Michigan Tech Archives Blog

Symposium Travel Grant Awards Announced

Posted by Elizabeth Russell under Exhibits and Events, Public Events, Speakers and Presentations, Symposium, Travel Grants Program

the 1913-1914 Mining/Labor Strike Symposium of 2014

Join us April 11-12, 2014.

The University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections has selected nine recipients for the 2014 Symposium Travel Award. These grant recipients will be among the many scholars and researchers participating in “Retrospection & Respect: Michigan’s 1913-1914 Mining/Labor Strike Symposium,” to be held in Houghton, Michigan, April 11-12, 2014, on the occasion of the centennial of the cessation of the 1913-1914 Western Federation of Miners labor strike against copper mining companies in the Copper Country of Upper Michigan.

John Beck, from Michigan State University, will explore Father Dietz and the Catholic Church within the history of the 1913-1914 Copper Miners’ Strike.  Thomas Mackaman, from Kings’ College (PA), will look at new immigrants and American industry in 1914 and Erik Nordberg, from the Michigan Humanities Council and formerly Michigan Tech’s University Archivist, will present a paper on company houses along the picket line.

Roger Burt, from the University of Devon (UK) will present on the role of fraternal organizations in mining communities.  Peter Krats, from Western University (Ontario), will explore ethnic identity in the Keweenaw and Nickel Belts to 1930.  Peter Lubotina, from Middle Tennessee State University will profile Teofilo Petriella, a Marxist revolutionary.

Shannon Rebecca Kirkwood, from Central Michigan University, will explore gender and feminine strategies in the 1913 copper strike.  Patrick Allan Pospisek, from Grand Valley State University, will present on federal authority and the development of corporate mining from 1807-1847 and Ryan Driskell Tate, from Rutgers University, will present on cross-class cooperation in the 1916 Iron Range strike.

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Banner from the 1913-1914 Copper Miners' Strike [Image #:Acc-400-12-13-1988-01-08-15

Funded by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library since its inception over 10 years ago, the grant has enabled more than 20 researchers to travel to Houghton from the United States, Canada, and Europe, to examine the unique social and cultural resources in the Archives collections. Past grant recipients have studied a wide variety of topics, such as the use of images and models by mining engineers to manage complex work sites above and below ground; the role that fraternal orders have played in Lake Superior mining communities; and the adoption of the English language by European transplants to Michigan’s Copper Country. This year, the Friends of the Library provided generous support for competitive travel awards for the symposium.

The award committee included Larry Lankton, Professor Emeritus from the Michigan Tech’s Department of Social Sciences, Susan Martin, Professor Emerita from the Department of Social Sciences, Don Durfee, Friends of the Van Pelt Library and Social Sciences, and Beth Russell, University Archives. For further information about the awards program or about the collections of the University Archives: 906- 487-2505; www.mtu.edu/library/archives/ or copper@mtu.edu

Two Events, One Experience

Posted by Elizabeth Russell under About the Archives

1913 Copper Miners Strike : Children's Parade

100 years ago, our nation was rocked by incidents that shook our community to its core. Labor challenged management, neighbor fought neighbor, and children died.  Finnish immigrants played a major role in the strike at the heart of this turmoil, and have continued to be a major influence in the community today. Thus, it is only natural that the two events investigating these themes be brought together to form a unified experience.

Retrospection and Respect: 1913-1914 Mining/Labor Strike Symposium of 2014

Retrospection & Respect: Michigan’s 1913-1914 Mining/Labor Strike Symposium is to be held in Houghton, Michigan, April 11-12, 2014, on the occasion of the centennial of the cessation of the 1913-1914 Western Federation of Miners labor strike against copper mining companies in the Copper Country of Upper Michigan. Presenters will explore the role of labor organizations in the historical and contemporary American and European mining industries, the effect of historical European immigration on labor organization, the impacts of early twentieth century labor organizational practices and strikes on American managerial practices in mining and other industries, and women’s activism in early twentieth century labor organization in mining and other industries, as well as other topics connecting issues of ethnicity, identity, class, gender, and other cultural divisions to civic discourse and the historic struggle for civil liberties within industry.  The symposium is co-sponsored by Michigan Technological University’s Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, the Department of Social Sciences, and the Department of Humanities, the Keweenaw National Historical Park, and Finlandia University’s Finnish American Heritage Center and Historical Archives..

FinnForum X: Work, Workers, and the Finn Factor in 20th Century Labor Relations: Strikes, Political Economy, and Transnationalism

The symposium is being held in conjunction with the 2014 meeting of FinnForum, a professional association of researchers who investigate northern European migration to the United States. Presenters will address a range of disciplinary perspectives on topics such as fraternal organizations in labor movements, the development of corporate power in mining districts, ethnic identity, and image-making through labor-themed music.  FinnForum X is sponsored by the Institute of Migration in Turku, Finland and the University of Turku’s History Department, along with Finlandia University’s Finnish American Heritage Center and Historical Archives, with support from Michigan Technological University’s Department of Humanities.

Special Exhibits and Events

To commemorate the event, several special exhibits will be on display in the area. The “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-1914 Copper Strike” exhibit, produced by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display in the first floor lobby of the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library on Michigan Tech’s campus. This exhibit chronicles one of the confrontations between organized labor and mining companies. There will be even more to see at Finlandia University’s Finnish American Historical Archives’ reading room.  Displayed for the first time, courtesy of the Keweenaw National Historical Park,  there will be an exhibit of the two lithographs that were hanging on either side of the Italian Hall lodge room stage the night of the Christmas Eve disaster in 1913. One features the Italian royal family, circa 1908, and the other depicts a montage of the five founders of the modern Italian state, circa 1905.  In addition to the exhibits currently on display, the Finnish American Historical Archives’ will be featuring artifacts from the Italian Hall, as well as “People Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J. W. Nara (1874-1934),” produced by the Michigan Tech Archives.

On Thursday, there will two showings of a special feature for the Nordic Film Series at Finlandia University, the film “To My Son in Spain: Finnish Canadians in the Spanish Civil War.” Filmmaker Dr. Saku Pinta will be present to field questions.  Friday morning, the Finnish American Heritage Center will be sponsoring a morning open house with refreshments.  Later in the day, FinnForum X will be offering a 3 hour tour of the area on the Red Jacket Trolley company, departing from Finlandia University.

Registration

Attendees have the option of registering for any combination of three separate portions of the joint event. Registration for the presentation series is $30.00 and includes a Friday reception featuring special guest speaker David Salmela, concurrent sessions on Saturday from the 1913-1914 Mining/ Labor Strike series and FinnForum X series, as well as a light networking breakfast and lunch.  Registration for the keynote dinner, to be held Saturday evening, is $25.00.  FinnForum X is also offering a 3 hour tour of the area on the Red Jacket Trolley from 1:00-4:00 on Thursday for $15.00.  Seats for the trolley tour are limited, so attendees are advised to reserve a spot as soon as they are able. The registration deadline is April 9, 2014.  Walk-in registrants are welcome, but  meal tickets will not be available. Register now using our online store.

Symposium Speakers Announced

Posted by Elizabeth Russell under About the Archives, Exhibits and Events, Public Events, Speakers and Presentations, Staff picks

The  speakers for Retrospection & Respect: The 1913-1914 Mining/Labor Strike Symposium of 2014” have been announced!  FinnForum X speakers will be added soon.

Full conference registration is $30.00 and includes Friday reception and Saturday sessions for both the 1913-1914 Mining/ Labor Strike and FinnForum X concurrent sessions, and includes breakfast and lunch. Keynote dinner reservations must be made separately.

Registration opens February 15, 2014 at Registration, 906-487-2505, or copper@mtu.edu. The full conference registration deadline is April 9, 2014. Walk-in registrations are welcome, but meals tickets will not be available.

the 1913-1914 Mining/Labor Strike Symposium of 2014

Join us April 11-12, 2014, running concurrently with FinnForum X.

The following topics will be covered:

John Beck Co-director, Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives, Associate Professor, Labor Education Program, School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI :

“Father Dietz, the Catholic Church and the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike”

Roger Burt, Professor Emeritus, History Department, College of Humanities, University of Exeter, Devon, UK :

“The role of fraternal organisation in migration and informal Labour organisations in mining communities: Cornwall, the Keweenaw and California Compared”

Peter Kratz, Professor, History Department, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada :

Mainari, Farmari, Lumperjäkki, Piika : “Ethnic Identity” and Earning a Living in the Keweenaw and Nickel Belts to 1930″

Paul Lubotina, Assistant Professor, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN :

“Teofilo Petriella: Marxist Revolutionary”

Thomas Mackaman, Assistant Professor of History, King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA :

“Our lives, our thoughts and our allegiance : New immigrants and American industry in 1914″

Alice Margerum, Houghton, MI :

“Beneath the Starry Flag: the Flags and Songs of the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike as Image-making in the American Labor Movement”

Erik Nordberg, Executive Director, Michigan Humanities Council, Lansing, MI :

“Company Houses along the Picket Line”

Brendan Pelto, Student, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI :

“The 1968-1969 Copper Strike”

Patrick Allan Pospisek, Department of History, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI :

“Federal Authority and the Development of Corporate Mining, 1807-1847″

Ryan Tate, PhD student, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ :

“Flash in the Pan: Cross-Class Cooperation in 1916 Iron Range Strike”

Joanne Thomas, Allouez, MI :

“100 Years to Red Jacket – and Annie : An Extraordinary Mass”

The Risks of Radicalism

Posted by michelso under Collections, Grants Received, Manuscript Collections

The following letter, discovered in MS-080, Copper Range Company Records, shows the close connection between the copper mining companies and local government.

Unfortunately, the I. W. W. book was not included with the letter. The context for this letter (given below), derived from various sources in the Michigan Tech Archives, demonstrates the value of having an array of different sources at the same research facility.

  • D. L. Robinson: Member of the prominent law firm Rees, Robinson, and Petermann.
  • I. W. W.: The Industrial Workers of the World were a radical left labor union that was, at the time of this letter, growing in strength across the United States.
  • Mr. Slagg: Milo J. Slagg was the principal of the agricultural school from 1915 to 1919.
  • Agricultural School: The Otter Lake Agricultural School in Tapiola (renamed the John A. Doelle Agricultural School in 1922).
  • Alex Pohja: Probably the same person as the Alex Ponja listed by the 1916-1917 Polk directory as a resident of Trimountain and laborer in the Trimountain Mine.
  • John A. Doelle: Longtime superintendent of the Houghton and Portage Lake public schools.
  • Bill: William H. Schacht, the new general manager of the Copper Range Company and Alex Pohja’s boss.

We don’t know if Schacht took any action on this matter, but it is easy to see the potential risks of expressing radical opinions if your job could be threatened by the actions of your child.

This project is supported with a grant from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission.

NHPRC

Call for Proposals Extended

Posted by Elizabeth Russell under About the Archives

Retrospection & Respect: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Miners’ Strike

A symposium to be held April 11-13, 2014 on the campus of Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, USA

The Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections of the Van Pelt Library of Michigan Technological University announces a symposium to be held in Houghton, Michigan, April 11-13, 2014, on the occasion of the centennial of the cessation of the 1913-1914 Western Federation of Miners labor strike against copper mining companies in the Copper Country of upper Michigan.  The symposium is co-sponsored by the Archives, the Department of Social Sciences, and the Department of Humanities at Michigan Technological University, the Keweenaw National Historical Park, and the Finnish American Historical Archive at Finlandia University.  The symposium is being held in conjunction with the 2014 meeting of Finn Forum, a professional association of researchers who investigate northern European migration to the United States.

We anticipate paper submissions from a range of disciplinary perspectives in the following and other topical areas:  analyses of labor organization in the historical and contemporary American and European mining industries, the impact of historical European immigration on labor organization, the impacts of early twentieth century labor organizational practices and strikes on American managerial practices in mining and other industries, the impact of women’s activism on early twentieth century labor organization in mining and other industries, comparisons between labor activities and organizational practices over a range of mining commodities, the impacts of labor organizational and strike strategies on historical and current mining communities, contemporary remembrance and collective memory pertaining to labor/strike histories, as well as other topics connecting issues of ethnicity, identity, class, gender, and other cultural divisions to civic discourse and the historic struggle for civil liberties within industry.

Abstract submission is now open and will close on January 6, 2014.  Submitters will be notified of the acceptance of papers on January 16, 2014.  Please direct all inquiries regarding paper topics and presentation details to Dr. Sam Sweitz (srsweitz@mtu.edu).  We will consider proposals for mini-symposia, consisting of three to five papers, organized around a central theme or project as part of this symposium.  Please contact Dr. Sweitz regarding any such proposals.

Abstracts should be submitted via email to copper@mtu.edu, with the subject line “Symposium Proposal.” Abstracts should be no more than 250 words.  Accepted paper presentations will be 20 minutes in length.

The Michigan Tech Archives is offering funding for up to $750 through its Travel Grant Program for scholars to travel to the Archives to research its collections in order to submit a proposal for the symposium. Grant recipients whose papers are selected will be eligible for a second stipend to help allay the cost of travelling to the symposium in April. Please contact the Archives at copper@mtu.edu to apply for grant funding.

The conference proceedings will be published through Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech, an open access platform. The creator(s) of papers shall retain their copyright, but will agree to a non-exclusive license to distribute and preserve their work in Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech.

Film premiere of Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913

Posted by jblair under About the Archives

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections presents the premiere of Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913, a documentary film by Emmy award-winning producer Jonathan Silvers & Saybrook Productions. The film will be shown Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, at 7 PM at the Calumet Theatre. Admission is free. Donations are welcome and will go to support the Calumet Theatre and the Michigan Tech Archives.

Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913 focuses on the 100th anniversary of an epic labor strike that devastated Michigan’s Copper Country and made a lasting impact on the American labor movement with the Italian Hall Disaster that left 73 people dead. The tragedy was immortalized by Woody Guthrie in his ballad “1913 Massacre,” performed in the film by Steve Earle.

Narrated by Richard Harris, the film traces the Copper Country strike from its hopeful start to that tragic conclusion. Using more than one hundred images from the rich historic collections of the Michigan Tech Archives, Red Metal explores the intensifying battle between organized labor and corporate power, as well as related issues of immigration and technology.  The strike’s cultural legacy influenced national discourse, music and legislation during the Progressive Era. As the centennial of the Italian Hall Disaster approaches, a new generation of Americans has begun paying tribute to the victims, while also deliberating the strike’s causes, outcomes, and legacy.

Following the film, there will be a Q&A session with Steve Lehto, historical advisor to the film, author, and lawyer.  Among his books are “Death’s Door: The Truth Behind the Italian Hall Disaster and the Strike of 1913,” and “Michigan’s Columbus: The Life of Douglass Houghton.” He taught law and history at the University of Detroit for ten years.

Please join the Archives for the premiere of Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913 at the historic Calumet Theatre on Dec. 6, 2013 at 7 PM. Admission is free. Donations are encouraged. For more information, contact the Archives at 906-487-2505.

A Retro Copper Country Halloween

Posted by rbussert under About the Archives

NHPRCResearchers can find a trove of ghoulish retro Halloween photographs in the Daily Mining Gazette Photograph Collection. The Daily Mining Gazette photograph collection contains photographs documenting people and events in the Copper Country. Most of the photographs were taken between 1952 and 1979. This collection was able to be fully processed during the NHPRC grant funded Detailed Processing Project.

Young trick-or-treaters inspect their loot on the sidewalk

Halloween in the Copper Country, original image from an October 1954 issue of the Daily Mining Gazette

Another group of trick-or-treaters

More trick-or-treaters from a November 1954 issue of the Daily Mining Gazette

Archives Joins KNHP Heritage Sites

Posted by jblair under About the Archives

The Michigan Tech Archives is pleased to share the news that we have been selected as a Keweenaw National Historical Park Heritage Site in recognition of our status as a unique and valuable cultural resource.

We have long been an unofficial partner with the Park, and selection as a Heritage Site bestows a formal recognition that is well deserved. The Michigan Tech Archives were cited as one of two of the University’s “outstanding resources” by the Keweenaw National Historical Park Establishment Act, which went before the House of Representatives in 1992. The other was the Seaman Mineral Museum, which became a Heritage Site in 1998.

Not only do our collections illuminate the past, but they enable Michigan Tech students and researchers from all over the world to connect the past to the future, thereby deepening our understanding of the social and cultural contexts of our contemporary world.

Michigan Tech students, staff, and programs are recognized worldwide for innovation and excellence. The Archives is very proud of this opportunity to contribute to and support the University’s mission and goals. We look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with our new partners in telling the story of Keweenaw copper.

Nara Exhibit on Display

Posted by jblair under Exhibits, Exhibits and Events

Portage Lake District Library hosts J.W. Nara Photograph Exhibit

Michigan Tech Archives Nara Exhibit

Onni Nara with camera; Keweenaw Digital Archives Image #:Acc-05-097A-015

“People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, has moved to the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public through Dec. 16 during the library’s normal hours. The library is located on the Houghton waterfront, at 58 Huron Street, Houghton, MI 49931-2194.

John William Nara was born in Finland in 1874. He later immigrated to the United States and established a photographic studio in Calumet, Michigan, in the heart of America’s most productive copper mining region. In addition to posed studio portraits, J. W. Nara’s lens also captured the people, place, and time he experienced in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Copper mining and industry are an important part of the story, but Nara also captured the Keweenaw’s rural landscape, including local farms, shorelines, lighthouses, and pastoral back roads.

The traveling exhibit, funded in part by descendants Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack Michigan, works from historical photographs held at the Michigan Tech Archives. Interpretive panels highlight the people, places, and times that J.W. Nara experienced during his lifetime and include material on urban life, farming, and the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike. A small exhibit catalog is available at no charge and includes three Nara photograph postcards from the collection.

The exhibit will remain on display at the Portage Lake District Library through Monday, December 16. For more information on the installation, contact the library at 906-482-4570 or via e-mail at info@pldl.org. Additional information about the exhibit is available from the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu.

Call for Papers: 1913 Copper Miners’ Strike Symposium

Posted by jblair under Exhibits and Events, Travel Grants Program

Retrospection & Respect: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Miners’ Strike

A symposium to be held April 11-13, 2014 on the campus of Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, USA

Banner from the 1913-14 Copper Miners' Strike (Acc-400-12-13-1988-01-08-15)

The Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections of the Van Pelt Library of Michigan Technological University announces a symposium to be held in Houghton, Michigan, April 11-13, 2014, on the occasion of the centennial of the cessation of the 1913-1914 Western Federation of Miners labor strike against copper mining companies in the Copper Country of upper Michigan.  The symposium is co-sponsored by the Archives, the Department of Social Sciences, and the Department of Humanities at Michigan Technological University, the Keweenaw National Historical Park, and the Finnish American Historical Archive at Finlandia University.  The symposium is being held in conjunction with the 2014 meeting of Finn Forum, a professional association of researchers who investigate northern European migration to the United States.

We anticipate paper submissions from a range of disciplinary perspectives in the following and other topical areas:  analyses of labor organization in the historical and contemporary American and European mining industries, the impact of historical European immigration on labor organization, the impacts of early twentieth century labor organizational practices and strikes on American managerial practices in mining and other industries, the impact of women’s activism on early twentieth century labor organization in mining and other industries, comparisons between labor activities and organizational practices over a range of mining commodities, the impacts of labor organizational and strike strategies on historical and current mining communities, contemporary remembrance and collective memory pertaining to labor/strike histories, as well as other topics connecting issues of ethnicity, identity, class, gender, and other cultural divisions to civic discourse and the historic struggle for civil liberties within industry.

Abstract submission is now open and will close on December 16, 2013.  Submitters will be notified of the acceptance of papers on January 16, 2014.  Please direct all inquiries regarding paper topics and presentation details to Dr. Sam Sweitz (srsweitz@mtu.edu).  We will consider proposals for mini-symposia, consisting of three to five papers, organized around a central theme or project as part of this symposium.  Please contact Dr. Sweitz regarding any such proposals.

Abstracts should be submitted via email to copper@mtu.edu, with the subject line “Symposium Proposal.” Abstracts should be no more than 250 words.  Accepted paper presentations will be 20 minutes in length.

The Michigan Tech Archives is offering funding for up to $750 through its Travel Grant Program for scholars to travel to the Archives to research its collections in order to submit a proposal for the symposium. Grant recipients whose papers are selected will be eligible for a second stipend to help allay the cost of travelling to the symposium in April. Please contact the Archives at copper@mtu.edu to apply for grant funding.

The conference proceedings will be published through Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech, an open access platform. The creator(s) of papers shall retain their copyright, but will agree to a non-exclusive license to distribute and preserve their work in Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech.

Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer

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Houghton, Michigan 49931-1295

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Houghton, Michigan 49931-1295
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