Michigan Imprints Inventory records: 1936-1941
Summary Information
Title: Michigan Imprints Inventory records
Creator: Michigan Historical Records Survey.
Inclusive dates: 1936-1941
Extent: 5 linear feet
Project of the Work Projects Administration in Michigan. Notes on books and pamphlets published in Michigan between 1796 and 1876.
Call number: 851852 Ca 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Leonard A. Coombs, September 1992

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The records were deposited in the Clements Library by the Michigan Historical Records Survey (donor no. 862) in 1942. They were later transferred to the Michigan Historical Collections.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.


Donor(s) have not transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Michigan Imprints Inventory records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


The Michigan Imprints Inventory is Michigan's portion of the American Imprints Inventory, a project of the Historical Records Survey of the 1930s and early 1940s. The American Imprints Inventory was begun in 1936 under the direction of Douglas McMurtrie, with the purpose of creating an inventory of early books, serials, and broadsides printed in the United States. The date limit for works to be inventoried varied initially from region to region, but was later revised to include all works printed before the end of 1876.

Historical Records Survey offices in each state conducted the inventory. The inventory was prepared by sending researchers to libraries, where they copied catalog records for all books, serials, and broadsides printed before the cutoff date. Descriptions were prepared in two formats. Works were first described following "Style B," which generally used standard library cataloging conventions. At the request of the national office, older works and works not appearing in standard bibliographies were later re-described, following "Style A," a form of rare book cataloging indicating line ends and ornaments, but not collations. The intent was to publish bibliographies of Style A descriptions for early imprints of each state and major city.

Inventory slips were sent by the state offices to the American Imprints Inventory office in Chicago, where a number of state and city bibliographies were edited and published. When McMurtrie resigned as director in 1941, the imprints inventory project ended at the national level. At that time, inventory slips were returned to the state Historical Records Survey offices in several states, including Michigan, for final editing and publication. The Style A descriptions were edited back to Style B, and the states published "preliminary checklists" covering the work done to that point.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The record group, a single series of records, is made up of three subseries as well as a number of smaller groupings of materials. The three subseries are Imprints by date; Imprints by city; and Imprints by checklist number. The smaller groupings include an inventory of state documents, 1851-1878; slips for works not included in the checklist, questionable and phantom imprints, and other problems; and some correspondence and project manuals.

Imprints by date, 1796-1860 (Boxes 1-2) includes inventory slips, most in Style B, arranged by date. Within each year, the slips are in random order.

Imprints by city, 1796-1876 (Boxes 2-4) includes inventory slips, most in Style B, arranged by city and within each city by date. Within each year, the slips are in random order.

Imprints by checklist number, 1796-1850 (Box 5) includes inventory slips for works listed in the published checklist, most in Style A, with editorial notes used in preparing the checklist.

The Michigan Historical Records Survey also published a checklist of New Mexico imprints, but it had been edited elsewhere and no records of this publication are found in the records of the Michigan Imprints Inventory.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • American imprints inventory.
  • Michigan -- Bibliography.
  • Michigan imprints inventory.
  • Publishers and publishing -- Michigan.
  • Michigan Historical Records Survey.
  • United States. Work Projects Administration.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Records of Imprints Inventory [series]
Imprints by date, 1796-1860
Box   1  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Serials by date 1844-1876
Box   2  
Miscellaneous slips

(includes slips for newspapers, blank forms, printers, problem items, etc.)

Imprints by city 1796-1876
Box   2  
Adrian-Ann Arbor (to 1871)
Box   3  
Ann Arbor (from 1872) - Lansing (to 1861
Box   4  
Lansing (from 1862) - Zeeland; and Michigan, no city
Box   5  
Imprints by checklist number, 1796-1850 (7 folders)
Box   5  
Questionable imprints, Published as Appendix
Box   5  
Questionable imprints, not published
Box   5  
State documents 1851-1878 (3 folders)
Box   5  
Miscellaneous imprints
Box   5  
Correspondence and notes regarding imprints
Box   5  
Manuals and instructions
Additional Descriptive Data


Publications of the Michigan Imprints Inventory

  1. Preliminary Check List of Michigan Imprints, 1796-1850 (Detroit: Michigan Historical Records Survey Project, 1942) [Bentley call number EX/5/H673/P924]
  2. Check List of New Mexico Imprints and Publications, 1784-1876 (Detroit: Michigan Historical Records Survey Project, 1942). [not part of Bentley Library holdings]

Catholic University masters' theses based upon American Imprints Inventory records housed at the Library of Congress

  1. Ruddon, Elaine Marie. "A Preliminary Checklist of Non-Official Imprints for the State of Michigan, 1851-1855" (1951) [not part of Bentley Library holdings]
  2. Sammons, Vivian O. "A Checklist of Michigan Statewide Imprints for the Years 1856-1858" (1966). [not part of Bentley Library holdings]
  3. Collins, Sara D. "A Check-List of Non-Official Michigan Imprints for the Years 1859 and 1860 with a Historical Introduction" (1966). [Bentley call number EX/5/C713/C514]