The Bentley Historical Library is open by appointment only for U-M faculty, students, and staff. Please see our full announcement here.

State History

Here you will find a list of more specific Bentley databases related to the State of Michigan.


  • The Bentley holds many collections that contain letters, diaries, photographs, and more related to the Civil War. We have digitized the microfilm from 157 of these collections and made them available online. You can search or browse by by author, title or subject.

    Go to Civil War Collections Online


  • The Bentley has digitized some full collections or large segments of collections and made them available here. Examples include early records of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and a survey of early female graduates of the University. Check the “online content” tag for digital material dealing with more specific subjects – like our Civil War collections.

    Go to Digitized Collections

  • This database contains scanned issues of the Michigan Citizen from 1978-1994. The Michigan Citizen was an African American newspaper based in Benton Harbor, Muskegon, and Highland Park, Michigan.

    Go to Michigan Citizen

  • The “Polar Bear Expedition” was a U.S. military action in the Archangel province of Russia at the end of World War I. Because many of the troops involved were from Michigan, the Bentley has collected material related to the expedition. This digital collection includes a searchable roster of soldiers, digitized material, and links to more resources.

    Go to Polar Bear Expedition Digital Collection

  • The Subject Guides highlight Bentley collections and items (and sometimes background information) related to different topics. They are no longer updated and may not include more recent information, but are useful for identifying different collections with material about the same area or subject.

    Go to Subject Guides

  • The vertical file contains newspaper clippings and other miscellaneous published material. They are organized according to people, places, organizations, or issues affecting the University or the state as a whole.

    Go to Vertical File