Crowdsourcing a time machine
After almost 200 years, it’s inevitable that some parts of the University of Michigan’s history have faded into obscurity. But thanks to a new comprehensive bibliography compiled by the Bentley Historical Library in honor of U-M’s Bicentennial, some of those facts are coming back to life.
The project is an extension of a bibliography originally compiled in 1936 by Wilfred B. Shaw, who was the director of the U-M Alumni Association and a prolific writer and editor of university history.
According to Terrence McDonald, director of the Bentley Historical Library, Shaw’s bibliography was compiled in preparation for the centennial of the U-M coming to Ann Arbor.
“I was honestly astonished to discover that the last comprehensive bibliography of works on the university’s history was prepared in the 1930s,” McDonald said. “On a recent visit to campus, a very distinguished historian of higher education told us that few universities have invested the time to compile such lists. Our bibliography contains all the elements of a great story: how citizens, elected officials, faculty, staff and students built a world-class university in this state.”
Many strange, enigmatic historical facts can be found within the materials. Here are 10 compiled from “The Michigan Book,” published in 1898. Did you know:
In the preface to his bibliography, Shaw noted that many of the items included were out of print.
Thanks to recent digitization initiatives, most of these volumes are now available as digital editions through HathiTrust, and many university-owned electronic resources and public domain titles can be printed on demand through the U-M Library’s Espresso Book Machine (for those on campus) or purchased on Amazon through Michigan Publishing.
As Shaw noted in 1936, it is difficult to compile “a complete list of all publications referring to the University of Michigan.” The Bentley welcomes suggestions and looks forward to discovering and making new additions as U-M prepares to celebrate its Bicentennial in 2017.
To contribute to the bibliography, email Brian Williams at email@example.com.