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Unfortunately, archival records of an individual are often a reflection of what is left rather than a complete collection of an individual's life and career. Several fires have prevented collections relating to Woodbridge Ferris from being saved. The first fire is the Ferris Institute fire of 1950, which burned 2 of the 3 existing campus building. A second fire, also from the 1950s occured at the State Archives. Finally in the late 1930s, the Ferris home was burned down.

Primary Sources

Most of the primary sources relating to Woodbridge N. Ferris are not available by checking out the published autobiography. Nor are they available full-text online. They are instead found in smaller pieces, in archives. Archives are a place or collection containing records, documents, or other materials of historical interest.

There are different ways to search the archival collections here at Ferris.

  • 1. The Woodbridge N. Ferris papers have a finding aid available. This provides a brief biographical sketch, description and a box/folder listing of papers with the collection.
  • 2. There are other smaller collections, and published materials which can be identified by searching the online catalog. Try using Ferris, Woodbridge or Woodbridge N. Ferris as a keyword search. This will also give you access to many of the Woodbridge N. Ferris photographs which have been scanned.
  • 3. Contact the University Archivist for further help on where to locate information or photographs not available online.

Two other archives in the state, the Bentley Historical Library and the State Archives of Michigan also have Woodbridge N. Ferris primary source materials. Below are box/folder lists of the relevant collections. The Bentley Historical Library also has additional records in other collections and in a biographical file. For access to these papers, please contact those repositories directly.

Contact: Melinda McMartin Isler, University Archivist
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