Friday, July 26, 2013

Historical Detroit Free Press Available at CMU

by Bryan Whitledge

The Clarke Historical Library and the Central Michigan University Libraries are pleased to announce that we now carry the historic Detroit Free Press. This database, provided by ProQuest, contains digitized copies of every issue of the Free Press published between May of 1831 and December of 1922 -- 90 years of Michigan history!

November 7, 1848, p. 2
With this source, researchers have the opportunity to search through various eras of Detroit's history -- from the territorial period and the early days of statehood, when Detroit was the capital city, to the rise of the auto industry. No longer does one need to comb through the hundreds of reels of Detroit Free Press microfilm that the Clarke holds looking for an article that may or may not exist. Rather, by typing in a keyword or two and going through a few simple mouse clicks, researchers can find all of the relevant articles in a matter of seconds.

One item of interest that Clarke staff have found is a campaign advertisement featured in the Election Day 1848 issue. This notice advertised for hometown hero Lewis Cass in his run for the Presidency against eventual winner Zachary Taylor of the Whig Party and Martin Van Buren of the Free Soil Party. 

October 9, 1909, p. 1
Another interesting story chronicles the first-ever meeting between two baseball legends during the 1909 World Series -- Triple Crown winner Ty Cobb of the Tigers and NL batting champion Honus Wagner of the Pirates .

October 11, 1908, p. 20
Or you can read a news story that captures the spirit of Detroit in the early twentieth century -- the tale of Henry Ford's 1357 mile journey in a Model-T Ford. This story appeared in the first months of the car's availability to consumers. To think that an 1908 automobile was averaging twenty miles per gallon! Stories like this caused the Model T's credibility to soar, making it one of the most popular vehicles of all-time.

June 23, 1893, p. 3
Finally, and maybe the favorite of the Clarke, Central Michigan made news in 1893 when the first graduating class of Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute was awarded their diplomas. From the very beginning, the Free Press has recognized the position Central has in higher education in Michigan.

This resource will be a valuable tool for researchers of Michigan history and much more. The historic Detroit Free Press is available on all Central Michigan University Libraries computers. Remote access to students, faculty, and staff is available by logging into the CMU Libraries databases with a Global ID and password. Follow this link for remote access anywhere in the world.