2015 Travel Grant Recipients Announced

Students reading and researching in the Michigan College of Mines Library Reading Room, circa 1920s.
Students reading and researching in the Michigan College of Mines Library Reading Room, circa 1920s.


The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections has selected three outstanding recipients for the 2015 Travel Grant Award, a competitive research grant generously funded by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. The recipients of the award will be visiting the Michigan Tech Archives to conduct research on a wide variety of topics using resources in our collections.

David Brown is a doctoral candidate at the University of Kentucky, studying Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation. He will be visiting the Archives to explore the history of Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival and the student culture surrounding it. Mr. Brown will examine what Winter Carnival means to students, both past and present, and discover why it holds such a special place in their hearts. He has observed that alumni have a very strong fondness for their days at Michigan Tech and suspects that cherished traditions like Winter Carnival are at the root of those memories. Mr. Brown will no doubt find a wealth of resources in the Archives documenting the history of the Winter Carnival tradition including the Michigan Technological University Winter Carnival Collection, Michigan Technological University Winter Carnival Photograph Collection, Michigan Tech Lode Binding Collection, and Michigan Technological University Reminiscences.

Philip Hartmeyer is a Maritime Archaeologist conducting research at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena, Michigan. His research at the Michigan Tech Archives will center on the Keweenaw Peninsula’s maritime history. Although the Great Lakes, Lake Superior specifically, were vital to the copper industry, not much has been written about the Keweenaw’s maritime identity. Mr. Hartmeyer will primarily use the Roy Drier Collection, which contains important primary sources such as lighthouse journals and mining company shipping records. These resources will provide firsthand insight into the maritime practices of the Copper Country mining companies and the ships that transported the copper. The Archives is very fortunate to have a comprehensive, complete collection of daily reports from the Portage River Lighthouse which contributes detailed information about the ships passing through.

Kera Lovell is a PhD candidate and Graduate Instructor in American Studies at Purdue University. While at the Michigan Tech Archives, Ms. Lovell will focus on researching Michigan Tech’s People’s Park. A People’s Park is a unique method of protesting in which activists permanently occupy vacant lots and convert them into public parks rather than participate in violent or disruptive rallies. Michigan Tech students created a People’s Park in response to the incidents at Kent State University in 1970. Ms. Lovell will use many of the Archives resources during the course of her research, most notably the Keweenaw Digital Archives, Raymond L. Smith Papers, Michigan Tech Lode Binding Collection, and Michigan Technological University Archives’ Photographic print files.

Since its inception, the Travel Grant Program has enabled more than twenty-five researchers to travel to Houghton from the United States, Canada, and Europe, to examine the unique social and cultural resources housed at the Michigan Tech Archives. 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; the role that fraternal orders have played in Lake Superior mining communities; the adoption of the English language by European transplants to Michigan’s Copper Country; and the part played by various immigrant populations in the 1913-1914 Copper Strike. This year’s awards continue a tradition of supported research using the manuscript collections curated by the Michigan Tech Archives.

The grant program is financially supported by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. This year’s award committee members were Don Durfee, Larry Lankton, Susan Martin, and Lindsay Hiltunen.

For further information about the awards program or about the Michigan Tech Archives collections, please call 487-2505 or visit our website at http://www.mtu.edu/library/archives/.