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Detroit Board of Education Detroit Public Schools Records

Identifier: WSR000681
The Detroit Board of Education/Detroit Public Schools Collection documents the administration, fiscal operation, personnel, publications, activities, programs and services of the Detroit schools. To a lesser degree it documents professional organizations and citizens committees concerned with the Detroit schools. There is considerable information on personnel including the military records of Detroit schoolmen (1900-1953), the Employees Retirement System (1949-1958) and the election of Social Security to supplement the retirement system. Other well documented subjects include: student enrollment, Department of Special Education (1940-1956), Citizens Advisory Committee on School Needs (1957,1958) school millage campaign (1959), and Central High School and its students, (1911-1927). Board/Schools publications (Detroit Educational Bulletin. 1918-1935. Detroit Schools, 1945-1968, and Detroit School Life. 1965-1967) and the Detroit Teachers Association publications (D.T.A. News and Detroit Educational News. 1934-1944) also cover these subjects as well as many others.

Information on any given subject may be scattered through out the collection. Series III, for example, is designated "Personnel." There is also, however, information on personnel in the Board proceedings and annual reports of the Board and Superintendents in Series I, in Budgets of Series II, in monthly statistical reports in Series IV, in Department of Special Education annual reports in Series V, in various reports and catalogs in Series VI, and in directories and publications of Series VIII. The researcher should, in general, read all the series descriptions and, in particular, the detailed descriptions of specific material found throughout the collection.
Important Subjects: Adult Education, 1931-46 Art Education, 1875, 1937, 1952 Athletics, 1904-27, 1955-56 Blind and Sight Conservation Classes/Students, 1922-56 Boytown Camp, 1936-44 Budget, School, 1928-65 Buildings, School, 1860-1976 Central High School, 1896-1927,1950, 1952 The Centralite, 1911-27, 1950, 1952 Child Care Services, 1937,1943-46 Citizens Advisory Committee on School Needs, 1957,1958 Citizens For Schools (1959 millage campaign) Citizenship Education Study, 1948-50 Civil Defense, School, 1956 College of the City of Detroit Curriculum, 1860-1952 Deaf Students/Classes, 1925-56 Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery Detroit Educational Bulletin, 1918-35 Detroit Educational News, 1934-44 Detroit High School Detroit Junior College Detroit Normal School Detroit School Life. 1965-67 Detroit Schoolmen's Club, 1938-63 Detroit Schools, 1945-68 Detroit Teachers Association, 1930-44 Detroit Teachers College P. T. A. News. 1933-34 Eastern High School, 1896-1903, 1917-18 Employees Retirement Fund, 1939-45 Employees Retriement System Enrollment, Student, 1860-1976 Epileptic Students, 1937-56 Foreign Born Children, 1948-56 Glandular Clinic, 1940-56 Health Education, 1922-52 High Schools, 1896-1968 Junior High Schools, 1920-66 Kindergarten, 1897-1966 Leland School for Crippled Children, 1922, 1925,1954 Libraries, School, 1886-1962 Mackenzie, David Metropolitan Schoolmen's Club, 1967-80 Metzner, Alice B. Millage Campaign, School, 1959 Moore School for Boys Music Education, 1922-52 Nursery and Extended School Services, 1943-46 Open Air Schools, 1920-66 Osborn, Laura Freele, 1955 Personnel, Academic, 1860-1976 Personnel, Non-academic, 1940-54 Psychological Clinic, 1922-47 Retirement Salaries, 1875-1966 School Millage Campaign, 1959 Sick Leave Regulations, 1949 "Socially Maladjusted" Children, 1950-55 Social Security, 1951-56 Special Education Classes/Department/Students, 1922-66 Speech Correction Education, 1922-56 The Student, 1904-21 Student Activities, 1904-27, 1950, 1952 Teachers' Retirement Fund, 1906-39 Textbooks, 1860-1944 Traffic Accidents/Safety, 1920-66 Ungraded Schools, 1920-66 Veterans, 1900-53 Vocational Education, 1920-66 Wayne University, 1933-56 World War I World War II
Series Description: Series I, Administration, 1860-1976: Mainly bound proceedings, minutes and annual reports of the Board of Education, superintendents and principals as well as administrative handbooks, directories and by-laws. Subjects in the annual reports vary throughout the years. Some of the topics included are: list and description of buildings and valuation of real estate and buildings, course of study outlines by grades, marital status and age distribution of personnel, and traffic accidents by age of child and cause. Many of the reports are indexed and many contain photographs.

Series II, Fiscal, 1928-29 to 1964-65: Submitted and approved budget and cost reports (annual financial reports) for the Board of Education/Public Schools as well as several building budgets (proposed projects for the building program) are in this series.

Series III, Personnel, 1900-1963-64: Reports, memos, minutes, and publications relating to personnel, salaries, employees retirement system, Social Security election, sick leave regulations, rating and promoting of teachers and military records of Detroit schoolmen for1900-1953. The issue of electing Social Security to supplement the retirement system is particularly well documented.

Series IV, Publications, Conferences and Reports, 1875-1967: Material in this series was published or sponsored by the Detroit Board of Education and/or Detroit Public Schools. There are serials (Detroit Educational Bulletin.1918-1935; Detroit Schools, 1945-1968: and Detroit School Life, 1965-67), textbooks, and other publications descriptive of the activities, programs and services of the schools. There are also publications from The Citizenship Education Study (1945-50). Included in reports are: monthly statistical reports and summary sheets (1875,1886,1894-1905), analysis of monthly (student)membership (1936-42,1948-53),and a report of the Nursery and Extended School Services, a World War II Board project "designed to free mothers to work in war industries."

Series V, Special Education, 1922-1956-57: Essays, publications, correspondence, and annual reports relating to the Department of Special Education, Boytown Camp and the Moore School for Boys. The department was responsible for handicapped, foreign and "socially maladjusted" children. The Boytown Camp (1936-1944) was for problem and underprivileged boys.

Series VI, Schools, 1871-1968: Radiobroadcast scripts, reports, catalogs, programs, high school yearbooks and magazines, a scrapbook and eighth grade graduation essays, relating to schools within the Detroit Public Schools System, in particular Detroit, Central, and Eastern high schools and the Fairbank sand Houghton schools. "Honor The Name" was a series of radio broadcasts(1948-1956) saluting individuals in whose honor Detroit's schools were named.

Series VII, Citizens Committees, c. 1880s-1890s, 1957-1959: Minutes, reports, correspondence and publications of the Citizens Advisory Committee on School Needs (1957,1958) and the Citizens for Schools, a group promoting a 1959 school millage campaign. There is also a bill proposed for the government of the Detroit Public Schools by a Citizens' Educational Committee (c. 1880s-1890s).

Series VIII, Organizations and Miscellaneous, 1875-1980: Publications, programs, directories, and serials which pertain to the Detroit Public School System, school personnel, and professional organizations. With the exception of five miscellaneous items, all material is published by professional organizations. The series includes the D.T.A. News and the Detroit Educational News(1934-1944), official publications of the Detroit Teachers Association.

Oversize material; Boxes 92,112-116, 122,123


  • 1869 - 1980
  • Majority of material found within 1920 - 1965


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


61.5 Linear Feet (123 MB)


The Detroit Board of Education/Detroit Public Schools Collection documents the administration, fiscal operation, personnel, publications, activities, programs and services of Detroit schools. To a lesser degree it documents professional organizations and citizens committees concerned with the Detroit Schools.


Prior to 1956 Wayne State University was a municipal university governed by the Detroit Board of Education. In 1956 it became a state institution. Information on Wayne State University and its antecedent colleges such as the Detroit Normal School and the Detroit Junior College is found throughout much of the collection.


Arranged in 8 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-68), Series 2 (Boxes 69-77), Series 3 (Boxes 77-84), Series 4 (Boxes 85-94), Series 5 (Boxes 94-98), Series 6 (Boxes 99-116), Series 7 (Boxes 117-120), and Series 8 (Boxes 120-123). Folders are arranged chronologically.


Initial deposits of Board/Schools material by the Assistant Superintendent of Schools to the University Archives began in 1958 and continued through the early 1970s. The bulk of the deposits were bound proceedings, minutes, annual reports, budgets, directories, and publications. Over the years the University Archive received similar material from a variety of sources resulting in duplication. At the same time, items in the Board/Schools material were missing from the University Archives material and vice versa. The two groups of material were integrated to complete chronological "runs" of material, eliminate duplication and allow ease of access for researchers.

Related Materials

Detroit Board of Education Proceedings


Six photographs of the Fairbanks School were placed the Archives Audiovisual Collections. Photocopies of the photographs are in box 112, folder 2.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in February 1991.
Guide to the Detroit Board of Education Detroit Public Schools Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA