Local History & Genealogy
Clarence L. Miller Family Local History Room
Local History Room services are available to everyone, with or without a library card. History Room materials do not circulate, but photocopy machines and scanners are available.
Library staff will answer brief mail and telephone inquiries. To make a request, follow the instructions below. For questions requiring additional research, a list of persons who will do research for a fee is available.
Search Kalamazoo and Michigan history with The Kalamazoo Gazette Collection. Coverage from 1837 through current. For best results, staff encourages researchers to use this tool in combination with the library’s helpful Local Newspaper Index.
We are pleased to be able to offer three of Kalamazoo’s most important history books, published by the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission, in a digital format. Well-referenced, popular and successful, the books can be found in library, museum and personal collections in Kalamazoo and beyond. Enjoy!
Free access to Dr. William A. Decker, M.D.’s book, first published in 2007. The downloadable book explores nearly 150 years of the institution’s past–including the cultural context in which the facility was built. In 2009, the book was awarded a Notable Book Award from the Library of Michigan.
The O’Connor Fund for Historic Preservation was created in 2000 to help the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission (KHPC) support historic preservation activity in Kalamazoo. It was created by Pam O’Connor (who was a member of the KHPC at the time) and her husband Terry.
Looking for an obituary or article from a Kalamazoo newspaper but you live outside of West Michigan? Local History staff are here to help. Requests may be made through the website or by mail. Learn more…
KPL’s Local Information Database combines indexing of local newspapers, magazines, historical photos, and other Local History resources. Learn more…
New In Local History
The local history staff is thrilled to announce the addition of three databases to our offerings for genealogy research – HeritageQuest, Fold3, and Newspapers.com.
The History Room maintains an extensive collection of materials about all aspects of the history of Kalamazoo County, including businesses, institutions, buildings, and biographical and genealogical information about county residents. To a lesser extent, we also collect information about Michigan, and the areas from which Kalamazoo drew its original settlers.
Dig deep with the library’s award winning collection of articles about Kalamazoo’s important people and places, including local cemeteries, rural schools, houses, buildings, businesses and institutions.
Local History Room
The Local History Fund
The Clarence L. Miller Family Local History Fund was established in memory of Clarence L. Miller, his wife Frances Anna Miller, and their daughters Mary Frances and Katheryn, for the purpose of enhancing interest in historical documents of the county and in aiding in their preservation.
Mr. Miller, the second city manager of Kalamazoo, devoted the major portion of his life to service in city and county government. He was a descendant of the Reverend Leonard Slater, pioneer missionary to the Ottawa Indians in this area. Mrs. Miller was a church leader and businesswoman, Mary Frances a university professor, and Katheryn an artist and teacher.
The fund was dedicated in 1987, during the sesquicentennial celebration of Michigan’s statehood, by Mary Frances Miller Patton and her husband, Major General John S. Patton.