Through the years 1942-1958 the University of Michigan Press published the four-volume Encyclopedic Survey of the University of Michigan. This extensive project sought to gather a full and accurate overview of the history of The University of Michigan, beginning with its conception in 1817. In the late 1960s, discussion in the Board of Regents centered upon the possibility of updating the Encyclopedic Survey. Regent William Cudlip, particularly, promoted the idea of establishing a committee whose purpose was to consider a new "Survey." The committee was chaired by Howard Peckham and consisted of Dr. Fred Hodges, Herbert W. Hildebrandt, Richard L. Kennedy, Marvin Niehuss, Erich A. Walter, Robert M. Warner, and Robert L. Williams. After some deliberation the committee concluded that it would attempt to publish a one-volume update of the Encyclopedic Survey roughly paralleling the previous volumes. The committee decided on the units to be covered and assigned a word limit for each article. Through the years, a number of these articles were received, but also many of the articles failed to materialize.
In 1974 focus of the project was transferred to the Bentley Historical Library, which houses the University archives. Because intervening years had brought substantial increases in the cost of publication, and also a decline of University funds available for the project, the decision was made to publish the articles in a more informal and limited fashion than was originally envisioned. The length of the articles also was reduced. The hope and expectation is that eventually the update can be published in a fashion similar to the original Survey. Since certain articles had not been received, the project was divided into two parts with one part to be issued in 1977 and the concluding section to be issued the following year. Because some articles included bibliographies and some did not, the editors decided to omit all bibliographies and instead include a bibliographical essay on sources for University history in the second volume. Reports of all the schools and colleges are included in this first volume with the exception of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Various administrative offices, particularly Page vithe Vice-President of Business and Finance, the Vice-President for Academic Affairs, and the administration of President Fleming will appear in the second volume. Also to be included in the second volume is a brief summary of recent construction on the campus.
Particular credit in preparing this volume and seeing it through to publication goes to Ferol Brinkman. Mrs. Brinkman has performed an enormous service in editing all of the manuscripts, both as to style as well as content. This assignment was difficult because of the wide variety of writing styles represented, content form, and missed deadlines. She mastered these problems, however, with great skill and effectiveness. It is the wish of the committee that the current volume and the one to follow will perform a useful service in preserving and making easily available an important section of the history of The University of Michigan.