Local History and Genealogy

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The Telegraph is Here!

We have some exciting new additions to report, beginning with our new Regional Publications & Images database! This new database will allow users to browse and perform online keyword searches of historic newspapers, photographs, and other Kalamazoo Public Library holdings that were previously only available as hard copy or on microfilm.

For starters, the database includes freshly digitized issues of the Kalamazoo Daily Telegraph from the years between 1868 and 1885, plus issues of the (weekly) Kalamazoo Saturday Telegraph from 1893 to 1899. And more issues of the Telegraph are being digitized “as we speak.” Additional publications (and eventually images) will be digitized and added to the database as resources allow.


The Kalamazoo Telegraph was published under varying ownership between 1844 and 1916. Somewhat of a mirror to the staunchly Democratic Gazette, the Kalamazoo Telegraph reflected local happenings from a Republican perspective, which can be a boon for researchers. Many times, the two competing papers offered strikingly different accounts of local events; from politics to sports, entertainment, and most everything else in between. An event that appeared rather insignificant in the pages of the Gazette might have received in-depth coverage by the Telegraph, and of course vice versa.

Learn more about the Kalamazoo Telegraph in a newly written essay, which is part of the State History Award-winning “All About Kalamazoo History” section of KPL’s website. And now, search issues of the historic Kalamazoo Telegraph newspaper in our new Regional Publications & Images database. Give it a try!

And as if that’s not exciting enough, yet another project coming down the pike will be a newly digitized version of the Grand Army Memorial Record, a book “designed expressly for Grand Army posts throughout the national department of the Grand Army of the Republic for the purpose of securing and perpetuating the military history of every Grand Army comrade.” Created in 1884, the book is a handwritten account of those who served in the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Michigan, Orcutt Post No. 79 at Kalamazoo. Once digitized, this book should be a welcome addition for family genealogists and Civil War historians. Watch for it soon!


Regional Publications & Images: 1868-1899

Crispus Attucks in American History and Memory

A runaway slave of African and Native American ancestry, Crispus Attucks was immortalized as the first casualty of the 1770 Boston Massacre. But who was Attucks anyway, and why would a fugitive dockworker be revered as a martyr and colonial American hero? Attucks’ story is shrouded in mystery and what is known about his background is more speculation than fact.

WMU associate professor Mitch Kachun has added Attucks’ story to his long list of research projects, hoping to help ensure what he describes as “Crispus Attucks’ place in American history and memory.”

Join us at the Oshtemo Branch Library on Tuesday evening, February 14th, 6 pm, as Dr. Kachun reveals his recent research on Attucks as he lays the groundwork for a major new book about one of America’s most well-known—yet virtually unknown folk heroes.


Mitch Kachun presents Crispus Attucks in American History and Memory