We have two rare collections of materials covering aspects of the rich history of the Great Lakes region.

In 2003, these collections were donated by Jerry Walter, author of the “Ship’s Log” column in the Grand Haven Tribune from 1988-2001.

While many of the items in these collections are for in-library use only, SLDL will work with long-distance patrons to make the materials accessible when possible. Contact the Reference Desk for more information 616.846.5770 x104.

The Great Lakes Collection comprises approximately 700 titles covering topics as varied as histories of both port and inland towns, profiles of indigenous peoples and influential settlers who helped shape the Great Lakes area, histories of mining, the railroads, fishing, logging and trapping, Great Lakes ghost stories, examinations of the islands of the Great Lakes, information about bordering states and Canada, and the rise of big industrial companies such as Ford, Steelcase and Dow Chemical.

The Great Lakes Marine Collection is a comprehensive resource on the history of individual ships, port cities, ships’ personnel and trading companies, as well as navigation, shipping trends and the general history of the Great Lakes. Journals and directories of many organizations, including the Lake Carriers Association, the International Ship Masters’ Association, the Great Lakes Historical Society, the Marine Historical Society of Detroit, the Great Lakes Maritime Institute, and several maritime museums are available for historical research. Other publications in the collection include information on the Coast Guard, the U.S. Life Saving Service, lake ports and port cities, regional canals and locks, and navigation.

The collection also contains the entire Namesake series about Great Lakes ships by expert John Greenwood, as well as most of Greenwood’s and Michael Dills’ Lake Boats series. Vessels and port facilities are profiled in annual volumes of the Great Lakes “Red Book,” from 1937 to 1995.



View the Spring Lake District Library’s Great Lakes Collection Title List

View the Spring Lake District Library’s Great Lakes Marine Collection title list



Other Great Lakes Marine Resources: