Michigan State University

The Michigan Tradesman Collection

The Michigan Tradesman Collection includes 1,179 issues published between 1883 and 1906. The Michigan Tradesman is a rare and unique gem. This weekly, large-format publication covered late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century agricultural, trading, agribusiness, retail and banking news. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it covered not just the Wolverine State but events and issues of the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions.

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About the Collection

The first issue provides the following vision:

"Recognizing the fact that for several years the various branches of the wholesale trade of this city have felt the need of an authorized representative of their interests, and that the retail dealers who look to this market, for their supplies have felt the want of a reliable commercial guide, we are pleased to present to the business men of the northwest the first number of the Michigan Tradesman, a weekly journal, issued from the Grand Rapids market, paying particular attention to the wants of the patrons of this mercantile center, and yet being of such a general character that it will be of interest to all engaged in wholesale or retail traffic anywhere."

Now, more than 135 years later, the articles, prices, and market information will appeal to regional historians plus scholars of business growth and trade industries, to see how they developed and have impacted the national economy today. Additional aspects of interest are the time period for study of rural business practices, marketing and advertising methods, rural life, home and economics issues, agricultural trading history, and banking systems and practices.

Through its history to today, this publication has evolved and has changed its name numerous times. In January, 1973, the editor, Charles M. Cooper, changed the name to Michigan Banking and Business News. This change stemmed from a changing focus of the publication. In 1988 it changed to the name Michigan Banker, and in early 2016 to Great Lakes Banker.

Funding for digitization was generously provided by the USAIN, AgNIC, and CRL as part of Project Ceres.