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African American Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.) photograph collection, 1933-1939

0.4 linear feet (including 60 photographs and 48 negatives, in 2 boxes) — 367 MB (online)

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, was a federal unemployment relief program designed to put single young men to work during the Great Depression. The CCC employed over 2.5 million men between 1933 and 1942, including 250,000 African Americans, who served in segregated companies. This collection is comprised of 60 photographs, 48 photographic negatives, and digitized images of CCC African American enrollees assigned to work in Michigan companies, including Company 670, Camp Bitely, Company 2695, Camp Free Soil, and and Camp Wahalla.

The collection is comprised of images of the Civilian Conservation Corps African American enrollees from 1933 to 1939. Materials were received by the Bentley in 2016 and in 2018.

The 2016 acquisition includes portrait-style photographs of predominantly unidentified men, assigned to work in Michigan company/camps including Company 670, Camp Bitely, project F-22 and Company 2695, Camp Free Soil, most likely, project F-7.

The title of each photograph was taken from the photograph's inscription, when applicable. All photographs titled "unidentified" had no identifying information, but may have been labeled with a date. After the photographs were digitized and became available online, some of the people depicted on the photographs have been identified by the public.

In 2018, Ray Lyons Jr. donated additional materials that were collected by his father, Ray Lyons Sr., a former member of the CCC. Mr. Lyons Jr. donated additional 30 photographs, 48 negative images, and a small number of clippings to the collection. The images depict African American members of the CCC at a number of locations, including Camp Bitely, Camp Free Soil, and Camp Walhalla. The pictures also document CCC projects such as the building of a Fire Lookout Tower, the clearing of fields and woods, and the construction of a stump fence.


Detroit Urban League records, 1916-1992

96 linear feet — 1 oversize folder — 5 digital video files

Social Service organization serving the Detroit African American community, affiliate of the National Urban League; includes minutes of the Board of Directors, correspondence and topical files of Executive Directors and Presidents, budgets and financial records, and papers concerning National Urban League conferences and Green Pastures Camp; also departmental files relating to community services, housing, vocational services, health and welfare, job development and employment, and education and youth incentives; and photographs.

The records of the Detroit Urban League include minutes of the Board of Directors, correspondence and topical files of Executive Directors and Presidents, budgets and financial records, and papers concerning National Urban League conferences and Green Pastures Camp; also departmental files relating to community services, housing, vocational services, health and welfare, job development and employment, and education and youth incentives. The records also include photographs of chapter activities, meetings, and ceremonies; photos of buildings and staff (notably executive directors, John Dancy and Francis Kornegay); also films.


Fresh Air Camp (University of Michigan) Records, 1922-1979 (majority within 1967-1972)

2 linear feet

Youth camp founded in 1921 by member of University of Michigan Student Christian Association to provide outdoor experience for underprivileged youths, management assumed by University of Michigan Institute for Human Adjustment in 1944 and later by the School of Education when emphasis changed to serving physically handicapped children. Records document management of the camp including reports on camp activities and research conducted at the camp.

The records of the University of Michigan Fresh Air Camp are comprised of materials documenting the functions, operations, policies, and events of the camp. Records range from the early 1920s to the late 1970s, but are strongest in the periods from approximately 1937-1950 and especially 1967-1972. Researchers will take particular interest in the annual reports and other materials found in the Reports series, which document the activities of the camp and include pertinent historical information. Records documenting a grant received by the school in the late 1960s through the Federal Education Profession Development Act also provide an excellent overview of the camp's philosophy at that time.


Girls Friendly Society of the United States of America, Diocese of Michigan records, 1896-1997

1.5 linear feet

The Girls Friendly Society of the United States of America, Diocese of Michigan serves girls and women within the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan. Their main function was to maintain several cottages, which were first used as vacation homes for working women in the 1890's and then slowly evolved into a summer camp for young girls. The record group includes meeting minutes, clippings, publications, and related materials.

The record group is divided into four series: Administration, Clippings, Photographic Prints, and Publications.


Horace H. Rackham and Mary A. Rackham Fund Records, 1929-1950 (majority within 1934-1940)

14 linear feet — 1 oversize volume

The last will and testament of Horace H. Rackham provided for the establishment of a trust fund to provide for the health and welfare of individuals, particularly the sick, aged, the young, the poor, and other underprivileged. Much of the trust money went to the University of Michigan to be used for a building for the graduate school and an endowment to be used for different kinds of research. The Fund also awarded grants to agencies involved in child welfare, community culture, education, health, philanthropy, and science. The Fund distributed money from 1934 until about 1941. The series in this record group consist of administrative and executive files, and project applications and grant files.

The records of the Horace H. Rackham and Mary A. Rackham Fund document the continuing generosity of Horace Rackham and Mary Rackham to numerous charitable, educational, and scientific organizations and causes. The records contain the files of the Fund's trustees and directors and provide insight and information about such topics as the administration of a philanthropic fund-giving organization during the mid-1930s, the kinds of gifts made, the relationship among the Fund's trustees and officers, and the relationship between the Fund and the grant recipients. Because of the size of the gift, most of the documentation within the record group details the close ties between the Fund and the University of Michigan. These files concern not only the establishment of the Rackham endowment to the University, but also the different scientific and educational grants made. Additionally, these files detail the construction of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies building in Ann Arbor and the Rackham Educational Memorial building in Detroit.

The records of the Fund cover the period of 1929-1950 though they bulk largest for the period of the Fund's greatest activity, 1934-1940. The record group has been separated into two series: Combined Administrative and Executive Office Files and Project applications/grants.


Robert Twining collection, 1925-1966 (majority within 1930-1957)

12 linear feet — 1 oversize folder

The Robert Twining collection is comprised of photographs, scrapbooks, slides, negatives, and films of Camp Al-Gon-Quian. Located on Burt Lake, Michigan, the camp was founded in 1925 by Herbert H. Twining as a summer camp for boys. The materials in the collection detail activities of Camp Al-Gon-Quian, such as fishing, archery, and horseback riding. There are also materials relating to Camp Mississauga, which was a camp for older boys in Canada.

The collection contains two series: Photographs and Film.


YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, Metropolitan Offices records, 1877-2012

11 linear feet (in 13 boxes) — 21 oversize volumes — 1 oversize folder

Branch of the YMCA; Annual reports, clippings, correspondence, financial records, minutes of meetings, photographs, press releases, published materials, rosters, and scrapbooks; also includes collected branch records for the Railroad branch, 1877-1890, and the Downtown branch, 1890-1909; and publication, Detroit Young Men, 1911-1922.

The records of the Metropolitan Offices of the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit consist of annual reports, correspondence, financial materials, minutes (Secretary's records), photographs, published brochures and pamphlets, and scrapbooks. The materials document, somewhat unevenly, the efforts of the YMCA to tend to the spiritual, physical, and social needs of the young men in Detroit. The strengths of this record group are in its minutes (Secretary's records) and photographs, each of which provides detailed and telling insight into the development of Detroit and the YMCA from the nineteenth century to 2006. The scrapbooks created by the YMCA, 1936-1973, are also of interest in that they accurately reflect all newspaper coverage of YMCA events and activities for this decade.

The records have been arranged in four series: Administration, Secretary's Records, Visual Materials, and Scrapbooks.