Ruth Braden McNamee Papers: 1964-1984
Summary Information
Title: Ruth Braden McNamee Papers
Creator: McNamee, Ruth Braden, 1921-
Inclusive dates: 1964-1984
Extent: 0.3 linear feet
Mayor of Birmingham, Michigan, 1970-1971, and Republican member of the Michigan House of Representatives, 1974-1984. Biographical material, speeches and articles, subject files relating to her public service activities, and photographs.
Call number: 88561 Aa 2
Language: The materials are in English.
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
Home Page:
Finding aid prepared by: Christopher Leonard

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was donated by Ruth Braden McNamee (donor no. 7179) in April 1985 and July 1986.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for 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:


Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

item, folder title, box no., Ruth Braden McNamee Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Ruth Braden McNamee was born in New York City in 1921. She attended Bucknell University, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1942 in political science and English. In 1946, she married William A. McNamee with whom she has two children.

McNamee served on the Birmingham (Michigan) city commission from 1965-1974. She was also mayor of Birmingham from 1970-1971. In 1974, McNamee was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives as a Republican representing the 64th district in Oakland County. She was re-elected to her seat in 1976, 1978, 1980, and 1982 but chose not to run in 1984. In addition, she has held positions as Oakland County supervisor (1968), member of S.E.M.C.O.G. (1969-1974), trustee of the Michigan Municipal League, and trustee of Bucknell University (1982-1987).

Highlights of her career include passage of Birmingham's fair housing ordinance, controlling the civil disturbance of August 1970, drafting a state law regulating transactions in precious metals, and casting the deciding vote in 1984 in the Michigan House against a US constitutional convention on the balanced budget issue.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The papers of Ruth Braden McNamee cover her career in politics from 1964 to 1984 and include four inches of material. Most of the material is from her service as mayor of Birmingham (1970-1971) and as a state representative from Oakland County (1974-1984). The papers have been divided into four series: Biographical/Personal, Speeches and articles, Birmingham city government, and Michigan house of representatives. There are also several photographs which remain with the papers in a separate folder at the end of the collection.

Most of the collection is made up of legislative newsletters, press releases, and speeches given by McNamee. In the last two series, there are also interesting files on: Birmingham's fair housing ordinance, the first passed by referendum in a white community in the country; the 1970 Birmingham-Detroit mayoral exchange between McNamee and Roman Gribbs; the August 1970 riot in Birmingham which led McNamee to declare a state of emergency, impose a dusk to dawn curfew, prohibit public gatherings, and contemplate requesting National Guard forces; the Precious Metals Recovery Act; her 1984 vote against a US constitutional convention; and correspondence with the Millikens, mostly Helen, on the Equal Rights Amendment.

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.

  • Birmingham (Mich.) -- Politics and government.
  • Discrimination in housing -- Michigan.
  • Women legislators -- Michigan.
  • Women mayors -- Michigan -- Birmingham.
  • Mayors -- Michigan -- Birmingham.
  • Legislators -- Michigan.
  • Photographs.
  • McNamee, Ruth Braden, 1921-
  • Michigan. Legislature. House of Representatives.
  • McNamee, Ruth Braden, 1921-
  • Michigan. Legislature. House of Representatives.
  • Milliken, William G., 1922-
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Biographical/Personal [series]
Box   1  
Vita and Overview Articles
Box   1  
Newspaper Articles 1964-1984
Box   1  
Awards and Honors
Box   1  
Campaign Materials
Box   1  
Political scrapbook containing correspondence and clippings 1965-1985 (photocopies)
Box   1  
Papers largely concerning religious views and politics 1965-1985

(correspondence, articles, etc.)

Speeches and Articles [series]
Box   1  
Birmingham city government [series]
Box   1  
Fair Housing Ordinance 1967-1968
Box   1  
Birmingham-Detroit Mayoral Exchange May 1970
Box   1  
Civil Disturbance (parks riot) August 1970

(clippings and correspondence)

Michigan House of Representatives [series]
Box   1  
Legislative Newsletters 1975-1981
Box   1  
Press Releases 1975-1984
Box   1  
Precious Metals Recovery Act 1981-1982
Box   1  
US Constitutional Convention 1984

(clippings and correspondence)

Box   1  
Milliken, William and Helen (correspondence and 1978 nomination speech) 1978-1983
Photographs [series]
Box   1  
Campaign photo and bill signing (with Governor William Milliken)