Collections : [University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library]

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Willis C. Patterson papers, 1896-2019

19.4 linear feet (in 24 boxes) — 2 oversize boxes (online) — 1 digital audio file

Willis C. Patterson, the first African American professor at the University of Michigan's School of Music, was an active faculty member from 1968 to 1999. He was a professor of voice and associate dean for academic affairs. Patterson directed the Men's Glee Club from 1969 and 1975 and spent summers as a faculty member at the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. While maintaining an active concert career and fulfilling teaching duties, Patterson organized a Black American Music Symposium and compiled several works on African American composers. Patterson played an active role in securing funding and mentorship for students of color and disadvantaged students both at Michigan and in the Ann Arbor community. The collection includes some biographical material, but focuses mainly on his professional career, musical career, and collection of works by African American composers. It includes correspondence, research, photographs, clippings, publications, and topical files.

The Willis C. Patterson papers include some biographical material, but focuses mainly on his professional career, musical career, and collection of works by African American composers. The collection includes correspondence, publications and research material, photographic material, posters, student records, clippings, and topical files.


Willow Run Area Recreation Project records, 1942-1945

0.5 linear feet

Agency established to develop recreational and community organizations in the Willow Run, Michigan, area as a means of improving home-front morale during World War II. Subject files relating to Project activities; and photographs.

This record group documents the development of the Willow Run Area Recreation Project with emphasis on several programs supported by the staff. Approximately half of the folders contain material that relate directly to the Project goals, staff, and finances. In addition, there are two files, the Detroit-Area Recreation Committee and the Civilian Defense Agency, that contain material relevant to the efforts of the Willow Run Project. Of particular note within the General Information file and Survey file are several summary reports. Each contains excellent overviews of the Project goals and accomplishments. There are also a number of statistical sheets concerning the population of the Ypsilanti community.

Within the remaining folders are documents from specific programs coordinated by the Willow Run Project staff. Several folders contain newsletters and support material for consumer cooperatives. Other folders outline recreational activities and social services such as daycare centers for children of working parents. There is also a small file of publicity photos.


Willow Run Black History Organization Records, 1940-1989 (majority within 1984-1989)

2 linear feet

Organization formed in 1983 to collect the history of African Americans in Willow Run, Michigan, produce a written history, and foster racial understanding. Records include administrative files, collected material, and audio-visual materials.

The records will interest researchers considering the history of Willow Run, the particular contributions and experiences of its African American citizens, and the evolution of a Michigan community with roots in wartime defense work. It is also an example of a grass-roots effort to address the lack of documentation of black residents' contributions to the expansion of a formerly rural area.


Willow Run photograph collection, circa 1941-1945

1 folder

The Willow Run Industrial Complex was a manufacturing plant that created thousands of B-24 Liberator airplanes during World War II. The Willow Run photograph collection consists of an interior photograph of the Willow Run Bomber Plant.

The Willow Run Photograph Collection consists of an interior photograph of the Willow Run Bomber Plant.


Willow Run Public School Library records, 1944-1969

4 linear feet — 3 oversize volumes

Files collected by Nell Barrett, head librarian, Willow Run Public School Library concerning history of Willow Run, Michigan, and activities of the schools and library system.

The collection consists of materials collected by Nell Barrett, head librarian at the Willow Run Public School Library relating to Willow Run. Included are materials relating to her work as a librarian, background information, scrapbooks and clippings, and photographs.


Wilma T. Donahue Papers, 1945-1990 (majority within 1949-1982)

26 linear feet (in 27 boxes)

Gerontologist, faculty member at the University of Michigan, first with the Bureau of Psychological Services, later with the Institute for Human Adjustment, and as co-director of its successor unit, the Institute of Gerontology. Files detailing her participation at various meetings and conferences, her other professional activities and affiliations, research projects files, University of Michigan administrative and teaching materials, and videotapes of presentations at 1979 conference, "White House Conferences as Agents of Social Change", also photographs.

The Wilma T. Donahue papers document her career as a teacher, researcher, and administrator at the University of Michigan. The papers span the years 1945-1990 with the bulk of the material falling within the two decades bound by 1949-1969. The Donahue papers are a subset of the Michigan Historical Collections/Institute of Gerontology Joint Archives in Gerontology and can best be understood as an integral element of that larger set.

The Donahue papers provide a clear insight to the development of the field of gerontology as an academic discipline and as an area of concern for policy makers and the general public. The earliest files reflect Donahue's training as a psychologist as it relates to her research on testing, returning veterans, and the blind. In the late 1940s Donahue and Clark Tibbitts began to research and publish articles on the aging population in America. Donahue's papers reflect this new interest as the focus of her writings now turns to issues of aging: housing, mental and physical health, adult education, and the economics of retirement. These issues dominated Donahue's research for twenty years and her papers document her increasing stature as an influential figure in gerontology at the state and national levels, especially her involvement with the University of Michigan Annual Conferences on Gerontology, the Michigan Commission on Aging, and her "cutting edge" research on housing the aging.

The collection came to the library in different accessions and from different sources. Although there is some overlap, the files as received represent distinct series. These series are Articles, Conferences, Addresses and Meetings, 1949-1970; Professional Activities and Affiliations, 1953-1970; Research Projects, 1955-1971; University of Michigan: Administration and Teaching, 1946-1968; Videotapes: White House Conferences as Agents of Social Change, 1979; International Center for Social Gerontology; and Miscellaneous.


Wilson I. Davenny papers, 1889-1917

3 linear feet — 1 oversize folder

Newspaperman, lobbyist for the National Rivers and Harbors Congress, and spokesman for the United Spanish War Veterans. Correspondence, scrapbooks, speeches, business papers and account books relating primarily to his work as a lobbyist.

The Davenny collection is comprised of the following series: Correspondence and other papers; United Spanish War Veterans Organization; National Rivers and Harbors Congress; and Other materials. The National Rivers and Harbors Congress series provides insight into the financing and operation of the lobby. Much of the correspondence in this series is with M.A. Thompson, secretary and treasurer of the organization.


Wilson Ornithological Society records, 1887-2003 (majority within 1960s-2002)

7 linear feet

Miscellaneous correspondence, membership material, constitution, agreement with the University of Michigan; also presidents' files, 1997-2002.

The record group consist of a scattering of early records from the 19th century, including some correspondence and a notebook from the Wilson Ornithological Club, Cambridge, Mass. The bulk of the records date from the 1960s and consist of files of various individuals holding office within the organization as president or in some other position.


Wisconsin Land & Lumber Company records, 1871-1920

42 linear feet — 65 oversize volumes — 71 microfilms

Corporate records of C.J.L. Meyer of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and Hermansville, Michigan, manufacturer of doors, lumber for sashes, hardwood flooring, and related products; records of the William Mueller Company of Escanaba and LaBranche, Michigan, a firm taken over by Wisconsin Land and Lumber in 1909. Financial journals, ledgers, inventories, payroll ledgers; letterbooks of C.J.L. Meyer, Edwin P. Radford, company superintendent, and of other company officials; office correspondence files; and photographs.

This record group which came from the Wisconsin Land and Lumber Company in Hermansville, Michigan is in fact an accumulation of records from three distinct business enterprises. First, there are records of C.J.L. Meyer business enterprises in Chicago and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Next are records maintained in Hermansville with the establishment of the Wisconsin Land and Lumber Company in the 1870s. A third, smaller portion of the records are from the William Mueller Company, which WLL purchased in 1909.

When originally received in 1948, the records consisted of nearly 500 volumes of business journals and ledgers, time books, and letterpress books. During 1979-1981, the library began a program of microfilming to reduce the size of the record group. With the permission of the company, records that had been microfilmed were discarded. Also discarded were records duplicative in content of the records on microfilm. Other records were retained in the original without filming. The record group then consisted of 53 reels of microfilm representing approximately 112 volumes of business records, 65 oversized volumes, and 42 linear feet of boxed records (volumes, letterpress books, and correspondence files). In 2006, the library received additional microfilm (18 rolls) and computer disks containing scanned images of the photographs in the possession of the IXL Museum, which is the repository for the records of the company not received with the first accession. These records, which were retained, include personal correspondence of C.J.L. Meyer, some records of Meyer prior to the establishment of WLL, and records then considered current or of continuing value to the operation of the company.

The record group has been arranged as much as possible into series, but the researcher should note that identification of individuals volumes or files was not as certain as one would like. Thus, for example, there are various ledgers and journals, some with overlapping dates, but it was not always clear where these records were created or what function or division within the firm they documented. The fact that the company retained some of the earlier records accounts in part for what appear to be broken series. Further complicating the structure of the following finding aid is the interspersing of microfilmed materials and oversize volumes. Similar kinds of records (such as time books), for example, are thus found both in original and on microfilm.

As much as possible, like kinds of records have been kept to together (letterpress books, etc.). These are followed by records known to be created by a specific organization or maintained in a specific locale (e.g. Fond du Lac). The series in the record group are: Letterpress books (mainly business correspondence); Letterpress books (mainly business correspondence); Inventories, order books, etc.; C. J. L. Meyer Business Records; Wisconsin Land and Lumber Company; William Mueller Company; Photographs; and IXL Museum additions.

In 2007, the IXL Museum of Hermansville, Michigan, successor to the company and custodian of additional records of the Wisconsin Land and Lumber Company, entered into agreement with the Bentley Library to exchange microfilm of selected portions of the records housed in the other's repository. In addition, the two repositories agreed that the Bentley Library would place on indefinite loan to the IXL Museum the originals of WLL photographs in its possession, and that the IXL Museum would donated to the Bentley Library digital copies of all of the many hundreds of photographs in its collection.


W. K. Kellogg Foundation Institute records, 1933-1979

5 linear feet

Semi-autonomous institute concerned with graduate, postgraduate, and extension programs of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry; course outlines and enrollment lists, instrument lists, and topical files concerning conferences, workshops, and reunions.

The record group has been arranged into the following series: Course Outlines and Enrollment Lists; and Topical Files.