History RoomThe East Grand Rapids History Room is located on the upper level of the East Grand Rapids Library at 746 Lakeside Drive SE and is dedicated to obtaining, preserving and displaying artifacts relating to the grand history of our area. The History Room has a growing collection of historical artifacts, memorabilia, ephemera and audiovisual items unique to this area.  These items are not circulated, as many are irreplaceable, primary sources of information; however accessibility of History Room materials to area citizens is a top priority. The History Room is open to the public for browsing and research during the library's open hours.

Mary DerschItems of local importance are obtained via auctions, estate sales and antique dealers. The collection of materials are owned by the City of East Grand Rapids and maintained by a volunteer curator. Since 1993, East Grand Rapids resident Mary Dersch has maintained and increased the collection of historical information on behalf of the City. In 2022, Mary was awarded the Albert Baxter Award from the Grand Rapids Historical Society honoring those who have made significant contributions to the preservation of local history. Congratulations Mary!

The City of East Grand Rapids provides annual funding for maintenance of the collection and manages donated funds for the History Room.  Private donations make it possible for immediate purchases of unique historical items as they become available.  

Contact the history room by email to egrhistoryroom@gmail.com or by phone at 616-241-2092.


Marie Cady

The East Grand Rapids History Room is dedicated to the memory of Marie Jay Cady.

Born Marie Jay, December 19, 1903 in Hobart, Oklahoma. Died March 7, 1996 in East Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Marie majored in journalism at Stephens College in Columbus, Missouri and the University of Oklahoma. Her aspirations to be a newspaper reporter were fulfilled when she accepted a position with the Daily Oklahoman. Several years later she came to Michigan to serve as women’s editor of the Lansing Capitol News. It was at this newspaper that she met her future husband, Carleton Cady, Grand Rapids Herald editorial writer from the 1930s through 1958. They married September 1, 1928. Carleton Cady was the. Marie served as director of public relations for the Pantlind Hotel and also did ad work for the convention bureau during the 1930s. In 1937 she opened an advertising agency of her own, keeping the Pantlind as a client. In 1941 she enlisted in the service. Her husband had already joined and was a military officer. Marie was a public relations officer with the Women’s Army Air Corps in WWII. She was also a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross during this time.

In 1945 she left military service as a captain. Marie freelanced as a newspaper writer after the war. For more than a decade after WWII she worked in public relations for the arts in Grand Rapids and for the Kent County Cancer Society. For a public relations firm in New York, she traveled, organized gatherings and interviewed many international celebrities, including Winston Churchill. After her husband’s death in 1963, Marie involved herself with the Women’s City Club bulletin, selling tickets for the Grand Rapids Symphony and managed the Symphony office for a time.

Marie was asked to restore the inactive Grand Rapids World Affairs Council in 1971, later to be renamed the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan. As executive director, she built its membership while arranging for international speakers. She served as secretary on the board on the national World Affairs Council. In 1976 she received state honors for her “volunteer service to the Michigan community” for her work as executive director of the Grand Rapids World Affairs Council.