A Gateway to
the History of U-M


The history of the University of Michigan is rich and complex, filled with important lessons for anyone interested in envisioning its future. This website serves as a doorway to historical resources across the University that showcase 200 years of transformation.

Faculty, students, staff, alumni, and the avidly curious are invited to explore the site, which features stories about U-M history, links to archival records and databases, material from the U-M’s bicentennial celebration, and much more.

Many of these resources will link you to other websites. Please note that you may leave this site as you explore.

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Students walking on campus
  • Heritage

    How the Net Was Won

    Before the internet was anywhere and everywhere on campus, "the heart of the Internet was once on North Campus." Read to learn more about the evolution of the internet's bumpy road.

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  • Bentley Historical Library

    The Improbable Herpetologist

    Helen Thompson Gaige’s passion for frogs, salamanders, lizards and more was unusual for a woman at the turn of the century. She defied gender stereotypes by becoming an expert in zoology and launching herself into globetrotting adventures to collect and study specimens. Her scientific legacy endures in the archive—and beyond.

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Resources & Research


Listen to an oral history from William Hubbard, an African American U-M track athlete and 1924 Olympian. Watch a lecture on the early history of the University of Michigan Hospital. Or click through an online exhibit about the history of women at U-M and their frequent battles for educational equality. Our wealth of historical resources can be read, watched, scrolled through, or listened to.

Go to resources

Read the Go-To Guide
about U-M


The Encyclopedic Survey is a comprehensive historical resource of U-M since its founding. For
U-M’s bicentennial, the Encyclopedic Survey was updated for the first time in nearly 40 years. To date, new contributions by nearly every school, college, and academic unit have brought the Encyclopedic Survey to more than 2,800 pages and 400 entries covering all aspects of the University. It is an unparalleled resource for knowledge about U-M’s past—and it continues to grow. The Bentley Historical Library has made the new Encyclopedic Survey available online and in print-on-demand formats, bringing it into the 21st century.

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Tuned in
to History

Many of the topics from Michigan’s past still resonate on campus today. The short documentary series “Uncommon Education—Celebrating 200 Years of the University of Michigan,” created during U-M’s bicentennial, explores topics connecting Michigan’s past and present.

Watch Videos
Library Science Class of 1972 on Campus

Why 1817 Matters

When was the University of Michigan founded? It’s a seemingly simple question that requires more context than you might think. This founding 411 is an easy-to-understand overview of the university’s earliest days, and why U-M celebrated its bicentennial in 2017.

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Annotated photostat enlargement of portion of the Map of the Island of Michilimackinac