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Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Preserving the History of American Kit Homes
An Aladdin Company home as featured in an annual catalog. The Aladdin Company archives were made accessible through an NEH grant. Image courtesy of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.

One of the most prominent manufacturers of mail-order houses in the United States, the Aladdin Company sold more than 70,000 kit houses between 1906 and 1982, when the business closed and its records went missing. In 1996, the records were found in an abandoned warehouse and donated to the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University. The records—seven truckloads of them—were in substantial disorder when they arrived at the library. Recognizing that this collection would have a wide audience, the library sought funding from the NEH to arrange and describe the documents, which is the first, labor intensive-step required to make archival records accessible to the public.

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