Back during the Great Depression, the WPA undertook a number of projects for the purpose of giving work to the unemployed. One of these endeavors was an effort to identify the early products of the American press (called “imprints”). For Michigan, this involved attempting to account for nearly everything generated by set type across our two peninsulas prior to 1877*. The findings of this enterprise for the period 1796-1850 were released in 1942, with a plan to publish the the remainder of the bibliography soon thereafter. Unfortunately, World War II interrupted this schedule, and after the end of hostilities, interest in the exercise waned. The documents created by the study were put in storage and pretty much forgotten. Years later I found the WPA work slips for the unfinished portion of this project at an archive in Ann Arbor, and decided to try to complete Volume Two of the survey. After about three years of organizing the papers and entering data, the contents for the delayed companion work are in finished form. This fall–seventy years after its intended debut–the Michigan State University Library published the last volume of Michigan Imprints, 1851-1876.
*Maps were excluded from the scope of the inquiry, but they can be found in my Michigan volume of Checklist of Printed Maps of the Middle West to 1900.