Michigan History (magazine)

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Michigan History
CategoriesState history magazine
First issue1917; 101 years ago (1917)
CountryUnited States
Based inLansing, Michigan, United States

Michigan History is a biomonthly state history magazine published by the Historical Society of Michigan in Lansing, Michigan. It was founded in 1917 as a “magazine of Michigan history for Michigan people by Michigan writers.” Since then, it has expanded into a full-color, 68-page international publication with a subscription base of over 20,000 and a total readership of nearly 100,000.

The magazine is published six times a year and offered either as an individual subscription or an enhancement to a membership with the Historical Society of Michigan.


Michigan History magazine traces its roots to the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, an annual, single-volume publication first published in 1874 by the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, now called the Historical Society of Michigan. With the publication of Volume 40 in 1916, the Pioneer Collections ceased production.

The following year, the Michigan Historical Commission, organized in 1913, and the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society introduced the quarterly publication Michigan History. Early issues contained essays on subjects in Michigan history, biographical sketches, state historical news, reports from county and local historical societies, and the activities of schools and clubs doing work in Michigan history. The magazine also included the plans and progresses of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society as well as the Michigan Historical Commission, which had been organized as a state government department of history and archives.

For the next sixty years, Michigan History served as a traditionally academic quarterly publication, continuing to offer scholarly essays, book reviews, and news items. In 1965, the Society ceased its involvement with the publication of the magazine, and in 1972, the newly created Division of Michigan History, a division of the Michigan Department of State, took over the magazine’s publication. This was done in conjunction with the Commission, which served as an advisory board to the Division. Under the State Department, the journal converted to a popular magazine format and became a bimonthly publication beginning in 1978. The Division of Michigan History was renamed the Michigan Historical Center in 1995 and transferred from the Department of State to the newly created Department of History, Arts, and Libraries in October 2001.

In July 2009, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm issued Executive Order 2009-36, which terminated the Department of History, Arts, and Libraries and directed that Michigan History be transferred to a nonprofit society or foundation. On October 1, 2009 the magazine moved to the Historical Society of Michigan, a non-governmental nonprofit—the same organization that had been involved in producing the publication from its founding through 1965. The Society, led by Executive Director Larry J. Wagenaar, then established the subsidiary Michigan History Magazine L3C. As former editorial staff did not move with the magazine, Patricia Majher was announced as Editor. Along with Assistant Editor Maria Taylor, Majher oversaw a major redesign of the magazine in January 2016, adding a variety of new features to appeal to millennial audiences as well as increase readability among older subscribers.

With Majher’s departure in May 2016, the Society organized its editorial staff into a new group that would oversee the organization’s three major magazines: Michigan History, Chronicle, and Michigan History for Kids. The current editorial staff of Michigan History includes Nancy Feldbush as Editor in Chief, Christopher N. Blaker as Managing Editor, Amy Wagenaar as Editorial Coordinator, and Maureen Beucking as Graphics Manager. HSM Executive Director Larry J. Wagenaar continues to serve as the magazine’s publisher. On July 1, 2016 the subsidiary Michigan History Magazine L3C was dissolved by the Society’s Board of Trustees and Michigan History was merged into the main operations of the Historical Society of Michigan.


Each issue of Michigan History provides readers with engaging stories about Michigan’s past, both known and unknown. Michigan’s rich diversity is often highlighted, as is the impact that the Great Lakes state has made on both national and international communities. Feature stories are typically authored by outside writers and historians who possess knowledge in Michigan’s social, cultural, political, economic, architectural, and institutional history.

Other special sections include news items involving Michigan societies, museums, and organizations; stories on consumer products made in Michigan; milestones of historical Michigan institutions; book reviews; happenings at the Historical Society of Michigan; travel destinations as featured in HSM’s Historic Michigan Travel Guide; and featured photography.

Managing Editors[edit]

  • George N. Fuller (1917–1946)
  • Lewis Beeson (1946-1965)
  • George S. May (1966)
  • Donald Chaput (1966-1971)
  • Martha Bigelow (1972-1973)
  • John Hoffman (1973-1975)
  • Timothy Walters (1975-1979)
  • Sandra S. Clark (1980-1988)
  • Roger L. Rosentreter (1988-2009)
  • Patricia Majher (2009-2016)
  • Nancy Feldbush (2016–present)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]