Philippine History

The Philippine history collection consists of published works, manuscript items, and photographs documenting many aspects of Philippine history, with particular emphasis on the period between 1899 and 1913, when Dean Conant Worcester served as a member of the United States Philippine Commission and Secretary of the Interior for the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands. 

The Worcester material consists of his correspondence as Secretary of the Interior and a compilation of articles, official reports, and newspaper clippings covering a wide range of topics on the Philippines and the activities of the U.S. colonial government. Complementing these materials are several collections of correspondence, diaries, and photographs documenting the Philippine experiences of American missionaries, soldiers, government officials, and others. This includes the papers of Luke Wright who served as Governor-General of the Philippines from 1904 to 1905 and Tiffany Bernard Williams, a commissioned officer in the Philippine Constabulary from 1914 to 1917. 

We also have the Anti-Imperialist League Collection, compiled by Maria C. Lanzar-Carpio for use in researching her doctoral dissertation. The league was established in 1898 to battle the American annexation of the Philippines as an insular area and the collection consists primarily of the papers of two of its officers, Erving Winslow and Herbert Welsh. 

The Philippine history collection includes more than 2,000 photographs depicting  Filipinos; dwellings, buildings, and monuments in and around Manila; Filipino political and military leaders; members of American commissions and military units based in the Philippines; and numerous landscape scenes, particularly on Mindanao and in Lanao.

Other periods in Philippine history, including those marked by the Spanish-American War, the Philippine–American War, and the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II, are also documented in the collection, the latter most notably in the research materials of David Joel Steinberg, a prominent scholar in Southeast Asian history specializing in the Philippines.

Important related collections 

Important collections of similar and complementary material are held in U-M’s Bentley Historical Library, William L. Clements Library, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, and Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, and at the Newberry Library, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, and the Cornell University Library

Philippine history is also very well and more broadly documented in our Southeast Asia collections

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.

Digital collections

Finding aids and catalog records

Photograph of Datto Paiguey seated with 2 people standing on either side

Datto Paiguey and followers at Camp Vicars from the General John J. Pershing photograph collection.


Fe Susan T Go's Photo
Fe Susan T Go

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