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Russel Kirkhof papers

Identifier: RHC-05

Collection Description

The collection documents the personal life and career of Russel Kirkhof. Personal materials include correspondence, diaries, interviews, photographs, materials related to Kirkhof's relationship with Grand Valley, and the Kirkhof residence. Business records include patents, investments, personal correspondence, legal correspondence, tax records, business ledgers, real estate speculation, and philanthropy.


  • 1900-1979


Access to Materials

Collection is open for research use. Materials may be accessed by request at Special Collections and University Archives in Seidman House. Materials do not circulate.

Publication Rights

For information on copyright or permissions for this collection, contact Grand Valley State University Special Collections.


Russel Kirkhof (1896-1979) inventor, mechanic, businessman in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Kirkhof began his career as an errand boy in a small electrical repair shop in Grand Rapids, and completed that career as a multi-millionaire head of Kirkhof Manufacturing Corporation. At first, prospering in electrical repair, Kirkhof assured his business success when he invented the resistance welding transformer.

His company became the world's largest producer of the transformer, and the invention led to numerous applications to automate assembly lines where welding was used – especially the automotive industry. Kirkhof continued inventing until late in life. He re-invested his profits in stocks and real estate and became one of Grand Valley State Colleges' major donors. Kirkhof School of Nursing and the Kirkhof Center (formerly the Campus Center) were named after him. Kirkhof died in 1979.


25.27 Linear feet (3 cartons, 91 boxes, 6 map files)

Language of Materials



Arranged in 2 series: 1) Personal records, 2) Business records

Source of Acquisition

Acquired from Kirkhof family in 1982.

Russel Kirkhof papers, RHC-05
Special Collections & University Archives
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Grand Valley State University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Seidman House
1 Campus Drive
Allendale MI 49401 United States