Archival Collections

Archival Collections

Diaries, photographs, maps, letters and more

The library has over 500 archival collections documenting the people and organizations of the Greater Grand Rapids area. These collections include thousands and thousands of documents, hundreds of oral histories, and over one million photographs (and so much more!). Listed below are finding aids (or guides) for our archival collections. The finding aids provide information about each collection and an inventory of the contents. Our archival collections are constantly expanding as we receive new acquisitions and donations.

Finding Aids

Used to browse collections and request materials, findings aids are an important tool for exploring the archives. Organized by collection number, our finding aids are listed in the table below.

Looking for something specific or not sure where to look? You can also search and browse our collections here:


Collection Name

1 Nancy Mulnix Tweddale Papers
2 John S. Lawrence Papers
3 Loretta Ortt Papers
4 World Affairs Council Records
5 U.S. Army. 32nd Michigan Infantry Co. H. Papers
6 Paul I. Phillips Papers
7 Amasa B. Watson Post #395. Dept.of Michigan. Grand Army of the Republic Records
8 Russell Family Papers
9 Robert and Harold Woodcock
10 Henry H. Masten Papers
11 Louis Moran Papers
12 Reubey S.T. Ferris Recollections
13 Harlan P. Colby Recollections
14 Edward Comstock Corwin Papers
15 Friedrich Brothers Music House. Papers
16 John Sehler Papers
17 Widdicomb and John Widdicomb Companies Records
18 George E. Fitch Collection
19 Frank Lee DuMond Papers
20 Grand Rapids Federation of Women's Clubs Records
21 Curtis Riverboat Enterprises Records
22 Frank and Robert Cebelak Collection
23 Godfrey J. Anderson Manuscripts
24 Charles H. Bender. Correspondence
25 Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Manuscript
26 William Albert Johnson Collection
27 Howard F. Baxter and Robert T. Baxter Collection
28 Annie M. Leitch Papers
29 Grand Rapids Typographical Union no.39 Records
30 Grand Rapids Branch of the Needlework of America
31 Ryskamp Brothers, Inc. Records
32 East Side Ladies Literary Club Papers
33 Godfrey Anderson Collection
34 Kent County Health Department Records
35 Street Railway Weekly / Trolley Topics
36 Woman Magazine
37 Pere Marquette Railroad Co. Collection
38 Trades and Labor Council Labor Day. Programs
39 Michigan Cyclist
40 Cadette Everett Fitch. Collection
41 The Western Wheelman Collection
42 Thomas W. Porter Archaelogical & Grand Rapids Graphics
43 Morris Photo Collection
44 John Ball Papers
45 Kent County Family Life Council. Records
46 Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. Records
47 Grand Rapids Industrial Corporation. Records
48 Robert W. Irwin Company Records
49 William M. Glenn Papers
50 Grand Rapids Inter-Tribal Council Indian History Project Records
51 Grand Rapids Citizens League Papers
52 Ashbel Green & William Bond vs. The Chicago, Saginaw & Canada Railroad
53 Maurice La Claire Portraits
54 Grand Rapids Public Library Photo Collection
55 Spring Funeral Home Records
56 Kreigh Collins Collection
57 Ypsilanti Reed Furniture Co., The Ypsi-Doodler
58 Grand Rapids Chicks. Collection
59 James R. Hooper Photograph Collection
60 Ottawa Hills Elementary PTA. Records
61 Coffinberry family papers
62 Globe Knitting Works Photo Collection
63 J. Gerald Vinkemulder Collection
64 Crosby Family Papers
66 Guy Johnston Photo Collection
67 Grand Rapids City Welfare Department - Scrip Labor Collection
68 Grand Rapids Public Library Native American Photo Collection
69 Charles Vandervelde Photo Collection
70 Charles Merrill Photo Collection
71 Massey Family Photo Collection
72 Birdseye Veneer Company Photo Album
73 Camera Shop Photo Album
74 Brewer Family Papers
75 Thomas E. Walsh Papers
76 Grand Rapids Public Library Stereo Card Collection
77 Fannie Phipps Dautrich Post Card Collection
78 Grand Rapids Public Library Post Card Collection
79 Bos Leather Company Records
80 Ray Lewis Badgley Papers
81 Mary Free Bed Guild and Hospital Records
82 Grand Rapids Study Club Records
83 Old Residents Association of the Grand River Valley Records
84 Furniture Manufacturers Association Records
85 Sluman S. Bailey Papers
86 Grand Rapids Authors' Night Collection
87 Grand Rapids Public Library Cyanotype Collection
88 McGee Photograph Collection
89 Catherine (Kay) Swanlund Collection
90 John H. Schouten Photograph Collection
91 Grand Rapids Illustrated Collection
92 Mary Richmond Kendall Photograph Collection
93 Laura Lorenson Photograph Collection
94 Richmond Family Papers
95 R.C. Allen Corporation Records
96 Western Michigan Genealogical Society Church Records
97 Birdsall Funeral Home Records
98 Mercy Central School of Nursing Records
99 Kent County (MI) Original Survey Collection
100 City of Grand Rapids Photograph Collection
101 Dorothy Keister Collection
102 Duncan E. Littlefair Sermons
103 Grand Rapids Woman's Club Records
104 Dorothy Leonard Judd Papers
105 Grand Rapids Railway Co. / Grand Rapids Railroad Co. / Grand Rapids Motor Coach Co. Records of Ramona Park
106 Camp Lee Guard Reports
107 Ionia Funeral Home Records
108 339th Ambulance Company Collection
109 Grand Rapids Public Library Records/ GRPL Administrative Archives
110 Dorothy E. Hubbard Skinner Collection
111 Delbert W. Blumenshine Collection
112 George A. Miller Pictorials
113 Black History Exhibit Collection
114 Josephene (Josephine) Bender Collection
115 Harland Bartholomew Collection
116 Charles William Erickson Collection (Charles William Erickson Grand Rapids Veterinary College Collection)
117 Henry McConnell Collection
118 Grand Rapids Public Library Urban Renewal Pictorials
119 Lulu L. Cudney Papers
120 Lynn H. Clark Papers
121 Marguerite King Moran Collection
122 Ada, Michigan Glass Plate Negative Collection
123 Caroline P. Campbell Papers
124 Butterworth Hospital Records
125 Robinson Photographic Collection
126 Grattan Township Records
127 Grand Rapids Public Library Woman's Suffrage Collection
128 Stephen Deming. Stover Collection
129 Grand Rapids Rotary Club Records
130 Grand Rapids Academy of Medicine Collection
131 Grand Rapids Township Death Records
132 Kent County Bridges Collection
133 News Photographs Collection
134 Robert Veit Fire Department Photographs
135 Lee Family Collection
136 Thomas Glass Plate Negatives
137 Cannon Township Death Records
138 Pictorial History of Grand Rapids Collection
139 Grand Rapids (Michigan) Camera Club Collection
140 John A. Suchowolec Collection
141 Grand Rapids Historical Society Records
142 Michigan Authors Collection
143 Austin Automobile Co. Collection
144 Kent County Men in the Civil War Collection
145 Dr. Frank C. Kinsey World War I photographs
146 Sumner Merrill Wells, Jr. Papers
147 Mary Emily Schroeder Papers
148 Lawrence Maile Papers
149 Emily Deming Collection
150 Kilmer Family Collection
151 Kenneth C. Welch Collection
152 Munro Family Collection
153 Joan Van Malsen Collection
154 Bethuel Church Diary
155 Stegmier Family Collection
156 The Grand Rapids Area Humanities Council
157 Latzek Funeral Home Records
158 Helen Mae Meade Scrapbook
159 Aurey Strohpaul Negatives
160 Helen Earlene Risinger Collection (Beans)
161 Cultural Services Consolidation Committee Records
162 Grand Rapids Public Library Glass Plate Negative Collection
163 Kent County Council for Historic Preservation Oral History Collection
164 The Grand Rapids Public Library Oral History Collection
165 James Bayne Company Negatives
166 Grand Rapids Press Monday Guest Oral History Collection
167 Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council Oral History Collection
168 Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids Oral History Collection
169 Arthur W. Weber, Jr. Papers
170 Wolverine Brass Company Collection
171 John W. Champlin Correspondence
172 Swift Family Diaries
173 United States Army Weather School Collection
174 Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense. Grand Rapids Unit (Michigan). Records
175 Grand Rapids Public Library Video and Film Collection
176 Ralph B. Baldwin Papers
177 Michigan Department of Transportation Photos
178 Central High School Collection
179 Lipczynski Family Papers
180 Santa Claus Girls Collection
181 Francis Hall Collection
182 Norma L. Gillette Collection
183 James C. Craig Collection
184 Charles W. Darling Copy Photos
185 Grand Rapids Public Library Michigan Room Copy Photograph Collection
186 Edwin Pettis Family Papers
187 Loraine Pratt Immen Collection
188 Bridge Street House Registers
189 John W. Squier Collection
190 Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad Company Collection
191 Chicago & West Michigan Railway Co. Collection
192 Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Collection
193 Detroit, Lansing & Northern Railroad Co. Collection
194 Gordon Harrington Collection
195 Grand Rapids Jaycees Records
196 Michigan Central Railroad Company Collection
197 Grand Rapids Public Library Railroads Collection
198 Avery C. Gilleo Collection
199 Madeline Parker Groff Collection
200 Isaac Lewis Tower Correspondence
201 Old Third Michigan Association Collection
202 Harry P. Symes Pictorials and Advertising Collection
203 Thomas J. Majchrzak Collection
204 Grand Rapids Furniture Designers Association Records
205 Halden Adrion Collection
206 Baker Furniture Company Collection
207 Antrim Iron Company Records
208 George R. Perry Files
209 Western Michigan Navy Mothers' Club of America
210 Republican Party Home Front papers
211 M.C. Church Diaries
212 William F. Drueke Photos
213 Kent Base Ball Club Records. (baseball)
214 Campau Family Collection
215 Marie Cady Collection
216 Grand Rapids Public Library Ephemera Collection
217 Dora Spring Collection of Diaries, Letters and Photos
218 American Red Cross. Kent County Chapter
219 Samuel H. Ranck
220 Meyer Postcard Collection
221 Philip T. Catalano La Grande Vitesse Project Collection
222 William A. Seeley Grand Rapids & Michigan Graphics Collection
223 Kent County Library Tour
224 Grand Rapids Public Library Art & Graphics Collection
225 The Raymond Karl Sobota Furniture Design Collection
226 John Douglas Image (Slides) Collection
227 GRPL Laser & Computer Printer Images Collection
228 Frederick Stuart Church Art Collection
229 The Michigan One Room School House Records
230 Rooks Negative Collection
231 Marius Rooks City Hall Slide Collection
232 Grand Rapids Public Library Furniture Trade Catalogs Collection
233 Grand Rapids Public Library Furniture Industry Collection
234 Emily Latzek Jennings Family Photograph Collection
235 Grand Rapids Public Library Michigan & Grand Rapids Music Collection
236 Grand Rapids Festival, 1969-1980
237 Pitsch Co. (Capital City Wrecking Co.) Photograph Collection
238 Sterling Family Records
239 Grand Rapids Public Library Scrapbook Collection
240 Grand Rapids Public Library Map Collection
241 Grand Rapids Sampler
242 Civil War Documents Collection
243 Gerald R. Ford Photographs & Memorabilia Collection
244 Michigan Soldiers Reported in Civil War era newspapers (Carl Bajema)
245 Past Perfect Historic Preservation Collection
246 GRPL General Trade Catalog Collection
247 Vietnamese History Project (& Resettlement Collection)
248 Jim Winslow Collection
249 GRPL African American History Collection
250 James Keeney Photo Album, 1858
251 Kent Co. African American Baseball Collection (Jess Elsters)
252 Grand Rapids Neighborhood Associations Collection
253 Kay Clark Grand Rapids Dance Collection
254 Grand Rapids Buildings Collection.
255 Lawrence Jessup Furniture History Collection
256 Underground Newspapers, ca. 1970s
257 Peck Collection (including Murder)
258 City Renewed
259 GRPL Newspaper Collection
260 GRPL Womens' History Collection
261 Grand Rapids Playground Association/Recreation Association of Grand Rapids
262 Lydens "The Story of Grand Rapids" files
263 GRPL Small Manuscripts Collection
264 Making a Difference : outstanding women in Grand Rapids history
265 Clemetsen Glass & Film Negative Collection
266 Lucia Erins Latvian Americans of Grand Rapids Collection
267 Blodgett Memorial Medical Center School of Nursing Records …
268 Grand Rapids Century : 100 Years of Photographs : Exhibit (A Grand Century : online exhibit version)
269 Paul Collins art reference collection
270 Gathered at the River Collection
271 Grand Rapids Baseball
272 Grand Rapids : Past, Present & Future
273 Father Dennis Morrow Buildings Photos
274 Michigan & Grand Rapids Annual Reports Collection
275 Ladies Literary Club Collection
276 GRPL Furniture Design, Designers & Instructors Collection
277 Hellenic Horizons
278 GRPL Poets & Poetry Collection
279 Lucius Lyon Papers
280 GRPL Michigan Travel Literature Collection
281 GRPL General Michigan History Collection
282 William Alden Smith Collection
283 Woman's Christian Temperance Union Collection
284 St. Cecilia Society Records
285 GRPL Michigan & Grand Rapids Serials Collection
286 Perschbacher Real Estate Listing Cards
287 Betty Gibout Real Estate Listings Slip
288 Greater Grand Rapids Convention & Visitors Bureau
289 Greater Grand Rapids Area Publishers, Printers & Publishing Collection
290 GRPL African American Clippings Collection (Bajema)
291 Edward Gillis Growing Up in Old Lithuanian Town Papers & Photographs
292 Hispanic American Oral History Project [Calvin College Latin American History Oral History Project
293 Ketcham Family Papers
294 Lyman Parks Photos & Newspaper Clippings
295 Rix Robinson Collection
296 Arthur Ormsbee & the Graphic and Printing Industry Collection
297 Grand Rapids Press Collection at the Grand Rapids Public Library
298 William Bennett Collection
299 Eduard Adam Skendzel Polonian Historical Collection
299 Name Index to the Eduard Adam Skendzel Polonian Historical Collection
299X Eduard Adam Skendzel Churches Reference Collection
300 Capt. Charles Eugene Belknap Collection
301 Grand Rapids Historical Business, City, and Telephone Directories
302 Fannie Phillips Young Advertising Trade Card Collection
303 City of Grand Rapids. Records.
304 Gerald Elliott Michigan Authors Collection
305 YMCA Collection
306 DAR:Daughters of the American Revolution Collection
307 Grand Rapids Lesbian & Gay Organizations Project Collection
308 Helen Claytor Civil Rights Collection
309 Kent County, Mi. Records.
310 Grand Rapids in World War II, 1941-1946
311 Fountain Street Church Collection
312 Kiwanis Club of Grand Rapids
313 Meijer (Meyer) Postcard Collection
314 Michigan Lithographing Collection
316 Grand Rapids Schools Collection (includes yearbooks)
317 George Welsh Collection
318 Grand Rapids in World War I, 1914-1918
320 Record of Kent County Soldiers and Sailors in Service in the Great War [World War I
321 Latinos in Western Michigan Collection
322 Albert Builders Collection
323 Grand Rapids Public Library Fuji Pictography Photographic Prints Collection
324 GRPL Michigan and Grand Rapids Authors & Publications Collection
325 Grand Rapids Public Library Color Photo Collection
326 Milhaupt Dabakay Colorama Studio Collection
327 Marty Arnold Plank Road Collection
328 Michigan Woman and the Whooping Cough Vaccine Collection : Pearl Kendrick, Grace Eldering
329 Vandercook family papers
330 Henrietta DeLoof Collection, including Rapids Standard
331 Shakespeariana Club Collection
332 Jackson Davis Dillenback Collection
333 Grand Rapids Ski Club 
334 Mouw Family Papers
335 Grand Rapids Public Library Furniture Design Archival Collection, National Literature
336 Richard F. VanderVeen Papers
337 Grand Rapids Public Library Grand Rapids Symphony Collection
338 Grand Rapids Public Library Opera Grand Rapids Collection
339 Robert Raz and Alberta Massingill Oral History Collection
340 Hattem Family Collection
341 Seven Family Glass Plate Negative Collection
342 Ryerson Library Foundation / Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation Records
343 Heart and Soul: Grand Rapids Neighborhoods
344 May G. Quigley Collection of Library and Family Documents
345 Judge Stuart Hoffius Records of the Vandenberg Sculpture Committee Project
346 William Hill Photo Collection
347 Grand Rapids Public Library Religious and Philosophical Organizations Collection
348 Grand Rapids Teachers Club / Grand Rapids Kindergarten Primary Club (formerly the Grand Rapids Kindergarten Union)
349 Gary L. Hill Broadway Theatre Guild Stage Door Collection
350 Robert E. Haynes Magic Collection
351 Schubert Male Chorus of Grand Rapids, Michigan Collection Historical Records
352 Emma J. Cole Collection
353 The Arab American Community in Grand Rapids Collection
354 Arleigh C. Hitchcock Homestyle Center Collection
355 Poetry of Linda Nemec Foster Collection
356 Archives : Sampling the Past Collection, from the Grand Rapids Public Library exhibit, 2005-2006.
357 Orville Bulman Art References Collection
358 Grand Rapids Public Library Civil Rights Exhibit Collection: Our Voices Our Liberty
359 Thomas R. Wilson Digital Photographs of Grand Rapids, Michigan
360 The Clark Collection
361 Giacomo "Jack" Buzzitta Stow & Davis Furniture Design Collection
362 John Gelderloos Civil War Research Collections
363 Robert G. Nelson Grand Rapids and Michigan History Collection
364 Thomas R. and Debra C. Dilley Historical Collection
365 Ralph W. Demmon Art & Architecture Collection
366 Peninsular Club Collection
367 Grand Rapids and Nature Collection
369 Sharing Our Uncommon Legacy of Philanthropy:the SOUL Project
370 Community Voices Oral History Project
371 The Old Collection
372 Hero D. Bratt Grand Rapids Images Collection
373 John Ball Park Neighborhood Collection
374 Pantlind Family Records
375 Harry Wesslund Collection
376 Stocking School PTA Collection
377 Gordon Van Smith Postcard Collection
378 Dr. Eugene S. Browning Collection
379 Bricklayers' Union No. 1 Collection
380 GRATA Board Files Collection
381 Grand Rapids Mineral Society Records
382 Family Service Association Records Collection
383 Polish Heritage Society Collection
384 Peregrine Grand Rapids Collection
385 Women's Advertising Club
386 Ralph H. Childs/Grand Rapids Anti-tuberculosis Society
387 Schenck family papers
388 Thomas C. Mathieu, Sr. Papers
389 Metropolitan Grand Rapids Planning Association Minutes
390 Rosemary Scott Collection
391 Phoenix Furniture Company Folios
392 Roger Patterson Collection
393 Benjamin Baum records on the Grand Rapids Metropolitan Area Study
394 Charles W. Garfield papers
395 Questers, Inc. Chief Noonday Chapter #879 scrapbooks
396 Grand Rapids Press Arts and Entertainment Index scrapbooks
397 Hollyhock Lane Parade records
398 ArtPrize Collection
399 Robert Imhoff negatives
400 Van Hoecks Shoes scrapbooks
401 Eastgate Neighborhood Association records
402 Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids records
403 Kent Educational Associates
404 Herpolsheimer Department Store Employee Newsletters
405 Palmer School Building Story Slides
406 Tieri Slide Collection
407 Stolorow parking lot images
408 Tad Shaw Collection
409 GR Board of Ed. Census 1910
410 Rogers Family Papers
411 North Park Annexation Papers
412 Jaroslaw de Zielinski papers
413 Ukranian Society papers
414 Mary Meade Papers
415 Calvin College Great Migration oral histories
416 Grandville Star photographs
417 Waltz family collection
418 H. Kuizema & Son ledgers
419 Grand Rapids Sesquicentennial images
420 James Christensen collection
421 Dix family papers
422 Bertha Buchanan Fulbright Scrapbooks
423 Nellie Fuller Rice Boer Roberts Collection
424 Grand Rapids Railway Company Reorganization Collection
425 Aldrich and Ledyard Collection
426 Grand Army of the Republic Champlin Collection
427 Franklin Everett Collection
428 J. Boyd Pantlind Library Collection
429 Wurzburg/Arbaugh Department Store's Records
430 Sorosis Club Records
431 Pathways and Clearings Manuscript Collection
432 Butterworth Landfill Files
433 Crohon and Roden Company Records
434 Campau Centennial Celebration
435 Michigan State Highway Department Collection
436 Sara Kingsley Smith and Isaac Platt Powell Collection
437 Britton L. Gordon airport clippings
438 Breakfast Club Papers
439 Michigan Grange Papers
440 Don Farrant Great Lakes History Research Collection
441 Haskelite Papers and Smedley Family Photographs
442 William Ryland Slide Collection
443 Sundbeck Family Photos and Ephemera Collection
444 Harold Perschbacher Papers
445 Quimby Family Collection
446 Keeler Public Art Collection
447 Alice Loomis Papers
448 Vivian Brecken Ellis Collection
449 Gertrude P. Weaver Collection
450 Celebration on the Grand Collection
451 Henrie M. Sleeper Collection
452 Osterhouse Dance Studio Scrapbooks
453 St. Cecilia Music Society Records
454 Women's City Club Records
455 David G. Winter Papers
456 Mary Alice Williams Papers
457 Opera Grand Rapids Art Materials
458 New Hope Baptist Church records
459 The Baxter Laundry corporate records
460 Keeler Brass Company papers
461 International Association of Rebekah Assemblies materials
462 Blandford and De Korn family photographs
463 Robert B. Loomis diaries
465 Charles E. Wilde papers
466 Loren M. Page journal
467 Mayor John Logie papers
468 East Hills Council of Neighbors records
469 Kent Garden Club collection
470 Davis Family Letters
471 Beineman/McSorley World War II letters and papers
472 Alt family history and genealogy
473 Joseph Horner Family photographs
474 League of Women Voters of Grand Rapids collection
475 Evangeline M. Lamberts papers
476 Avery and Ford Gilleo photographs and letters
477 Grace Oakes Carling photographs
478 West Michigan Zines collection
479 Coffee Dunkers of America, Grand Rapids Chapter Records
480 Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council
481 Sanborn Fire Insurance maps
482 James Bronkema papers
484 Collection on labor and communist parties and activities in Grand Rapids
485 Maxine Sowerby genealogical collection
486 Judge Douglas Woodruff Hillman papers
487 Louise VanderVelden photo album
488 Carl Bajema Michigan History collection
489 Arthur Fayette Shaw papers
490 Latzek Family photographs
491 Dyer-Ives Foundation collection
492 Francis K Glew papers
493 Grand Rapids Casualties in WWII
494 Coit School tour material and slides
495 Fred H. Locke Papers collection
496 Native American History and education project
497 Wilson and Seydel family papers
498 The Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary
500 New River Free Press
502 The Higgins family papers
503 Effie M. Biever papers
504 Grandville-Jenison Congregational Church records
505 Burlingame United Church of Christ records
506 Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Grand Rapids Lodge 48, obituary cards
507 James M. Crosby family papers
508 Grand Rapids Round Table records
509 Glenn A. Barrett World War II collection
510 General Motors Manufacturing Progress records
511 Guardsman Products collection
512 First (Park) Congregational United Church in Christ Church records
513 Burgess Beverly Family Scrapbook
514 Alberta Massingill papers
515 Frydrych (Frederick) and Mroz family photographs
516 Partners for a Racism Free Community records
517 Haan family papers
518 Zane Studio photographs
519 Voigt Milling Company records
520 On the Town photographs
521 Alice Newport Rowe papers
522 Lincoln Republican Club
523 Watrous family papers
524 Judi Buchman Papers
525 Diary of Dr. James A. DeVore and Mary Adele Pressey DeVore
528 Ottokar Malek family papers


  • The Grand Rapids History Center collects, preserves, and shares the history of our community, through photographs, diaries, posters, maps and other records. You can research your house, your family, a business, or your neighborhood.

    Staff are ready to assist you with your research needs, whether it be finding material on our shelves, tips on where to start, or with navigating our archival collections. We’re here to help you explore at your own pace. You may drop in at any time, or you can contact us ahead of time with questions. If you’re traveling from out of town, we recommend that you check in with us before your visit (but it isn’t required).

    The Grand Rapids History Center is located on level four of the Main Library, and is open the same hours. 

    Please note that while covered beverages are allowed on other floors of the library, no food or beverages (including water) are permitted on level four.

  • Contact us with details of your research request. We’re happy to answer quick questions and provide suggestions for further research. Due to the time and staff resources involved in researching answers to local history, genealogy, and furniture questions, some fees apply to certain types of requests. We encourage researchers to come to our library to be assisted for free.

    Family history queries can also be submitted to the Western Michigan Genealogical Society research committee.

  • We love when people use and share images from our archives. Our digital collections were designed with sharing in mind and if you find content that you would like to download and share, you are welcome to do so. If you do, we ask that you please let people know that it came from the Grand Rapids Public Library, so others may find it as well.

    There are some fees that apply to scanning and using images. If the content is not available through our digital collections, there is a $5 processing fee per image. If you would like to include an image in a published book or use it for commercial purposes (such as selling a t-shirt or creating artwork for a restaurant or office), there is a use fee of $15 per image. For additional information and to order images, please visit our order form.

    There are also exceptions for content where the copyright is held by someone else. In those instances, you need to seek permission from the copyright holder. In our digital collections we use categories to share, to the best of our knowledge, if content is in the public domain or under copyright. 

  • You can search our finding aids here. When you arrive, you will fill out a request card for each folder or box. The request card asks for your name and contact information, and the location of the material you would like to view (usually a collection number, box number and folder number). You may have one box or five folders at your table at a time.  All materials are stored on-site. If you would like any guidance in searching or in preparing your requests, please contact us.  

  • We are always looking for items to tell the story of our community, from the recent past to the 1800s. If you have unique books, papers, letters, scrapbooks or photographs you think would contribute to this cause, please contact us.

    If you are interested in making a monetary donation, please contact the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation.

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