Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: American History

Revised 02/2024, by Michael Rodriguez

Purpose or Scope of Collection

A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic Needs:

This collection serves a wide variety of users. In pride of place are the Americanists in the History Department and their students. Next come the students in Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures. Students in a wide variety of projects also use the collection.

Faculty and graduate researchers in the History Department use the collection for all time periods with emphasis on the twentieth century. Scholars in the Comparative Black History Ph.D. Program and American Studies graduate students are also heavy users. Researchers in other disciplines make use of the collection when it intersects their interests.

As far as programmatic needs go, there are the graduate programs in History and American Studies as well as the research conducted by the MSU Museum.

Finally, there are a number of outside users: faculty from other institutions, local elementary/secondary teachers, history buffs, independent researchers, genealogists/family historians, and historical preservationists.

B. History of the Collection/Existing Strengths and Emphases

1. History:

Development of the collection to support graduate and advanced research began with the Hannah era after World War II. The Library was able to purchase substantial print resources that were available on the used book market. It also got in on the ground floor of the microfilming boom. We purchased a number of major sets of published materials as well as primary sources. Since the economic downturns beginning with the early 1970s, purchases became more focused and were related to current teaching and research needs. Beginning in the 1990s, electronic resources were added, following focused guidelines.

2. Existing Strengths:

Colonial Period, American Revolution, Early Republic, Civil War, Twentieth Century, African-American History, American Radicalism, Popular Culture, Radical Movements, Native American History, and Diplomatic History.

3. Current emphases:

Colonial Period/Atlantic World, American Revolution, Twentieth Century African-American History, Diplomatic History, American Radicalism, and Women, Native American History, Gender & Sexuality.