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Grand Rapids oral history collection

Identifier: RHC-23

Collection Description

The College of Arts and Sciences Oral History Project collection consists of materials created to document West Michigan local history. Collection includes taped and transcribed interviews with residents of Grand Rapids, Michigan; other West Michigan related oral history interviews; and tapes of topical radio shows produced by the University of Michigan based on these interviews. Interviews conducted primarily in the early 1970s of the children and grandchildren of many of the founders of Grand Rapids are the focus of this collection.


  • 1971-1977, 2010


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. Release forms are not available for these interviews. Duplicate copies cannot be made.

Adminstrative History

Grand Valley State College (GVSU) College of Arts and Sciences professor and local historian, Dr. John L. Tevebaugh, created the College of Arts and Sciences Oral History Project in 1974. With funding from the Dyer-Ives Foundation, the program was established to “develop a significant collection of oral resources that will supplement and complement the other primary and secondary materials for the history of Grand Rapids for the progressive era and the Ellis years, the depression decade and the Welsh years, and to accumulate oral resources pertaining to the history and development of Grand Valley State Colleges (GVSU).” The GVSU program continued the work of a Grand Rapids local oral history project begun in 1971 by John L. Hunting, director of the Dyer-Ives Foundation of interviews conducted by Robert Alt.

Between 1974 and 1977 John Tevebaugh, Lee Hutchins and others conducted interviews of Grand Rapids residents for the Grand Valley Oral History Project. Interviews of Grand Valley faculty, Lee J. Kaufman and William Baum were also conducted in 1974. The Oral History Project also transcribed tapes from the Dyer-Ives interviews.

As part of the preparations for the Sesquicentennial, the University of Michigan received a grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts to produce a radio series on WUOM/WVGR on Grand Rapids history. The series, entitled “Fitzgerald’s Prophecy,” was produced from segments of the Dyer-Ives and GVSU Oral History Project tapes and other supplementary materials created by the Fitzgerald project named for William Fitzgerald who in 1748 thought that Grand Rapids would become a home and city center to white settlers.


5.5 Linear feet (4 cartons and 1 box)

Language of Materials



Arranged in 4 series 1) Dyer-Ives Foundation interviews, 1971 and 1974-1975; 2) GVSC faculty interviews; 3) Oral history project files; 4) Fitzgerald Prophesy collection

Source of Acquisition

Acquired from John Tevebaugh in 1988.

Alternative Format

Digitized audiotaped interviews and transcripts are available electronically in our Digital Collection.

Related Materials

Kent County Council for Historic Preservation, Oral History Project Collection #163 at the Grand Rapids Public Library History Room; Grand Valley State Colleges Oral History Project 1976-1977 at the Bentley Historical Library.

Grand Rapids oral history collection, RHC-23
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