The Bentley Historical Library is open to the public by appointment. Learn more here.

Making Michigan Series

Join us for the Bentley Historical Library’s series of talks exploring the history of the University of Michigan.

Wolverine Writers: Stories of Fire, Ice, and Rebirth
June 8, 2023; 7:00 pm
Attend in-person at the Detroit Observatory in Ann Arbor
OR online 

Across the University, fascinating stories in a range of publications are helping us learn more and more about Michigan’s rich history. Join us for our second annual episode of Wolverine Writers, to hear about some examples from the past year, including “Tragedy on the Ice,” the story of a disastrous expedition involving U-M astronomer Edward Israel; “The Arsonist Was a Scholar,” the story – and the story of the story – of an act of arson on campus; and “The Tappan Oak,” about one of U-M’s most beloved natural features, and its life, death, and rebirth.

Our panel will include Kim Clarke, director of the Michigan Heritage Project; Deborah Holdship, editor of Michigan Today; and Lara Zielin, editor of the Bentley’s own Collections magazine.

For those attending in person, the event will be followed by tours of the Observatory, with observing if weather permits.

If you’d like to attend this event IN PERSON at the Observatory, register here.

If you’d like to attend this event VIRTUALLY, register here.

Please note: One of the talks will mention one person’s experience with suicide; please use care and know that support is available. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or mental health issues, please note and use the resources below.

– For U-M students: Counseling & Psychological Services (; 734-764-8312, including CAPS After Hours 24/7)

– For U-M Faculty and Staff: Faculty & Staff Counseling & Consultation Office (734-936-8660; email:

– Psychiatric Emergency Services: 734-936-5900 – 24/7/365

Watch previous lectures

A Library for All: U-M, Google, and the Importance of Having a Copy

Keeping Resistance Alive: Chandler Davis and Academic Freedom at U-M

Fifty Years of Native American Student Activism with Bethany Hughes 

A Difficult Archive: Reckoning with U-M’s Complicity in the U.S. Colonization of the Philippines with Deirdre de la Cruz

To Put Living Force Into the Symbols: The Journeys of Anatol Rapaport

Wolverine Writers: History and Storytelling Across Campus and through the Years

Seeing Anew Symposium 1: The Observatory and 19th-Century Science and Scholarship 

Seeing Anew Symposium 2: The Observatory in the History of Astronomy

Seeing Anew Symposium 3: The Observatory as an Historic Site for Contemporary Education

Seeing Anew Keynote: Astrophysicist Brian Nord in conversation with Gary Krenz

The McCarthy-Era Red Scare in Michigan: Its Meaning, Then and Now with David Maraniss

Sing to the Colors: My Complicated Love Song to the University with James Tobin

Conquering Heroines: How Women Fought Sex Bias at Michigan and Paved the Way for Title IX with Sara Fitzgerald

Michigan Football Game Films, 1930-1986: Digitizing Game-Day History with Brian Williams and Greg Kinney

Undermining Racial Justice at the University of Michigan with Matthew Johnson 

Pathways to Greatness: How the University of Michigan Became a World-Class University…and What it Cost with Terry McDonald

Campus Chords: Devotional Harmonies and the Dissonance of Difference in the University of Michigan’s Songbook with Mark Clague

Constructing Gender: The Origins of the Michigan League and Michigan Union with Nancy Bartlett and Sarah McLusky

Anti-Fascism at U-M: Defending Democracy During the Spanish Civil War with Juli Highfill

Radical Roots, Contested Place: African American and African Studies at U-M with Stephen Ward

The Boundaries of Pluralism: The World of the University of Michigan’s Jewish Students from 1897 – 1945 with Andrei Markovits and Kenneth Garner

Stars Rising: Why U-M’s Detroit Observatory Matters — and Where It’s Going with Gary Krenz

Lilly Stalks, Pounded Murphies and Caramel Ice Cream: Investigating the Food System that Fed U-M Students a Century Ago with Lisa Young

“We must work off our surplus animal spirits”: 19th-Century Origins of Athletic Competition at the University of Michigan with Greg Kinney and Brian Williams

Telling the Truth About the Liberal Arts: Histories and Futures with Terry McDonald

Coeducation for Democracy: The Changing Moral Vision for Educating the Sexes at U-M, 1870-1920 with Andrea Turpin