Philippine American History

The Philippine History special collection reflects the United States determination to enact its full aspiration of becoming a world power through the acquisition of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. The collection has a particular emphasis on the period between 1898 and 1915 and also holds considerable materials related to the University of Michigan's direct involvement with the Philippines via scientific investigations. The collection has grown to include Americans living and interacting with Filipinos both in the Philippines and the United States through the 1950s.  

Due to the limited quantity of original primary sources by Filipinos, the collection overwhelmingly contains writings by Americans. These writings address a surprisingly wide number of topics.

Anchoring the collection are the personal papers, photos, postcards, diaries, and governmental papers of Dean Conant Worcester (1866-1924). It is enriched by other collections including papers and photos of missionaries and soldiers, as well as Anti-Imperialists correspondence. The private papers of H.H. Bartlett, Tiffany Barnard Williams, Luke Wright, and Harry Dey are also found in this collection.

The collection is housed in the Special Collections Research Center and also consists of published works and maps related to the Philippines during this period.

Important related collections 

Beyond this special collection, the Philippines are also represented in our Southeast Asia collections

Our holdings are complemented by collections held by the Bentley Historical Library and the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology.

History of the collection

Dean Conant Worcester was a U-M assistant professor of zoology and curator of the Museum of Zoology. He served as a member of the United States Philippine Commission and secretary of the interior for the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands. Worcester donated his extensive collection of material related to Philippine history to the University of Michigan in 1914. In mid 1980s the Worcester family papers were donated to our special collections.

Digital collections

A group of men at Maranao Moros at Camp Vicars in the Philippines.


Fe Susan T Go

Librarian for Southeast Asia, Australia,New Zealand and the Pacific Islands


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