Grand Valley State University Special Collections & University Archives

Grand Valley State University Special Collections & University Archives Special Collections & University Archives collects rare books, manuscripts, & ephemera and serves as the official repository for university records.

The Special Collections & University Archives of the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Libraries are located on the Allendale campus in Seidman House, just east of Lake Superior Hall. We provide access to unique primary sources for students, faculty/staff, and researchers. Special Collections contains rare books, political papers, literary and historical manuscripts, maps and atlases, photographs and motion pictures, art and ephemera related to the interests of Grand Valley students, administrators, faculty, and outside researchers. University Archives holds official and ancillary records, documents, and publications in all formats pertaining to more than 50 years of Grand Valley State University history. We also provide ongoing support to Grand Valley for the management of the University’s inactive records.

The Camp Fire Girls began in 1910 under the direction of Luther and Charlotte Gulick. They wished to emulate the success...
01/30/2020

The Camp Fire Girls began in 1910 under the direction of Luther and Charlotte Gulick. They wished to emulate the success of the Boy Scouts and “guide young people on their journey to self-discovery”. Our collection includes uniforms, craft ledgers, reports, handbooks, and more from 1912-1960s!

New post! Our student employee Evan took a look at the life of Mathias J. Alten, a 20th century impressionist painter. M...
01/29/2020
Mathias J. Alten: “The Dean of Michigan Painters”

New post! Our student employee Evan took a look at the life of Mathias J. Alten, a 20th century impressionist painter. Many of Alten's paintings are held by the GVSU Art Gallery, while his records are held here in Grand Valley State University Special Collections & University Archives!

Mathias J. Alten was a 20th century impressionist painter. Born in Germany in 1871, Alten eventually moved to the then-developing town of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He began his artistic journey explo…

US National Archives
01/28/2020

US National Archives

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

By the end of World War II, the Holocaust had claimed the lives of over 6 million Jewish people—nearly two out of every three in Europe.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp complex in German-occupied Poland. Russian soldiers discovered thousands of sick, dying, and dead prisoners when they entered the complex of concentration camps, forced labor camps, and a killing center abandoned by the Nazis.

The full scope of Nazi atrocities grew clearer with every concentration camp liberated and mass grave discovered by Allied forces as they advanced across Europe in the final months of World War II.

Army medic Harold Porter penned this graphic description of the horrific scene at the newly liberated Dachau concentration camp on the former camp commandant’s stationery. Grappling with a grisly reality that he knew defied belief, Porter’s letter home acknowledged that “it is easy to read about atrocities, but they must be seen before they can be believed.”

This letter is currently on display at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, through February 5, 2020.

📸 First page of letter from Harold Porter, 1945, National Archives, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. See the full letter online: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/1055429

Although classes are not held for MLK Day, Seidman House will be open regular hours!
01/17/2020

Although classes are not held for MLK Day, Seidman House will be open regular hours!

“Records matter”
01/16/2020
US National Archives

“Records matter”

“Hello, I just came across this picture that you posted and the firefighter in the middle is my dad. Is there any way you can send me the original photo?”

Eighteen years later, a September 11 posting on Instagram connected a firefighter to his photo in the National Archives.

It's a BRAND NEW YEAR! What literary character would you want on your 2020 calendar? We're loving these 1970s Sherlock H...
01/01/2020

It's a BRAND NEW YEAR! What literary character would you want on your 2020 calendar? We're loving these 1970s Sherlock Holmes calendars.

#gvsuarchives #2020 #newyear #calendars #archives

Merry Christmas from our stacks to yours!This season we pulled from our collection of Folio Society and Publisher Bindin...
12/25/2019

Merry Christmas from our stacks to yours!
This season we pulled from our collection of Folio Society and Publisher Bindings. What are you reading next to the fireplace this year?

'Twas the Night before Christmas... Rackham isn't exactly the illustrator we'd chose for a happy holiday poem but it tot...
12/24/2019

'Twas the Night before Christmas... Rackham isn't exactly the illustrator we'd chose for a happy holiday poem but it totally works! 🤷‍♂️

See you in 2020!
12/20/2019

See you in 2020!

New post on the blog courtesy of one of our talented student employees! Click to learn more about the history of GVSU wo...
12/05/2019
Women in Sports at GVSU

New post on the blog courtesy of one of our talented student employees! Click to learn more about the history of GVSU women’s sports.

When Grand Valley College began, the administration focused on building a successful liberal arts program before implementing any official sports programs. GVSC did offer intramural club sports for…

Grand Valley State University Special Collections & University Archives's cover photo
11/01/2019

Grand Valley State University Special Collections & University Archives's cover photo

To The Letter Season 2 is here! Look for new episodes all through the beginning of November! Episodes 1 and 2 are availa...
11/01/2019
To The Letter S2 E1: An Introduction

To The Letter Season 2 is here! Look for new episodes all through the beginning of November!

Episodes 1 and 2 are available now. Subscribe via iTunes or follow on Spotify and never miss an episode!

We’re so pleased to bring you Season Two of To The Letter! To the Letter is a podcast brought to you in collaboration with University Libraries and the eLearning and Emerging Technologie…

Why do Historians still have to go to archives? This question is a lot more complex than it may seem and the answer invo...
10/14/2019
Why Do Historians Still Have To Go To Archives?

Why do Historians still have to go to archives? This question is a lot more complex than it may seem and the answer involves understanding why everything ISN'T on the internet.

Why do historians go to archives? Hasn’t everything already been digitized?

Grand Valley State University Special Collections & University Archives's cover photo
10/01/2019

Grand Valley State University Special Collections & University Archives's cover photo

New collection alert! The Temple B'nai Israel collection includes photographs, scrapbooks, programs, minutes, and other ...
08/27/2019
Browse Items · Digital Collections

New collection alert! The Temple B'nai Israel collection includes photographs, scrapbooks, programs, minutes, and other records of the Temple B'nai Israel in Muskegon, Michigan. Collection courtesy of a partnership with Marilyn Preston.
View more here:

Monday - 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Tuesday - 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Wednesday - 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Thursday - 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Friday - 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

A sweet story -
08/22/2019
Candy Land | American Experience | PBS

A sweet story -

Although Candy Land started in a polio ward, its connection to the infamous disease was kept secret for 50 years. Its steady rise in popularity was due to the fact that it entertained young children in a simple and fun way.

08/07/2019
History of Medicine at Seidman House

Interested in medical history? We examined our collection of old and rare medical books in our latest blog post by student author Rebecca Doran. Check it out!

As a Library Summer Scholar, I had the opportunity to explore the field of library sciences. Inspired by my unique fields of study – a history major and biology minor – I was interested…

It is with great sadness that we note the death of the University Libraries’ friend and benefactor, Harvey Lemmen (Nov. ...
07/25/2019

It is with great sadness that we note the death of the University Libraries’ friend and benefactor, Harvey Lemmen (Nov. 6, 1922-July 25, 2019).

He was born in Ionia, graduated from Ionia High School and matriculated at the University of Michigan, eventually receiving BA and MBA degrees. In 1949 he was hired as office manager for the small Greenville business, Meijer’s Thrift Super Market. Through the years he advanced in levels of responsibilities as Meijer’s itself grew into a multi-state corporation. He retired in 1986 as Deputy Chairman.

In 1991 the University Libraries began to receive frequent gifts of books, pamphlets, printed ephemera, and other materials from his collections which by 2001 amounted to nearly 30,000 volumes. Mr. Lemmen’s eclectic and wide-ranging interests are evident in the varied subject fields he collected. His library was put together with a discerning eye and is remarkable for both its breadth and depth. A few of the more notable and important areas include: Lincoln, the Civil War, and slavery; Michigan and the Great Lakes; illustrated books; bibliography and books about books; Lewis Carroll; and Michigan in the novel.

The intake of such large collections necessitated and expansion of Seidman House, the home for Special Collections and University Archives. Mr. Lemmen generously provided the funds for the expansion of the building in 2000, which included state-of-the-art environmental, security, anti-fire systems as well as compact shelving.

Harvey Lemmen took great pleasure in visiting the collections from time to time, and enjoyed seeing new acquisitions in his areas of interest. He was generous, kind, unassuming, and a true gentleman.

He will be greatly missed.

New blog post! Our rare books collection includes iconic children's literature such as Alice in Wonderland, The Wonderfu...
07/15/2019
A Century of Whimsy

New blog post! Our rare books collection includes iconic children's literature such as Alice in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Peter Pan.

When we think of “rare books” our first thought might be ancient religious texts or old anatomy tomes, and while those kinds of books are on the shelves here, we also have a sizable col…

Just in case anyone was planning on stopping by before they head off to a BBQ!
07/02/2019

Just in case anyone was planning on stopping by before they head off to a BBQ!

New post on the blog today exploring our collection of WWII Paper Dolls!
05/15/2019
WWII Paper Dolls

New post on the blog today exploring our collection of WWII Paper Dolls!

Although often considered a child’s toy nowadays, paper dolls were originally used to advertise current fashions, illustrate moralistic stories, and, of course, reflect society’s view o…

Summer construction and renovations are underway on Grand Valley's Allendale campus. With the sound of Jackhammers filli...
05/10/2019

Summer construction and renovations are underway on Grand Valley's Allendale campus. With the sound of Jackhammers filling the air, Seidman House Special Collections and University Archives is feeling especially nostalgic! --
A special thanks to Tracy Cook for putting together this wonderful mini-exhibit! 🎉

Grand Valley State University Special Collections & University Archives's cover photo
05/02/2019

Grand Valley State University Special Collections & University Archives's cover photo

What's your favorite children's book?The Library of Congress has digitized a collection of historically significant chil...
05/02/2019
About this Collection  | Children's Book Selections  | Digital Collections  | Library of Congress

What's your favorite children's book?

The Library of Congress has digitized a collection of historically significant children's books, all published before 1924 (so you can use them however you would like!). There are some very well known titles (including some Beatrix Potter books), and some less well known titles. Check it out!

This special collection presents children’s books selected from the General and Rare Book Collections at the Library of Congress. The collection includes classic works that are still read by children today, and lesser-known treasures drawn from the Library’s extensive collection of histo...

Happy graduation Lakers! 👩‍🎓👨‍🎓__📸: @t_cookie1 one of our student employees at commencement__#gvsu #gvsuarchives #laker4...
04/27/2019

Happy graduation Lakers! 👩‍🎓👨‍🎓
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📸: @t_cookie1 one of our student employees at commencement
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#gvsu #gvsuarchives #laker4alifetime

Tracy, one of our graduating student employees, took the time to write about her favorite experience working here at Sei...
04/26/2019
Archives Behind the Scenes: Student-Created Exhibitions

Tracy, one of our graduating student employees, took the time to write about her favorite experience working here at Seidman House!

As a Research Services Assistant at Seidman House, I worked on a number of projects that supported my goal to work as a museum curator post-graduation. Prior to working here, I did not have experi…

Congratulations to the 3,271 Lakers that are graduating today and tomorrow 👨‍🎓👩‍🎓 your hard work has paid off, now conti...
04/26/2019

Congratulations to the 3,271 Lakers that are graduating today and tomorrow 👨‍🎓👩‍🎓 your hard work has paid off, now continue working towards your dreams! ⚓💙
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📷: Happy graduates of Grand Valley in 1969
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#gvsuarchives #gvsu #graduation #commencement #photography #photo #fbf #flashbackfriday

Just a couple days left of exam week Lakers, y'all can do it!__#tbt to students gathering in Seidman House, ca. 1970s__#...
04/25/2019

Just a couple days left of exam week Lakers, y'all can do it!
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#tbt to students gathering in Seidman House, ca. 1970s
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#gvsuarchives #gvsu #universityarchives #archives #examweek #finals #motivation

Big thank you’s to our two fabulous students graduating this year! Sophie and Tracy are truly rare creatures (like the o...
04/19/2019

Big thank you’s to our two fabulous students graduating this year! Sophie and Tracy are truly rare creatures (like the ones they are holding) - hardworking, creative, and amazingly talented. We will miss them but we can’t wait to see what amazing things they do next!
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#gvsuarchives #gvsu #archives #specialcollections

Just some cows moooo-vin’ through campus, ca. 1970.🐄🐄__#gvsuarchives #gvsu #cows #cowpuns #throwbackthursday #tbt #archi...
04/18/2019

Just some cows moooo-vin’ through campus, ca. 1970.🐄🐄
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#gvsuarchives #gvsu #cows #cowpuns #throwbackthursday #tbt #archives

Namaste, Lakers! Just a friendly reminder that there are only 22 days left until the end of the semester ⚓💙__📷: Yoga ins...
04/04/2019

Namaste, Lakers! Just a friendly reminder that there are only 22 days left until the end of the semester ⚓💙
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📷: Yoga instructor during Thomas Jefferson College fine arts class, circa 1970s
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#gvsuarchives #gvsu #archives #tbt #throwback #photography #yoga #semesterending #bestrong

Our behind-the-scenes blog series continues today with a look at what archival processing is.
04/03/2019
Archives Behind the Scenes: Processing

Our behind-the-scenes blog series continues today with a look at what archival processing is.

In this installment of Archives Behind the Scenes, we’ll talk about archival processing. Processing is a shorthand term for all of the steps archivists take to get a collection of archival ma…

We love the smell of old documents in the morning ;)
04/01/2019

We love the smell of old documents in the morning ;)

Finally, you can smell like history with the release of our new perfume, Archiviste! Spritz it on whenever you want to feel like an archivist.

#AprilFools

Here is another example of the posters that Grand Valley created in 1972, this time for math, to spread awareness of the...
03/29/2019

Here is another example of the posters that Grand Valley created in 1972, this time for math, to spread awareness of their programs. What is/was your major? ➗📚🎭🖌️
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#gvsuarchives #gvsu #archives
#admissions #poster #math #universityarchives

Our faces when we realize that today is MLB Opening Day__📷: @gvsubaseball circa 1990s__#gvsuarchives #gvsu #baseball #sp...
03/28/2019

Our faces when we realize that today is MLB Opening Day
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📷: @gvsubaseball circa 1990s
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#gvsuarchives #gvsu #baseball #sports #tbt #throwback #openingday

Our Reading Room is closed today while Jim Harrison film records an interview with Bob DeMott and films archival footage...
03/22/2019

Our Reading Room is closed today while Jim Harrison film records an interview with Bob DeMott and films archival footage. We’re having so much fun watching the film crew work! The student study space will remain open during filming.

Ever wonder what archivists do? One of our archivists is taking us behind-the-scenes in a new blog series!
03/22/2019
Archives Behind the Scenes: Acquisitions

Ever wonder what archivists do? One of our archivists is taking us behind-the-scenes in a new blog series!

In a departure from our usual exhibit posts highlighting our exciting collections, this post will kick off a short series of “Behind the Scenes” discussions about what goes on in the Sp…

NOW AVAILABLE! 886 more issues of Grand Valley's student-run publication, The Lanthorn, spanning from 2001-2017. Include...
03/11/2019

NOW AVAILABLE! 886 more issues of Grand Valley's student-run publication, The Lanthorn, spanning from 2001-2017. Included are gems such as this image of two students dressed as a cow for Community Outreach Week (get it?). Check out the full run of the collection (1968-2017) here: https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/lanthorn/

03/08/2019

Happy International Women's Day! We’re celebrating with the pioneering, feminist women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Flint native Sophie Kurys (seen here) played from 1943-1955, starting out at just 17 years old. Grand Valley State University Special Collections & University Archives has over 40 interviews with these groundbreaking women in our digital collections.

New blog post! Learn more about some of the most famous composers in our Late 19th-Early 20th century sheet music collec...
02/28/2019
Late 19th-Early 20th Century Sheet Music

New blog post!

Learn more about some of the most famous composers in our Late 19th-Early 20th century sheet music collection.

Special Collections and University Archives acquired a collection of late 19th century early 20th century sheet music. Ragtime arrived, World War I inspired patriotic fervor, and show tunes explode…

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1 Campus Drive
Allendale, MI
49401

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Monday 08:00 - 16:30
Tuesday 08:00 - 16:30
Wednesday 08:00 - 16:30
Thursday 08:00 - 16:30
Friday 08:00 - 16:30

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(616) 331-8726

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