A Timeline Highlighting Some of the Activities at the Bentley Historical Library
- Spring 1935-Dr. Lewis Vander Velde receives a $700 grant from the Faculty Research Fund to initiate a program of collecting research materials for the study of the history of Michigan.
- Late summer of 1935-Committee on University Archives is formed with Lewis G. VanderVelde as its head. Establishes research assistantship for the collection, preservation, and study of materials pertaining to the history of the state's most important non-governmental institution, the University of Michigan.
- February 1938-Regents officially designate the materials gathered as the Michigan Historical Collections of the University of Michigan. Dr. VanderVelde is designated as director.
- June 1938-The Michigan Historical Collections are given quarters in the newly opened Rackham Building.
- July 1960-Dr. VandeVelde retires. F. Clever Bald becomes director.
- August 1966-Dr. Bald retires. Robert M. Warner is named director.
- September 1971-Arvella D. Bentley is appointed to the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Michigan Historical Collections.
- December 1971-Regents accept a gift of $500,000 from Mrs. Alvin M. Bentley for construction of the Michigan Historical Collections building, and agree to Mrs. Bentley's stipulation that the building be named the Alvin M. and Arvella D. Bentley Historical Library.
- July 1972-Contract is awarded to the R.T. Mitchell Construction Company.
- August 2, 1972- Groundbreaking ceremony.
- September 1972-Whiting Foundation of Flint donates $20,000 for the Alvin M. Bentley and Arvella D. Bentley Historical Library fund.
- January 1973-Mr. and Mrs. G. Mennen Williams of Grosse Pointe Farms give $3,500 for the Michigan Historical Collections Building fund.
- October 1973-J. Fairbairn Smith of Lathrup Village donates Philip Morris Incorporated common stock for the Bentley Historical Library fund.
- January 1974-Grand Lodge F and A M of Michigan of Grand Rapids donates $25,000 for the Alvin M. and Arvella D. Bentley Historical Library fund.
- April 1974-Whiting Foundation of Flint donates $20,000 for the Alvin M. and Arvella D. Bentley Historical Library fund.
- May 1974-Staff move the holdings from basement of the Rackham Building to the new Bentley Historical Library on North Campus.
- March 1975-Supreme Chapter Delta Sigma Delta of Richmond, Virginia donates $5,000 for the Alvin M. Bentley and Arvella D. Bentley Historical Library fund.
- March 1975 Mrs. Arvella D. Bentley of Owosso donates $100,000 for the Alvin M. Bentley and Arvella D. Bentley Historical Library fund.
- March 1976-1977-Mrs. Arvella D. Bentley of Owosso donates $175,000 for the Alvin M. Bentley and Arvella D. Bentley Historical Library fund.
- April 1977-The Bonisteel Foundation of East Grand Rapids gives Bendix Corporation common stock, Hoover Ball and Bearing common stock, and a cash gift for the Bentley Historical Library fund.
- 1979-John and Leni Sinclair donate their personal papers including textual documents, sound recordings and photographs to the Bentley Historical Library.
- July 1980-Dr. Robert M. Warner becomes Archivist of the United States.
- June 17, 1980-Mrs. Bentley dies.
- April 1981-Gerald R. Ford Library opens on the North Campus of the University of Michigan.
- May 1981-Dr. Francis X. Blouin, Jr. is named director of the Bentley Historical Library.
- 1982-The Bentley Historical Library hosts a delegation of five archivists from China.
- 1983-1997-Research Fellowship Program for Study of Modern Archives is established with funds received from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with additional funding from the Earhart Foundation of Ann Arbor and the National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Preservation and Access. Throughout its existence, the fellowship program fosters systematic research that allows individuals and small teams to conduct independent research on a wide range of topics in archival administration.
- Spring 1986-Professor Blouin travels to the Vatican to discuss the possibility of testing the applicability of the methods used by the Bentley Historical Library for the modernization of the access system at the Vatican Archives.
- 1987-88-Successful pilot project undertaken by Francis Blouin, Thomas Powers, and Leonard Coombs results in funding for a one-year project to begin in the Fall 1989.
- Spring 1989-The University of Michigan, principally the Bentley Historical Library and the School of Information and Library Studies, hosts Second European Conference on Archives.
- 1989-90-Bentley Historical Library microfilms the records of the Second Baptist Church, the oldest Black church in Michigan.
- March 1990-Bentley Historical Library awards first fellowships to researchers to support travel to the library and help underwrite research-related expenses in the use of the library's collections.
- 1990-Bentley Historical Library and the University of Michigan Athletic Department partner in pilot project to arrange and provide access to Athletic Department records. Gregory Kinney becomes permanent Athletic Department Archivist in 1992.
- August 1991-Ann Gilliland joins the University Archives and Records Program (UARP) staff to work as principal investigator on a one-year National Historic Preservation and Records Commission-funded grant to study electronic conferencing on campus with Greg Kinney as co-investigator. Conferencing has become an important part of university classes, faculty and staff communication, and staff interaction. The project is designed to appraise the historical value of specific conferences and develop procedures for their transfer to the archives including privacy protection of the participants and development of access to the archived conferences.
- Spring, 1992-The Executive Committee of the library recommends that the name of the library be changed officially from the Michigan Historical Collections to the Bentley Historical Library.
- May 1992-Bentley Historical Library formally launches an exchange with the Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH) in Moscow.
- 1992-93-Work at the Vatican Archives enters its second phase with data collected during the first phase entered into the database of the Research Libraries Group (RLG) in Stanford, California. This information is now available through Research Library Information Network (RLIN) throughout the nation.
- Summers 1992 in Paris and 1993 in Ann Arbor-Joint Seminar with the Ecole Des Chartes to explore the methodology of the traditional study of diplomatics and its relevance for the electronic age.
- 1993-1994-With support from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Lilly Endowment, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, additional description and analysis of the most complex record series in the Vatican Archives is developed.
- 1995-Researchers begin to use the Michigan Research Library Network (MIRLYN) in the reading room with two terminals available.
- 1995-Transfer of 250 linear feet of necrology record files from the Alumni Records Office to the Bentley Historical Library takes place. Karen Jania and Stacy Strumpher arrange and describe the records.
- 1995-96-Conference on electronic records research and development is held at the Bentley Historical Library.
- 1997-The Bentley Historical Library and the University of Michigan School of Information work with the staff of South Africa's University of Fort Hare, alma mater of many prominent South African leaders such as Nelson Mandela, on a project involving the University of Fort Hare's important archival collections from several liberation movements. Members of the Bentley Historical Library staff, including Brian Williams and William Wallach, assess the current condition of the historical archives and develop strategies to provide intellectual access and long-term preservation.
- 1998-Oxford University Press publishes Vatican Archives: An Inventory and Guide to Historical Documents of the Holy See.
- 1999-An Agreement on Cooperation Between the Foreign Affairs Office of the State Archives Administration of China and the Bentley Historical Library of the University of Michigan is co-signed establishing a long-term relationship of archival cooperation and exchange.
- 2000-The first Bentley delegation, Fran Blouin, leader; Tom Powers, and Bill Wallach, travel to China.
- 2003-Oxford University Press publishes the supplement to the original Vatican guide entitled Vatican Archives: An Inventory and Guide to Historical Documents of the Holy See. Supplement #1, The Archives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Including the Archives of the Former Congregation of the Holy Office and the Archives of the Former Congregation for Forbidden Books. (Click here to view the online catalog record.)
- March 2003-Albert Kahn Associates (AKA) donates the papers of Albert Kahn to the Bentley Historical Library to ensure the conservation and accessibility of these papers. This gift preserves the legacy of Kahn, whose factory designs influenced the development of industrial architecture throughout the world and whose commercial, residential and institutional buildings define the character of Detroit and the University of Michigan today.
- June 2003-January 2005-Expansion of the Bentley Historical Library, including renovation of the reading room, and construction of new stack and office space, and a new conservation lab. The dedication was held on October 1, 2004.
- 2010-The Bentley Historical Library celebrates 75 years.
Michigan Historical Collections Reading
Room in the Rackham building.
The site of the future Bentley Historical
Mrs. Bentley and others watch as
Dr. Warner breaks ground on the site
of the new home of the Michigan
Construction of the 'stacks' of the
The 'new' Bentley Historical Library.
First group of Mellon Fellows, 1983.
Fran Blouin and Len Coombs in the
Second European Conference on
Greg Kinney and Ann Gilliland Swetland
discuss digital records.
Staff prepare a record for the Vatican
Stacy Strumpher and Karen Jania with
the Necrology files, 1997.
A Necrology File (a file of information
collected by the Office of Alumni
Records on all University alumni). Click
to search the Necrology File Index.
New addition to the Bentley.
Rennovation of the reading room. (To
view more photos of the renovation,
construction of the new addition,
and the dedication ceremony,