Two Million Dollars

There was no guarantee that either the Union or League would be built.  Alumni and alumnae undertook national fundraising campaigns; they hoped to bring in one million dollars (the equivalent of about 14 million dollars today) for each building. In the process they produced bulletins like the below, with campaign updates and fundraising advice. For the Union, there was the claim that what 2,000 Michigan men go after they are certain to get. [1]  The League campaign promoted itself with the slogan The House That Jill Would Build. Each campaign ultimately succeeded, demonstrating the organizational prowess of Michigan alumni and alumnae alike.

Snow covers wooden scaffolding and bare ground of construction site. Workers carry lumber and climb scaffolding; Alumni Memorial Hall and Newberry Hall are visible in the distance.

This February 1917 photograph shows the results of male students' and alumni's fundraising: the new Union, in the early stages of construction.

Pamphlet urging alumni to donate. Touts Union as democratic meeting place. Describes work not yet finished: installation of permanent flooring and lights, construction of pool and bowling alley.

Construction of the Union remained "Unfinished Business" in 1918; during World War I the incomplete structure was used as a barracks. Click through to see remaining pages.

Pamphlet describing League as "The House that Jill would Build" and urging alumnae to donate. Explains it's needed because female students lack space for meeting and socializing.

This 1924 bulletin from the League's campaign uses the "House that Jill would Build" slogan. Click through to see remaining pages.

Cornerstone inscribed "AD 1928" being lowered into place as a woman reads from a piece of paper. Crowd of spectators wear winter hats and coats and stand on or near unfinished walls.

In March 1928, female students and alumnae would see the cornerstone for their own building set in place.

[1] "Mixing Them Up at Michigan," reprint of editorial in Collier's Weekly , August 21, 1915, folder: Michigan Union - Building Campaign, Vertical File Fimu D13, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

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