Grand Rapids Oral Histories

Perkins, Mabel

Mabel Perkins was born on July 26, 1880. She received her B.A. degree from Vassar about 1900. Her mother is considered the founder of the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Miss Perkins was President of the Art Museum which remained her chief interest all her…
Bender, Josephine

Josephine Bender was born on April 17, 1894 in Grand Rapids. She graduated from Vassar College and was a member of the Grand Rapids Boat and Canoe Club. She died on March 26, 1996.
Whinery, Katherine

Katherine Pantlind was the granddaughter of J. Boyd Pantlind, founder of the Pantlind Hotel. She married George Whinery in 1931. She is a prominent member of the Kent County G.O.P. Mrs. Whinery died December 29, 1998.
Judd, Dorothy

Dorothy Leonard was born in 1898 in Grand Rapids. She studied economics and political science at Vassar College and had an interest in city government. Her grandfather, Charles H. Leonard, was the inventor of the refrigerator. Mrs. Judd was the…
Blake, Dorothy

Miss Blake was a Radcliffe graduate and taught school at Union High School for 34 years. Miss Blake met both Woodrow Wilson and Howard Taft at the Lady's Literary Club. She also worked in the 1912 National campaign for women's suffrage movement.
Idema, Chester

Chester Idema was born on August 18, 1886 in Grand Rapids. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1909. He worked at the Elliot Machine Co. in Pennsylvania. In 1913, he married Marion Mead. During WWI, Mr. Idema enlisted in the military. …
Cary, John

John Cary was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on October 2, 1897.
Judd, Siegel

Siegel Judd was born Siegel Wright; after his parents died, his father's sister and her husband adopted him. Mr. Judd attended Dartmouth College and served in the navy during WWI. He married Dorothy Leonard in 1898. He went to law school,…
Warner, Mary

Mary Shelly was born in Grand Rapids in 1888. She married David Warner in 1908. She became involved in the women's suffrage movement, was a leader in the Woman's City Club and a member of the Washtenaw Club and the Kent Country Club. She was also…
Ainsworth, C. Bennett

C. Bennett Ainsworth was born in Grand Rapids on December 3, 1890. He graduated from Central High School in 1910, and attended the University of Michigan. He was the owner of Bennett Fuel Co. He died October 7, 1974.
Davis, Robert

Robert Davis worked as an engineer for Westinghouse and was a professor of engineering. Mr. Davis had degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Michigan. He was active in the public schools and was a local…
Blodgett, John W.

John W. (Jack) Blodgett was born on May 24, 1901 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to continuing the lumbering business of his father, he was a banker. John married Minnie Cumnock in 1895. Apart from the Blodgett Memorial Hospital in East…

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Grand Rapids Oral Histories




Taped and transcribed interviews conducted in the early 1970s primarily of the children and grandchildren of many of the founders of Grand Rapids, Michigan; many of whom were residents of the Heritage Hill neighborhood. Interviews were collected to develop a significant collection of oral resources that would supplement other primary and secondary local history materials. Initially funded as a private project, Grand Valley State College (now University) assumed responsibility for continuing the project until 1977.


1971 - 1977



Heritage Hill (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Local histories
Oral histories (document genre)


Grand Valley State University. University Libraries. Special Collections & University Archives




application/pdf; audio/mp3


Text; Sound