Welcome To Our New Assistant Archivist

Our new team member, Emily Riippa, poses in the stacks at the end of her first week.
Our new team member, Emily Riippa, poses in the stacks at the end of her first week.

 

On behalf of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, a department of Michigan Tech’s Van Pelt and Opie Library, we hope you will help us welcome the newest member of the team, Emily Riippa. Emily is our newest assistant archivist which is a one year term position to help us with special projects and various public services and outreach initiatives. Below, please take a moment to get to know Emily as she introduces herself in her own words.


My name is Emily Riippa, and I’m delighted to join the staff of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections as Assistant Archivist for the next year. I am twice a graduate of the University of Michigan, earning degrees in history (bachelor’s, 2014) and archives and records management (master’s, 2016).

You’ve heard the term “dream job,” and that’s exactly what working at the Michigan Tech Archives is for me. While I was born and raised downstate in Grand Rapids, my family’s roots in the area are very deep: my ancestors first arrived in the 1870s, and my parents grew up in Winona and Hancock. Little did they know what they had started when they brought me to visit the Keweenaw at three weeks old! I fell in love with the Copper Country and its remarkable history during annual childhood vacations, which prompted me to write my undergraduate honors thesis on women’s experiences in the region between 1880 and 1930. Last summer, I was an archives technician intern at Keweenaw National Historical Park, which I enjoyed tremendously. I have also worked part-time at the Bentley Historical Library and the Ada Historical Society in the Lower Peninsula for the past several years, learning more about how to keep history alive through our documents and artifacts.

When I’m not at work, you’ll find me engrossed in my own genealogical research, respectfully exploring local cemeteries and historic sites, enjoying a frigid swim in Lake Superior, biking around the Copper Country, or with my nose buried in a good book. I also intend to learn a little Finnish, a language of my heritage, while I’m here.

I’m thrilled to give back to this community I love in my new role and to experience my first Keweenaw winter. Please feel free to come by the archives and say hello. I hope you’ll find what we have to offer as exciting as I do.


Welcome aboard Emily! We are so happy to have you join our team at Michigan Tech!

For more information about the Michigan Tech Archives please call (906) 487-2505 or e-mail copper@mtu.edu. You can find us on Twitter: @mtuarchives

Summer Intern Farewell

 

Fitz Photos of the Archives Crew
The Michigan Tech Archives crew posing on the beach outside of the Fitz in Eagle River, Michigan after the farewell dinner for our summer intern and student assistant. Lake Superior always provides a glorious backdrop! From the left, public services intern, Allyse, summer intern, Ryan, student assistant, Caleb, archivist, Allison, archives assistant, Georgeann, university archivist, Lindsay

 

We said goodbye to our Summer Intern, Ryan Welle, on Friday. Over the course of seven weeks he made a major impact on our customer services and tackled a fairly large processing project, with some interesting results! Please take a moment to hear about Ryan’s experiences in his final blog update.


It is so strange to think that my time as an intern for the Michigan Tech Archives has come to a close. I cannot say enough about how awesome this experience has been. I feel that I have learned a lot about what happens in an archive and how to work with a wide range of patrons.

Some of the notable experiences that I had during my time here are working on processing a collection. Even though I was not able to complete the processing of the collection I was working on because of the random curve balls I found in it (any archivist reading this can understand what sort of curve balls might be found when working on a collection), I was able to make a significant contribution to the processing of the collection. I was also able to identify materials in the collection that were more suited in an already existing collection. This was great because I was able to experience the process of separating materials out of a collection and adding them to another, as well as editing the finding aid with new information.

I also had great experiences working with and helping patrons. I even had the opportunity to help a patron that came to the archive from Canada, so now I am honestly able to say that I have helped international researchers. Other groups that I had the opportunity to work with are students, alumni, faculty and university staff, as well as community patrons of all types. I even had the great experience of interacting with children at an outreach program the archives hosted relating to the Pokemon Go trend that has swept the nation.

A great success story of providing reference was helping a patron who was looking for any information on a miner, but only had the company and employee number, and did not know the name or years they worked. Since the collection does not include an index of employees based upon employee number, this required some sleuthing through the collection. It just so happened that I was able to locate the employee number in a box of employee ID badges that had a photo of the miner! When I showed this to the patron, he was very pleased, couldn’t thank the archives enough, and everyone had a great day because of it.

I would also like to thank the wonderful staff that I had the pleasure to work with. The staff has been truly amazing, and I don’t think I could ask for better co-workers. They were all truly helpful and encouraging. They were willing to jump in and give me a hand when I needed it, as well as give me the independence to work on some things on my own to really build my skills. They always asked me if I had any questions and made me feel welcome and a part of the team. I will surely have fond memories of working with all of you.

On a side note, I am very glad that I had the chance to be in the Keweenaw Peninsula and Copper Country for the summer. This area is truly gorgeous and I loved spending time on all the trails, chasing waterfalls, and visiting the historic sites of the region. There is so much that I did not have time to see in these short seven weeks, and would gladly take another trip to the area to see some more of it.


Thank you Ryan for all of your efforts! Best wishes for the road ahead!

For more information about the Michigan Tech Archives please call us at (906) 487-2505 or by e-mailing copper@mtu.edu.

Alumni Reunion Is Almost Here!

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections joins the rest of the Michigan Tech community as we get ready to welcome alumni and friends to campus for Alumni Reunion 2016! The Michigan Tech Archives invites all alumni and guests to catch a glimpse of the Michigan Tech experience through the years. We will have an exhibit about the student experience at Michigan Tech on the main floor of the Van Pelt and Opie Library. Afterwards, visitors are encouraged to come see us on the garden level of the library to view a campus history exhibit as well as yearbooks, photographs, newspapers and memorabilia.

The Michigan Tech Archives will be open Thursday, August 4 and Friday, August 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Behind-the-scenes tours will be available to individuals and small groups during the campus-wide open house on Friday, August 5 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Tours last 20-30 minutes. Walk-in visitors are encouraged, but please feel free to make a tour appointment by calling (906) 487-2505 if you wish. We hope to see you visit us during Alumni Reunion! Welcome Huskies, one and all!

For more information about Alumni Reunion 2016 and other campus events during the campus-wide open house, please visit the reunion website.

Pokémon Go Back in Time with the Michigan Tech Archives!

Pokemon Go

 

Calling teams Valor, Mystic and Instinct!

Since early July, Pokémon have been roaming all over campus thanks to Pokémon Go, a new location-based mobile game developed by Niantic. People of all ages have been joining the fun, exploring various Pokéstops and Gyms around Michigan Tech and the Copper Country. The augmented reality game is causing players to see the local landscape in a whole new way.

Taking a break from catching wild Pokémon in the stacks, the staff of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections would like to invite players to Pokémon Go Back in Time on Wednesday, July 27. From 2:30-3:30 p.m. the Michigan Tech Archives will set up a refreshment table on the John Rovano Plaza, the garden patio adjacent to the Van Pelt and Opie Library. We will set some lures at nearby Pokéstops to attract as many Pokémon as possible. In addition, we will be giving away our newly developed brochure which advertises several Pokéstops at Michigan Tech and offers a little bit of historic information about each stop. Catch Pokémon and catch a glimpse of the past at the same time!

This event will take place rain or shine. We will be located indoors, near the Library Café, if it is raining next Wednesday. We hope to see you there!

For more information about this event or the Michigan Tech Archives in general, please call (906) 487-2505 or e-mail copper@mtu.edu. You can find us on Twitter: @mtuarchives.

Welcome to Our New Archivist!

Our newest team member, Allison Neely, poses in the reading room on her first day.
Our new team member, Allison Neely, poses in the reading room on her first day.

 

On behalf of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, a department of Michigan Tech’s Van Pelt and Opie Library, we hope you will help us welcome the newest member of the team, Allison Neely. Allison is our newest archivist and she will be responsible for various public services and behind-the-scenes projects. She will be an important part of our research support services and reference team as well as share responsibilities for the arrangement and description of recent manuscript acquisitions. We are very excited to have Allison on board. Below, please take a moment to get to know Allison as she introduces herself in her own words.


Hello! My name is Allison Neely and it is my pleasure to be the new archivist at the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections. Having grown up in Minnesota and living in the Midwest most of my life, I’m excited to learn more about the Copper Country and Keweenaw region of Upper Michigan, particularly the people, places and events that make this part of the world so unique.

I found my way into the library and archives field mostly by accident, though in retrospect it seems almost inevitable. As an undergraduate history and film studies student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities I worked in the main campus library as a library aide, fostering my love of learning. Following graduation I found myself taking a summer internship in the Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., a position that eventually rolled into a career-changing, year-long appointment. With the encouragement of USHMM staff I enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies and received my MA with a specialization in archives and records management in 2008. I had the fortune of working for the next couple of years in some great archival institutions, including gigs at the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, and the Minnesota Historical Society before making my way north to the Houghton/Hancock area.

I’m very excited to be making the Copper Country and Michigan Tech my home. When I’m not in the archive you might find me outside hiking, fishing and generally traversing the region with my husband; exploring the local food scene or trying a new recipe at home; or more than likely I’m in the gym catching a Zumba or yoga class. I hope you’ll feel free to stop by the department at any time to say hi and perhaps pursue a research project of your own using our collections.


Welcome aboard Allison! We are so happy to have you join us at Michigan Tech!

For more information about the Michigan Tech Archives please call (906) 487-2505 or e-mail copper@mtu.edu. You can find us on Twitter: @mtuarchives

Summer Intern Update

Our Friends of the Michigan Tech Library intern, Ryan Welle, has been a great asset during our busy summer season. Here is Ryan conducting some research into university reports from the 1890s to fulfill an important research request.
Our Friends of the Michigan Tech Library intern, Ryan Welle, has been a great asset during our busy summer season. Here is Ryan conducting some research into university reports from the 1890s to fulfill an important research request.

 

Thanks to the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library, we have been able to host a summer intern again this year. Ryan Welle has been a wonderful addition to the team and has been instrumental to summer research support services and collections processing. He’s been gaining experience in public service, collections support and research. If you wish to learn more about what Ryan has been up to so far, please read his update report below.

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It’s hard to believe that I am already on my third week here at the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections. Time has been going by so fast, and I am really earning a lot of valuable experience. In the short time that I have been here, I have been able to help patrons at the reference desk, pull and re-shelve collections, learn how to navigate Archivists’ Toolkit, fulfill research requests, and work on processing a collection.

Some of the reference help that I have been able to provide is helping patrons with their genealogical research, by providing and assisting patrons with plat maps, the extensive employee records from the major copper mining firms in the area, Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, Quincy Mining Company, and Copper Range Mining Company, using the microfilm readers to look at newspapers from the late 1800s and early 1900s, and helping navigate HeritageQuest to find US Census records. I also enjoy the opportunity to use the state records collections that are housed here, particularly the naturalization records for Gogebic and Keweenaw counties.

I have also had the opportunity to gain valuable experience processing a collection when I am not at the reference desk. The collection that I am working on is the Carl Patterson papers, and it has been like a giant puzzle to find the main themes and put the pieces together. I am happy to say, however, that the picture is getting more and more clear every time I see it. The focus of the collection is quite different than what I anticipated at the start, but the focus turns out to be something that will add to the holdings in a very valuable way, which is a pleasant surprise.

On a more personal note, I would like to thank the rest of the staff for being so welcoming and answering all of the questions that I have. It truly is a pleasure to be in the archives. They have really been very kind and strive to make this experience great. I have even gotten some recommendations for things in the area to see and experience. I have taken some of the suggestions and have really been enjoying my time exploring the beautiful nature in the area. I have hiked on several different trails and found some of the waterfalls in the area to be spectacular. I especially enjoyed my trip to see the Hungarian Falls and had some great photo opportunities while I was there. I can not wait to see what other treasures I can find during my time here in the UP over the next couple weeks.

Black Voices Online Exhibit Launches

BlackVoices Blog Piece

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections recently launched an online exhibit to showcase some of the findings from the Black Voices in the Copper Country project. The exhibit examines the African American experience in the Keweenaw, showcasing historic documents and photographs available for research use at the Michigan Tech Archives. The online exhibit, created by project director Lindsay Hiltunen and project researcher Martin Hobmeier, is intended to highlight materials that explore underrepresented individuals and narratives in Michigan history and serves to encourage researchers to consider more inclusivity when telling regional and state history. Information can be found about the early mining era, the student experience at Michigan Tech and the Richey family, who were prominent Houghton residents in the late 1800s. Although the exhibit features interpretive content, project staff were most interested in uncovering materials available at the archives so they could be better equipped to help future researchers wanting to explore the topic.

The exhibit launch is the final piece of the yearlong project, which included substantial archival research, public programming and exhibits. A social media campaign took place during the month of February in which the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Michigan Tech partnered with project researchers to share historic images of black students and community members. Another project event was a photograph exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw which was installed during Black History Month. These are just a few examples of programs and outreach that took place over the course of the project. The project was funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

To view the exhibit, please visit the following link: http://blackvoices.lib.mtu.edu/

For more information about the Black Voices project or the Michigan Tech Archives, please e-mail copper@mtu.edu or call (906) 487-2505. The Michigan Tech Archives is open to the public Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome!

Happy (Vintage) Fourth of July Weekend!

Fireworks over Lake Superior and the small-town treetops, parades and campfires, cold beer and family get-togethers are some favorite, time-honored traditions of a Copper Country Independence Day weekend. While red, white, and blue are the hallmark colors of the holiday, we found some festive advertisements in black and white newsprint from our historic newspapers collection. Please note, the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections will be closed on Monday, July 4th in observance of the holiday. We resume normal business hours on Tuesday, July 5. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

A Miller's Department Store advertisement for savings on menswear. Daily Mining Gazette, June 28, 1910.
A Miller’s Department Store advertisement for savings on menswear. Daily Mining Gazette, June 28, 1910.

 

A Bosch Beer advertisement, "Reach for Bosch Instead of..." from the Daily Mining Gazette, June 27, 1940.
A Bosch Beer advertisement, “Reach for Bosch Instead of…” from the Daily Mining Gazette, June 27, 1940.

 

A "Burst of Bargains" from Central Super Market of Downtown Houghton. Daily Mining Gazette, June 29, 1961.
A “Burst of Bargains” from Central Super Market of Downtown Houghton. Daily Mining Gazette, June 29, 1961.

 

"Get Set for the 4th" with ladies fashions from O'Donnel-Seamens. Daily Mining Gazette, June 27, 1940.
“Get Set for the 4th” with ladies fashions from O’Donnel-Seamens. Daily Mining Gazette, June 27, 1940.

 

Montgomery Ward, located in the Huron Building in Houghton, offered great deals on radios during a pre-holiday sale. Daily Mining Gazette, June 27, 1940.
Montgomery Ward, located in the Huron Building in Houghton, offered great deals on radios during a pre-holiday sale. Daily Mining Gazette, June 27, 1940.

Welcome to Summer Intern Ryan Welle

RyanWelleBlogPhoto
Ryan Welle, our Friends of the Michigan Tech Library Intern for summer 2016, is already at home in the stacks. Ryan will be working with us on various projects and research support services until mid-August.

 

On behalf of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, in partnership with the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library, we hope you will help us welcome our new intern for summer 2016. Ryan Welle was selected as the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library Intern after a competitive national call for applicants. While in Houghton, Ryan will be assisting with research support services and behind-the-scenes tours in the Michigan Tech Archives, particularly during the busy summer season. He will also be responsible for arrangement and description of a recent manuscript acquisition to the Michigan Tech Archives. We are very excited to have Ryan on board. Below, please take a moment to get to know Ryan as he introduces himself in his own words.

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My name is Ryan Welle, and I am very grateful to have been selected as the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library Intern for the summer of 2016. A little about myself, coming from Minnesota I have always felt a connection to the Great Lakes region. I decided to pursue a life-long passion for history by graduating with a BA in History and Philosophy from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN. While deciding what I wanted to do with that degree, I spent some time serving with AmeriCorps tutoring children in early literacy skills. I found that I also had a passion for helping others, and a close friend of mine suggested that I look into working for historical societies or museums. I decided to take them up on the offer and enrolled in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where I recently graduated with a focus in archives and records management.

I am hoping that my time at Michigan Tech will allow me the opportunity to learn more of the history related to the Great Lakes, specifically the mining industry that established the Keweenaw Peninsula. I am also excited to gain valuable experience working in an archive while I am here. When I am not working, I can often be found on a hiking trail, on the lake, or touring historic landmarks. The landscape and natural beauty of the area is wonderful for all these activities and I hope to enjoy all that I can this summer. Feel free to stop by to say hello, and also use any of the wonderful collections that are housed at the Michigan Tech Archives.

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For more information on the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library Internship Program or to set up a time to say hello to our new intern, please call Lindsay Hiltunen at (906) 487-2505 or e-mail us at copper@mtu.edu. The Michigan Tech Archives can also be found on Twitter: @mtuarchives.

New Art Piece On Display

Donor Jane Libby and Archivist Lindsay Hiltunen pose with the framed portrait of Christeen M. Shelden, daughter of local historic figure Ransom B. Shelden. The painting was donated to the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections on Monday, June 20.
Donor Jane Libby poses with the framed portrait of Christeen M. Shelden, daughter of local historic figure Ransom B. Shelden. The painting was donated to the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections earlier this week.

 

Pherissa Jane Libby recently made a pilgrimage to the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections to donate a painting of her great grandmother, Christeen M. Shelden. Christeen was the daughter of Ransom B. Shelden, patriarch of the well-known and highly respected Shelden family of Houghton. Ransom Shelden is credited with being one of the original founders of Houghton and the Shelden family was very active in local business, politics and social affairs in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Mrs. Libby remarked that “Christeen has come home,” and was delighted that the staff at the Van Pelt and Opie Library shared in her enthusiasm. The painting was gifted to Libby by her grandmother in the 1940s, although little is known about when the painting was completed or who the artist was. The donor has heard anecdotal evidence that it was done by an itinerant artist sometime prior to 1880. After securing the gift, the art piece was installed prominently in the reading room of the Michigan Tech Archives where it can be enjoyed by researchers and visitors.

If you are interested to view the painting, please visit the archives during normal business hours, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more about the Michigan Tech Archives or to inquire about donating a collection, please e-mail copper@mtu.edu or call (906) 487-2505.