Prior to becoming incorporated as a city on November 8, 1921, Royal Oak was first established as a township on January 23, 1819, and then a village on March 18, 1891. The city’s first mayor was George A. Dondero, who later went on to become a Michigan representative to the U.S. House.

Though Royal Oak’s first library appeared in 1852 as a reading room in the Township doctor’s home, it was not until almost the mid-twentieth century before the city’s librarians started collecting information about the city and documenting its history. The local history collection contains:

In addition to these resources, microfilm reels of Oakland County census records and mortality schedules are available as well as a local history image gallery on our website that features images of Royal Oak’s World War II service men and women.

The bulk of the materials in the local history collection focus on Royal Oak. There is a separate filing cabinet that contains news clippings related only to Oakland County history.