The University Record, February 6, 1996

Bentley acquires papers of people who helped shape state

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

The "papers" from organizations and of men and women who helped shape the political, social and economic scene of Michigan and America recently have been added to the collections of the Bentley Historical Library.

Among the acquisitions are the papers of William Ford, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives. Ford served on the Post Office, Civil Service, Education and Labor committees. The retired congressman's papers include office files, political materials, speeches, photographs, staff files, videotapes and other documentation from his period of congressional service.

The Bentley received project files of internationally recognized architect Gunnar Birkerts, who was based in Birmingham, Mich. The files relate to three of Birkerts' building projects: the addition to the Law Library, the Ferguson House in Kalamazoo and the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, N.Y. The materials include drawings, specifications, correspondence, memoranda and photographic slides and prints. Birkerts is professor emeritus of architecture.

The papers of the late Walker Cisler, electrical utility executive and advocate of nuclear energy, have been added to the Bentley's collections. Extensive files of correspondence, photograph albums, speeches, and administrative files detailing Cisler's lifelong interest in electrical power production, the peaceful uses of atomic energy and his participation on various boards and professional organizations are in the acquisition.

Cisler was chairman of Detroit Edison and president of the Atomic Power Development Associates, an organization formed in the mid-1950s to do research on the technology specific to the building of nuclear power reactors. Cisler was instrumental in the building of the Fermi fast power reactor near Monroe.

The Cisler acquisition adds another dimension to the library's holdings on the subject of nuclear energy---with the addition of papers from nuclear power opponent Mary Sinclair and nuclear advocate Chihiro Kikuchi.

The Bentley Library now holds the papers of retired U.S. Sen. Donald Riegle. While these papers will be cataloged by the Bentley, the papers themselves will be housed at the Genesee Historical Collections at U-M-Flint. Flint is Riegle's hometown. The collection is important for researchers not only because of the senator's length of service, but also because of his position as a member of the Senate banking committee.

Other recent library acquisitions include:


The files of Lana Pollack, a member of the Michigan Senate. Pollack's papers contain her legislative work on behalf of environmental protection and women's issues, as well as her political campaigns, especially her bid for the 1994 Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate.


The papers of Otis Smith, donated by his family. Smith was a Regent and a Michigan Supreme Court justice. The collection includes an extensive number of his speeches and files from his work in many and varied public and private sector positions as well as materials relating to his work with the Michigan Public Service Commission.


The Michigan Organization of Human Rights, an organization concerned with the protection of rights and implementation of programs for the gay and lesbian community, added to its already established collection at the Bentley.


The family of the late William Frankena, professor of philosophy and noted scholar and writer on the subject of ethics, donated drafts of Frankena's writings, course materials and correspondence.