Department of Special Education records

Summary Information

Eastern Michigan University Archives
Department of Special Education records
Date [inclusive]
28.5 Linear feet 1 record center carton, 4 archive boxes, 3 slide boxes, 4 oversize folders, 22 objects
Language of Materials note
Collection is predominantly in English, with one item in Arabic. Material in Arabic noted at file level.
The Department of Special Education was founded at Michigan State Normal College in 1914, and today is the oldest and one of the largest special education programs in the United States. The department is now administered by the College of Education, and has expanded its curriculum to include Occupational, Hearing, Sight, and Speech Therapies. Records range from 1914-2014 and include course instruction materials, teaching and assessment kits, department history, pamphlets, brochures, and other distributed publications, course approvals, faculty lists and publications, newspaper clippings, and photographs.

Preferred Citation note

Please cite materials from the University Archives in the following manner: Item. Collection Title. Eastern Michigan University Archives.

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Administrative History

The Department of Special Education first began as the Lapeer Training School for Teachers, run by Dr. Charles Scott Berry in Lapeer, Michigan. The school was established to work alongside the Michigan Home and Training School, a mental health facility in Lapeer. The Training School was designed to offer course instruction as well as training opportunities with disabled students. As the program grew in popularity, it was moved to the Michigan State Normal College in 1914 and officially became the Department of Special Education. The program was designed to instruct aspiring educators on how to teach students with mental disabilities, but soon expanded to include programs specific to physical impairments, covering instruction of Occupational, Hearing, Sight, and Speech Therapies. With a grant from the Horace and Mary Rackham Fund, the Department was able to build their own Special Education building in 1937. Named the Rackham School, it was the first school in the United States specifically designed and equipped to train special education teachers. The school was also equipped to house up to 24 students who lived too far away from campus to bus in daily along with a staff resident, a practice that continued into the 1950s.

The Department of Special Education is now part of the College of Education, which moved to the Porter Building on EMU's campus in 1999. Today the Department offers 26 different programs and endorsements, including programs for speech pathology, the autism spectrum, cognitive impairment, emotional impairment, and physical and other health impairments (POHI). Eastern Michigan University's Department of Special Education is one of two programs in the state with a teacher training program for POHI. It is one of the largest and oldest Special Education programs in the United States, having celebrated its centennial in 2014.

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Scope and Contents

The Department of Special Education records include materials produced and retained by the Special Education program founded in 1914 at the Michigan State Normal College, which today resides within the administration of the College of Education at Eastern Michgian University. Records include course instruction materials, teaching and assessment kits, department history, pamphlets, brochures, and other distributed publications, course approvals, faculty lists and publications, newspaper clippings, and photographs.

The Department of Special Education records have been divided into three series:  Administration,  Realia,and  Course Instruction. Each series is further arranged into sub-series.

The Administration series includes four sub-series: History, Program Development, Faculty and Staff, and Publicity and Outreach. Notable materials in this series includes records pertaining to program development, the history of the Rackham School, and publicity pamphlets and news clippings regarding the special education program, especially the Department's Centennial Celebration. Missing from this series are general administrative records for the operation of the Department, such as personnel records, meeting minutes, etc. There are also large gaps in date ranges of the materials. Records are arranged chronologically within each sub-series.

The Realiaseries is divided into two sub-series: Visual Materials and Objects, with the Visual Materials sub-series further divided into two sub-sub-series: Albums and Photographs.This series includes loose photographs, color slides, photo albums and scrapbooks as well as physical materials such as a wooden lectern made by Rackham students and a pin and tie tack from the Shaanxi Institute of Education. Materials in the  Realia series are arranged chronologically, except in the Photographs sub-sub-series, which are arranged by subject.

The Course Instructionseries includes two sub-series: Assessment Kits and Teaching Texts, which are both arranged chronologically. Materials include teaching resources used in the Department of Special Education, and individual assessment kits used by instructors to determine cognitive and intelligence levels in infants, children and adults.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Eastern Michigan University Archives 2012 May 30

Halle Library, Room 310
Ypsilanti, Michigan, 48197

Revision Description

 Addition of 2015.31 and 2014.51. 2018 February 28

Conditions Governing Access note

Researchers are asked to request materials 24 hours prior to visiting the the University Archives.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Collections already processed in the Eastern Michgian University Archives with similar materials include:

Horace Rackham Hall records Centennial Negative collection Michigan State Normal College Glass Negative collection Occupational Therapy records Occupational Therapy Student Organization records and A Century of Excellence: the Department of Special Education, Eastern Michigan University by Nancy Halmhuber and Lynne Rocklage

Separated Materials note

Some assessment materials and texts have been separated to the general library collection.

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Elliott, Charles M.
  • Olds, Letha
  • Quinn, Kathleen
  • Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962


  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Eastern Michigan University. College of Education
  • Hearing disorders
  • Horace H. Rackham and Mary A. Rackham Fund
  • Michigan State Normal College
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Special education
  • Speech disorders

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Collection Inventory



Box Folder

Department History 1937-1959 

1 1

School of Special Education by Edna June 1949 

1 2

The Development of the Special Education Program at Michigan State Normal College 1953 

1 3

A Historical Perspective 1957 

1 4

Special Education Circa 1958 

1 5

The Rackham/Estabrook New Horizon Connection 1998 

1 6

Horace Rackham Created by Daniel Mathis 2006 

1 7

Department of Special Education Centennial 2014 

1 8

History of Rackham Undated 

1 9

Department of Special Education and Occupational Therapy Undated 

1 10

Department of Special Education History Data Volume 2 Undated 

1 11-14

Program Development 

Box Folder

Certificates 1924-1999 

1 17

Recommendations for the Organization of the Department of Special Education Circa 1920 

1 18

Conference Papers 1935 

1 19

Correspondence 1937-1999 

1 15

Information on the Cooperative Program in Special Education Between Michigan State Normal College and University of Michigan 1938-1952 

1 20

Horace H. Rackham and Mary A. Rackham Fund Report 1940 

1 21

Outline for Graduate Program in Special Education 1953 

1 22

Department of Occupational Therapy Course Overview 1956 

1 23

Cooperative Program in Special Education, Eastern Michigan University and Ypsilanti Public School 1960 

1 24

Graduate Programs in Special Education 1966 

1 25

Specialist in Arts Degree Program 1969 

1 26

Initiative Petition to Make Special Education Mandatory in Michigan 1970 

1 27

Student Handbooks 1971-1988 

1 28

Teacher Preparation Program for Autism 1985 

1 29

Course Approvals 1985-1990 

1 30-31

Assistive Technology and Curriculum Conference 1999 

1 32

NCA Self-Study 1999-2000 

1 33

Speech Language Pathology Program 2000-2010 

1 34

Mission Statements 1991-1993 

Text (32307023308365)   2
Text (32307023308613)   1


Resolution Certificate-Thomas Fleming 1992 


Resolution Certificate-Diedra Jacobs 1993 


Faculty and Staff 

Box Folder

Faculty Publications, Letha Olds Circa 1930 

1 40

Obituary and Death Announcements 1942-2014 

1 16

Faculty Bulletin 1959 

1 35

Grant Applications 1967 

1 36

Faculty List 1973-1974 

1 37

Evaluation Document 1999 

1 38

Current Operational Practices Undated 

1 39

Publicity and Outreach 

Box Folder

Summer Session Pamphlets 1919-1983 

1 41

Clippings 1928-1940 

2 1

Conference and Workshop Pamphlets 1929-1953 

2 2

Clippings 1941-1959 

2 3

Clippings 1960-1999 

2 4

Clippings 2000-2008 

2 5

Department Promotional Material 1939-1999 

2 6

Reception for Evan Ardis, Superintendent of Ypsilanti Schools 1953 

2 7

Eleanor Roosevelt Visits Eastern Michigan College 1957 

2 8

News Releases 1975-2004 

2 9

Course and Program Pamphlets 1986-2001 

2 10

Rackham School Postcards 1995 

2 11

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Visual Materials 

Albums & Scrapbooks 

Box Folder

Album 1973 

3 1

Album Circa 1990 

3 2

John Porter Building Celebration Album 1999 

3 3

Kathleen Quinn Album Undated 

3 4

Albums Undated 

3 5

Scrapbook Pages Various Dates 

3 6-7

Lambda Tau Sigma Fraternity Scrapbook Circa 1931 


Rackham School Album Students and Faculty 1940-1980 

Graphic materials (32307023306310)   8
Graphic materials (32307023306328)   7
Graphic materials (32307023306336)   6


Rackham School 

Box Folder

Bus Transportation Circa 1930-1950 

3 8

Dr. Sophia French 1960 

4 1

Rackham School Children Circa 1940-1970 

4 2

Rackham School Boy Scouts Circa 1950 

4 3

Girl Scouts and Occupational Therapy Circa 1930-1950 

4 4

Industrial Arts, Welch and Rackham (H. Belle Morrison) Circa 1940-1970 

4 5

Rackham Playground Circa 1970 

4 6

Speech and Hearing Clinic Circa 1970 

4 7

Occupational and Physical Therapy Students Circa 1950s 

4 8

Early Technology Circa 1970 

4 9

Rackham School Christmas Party Undated 

4 10

Rackham School Pool Undated 

5 1

Rackham School Gym Circa 1950-1960 

5 2

Rackham School Dormitory 1940-1950 

5 3

Exterior of Rackham School Building Circa 1930-1980 

5 4

Department of Special Education 

Box Folder

Staff Mini Retreat Series 1990-1995 

5 5

Faculty and Staff Retreat 1999 

5 6

Faculty and Staff Circa 1950-2009 

5 7

Welch Students Undated 

5 8

Eleanor Roosevelt Visits Eastern Michigan College 1957 

5 9

Eastern Michigan University Students Circa 1960-1999 

5 10


Box Folder

Guest Book 1999-2014 

5 11

Boys Bathroom Sign Rackham School 


Rackham School Office Sign 


Wooden Lectern 1955 


Guest Book Rackham School 1955 


Shaanxi Institute of Education Pin and Tie Tack-Dr. George Barach 1996 


Hanging Tapestry-Dr. George Barach 1996 


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Course Instruction 

Assessment Kits 


Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale Kit 1937 


Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale 1940 


Minnesota Preschool Scales 1940 


Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Adults (WAIS) 1955 


French's Pictorial Test of Intelligence 1964 


Hisky-Nebraska Test of Learning Aptitude 1966 


Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Ability 1968 


Bayley Scales of Infant Development 1969 


McCarthy Scales for Children's Abilities 1972 


Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children-Arabic Version 1977 


Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency 1978 


System of Multi-Cultural Pluralistic Assessment 1979 


Developmental Activities Screening Inventory 1984 


Teaching Texts 


Due Process for Handicapped Students, IKON International 1979 


A Team Approach: Planning, Coordinating and Implementing Services for Special Students 1980 


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