Burton Historical Collection

The Detroit Public Library in Detroit, Michigan, houses the Burton Historical Collection. The collection began after local attorney and historiographer Clarence Monroe Burton started collecting documents about Detroit’s history. Burton quickly realized that Detroit’s history is linked to the broader context of Michigan, Northwestern, and New French history, causing Burton to expand his collection into these areas. In 1915, Burton donated his private library, consisting of thousands of maps, manuscripts, books, land records, and family histories, to the Detroit Public Library. The Burton Historical Collection is one of the largest and most important private collections and is frequently used for historical research on Detroit, Michigan, and the Northwest.