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Michigan State University

Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections: Research Guide & Digitized Volumes: Home

What Is The MPHC and Why It Is Valuable

"The content of this forty volume history series, though uneven in quality, includes valuable material. Every teacher of Michigan history will testify to its usefulness. Even the less scholarly contributions consitute important evidence of what a generation of pioneers regarded as significant in their history. Source: " Lewis G. Vander Velde, "The Michigan Historical Commission: 1913-1963," Michigan History Vol. 48, no. 2 (June 1964): 98.


"The first seven volumes contains very little documentary material, but are made up almost entirely of pioneer reminiscences, biographical sketches and memorials, and the proceedings of the local pioneer societies...In 1886 a new departure was begun by the publication of a considerable body of documents." Source:  George Newman Fuller, "A Sketch of Historical Societies in Michigan," Michigan Historical Commission. Bulletin No. 3 (May 1914): 12-13.


"The Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections (MPHC) are an important but often overlooked Native American resource. Produced from materials presented at the annual meetings of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, the collections contain a high quantity of primary resources and historical papers concerning many aspects of Michigan's past.

"The MPHC consists of forty 600 to 700 page volumes. Each volume includes letters, speeches, memorial reports, private and professional papers of individuals, as well as personal remembrances and historical essays. The bulk of these materials span a period of roughly two hundred years, from 1650 to 1850. However, these dates are not entirely inclusive. For example, the collections contain essays written about Michigan's ancient burial mounds as well as documents from the civil war era. It is also important to note that while most of the MPHC concerns the events and people of Michigan's past, materials pertaining to other parts of the mid-west are included as well." Source: Clarke Historical Library "Native American Material in the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections" (accessed Oct. 28, 2009)



Publication History

  • 1876-1886 (Volumes 1- 9): Pioneer Collections. Lansing : Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan.
  • 1886-1912 (Volumes 10-38): Historical Collections. Lansing : Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society.
  • 1915-1929 (Volumes 39-40): Michigan Historical Collections. Lansing : Michigan Historical Commission.


Note: This publication NEVER had the title of Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, but it is commonly used to describe the entire collection.