Christmas on Isle Royale, Diary entries of a frontier woman

The ever-white winters of the Keweenaw are beautiful, but the intense snowfall can also leave residents feeling isolated. Both of these sentiments become even more true on Isle Royale.

The following set of diary entries were written by Lydia Smith Douglass in 1848 during the first year of her marriage to Columbus C. Douglass. During the winter of this year, the couple lived on Isle Royale while Columbus worked for the Ohio and Isle Royale Mining Company.

These entries were written around the time of Christmas.

 

Isle Royale in Winter. (Photo courtesy of the Keweenaw Digital Archives.)
Isle Royale in Winter. (Photo courtesy of the Keweenaw Digital Archives).

 

 

December 23, 1848

It was eleven o’clock before I retired last night. I said some time before night that I would finish the piece of work I was engaged with before I slept. Consequently, I had to sit up later than usual. Mr. Douglass returned home a little after six this evening, having walked from Epidote to Datholite and from thence home today on snow shoes. He was so fatigued as to be hardly able to stand up, when he came in, and so completely drenched with perspirations, one might have thought he had been in the water. Such overexertion must certainly be very injurious to one’s health.

December 25, 1848

Christmas has come with pleasant weather, and snow sufficient for good sleighing, but unfortunately for us we have neither roads nor teams. The contrast in the manner of our spending the day is quite different from last Christmas Day, then among our friends at Ann Arbor. Now, on a remote and lonely island, but I forbear to repine. We are happy here, even in this solitude, but would still be happier if we could communicate with our friends. We have as many of comforts of life here, as we should enjoy in almost any place. Many more than one would suppose that had no experience in this new country. We have as yet a plenty of fresh meats such as, beef, fish, fowls, rabbits, etc. etc., together with as good vegetables as one would wish to find in any place, also a sufficiency of nick-nacks. In short, everything for our health and comfort.

December 26, 1848

The morning was rather snowy, but cleared away about noon and remained pleasant during the rest of the day. The day passed off in the usual routine of sewing, reading, writing, eating, etc., etc., etc. We brought with us a choice library, with which to employ our leisure moments, and it is a source of amusement and profit to us. We are now reading the Life and Voyages of Columbus, written by Washington Irving, which is very interesting. It seems strange to us of the present day that a civilized people should have thrown so many obstacles in the way of this great discoverer.

 

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These diary entries are held by the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections as a part of the Lydia Smith Douglass Diary Collection.

Thanksgiving in the Copper Country, as seen through past advertising

The Michigan Tech Archives will be closed Thursday, November 27 and Friday November 28 for the holiday. Standard operating hours will resume the week of December 1.

Every year we are met with advertisements for upcoming holidays, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Below, we have a small selection of Thanksgiving advertisements dating from the early to mid 1950s originally published in the Daily Mining Gazette. Only some of the businesses that took out space for these ads are still operating in the Copper Country today, but the traditions and scenes depicted in all of the ads remain familiar.

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 12, 1953, page 10
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 12, 1953, page 10

 

Upper Peninsula Power Company’s mascot, Reddy Kilowatt, cooks Thanksgiving dinner for a family in the Upper Peninsula. All mother needs to do is set the control and snap the switch of her big electric oven and her work is done, Reddy Kilowatt takes care off the actual cooking – and for only a few pennies!

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 21, 1951, page 4
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 21, 1951, page 4

 

If you would like to completely remove the hassle of cooking a family meal, the Douglass House offered blue point oysters on the half shell or oyster stew for $0.65 and a table d’hote dinner for $2.00.

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 6, 1950, page 10
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 6, 1950, page 10

 

In the autumn months of 1950, Pearce’s advertisement  for Maytag gas ranges boasts 1949 prices and even offers a free twenty pound turkey with purchase. Who says we can’t have it all?

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 2, 1950, page 9
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 2, 1950, page 9

 

What says Thanksgiving like Spam and cranberries? In 1950, Eatmor Cranberries published this hot dish recipe for readers so they might have something new to serve at Thanksgiving – and to boost the season’s cranberry sales.

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 14, 1950, page 11
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 14, 1950, page 11

 

Haas Brewing Company of Houghton keeps their ad simple with this contented turkey cartoon and straightforward message.

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 1, 1950, page 2
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 1, 1950, page 2

 

Swift’s Hardware of downtown Houghton advertises their kitchen wares. Stocking everything from pressure saucepans and double boilers, to tableware and cake covers, they sell nearly everything needed for a great Thanksgiving dinner – minus the turkey.

These newspapers, along with around 70 other local historic newspapers are available for viewing on microfilm at the Michigan Tech and Copper Country Archives. Feel free to call us at (906) 487-2505 or email us at copper@mtu.edu to learn more.

Michigan Tech Archives in the News

Senior Archivist Lindsay Hiltunen in the archives stacks, showing off a Quincy Mining Company employment card for Otto Hackmann.
Senior Archivist Lindsay Hiltunen in the archives stacks, showing off a Quincy Mining Company employment record for Otto Hackmann.

 

We are happy to share that the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections made it onto the Michigan Tech News website this morning. Senior Archivist Lindsay Hiltunen recently gave an interview and behind-the-scenes tour in the archives for Michigan Tech student writer Monica Lester. The interview was filled with questions about the archiving process and the 30 minute tour went into the stacks to show off some of the more interesting collections housed on campus.

As a newly minted Keweenaw Heritage Site, a program in partnership with the National Park Service to interpret the region’s copper mining heritage, the staff members of the Michigan Tech Archives are happy to answer any questions that the university and local community might have about who we are and what we do. To see the full article about the archives please visit the Michigan Tech News website. If you want to visit us in the archives, please stop by during our normal business hours, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or get in touch with us at (906) 487-2505 or at copper@mtu.edu.

Copper, Cords and Cabbage: The Story of the Mineral Range Railroad’s South Range Branch

Some railroad employees pose with Mineral Range Railroad Engine #4. (Photo available on the Keweenaw Digital Archives)
Some railroad employees pose with Mineral Range Railroad Engine #4. (Photo available on the Keweenaw Digital Archives)

 

Please join us for visiting scholar Mark Worrall at 4:00 pm on Monday, November 10 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Technological University campus. This event is free of charge and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

In this presentation, Worrall will explore the history of the section of the Mineral Range Railroad that extended from Keweenaw Bay, through Mass City, to Riddle Junction. Many aspects of the line’s tenure will be examined, from its construction at the beginning of the twentieth century to its final abandonment in the 1930s. Major topics include the railroad’s connection to local industries, driving factors behind the line’s installation, complications faced during construction of the branch, passenger train operations and the influence that local Finnish culture had on the railroad.

Mark Worrall is a railroad historian whose research interests include the Duluth South Shore & Atlantic, historic interactions between Michigan’s railroads and the mining industry, Michigan rail wrecks and disasters, and late nineteenth and early twentieth century imagery of Michigan railroads. He is the current president of the Michigan Railroad History Conference and chaired the last two conferences. Mark’s research goals are to promote awareness and interest in Michigan’s rich railroad history.

Worrall’s research visit and presentation are supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1988, the Michigan Technological University Archives Travel Grant program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives.

For more information, feel free to call the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, email at copper@mtu.edu, or visit on the web athttp://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/.

Passengers, Packages, and Copper: The Steamer Pewabic, Its Archaeology, Management, Material Culture and the Development of the Keweenaw Peninsula

steamer bon voyage
The S.S. Bon Voyage, a passenger steamer ship similar to the Pewabic. (Photo courtesy of the Keweenaw Digital Archives)

 

Please join us for visiting scholar Philip Hartmeyer at 4:00 pm on Thursday, November 6 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Technological University campus. This event is free of charge and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

In this presentation, Hartmeyer will examine the passenger/package freighter Pewabic and speak to the multiple roles it played in the development of the Keweenaw and its copper industry. The hybrid steamer was a popular vessel to bring downstate tourists to the Copper Country and it also filled its hold with native copper on return trips, an important component of the Detroit mineral market. Pewabic embodies the mid-nineteenth century Great Lakes economic and cultural zeitgeist, having tapped into two profitable enterprises. Historical sources and underwater archaeological data will be used to unearth the identities of Pewabic afloat as well as the new identities it has adopted as an archaeological site, mass grave site, and salvage training ground.

Philip Hartmeyer is a maritime archaeologist currently working at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena, Michigan. Originally from San Francisco, California, Hartmeyer’s passion for maritime heritage has taken him all over the world to conduct surveys and excavations of shipwrecks. He received his masters in maritime archaeology from East Carolina University, where he wrote his thesis on the passenger/package propeller Pewabic, a middle 19th-century vessel that was instrumental to the copper industry and the settlement of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Hartmeyer’s research visit and presentation are supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1988, the Michigan Technological University Archives Travel Grant program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives.

For more information, feel free to call the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, email at copper@mtu.edu, or visit on the web at http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/.

Environmentalism at the Point of Extraction: Viewpoints, Politics, and Memory in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during the Environmental Movement

A glimpse of activity at Gregoryville Sawmill on Torch Lake, near Lake Linden.  (Photo available on the Keweenaw Digital Archives)
A glimpse of activity at the Gregoryville Sawmill on Torch Lake, near Lake Linden, Michigan. (Photo available on the Keweenaw Digital Archives)

 

Please join us for a presentation by visiting scholar Camden Burd at 4:00 pm on Tuesday, October 14 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Technological University campus. This event is free of charge and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

In this presentation, Burd will address an environmental approach to the history of natural resource extraction in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Where once the Upper Peninsula was a booming industrial region, it is now a draw for vacationers to experience its sprawling forests and apparent wilderness. Between this era of environmental degradation and natural appreciation, there were disputes over the future of the U.P.’s environments. In the midst of the environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s many voices attempted to understand, define, and direct how the Upper Peninsula would be perceived by future generations. This talk examines the different voices of the environmental movement and show the complexities behind today’s UP environmental identity.

Camden Burd is a PhD student at the University of Rochester where he studies American Environmental History. He earned his MA in History from Central Michigan University and BA of History from the University of Utah. He has received numerous travel funds from Central Michigan University and was the recipient of the Grace H. Magnaghi Visiting Research Grant at Northern Michigan University to study the environmental perceptions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan he is especially interested in the environments of the Great Lakes Region and the connection between people and place.

Burd’s research visit and presentation are supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1988, the Michigan Technological University Archives Travel Grant program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives.

For more information, feel free to call the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, email at copper@mtu.edu, or visit on the web athttp://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/.

Alumni Reunion Services

A picnic from the Michigan College of Mines (MCM) Reunion, August 8, 1931.
A picnic from the Michigan College of Mines (MCM) Reunion, August 8, 1931.  (Part of the Reeder Photographic Collection; available on the Keweenaw Digital Archives)

 

Michigan Technological University’s Van Pelt and Opie Library welcomes alumni, family and friends to visit the library for special services and exhibits during Alumni Reunion. Our Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections staff encourages visits and will have expanded hours.

SPECIAL HOURS DURING ALUMNI REUNION

The archives reading room will be open Th. (Aug. 7) – Fri. (Aug. 8), 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

LIBRARY TOURS
Thursday, August 7

Take a guided tour of the library’s resources and services. Tours begin at the Library and IT Service Center. No need to sign up in advance. Tours begin at 10AM, 1PM and 7PM.

EXHIBITS

Michigan Tech Remembers When…
Location: Library Main Entrance Hallway

The main hall past the Library and IT Service Center will feature an exhibit, Michigan Tech Remembers When…. This exhibit showcases early photographs from campus and student life as well as a display case showing a progression of Michigan Tech’s visual identity through the years.

Yearbooks and University Publications
Location: Archives Reading Room

Yearbooks and other university books are available for browsing in one of the archives’ book case displays.  This is a nearly complete range of Keweenawan yearbooks from 1924-2002 and a copy of the Engineer from 1915. The display case also includes popular university publications such as the book Michigan Tech Centennial 1885-1985, alumni bulletins from the Michigan College of Mining and Technology (MCMT), the MCMT Freshman Bible, and various years of the University’s Winter Carnival Pictorial. Also available for viewing: Lode on microfilm: 1921-2005 (digital copies of the Lode from 2009-2014 available on their website: http://issuu.com/michigantechlode), Michigan Tech vertical files: newspaper clippings and printed ephemera related to campus activities, sports, organizations, and academics, and Michigan Tech photo vertical files: photos related to campus activities, sports, organizations, and academics. Photocopies are available.

North to Adventure: A New Old Perspective of the Upper Peninsula
Location: Archives Reading Room

In the 1960s two tourists, Harold and Beatrice Putnam, visited the Copper Country and documented their journey with a Rolleiflex twin lens reflex camera. Ultimately, the images from this trip made their way into the Putnam’s self-published travel guide, North to Adventure in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The Putnam’s photographs capture the landscape of the Copper Country, an important part of the Michigan Tech experience.

Keweenaw Exhibit
Location: Hallway just outside the main entrance to the Archives Reading Room

This exhibit is an installation of photos related to University and community history. The exhibit is divided into four series; Early Keweenaw, Changing Campus, Town & Gone, and Copper Mines and Miners. This exhibit is in memory of our former Student Assistant, Jonathan DeCleene (1987-2007). Financial support for this exhibit was provided by Jonathan’s family, Gloria Kennedy and Valerie DeCleene, and the Friends of the Van Pelt Library.

1975 Apollo-Soyuz Spaceflight Exhibit
Location: Alumni House

The final flight of the Apollo program was the first spaceflight in which spacecraft from different nations docked in space. In July 1975, a U.S. Apollo spacecraft carrying a crew of three docked with a Russian Soyuz spacecraft with its crew of two. Michigan Technological University has a unique connection to this space station mission. Former Head and Professor of Metallurgical Engineering, Raymond Smith, was friends with Donald (Deke) Slayton, one of the astronauts on the flight. A Michigan Tech banner was brought into space on this mission and the original banner, along with some other memorabilia related to the Apollo-Soyuz spaceflight will be on display at the Alumni House. This exhibit was a partnership between the Alumni Association and the University Archives.

New Microformat in the Archives

Two brand new ScanPro 1100 digital microformat readers have been installed in the Archives’ reading room this week. Similar to the ScanPro 2000 that has been available on the second floor of the Van Pelt and Opie Library, the Archives’ new readers have a plethora of features that will enhance users’ research experience.

Some of these features include: a 26 mega pixel camera, automatic scan options, optical character recognition (OCR) software, and automatic and manual image enhancing options. Users will also be able to scan microformat content to USB drives, the Archives printer and to email.

These machines will allow greater accessibility to microformat materials through the readers’ high end features – especially the auto scan and OCR capabilities, which will allow patrons to scan multiple pages of materials to PDF and search for specific words within those PDFs.

Microfilmed materials housed in the Archives include but are not limited to: over 70 newspapers local to the Copper Country, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and local census records.

 
For more information, feel free to visit the archives, give us a call at 906-487-2505 or send us an email at copper@mtu.edu.

Baraga Resident Donates World War I Era Collection

Ellen Raymond, center, donated her father-in-law’s materials to the University Archives after a suggestion from her friend, Sharon Eklund, left. Archivist Beth Russell, right, formally accepted the donation.  (Photo courtesy of Tech Today)

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections was pleased to welcome a new collection this week thanks to a local resident. Ellen Raymond, a 94 year old from Baraga, visited the archives on Tuesday, July 8 and donated a family collection of World War I era documents and ephemera.

After finding a stash of documents and photos in her closet, Raymond wasn’t quite sure what to do, but her friend Sharon Eklund, a volunteer for Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly who looks in on Raymond, had a pretty good idea. Eklund suggested donating the materials to the Michigan Tech Archives and that is exactly what they did. After coordinating the donation with Archivist Beth Russell, Raymond and Eklund arrived earlier this week to present the material and formally pass ownership to the archives. The donation ceremony was attended by library staff, Little Brothers representatives, and various journalists.

The collection is a file that had been preserved by Raymond’s father-in-law, Harvey William Raymond. It includes his diploma from Baraga High School, a certificate of mine safety from what was then the Michigan College of Mines, correspondence between H.W. Raymond and his fiancée, and several photos, one of particular importance to Michigan Tech as it showcases a class photo taken in 1918 of new recruits at Michigan Tech’s military training facility.

The Michigan Tech Archives does not have many documents or photos from the World War I era so this donation is an important one to broaden our holdings. Archivist Beth Russell called this a “wonderful collection” and it is a perfect example how community donations can enhance the materials we have to offer researchers. The collection will be arranged and cataloged to make it available to researchers in the archives and there are possible plans to have some of the photos scanned and placed in the Keweenaw Digital Archives, where they can be widely accessible even to those unable to visit the archives in person. Overall, Raymond is delighted that her father-in-law’s papers have found their way to a historical collection where the documents and photos will be preserved for future generations. “I think it’s great, and I think he would be proud,” she said, to know that his papers have found their way to a place such as this. Please monitor our blog and Facebook page for news on when this collection is available for use.

Thanks to the generosity and thoughtfulness of local donors the archives is able to collect, preserve, and make available resources of historical importance.  If you have a collection you think may be suitable to donate to the archives, please contact Lindsay Hiltunen at lehalkol@mtu.edu or by calling (906) 487-3209 or (906) 487-2505.  Inquiries about donations can also be directed to Ellen Marks, University Librarian and Library Director, at ebmarks@mtu.edu or by calling (906) 487-2500.

Female Spaces, Working Class Communities, and the Labor Movement

Please join us for visiting scholar Shannon Kirkwood at 4:00 pm on Thursday July 17 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Technological University campus. This event is free of charge and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

In this presentation, Kirkwood will address the politics of female space in a male-dominated labor movement, as well as class consciousness based home, kin and neighborhood networks. These themes will be discussed in the contexts of the Copper Country, Seattle and Glasgow.

Kirkwood is a doctoral student at Central Michigan University and a recent presenter at “Retrospection and Respect: the 1913-1914 Mining/Labor Strike Symposium of 2014”. Her research has focused on the participation of miners’ wives in the 1913-14 Copper Strike and the indirect relationship these women had with the mining companies, their relationships with their men, and their relationships with each other.

Kirkwood’s research visit and presentation are supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt and Opie Library. Since 1988, the Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives.

For more information, feel free to call the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, email at copper@mtu.edu, or visit them on the web at http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/.