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The Mechanics’ Institute Flyer

Identifier: RH-A-4314

Scope and Contents

This collection is composed of one flyer from The Mechanic’s Institute of Kalamazoo, dating from 1882.

The flyer details a series of lectures at the Mechanics’ Institute at Institute Hall located at N. Burdick St. Some topics are listed such as “Socrates,” “Epochs of National Life,” and “Gladstone.” Two additional lectures are listed (Spoken by Hon. Charles S. May and Edwin M. Irish, respectively) with subjects and dates to be announced. On the bottom margin of the page, tickets are listed as 50 cents for the entire course and 10 cents for single lectures. The tickets were available for sale at A. Vansickle’s, Woodham’s Music Store, Colman’s Drug Store, and by individual sale by members of the Institute. There is indistinguishable handwriting on the back of the flyer that appears to be written in graphite. Written upside down, as if on scratch paper, there are also math equations written in black ink. Overall, the flyer is in decent condition and encapsulated to prevent any further damage to the paper.


  • Creation: 1882


Biographical / Historical

The Mechanics’ Institute in Kalamazoo was established before the 1850’s as a way to bring citizens together through education. At this time, “Mechanics’ Institutes” had been widely established the Europe, as well as the British colonies in Australia. These Institutes were educational establishments for adults often including lending libraries, classes, and other educational events. According to the Mechanic’s Institute of San Francisco (est. 1854), “Mechanic” describes a “skilled maker of things, avid student of technology, a self-respecting yeoman eager to make his way in the world.” These qualities are exemplified in the lecture topics listed on the flyer, as well as in the roster of Reverends, pastors, and attorneys that represented examples of what a “successful” man might have looked like at the time. The Kalamazoo Gazette contains limited information on the Institute.


.5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased with funds from the Starring Endowment.

Physical Description

The collection amounts to 0.5 cubic feet and is composed of a singular flyer for The Mechanics’ Institute dating from 1882. The flyer itself is approximately 8” x 5.5” and is printed on very fine paper. The headers and body text are all printed in black ink in several different fonts. There is some brown discoloration along the edges of the paper, especially on the left side. The edges of the paper are also worn and there are creases from being folded.

Genre / Form

The Mechanics’ Institute Flyer finding aid
Stephanie Chapman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490