Search Local: Willard Library (MI)

Search Local are posts covering the free digital collections available from libraries and archives in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. It is published twice monthly.

Do you have family who resided in Battle Creek, Michigan or the surrounding Calhoun County area? If so, you may discover photos of interest in the Willard Library’s Historical Images of Battle Creek, Michigan site, which hosts more than 17,000 photographic images and divided into searchable or browsable collections.

If you know a specific address of interest in Battle Creek, you will want to check out the “Battle Creek Homes & Buildings” collection. For example, you can see 351 North Avenue, the home 
Picture of home at 351 North Avenue in Battle Creek, MIwhere Edward Bassett, an accountant, and his wife, Lois, and three children lived. The “Homes & Buildings” collection contains 10,941 images of buildings, both commercial and residential, located within the official city limits of Battle Creek in 1940.

The “Dorothy Martich Black History Photo Archive,” is a compilation of more than 930 images, by local historians who chronicled the African American community in Battle Creek. Photos include individuals, families, and groups, such as church congregations, social societies, NAACP meetings, and much more.

The “Battle Creek Enquirer Historical Photos” is a collection of more than 300 images from the local newspaper, such as a series of photos taken 12 September 1943, that describe the intense training for the military police escort guards at Fort Custer in Battle Creek.

Other collections on the Willard Library site are “Historic Maps,” “Photographs from Battle Creek’s History,” “Stuart A Lassen Historical Battle Creek Postcard Collection,” “Willard Library Directors and Staff,” and a miscellaneous group of images called “Untitled.”

Local repositories often collect photographic images of the immediate and surrounding area, so be sure to check if your local library has free digital collections at their sites, just like the lucky researchers of Battle Creek, Michigan!
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