The Clarke Historical Library collects print and manuscript items regarding Michigan and the Old Northwest Territory. The Library’s holdings are extensive. Over 76,000 printed items, 3,570 manuscript collections, 11,000 reels of microfilm, 16,000 visual images, and 2,300 maps document all aspects of life in Michigan. In addition to this main area of concern, the Clarke Historical Library has also developed a variety of “special” collections. These include the Lucile Clarke Memorial Children’s Library, one of the finest collections of children’s literature in the country, the Class of 1967 Presidential Campaign Biographies collection, Native American material, the Central Michigan University archives, and the Wilbert Wright Collection of Africana and Afro-Americana. Because of the uniqueness of much of the material in the Clarke Historical Library, items in the Library are not available for circulation but must be consulted in the Clarke Historical Library’s reading room located in 142 Park Library. Hours of service are posted, but patrons may dial 774-3352 for Library hours or 774-3864 for reference assistance.
The Clarke Historical Library was established in 1954 with the gift of 1,575 volumes from Dr. Norman E. Clarke Sr., who received his bachelor’s degree from Central in 1920. In subsequent years Dr. Clarke Sr. supported the Library through the donation of a large number of books, the establishment of the Lucile M. Clarke Memorial Children’s Library, named in honor of his first wife, and the creation of an endowment to partially underwrite the Library’s ongoing needs. Dr. Clarke Sr. died in 1984 but his family continues to be actively engaged in the Library’s work.