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Michigan-Ypsilanti Heritage Room

The Michigan-Ypsilanti Heritage Room is located on the second floor of YDL-Whittaker, near the Reference Desk, and is open whenever the library is open. The room offers a beautiful setting for you to learn about local history or explore your ancestry.

The room has a study table, two wing-back reading chairs, a computer with internet access, a DVD player, a microfilm reader, displays of featured collections, and a beautiful view of the woods behind the library. It is located near the Reference Desk where staff are available to help you find materials. The room is dedicated in honor of Miriam “Mimi” Chapman, a former YDL librarian who helped build this special collection.

The Collection

The Michigan-Ypsilanti Heritage Room includes books, maps, photographs, documents, pamphlets, and newspaper clippings related to the history of the State of Michigan and the Ypsilanti area. All materials in the Heritage Room collection must be used in the library only, but may be photocopied.

Browse a filtered list of Heritage Room materials »


Books, Maps, and Documents

The collection features books specific to local history. Some of the books and photographs have been in the library since the Ypsilanti Ladies Library was founded in 1868! Popular items in the print collection include:

  • City Directories dating back to 1913
  • Yearbooks from Ypsilanti, Willow Run, and Lincoln High Schools
  • Books about Ypsilanti’s history, including rare and out-of-print books


Ypsilanti’s local newspapers from 1864 to 2010 are archived on microfilm. A microfilm reader and printer is available. Vital records–births, deaths, and marriages–from the Ypsilanti Commercial (1864-1898) are also searchable online.

YDL Staff are not able to send out obituaries, and we do not maintain an active obituary file. The Ypsilanti Historical Society Archives may be able to assist with obituaries.

Oral Histories

A.P. Marshall Oral History Archive: YDL has digitized dozens of interviews with prominent African Americans collected by EMU Professor A.P. Marshall in the 1980s. They are available online at

Veterans History Project: The library is an active partner in the Veterans’ History Project started by the Library of Congress, and has collected interviews with the help of the Ypsilanti Rotary Club. Copies on DVD of interviews with local veterans available to watch in the Michigan/Ypsilanti Room. See a list of available interviews in our catalog. You may also go to the SE Michigan Veterans’ History Project page or to the Internet Archive page to listen to the interviews online.