and alumnae.
University of Michigan -- Alumni and alumnae -- Anniversaries, etc.
Alumni Memorial Hall (University of Michigan)
University of Michigan. Alumni Association.
University of Michigan Black Alumni.
University of Michigan -- Commencements.
University of Michigan. Center for Continuing Education of Women.
University of Michigan -- Faculty.
University of Michigan. Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium Committee.
University of Michigan. Medical Alumni Association.
University of Michigan. Medical School.
University of Michigan. Reunion of Black Alumni.
University of Michigan. Society of Alumni.
Burton Tower (University of Michigan)
Henderson House (University of Michigan)
Michigan State University.
Williams Professorship Fund (University of Michigan)
Angus, David L.
Collins, Francis S.
Jenson, Jens, 1860-1951.
Morgan, Robert O.
Oksenberg, Michel, 1938-
Prentiss, James Henry, 1872-1960.
Shaw, Wilfred Byron, 1881-1959.
Smith, Shirley Wheeler, 1875-1959.
Tapping, Theodore Hawley, 1889-1969.
Werling, Donn Paul.
Using These Materials
The records are open for research.
The collection contains audio tapes from which digital copies have been made. Source tapes are for staff use only. Audio files are only available in the Bentley Historical Library reading room on designated computers.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
[item], folder, box, Alumni Association (Ann Arbor, Mich.) records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.
[item], [URL], Alumni Association (Ann Arbor, Mich.) records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.