The first history of Ann Arbor was published as a consequence of Ann Arbor's centennial celebration. Now dated and containing numerous factual errors, Orlando W. Stephenson's 1927 history does present some useful information about the development of the city.
There have been several popular histories of Ann Arbor. Because of its careful research particularly on the houses of the city, Lela Duff's Ann Arbor Yesterdays is of special value. Miss Duff has written also the best history of public education in the town, Pioneer School.
All the various Washtenaw County histories beginning with the 1881 volume contain information about the city of Ann Arbor and its citizens though they make no pretense of being comprehensive.
Concerning the founding of the town, the most definitive statement is Russell E. Bidlack, "John Allen and the Founding of Ann Arbor", Michigan Historical Collections Bulletin No. 12, 1962. Other articles and material relating to the history of Ann Arbor can be found in volumes of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections and Michigan History Magazine.
One of the most useful general sources of the history of the city is its newspapers. An excellent history of the earliest is Louis Doll, A History of Newspapers in Ann Arbor. Many files, complete or in part, have been preserved. The largest collection is in the Michigan Historical Collections; additional copies can be found in the Rare Book Room and the General Library of The University of Michigan. Further information can be found in the occasional publication of the Washtenaw Historical Society, Washtenaw Impressions, which is largely comprised of articles written by non-professional historians.
Indispensable for the study of the history of any city in Michigan are the census reports, both those conducted by the United States Government and those conducted by the State of Michigan in years ending in four. Some of the earliest manuscript census records for Ann Arbor are located in the Michigan Historical Collections. Other useful statistical sources are the Ann Arbor city directories, the first of which was issued in 1860. There is a wealth of information on all phases of Ann Arbor in a vast variety of publications including the histories of churches, organizations, business firms, promotional literature, and school publications. Official city publications, particularly the proceedings of council which have been published since 1891, are indispensable.
In addition to these published sources, the manuscript sources on the city are rich, beginning with a collection of John and Ann Allen's papers located in the Michigan Historical Collections. The Allen papers represent a small fraction of manuscript records on the city available in the Michigan Historical Collections/Bentley Historical Library. The personal papers of many of the mayors of the city, city council members, and other officials, plus the personal papers of many Ann Arborites, and the records of religious, reform, educational, business, and social organizations which played active roles in the city's history are also preserved in the Bentley Historical Library. Here too, can be found extensive collections of broadsides and ephemera on the city's history as well as the largest single source of photographs, a small sampling of which is reproduced in this volume.