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The Detroit Public Library (all locations) will be closed tomorrow in observance of Good Friday.
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Special Collections

Burton Historical Collection

About the Collection

The Burton Historical Collection (BHC) of the Detroit Public Library began as the private library of Clarence Monroe Burton, a prominent attorney and Detroit historiographer. Mr. Burton’s original intention was to assemble a collection on the history of Detroit. Realizing that Detroit’s history was inextricably connected to that of Michigan and the Old Northwest, Canada and New France, he assembled a collection that is one of the most important private historical collections in the country.


Tuesday 12pm - 8pm
Wednesday12pm - 8pm
Thursday10am - 6pm
Friday10am - 6pm
Saturday10am - 6pm
Sunday1pm - 5pm

Discover the past

Explore Detroit history and your family roots at the Burton Historical Collection.

Our holdings include:

  • Books
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Newspapers
  • Photographs
  • Family histories
  • Church records
  • Military records
  • Obituaries
  • Land records

Digital Collections

Looking for an image?  Search the Digital Collections.


Conducting Research

Burton Historical Collection



Ancestry Library Edition

U.S. genealogical database that includes Census Records, Birth, Marriage and Death Records, City Directories and Military Records.

Only accessible from computers at Detroit Public Library locations. Access Now

Detroit Free Press (1831-1999)

Historical newspapers from the Detroit Free Press

Access Now

Digital Sanborn Maps

More than 660,000 digital maps charting the growth and development of over 12,000 American towns and cities, from 1867-1970.

Only accessible from computers at Detroit Public Library locations. Access Now

Local Genealogical Societies

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