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Peter J. Schmitt Collection

Identifier: RH-A-469

Scope and Contents

This collection is composed of 2.0 cubic feet of documents and memorabilia belonging to Dr. Peter Schmitt (1936-2008). Many of it relates to his work on local history and his Popular Art and Architecture course which he taught for the Department of History at Western Michigan University where he worked from. The materials include many materials used in Dr. Schmitt’s many history classes at WMU, as well as content that he authored when he was a student himself in the 1960s. In addition to Dr. Schmitt’s own writing and created materials, the collection includes memorabilia on both Kalamazoo history and culture. While the focus of Dr. Schmitt’s studies is more local to Southwest Michigan, the geographic bandwidth of his knowledge extends well past the state’s borders to the entire country, and there are several elements of the collection that reflect that.

Also included with foldered documents are two (2) VHS tapes, a cassette tape, historical photos and postcards, Historic Home trading cards, negatives, and small notecards. These items are located in Box 4.


  • Creation: 1965 to 2008

Biographical / Historical

Peter J. Schmitt was born on July 10, 1936 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and passed away on August 7, 2008 in Kalamazoo, Michigan just four months after retiring from WMU after 43 years of teaching. Dr. Schmitt received both his Master’s degree and a Doctoral degree in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Schmitt published several books on Kalamazoo history and architecture, among other publications. He also aided in preserving historical homes in the 1970s as a consultant to the Kalamazoo City Commission and several local historical preservation committees.

Dr. Schmitt is best known at Western Michigan University for pioneering the WMU course HIST 315/3150, “Popular Art and Architecture in America” and the collection reflects the research and materials he used to teach it, as well as some assignments from past pupils.


2.0 Cubic Feet (Materials donated by Beverly Schmitt come to a total of 4 Boxes. The legacy materials total more than 9 boxes of materials. )

Language of Materials


Physical Description

The collection amounts to 2.0 cubic feet of written and print material previously owned by the late Dr. Peter J. Schmitt.

Peter J. Schmitt Collection Finding Aid
Brianna Jarczynski
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Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490