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About the AADL Archives

The AADL Archives exists to preserve and digitize the history of the Ann Arbor area.  Collections are stored in a climate-controlled facility that is not open to the general public.  AADL Archives staff work both to prevent the deterioration of these collections and to scan, index, and make available materials on the open web.  

The Archives’ primary collection is the Ann Arbor News collection, which includes clippings files covering 125,000 topics, 800,000 pages of newspapers in bound volumes, and 1.7 million photographic negatives.  Other significant collections include a collection of 19th-century newspapers, an additional 70 bound volumes; the Wystan Stevens collection, a collection of 45,000 photographic slides taken in Ann Arbor in the late 1970s; the Jeff Lamb collection, a set of digital and print images; collections of documents related to local government including historical board meeting minutes of city council, AAPS board of education, AATA, and the Downtown Development Authority; yearbooks from local high schools, middle schools, and colleges; city directories and phone books; and a monograph collection including local history reference materials created over the last 125 years.

In addition to housing these collections, the AADL Archives provides reference services to anyone seeking information about the local area.  Archives staff combine deep knowledge of local history and genealogy topics and resources with decades of general reference experience to answer questions large and small.  Digitization efforts are driven by these questions from the public.  In its decade of existence, the AADL Archives has digitized over 375,000 articles, 115,000 photos, and numerous historical documents.  Questions of any kind can be sent to the Archives staff at oldnews@aadl.org

Some of the material presented on aadl.org reflects outdated cultural attitudes.  This material can be offensive to those reading it today.  It is the position of the AADL Archives that only an unfiltered view of the past truly educates us about the history of our community, and as such we attempt whenever possible to present historical materials in their original forms in order to preserve their context.  The AADL Archives also addresses historical misrepresentation and omission through a number of initiatives to record the histories of local communities that were often left undocumented or were documented through the lens of their time; an attempt is made in all cases to record those histories via the voices of those communities.


Contribute to the Archives

The AADL Archives is always seeking to expand its holdings of local history materials.  We are also interested in building the community collection by digitizing materials that remain in private hands.  If you have materials to offer to the AADL Archives—whether one map or photograph or flier or an entire collection of newspapers or books—you can contact the Archives staff at oldnews@aadl.org.  

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