Welcome to the Mitchell Research Center
The Friends of Mitchell Public Library was a volunteer group first organized to help with the 100th anniversary of library service in Hillsdale in 1979. In 1981, volunteers worked to organize and index the old records and newspapers that were housed on the 2nd floor in the "Louise Hawkes Historical Room". In July 1982, the "Friends of Mitchell Public Library", became a non-profit group to allow the acceptance of donations and gifts under the IRS and State laws. This organization became the "Friends of the Hillsdale Community Library" with the opening of the new library in 2003. The Friends of the Mitchell Research Center continues as the volunteer supporting organization for the Mitchell Home today.
The large collection found now at the Mitchell Research Center on Manning Street, was started by Librarian Louise Hawkes with basic history books from the Mitchell family library. She also researched and compiled data on Hillsdale's Civil War veterans, as well as on many area families. In 1983, a group of five charter members: Charlotte Benge, Arleen Elliott, Toni Keck, Vivian Tubbs, and Barbara McCreight organized the historical collection. In addition, other volunteers included: Earnestine Foust, Dorothy Wolf, Marguerite Burke, Jane Verdon, Edith Ash, Maxine Van Wormer, Janet Stevens, Marion Bates, Debbie and Tim Kirley, Clara Kahn, Dora Robinson, Roberta Lapp, Velma and J. Noble Carothers, Diane and Jack Armstrong, Faye Winters, and Elizabeth Hess.
Over the past 25 years, gifts have been donated by people living locally and from all parts of the U.S. The Friends purchased research projects, such as the cemetery books of the 1990's, time-saving indexes to county census records, and an accumulation of obituary notices published during this period have also been added.
The collection of county newspapers on microfilm is used by researchers every single day. This includes early Hillsdale papers and the Hillsdale Daily News. Many personal diaries and scrapbooks have been given to the collection, which provide a visual record of family life in each generation.
The vast collection of records is now stored on the 1st floor and includes family histories, school records, Hillsdale County collections, and much more. Volunteers continue to index, collect, and provide specialized genealogical research for a growing number of individuals across the United States who have "Hillsdale Roots".
On October 26, 2012, the Mitchell Research Center opened up a new collection of books donated by Hillsdale College graduate, John Pulver, Class of 1972. This collection of more than 5,000 books focuses on Michigan history and authors, including books from 1812 to the present day, in the newly renovated "Pulver Room". John Pulver also donated 2,500 additional books for the creation of a fiction section on the second floor of the research center. Come visit us and begin your genealogy search.
Compiled by: Claudia Mesarosh
1. Friends of Mitchell Research Center Celebrate 25 years, Hillsdale Daily News, March 22, 2004 by Charlotte Benge.
2. "Alumnus donates rare book collection",The Hillsdale Collegian, City News 11-1-2012, Evan Brune, Copy Editor.
Friends of the Mitchell Research Center Officers 2018:
Linda Sutton, President
Lori Zeiler, Vice President
Janis Reister, Treasurer
Melanie Shearman, Secretary
Janis Reister, Accession Chairperson