The cultural collections encompass a variety of material types, including poetry, visual arts, and music. These collections focus on Detroit-area art projects and artists in the latter portion of the twentieth century.
The Alternative Press Collection includes art and poetry published by Detroiters Ken and Anne Mikolowski beginning in the late 1960s. Their popular subscription mailing series, which was distributed beginning in 1971, provided subscribers with a variety of printed postcards, broadsides, foldouts, calendars, ephemera, as well as original art and unpublished poetry. In addition, the Alternative Press also published a number of books of poetry and copies of these are included in the collection. The Press was active from 1969 until the death of Anne in 1999. In 2011 Ken Mikolowski published the last subscription mailing, “The Final Issue Finally.”
This group of collections look at the cultural history of Detroit though the Motown Research Collection, the Grande Ballroom Handbills and Posters Collection and The Detroit Focus Quarterly.
The Kasle Collection was established in the mid-1950s by means of a generous grant from Mr. and Mrs. Abe Kasle and Family. The collection contains materials on Judaic-Christian heritage with a special emphasis on Judaica, Hebraica, and Yiddish literature.
Named for the labor-movement activist Mildred Jeffrey, this collection was donated to the WSU Libraries in 1990. Adult materials were interfiled throughout the regular collection, while children's books have been kept together on the fourth floor of the Purdy/Kresge Library. This collection focuses on the issues of international peace, conflict resolution, human rights, environmental studies, and social justice. The Jeffrey Collection is under continuing development and is currently being expanded to include non-print materials. Growth of this collection is supported by the proceeds of the Mildred Jeffrey Peace and Conflict Collection Fund.
Begun in 1968 and dedicated in 1990 to former Detroit school teacher Millicent A. Wills, this collection consists of books that deal with urban life and ethnic diversity. Although this is a non-circulating collection, all books contained within it have been duplicated for the regular circulating juvenile books. The Wills Collection is located on the 4th floor of the Purdy Library near the juvenile collection.