Imprints Published in Michigan 1851-1876
Undoubtedly, the ultimate ambition was to publish an inventory of the findings for each state when the respective studies were completed. Before this could happen in most instances, World War II intervened and priorities were forced to change in the interest of national defense.
In the case of Michigan, the WPA did partially publish the fruits of its labors in 1942, when it released the Preliminary Check List of Michigan Imprints, 1796-1850. In essence, this fully-indexed reference source reveals every item printed in Michigan prior to 1851 that participants in the project were able to find during the approximately four years they were allowed to work on the exercise.
Slips of paper identifying many of the other Michigan publications between 1851 and 1877 were generated, but could not be used at the time because physical and intellectual resources had to be diverted from creating useful compendiums to fighting against the Axis Powers for our national survival.
These unused slips ended up in the possession of the Bentley Historical Library (University of Michigan), where they have remained essentially unused for decades. Feeling that this mothballed information would be of great interest to contemporary researchers, the Bentley, the State Archives, and the Library of Michigan have recently joined in a cooperative effort to record and make this data available. The gathered information is hosted on the MSU Libraries website.
This deciphering of old notes and subsequent data entry is a time-consuming process, and so far only the first letters of the alphabet have been finished. As further inroads are made in this enterprise, they will be added to this Web site. Ultimately, the hope is to have a nearly full accounting of all multi-paged materials printed in Michigan prior to 1877, but until that day comes the following partial list will have to suffice.
Users should know that in nearly every instance the catalogers participating in this activity have not seen the item described but, instead, have had to reply upon the facts revealed by the work-slips with some clarifying assistance obtained from WorldCat. The institutions holding the materials are identified by letter codes assigned by the Library of Congress.