ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The University of Michigan's (U-M) Bentley Historical Library has received a gift from the Meijer Foundation of $1 million to endow the position of Principal Archivist for Bentley's iconic Michigan Historical Collections. The gift ensures that the library's resource will continue to be viable and accessible to the public.
"More than a century ago, the English barrister and author Augustine Birrell correctly observed that 'Libraries are not made; they grow,'" notes Fran Blouin, director of the Bentley for more than 30 years, "The Michigan Historical Collections are of enormous importance to scholars from around the world. Keeping this collection alive requires long-term and consistent funding that only a permanent endowment can provide, making it possible to protect, preserve and expand this superb collection in a responsible way."
Established by the U-M Board of Regents, the Bentley houses both the U-M Archives and the Michigan Historical Collections – the state's premier source for archival materials. Comprised of donated materials from more than 12,000 individuals and organizations, the Collections span a vast range of subjects; the public can explore everything from the Civil War diaries of Union soldiers to the papers of CBS correspondent Mike Wallace.
According to Hendrik (Hank) Meijer, co-chairman and CEO of Meijer, Inc. and long-time amateur historian, the gift was made in recognition of the fact that the Bentley offers a uniquely rich resource on the state of Michigan.
The gift from the Meijer Foundation also establishes the Johanna Meijer Magoon Principal Archivist, named in honor of the late company chairman Frederik Meijer's sister – a social activist and graduate from the U-M in 1939. Thomas Powers (AMLS '68), division head of the Michigan Historical will act as the first principal archivist.
"There is no way to adequately measure the significance of the Michigan Historical Collections," Meijer says. "The Meijer Foundation was established in 1990 to support organizations that make outstanding contributions in the realm of arts and culture as well as issues related to the environment and conservation. As someone who has used and benefited from the resources of the Bentley Library, I'm particularly gratified that the Meijer family is able to play a role in assuring the continued strength and vitality of this magnificent collection."
SOURCE University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library