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Michigan State University

Lansing History Resources: MSUL Resources

Online Mega-Resources

Resources for study of Lansing history at MSU Libraries:

  • County Histories and Atlases (especially for a digitized copy of:
    Lansing, the capital of Michigan: its advantages, natural and acquired, as a center of trade and manufactures, showing how it is to become the commercial and financial, as well as the political capital of a great state (1873). Also use keyword search for Lansing or Subject search for INGHAM: Cowles' Past and present of the city of Lansing and Ingham county... is a "standard" text for early Lansing history.
  • Newspapers:    

         America's Historical Newspapers (a database of full-text content) has the full run of several Michigan newspapers from the 19th and early 20th centuries) and The Detroit Free Press is available from ProQuest (from 1831 to 1922). The Lansing State Journal is available in microfilm back to 1980 on 2E. ***For a complete run of the LSJ (back to 1879) researchers use must the microfilm at downtown Capital Area District Library (CADL).***

  • Planning Documents: Search using Advanced search Subject:

City Planning-- Michigan-- Lansing

  • Polk Directories (Lansing City Directories): MSUL has 1896-1941 in Special Collections and editions after 1941 are in the stacks, on 3 East
  • Sanborn Maps (1867-1970): Very detailed information on growth of the city, especially if used in coordination with Polk Directories for history and use of commercial real estate in Lansing.
  • Lansing Auto Town Gallery: A digitized collection of oral histories from workers of the Fisher Body and Diamond REO assembly plants.


For scholarship written about Lansing History see:

  • America: History & Life (index for scholarship about history and culture of the U.S. and Canada published after 1910). 

Subject Guide

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