All posts by Erik Nordberg

September 22 Museums Meeting in Iron Mountain

The Menominee Range Historical Foundation Board of Governors cordially invites all museum participants to attend the Fall 2012 meeting of the Northland Historical Consortium.  The event will  be held in Iron Mountain on Saturday, September 22, at the Chippewa Club, located at 106 North Carpenter Avenue, Iron Mountain, Michigan, 49801.

Highlights of the event will be the reconstructed WWII CG 4A Glider (only the seventh restored in the world), a 1943 Ford Military Jeep as used in WWII, and a 1946 Ford Sportsman Convertible “Woodie” (body built at our local Ford Plant in Kingsford) which is on temporary loan. All are located in the new Glider/Military Museum.

Information about the event, including the full program and registration form is available on the Northland Historical Consortium blog site.  Registrations are due by Saturday, September 8th.

Any questions, call Kathie Fayas, 906-774-2827 or Ken Sovey, 715-696-3643. 

The Michigan Tech Archives serves as coordinating organization for the Northland Historical Consortium.


August 16 Meeting for 1913 Strike Centennial

A public meeting at the Houghton Township Community Room in Eagle River at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 16, will discuss activities to mark the centennial of the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike. The nearly year-long strike by members of the Western Federation of Miners is one of the most significant events in Copper Country history and also figures critically in national labor struggles of the era.

The meeting is intended to confirm specific events during the commemoration. Historical exhibits, speakers’ events, tie-in activities for K-12 students, tours of historic sites connected to the strike, a scholarly symposium on historical topics, a memorial ceremony at the Italian Hall site, and other activities will engage both local residents and out-of-town visitors in remembering and understanding this important era in local history.

An additional meeting is scheduled at the Ontonagon Theatre in Ontonagon at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 15. All meetings are free and open to the general public. For more information contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, e-mail at copper@mtu.edu, or visit 1913strike.wordpress.com.


Rockland Hosts Archives’ Photo Exhibit

Calumet photographer J.W. Nara documented everday life in the Copper Country, including camp scenes such as these. An exhibit of Nara's photography will be in place at the Rockland Museum from August 5 to September 14. Nara image number 42-093. Click image for further details.

The Rockland Township Historical Museum is currently hosting “People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives. The exhibit will remain on display through September 14. The Rockland Museum is located at 40 National Avenue in Rockland and is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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 includes 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 Rockland Museum through Friday, September 14. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu or the Rockland Museum at 906-886-2821 and rocklandmusem@chartermi.net


Planning for 1913 Strike Centennial

In November 1913 an anti-union "Citizen's Alliance" began to oranize parades against the Western Federation of Miners. Image Acc-400-12-13-1988-01-08-05 (click image for additional details).

Commitments from community organizations and volunteers are needed for activities to mark the centennial of the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike. A series of public meetings are scheduled over the next three months to finalize the schedule for next year’s commemorative events. The nearly year-long strike by members of the Western Federation of Miners in 1913-14 is one of the most significant events in Copper Country history and also figures critically in national labor struggles of the era.

The first public meeting will take place at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 23, which is also the 99th anniversary of the start of the 1913 strike. Additional meetings are scheduled for at the Houghton Township Community Room in Eagle River at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 16 and at the Ontonagon Theatre in Ontonagon at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 15. Individuals are welcome to attend any or all of these meetings.

These meetings intend to confirm specific events during the commemoration. Historical exhibits, speakers’ events, tie-in activities for K-12 students, tours of historic sites connected to the strike, a scholarly symposium on historical topics, a memorial ceremony at the Italian Hall site, and other activities will engage both local residents and out-of-town visitors in remembering and understanding this important era in local history.

All meetings are free and open to the general public. For more information contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, e-mail at copper@mtu.edu, or visit 1913strike.wordpress.com

To download a poster promoting these events click here: RecruitPoster@8x14web


Researcher to Speak about 1913 Strike

Members of the Western Federation of Miners held a meeting June 8, 1913, at the Calumet Theatre to discuss possible strike action. Dr. Aaron Goings will give a public presentation on July 17 at Michigan Tech about events leading up to the 1913 Michigan Copper Miners' Strike. Image #Acc-400-12-13-1988-01-08-01. Click on photograph for more information.

The Michigan Tech Archival Speaker Series will feature visiting scholar Dr. Aaron Goings at 6:30pm on Tuesday, July 17 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Tech campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Goings’ presentation, entitled “Class Struggle in the Copper Country: The Long View,” will discuss labor history in Michigan’s Copper Country. His work focuses on working conditions, labor unions, and labor struggles in the years leading up to the 1913 Michigan Copper Miners’ Strike. His presentation will highlight earlier labor disputes, as well as the day-to-day struggles between workers and employers in the Copper Country during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Dr. Aaron Goings is Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Saint Martin’s University in Washington State. He earned his PhD from Simon Fraser University, where his dissertation addressed class and community issues in Grays Harbor, Washington. Goings is currently working with co-author Gary Kaunonen on a book to be published in 2013 by Michigan State University Press which argues that the 1913-1914 strike was the culmination of decades of regional labor struggles. The talk will conclude by discussing the national significance of this important labor event and reasons it has drifted from public memory outside of the Copper Country.

Going’s research visit and presentation are supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1998, 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 call the Michigan Tech Archives at 487-2505 or e-mail copper@mtu.edu.

Here are some photographs from the event, which attracted more than 75 attendees (click on individual photographs for larger versions).


Nara Photograph Exhibit in Marquette

This photograph by J.W. Nara not only includes the Nara's son, William "Onni" Nara, but also one of J.W.'s cameras. Image Acc-05-097A-015 from the Nara Photograph Collection (click on image for additional information).

“People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, is on display through July 27 at the Peter White Public Library at 217 Front Street in Marquette, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public during regular library hours

The public is invited to an illustrated lecture by Michigan Tech archivist, Erik Nordberg, about J.W. Nara’s work. The presentation features additional historic photographs and explores the themes depicted in Nara’s work. This event is scheduled for 3:00pm on Thursday, July 26, in the library’s community room. 

Born in Finland, J.W. Nara immigrated to the United States and established a photographic studio in Calumet in the heart of America’s most productive copper mining region in the early 1890s. Nara’s lens captured downtown Calumet at its zenith, the lives of underground workers in the mines, local residents socializing at weekend picnics, and events of the bitter 1913 copper miners’ strike. Nara’s lens also recorded the Keweenaw Peninsula’s rural landscape, providing some of the only photographs of farms and farm families during this era. As a commercial photographer, Nara took thousands of studio portraits – many purchased by immigrants to Michigan’s historic copper district and shipped to family and friends across the globe. 

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. 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 Peter White Public Library through July 27. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Library at 906-226-4318 or the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 and via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu

We are thankful to Johanna Boyle and The Mining Journal for wonderful front page coverage of this installation. View Johanna’s story here.

 


Archives’ Summer Intern Megan Dirickson

The Michigan Tech Archives is pleased to have the assistance of Megan Dirickson as a graduate student intern this summer. Megan is currently enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin, pursuing a master of science degree in information studies with a specialization in archives and preservation. During her archival coursework Megan also completed a practicum working with manuscript collections at the Texas State Archives. She is a board member of UT’s student chapter of the Society of American Archivists and has previously worked as a conservation technician with Whitten & Proctor Fine Art Conservation and as a graduate intern with UT’s Blanton Museum of Art.

While in Houghton, Megan will be assisting with public service in the Michigan Tech Archives reading room, particularly during the busy summer genealogical research season. She is also working to arrange and describe a recent acquisition of research and administrative files from Michigan Tech faculty members Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich relating to their ongoing Isle Royale wolf-moose predator-prey study.

A native of Texas, Megan (and her husband, Will, and dog, Faolan) have been enjoying the scenery and milder weather of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.


Grant Funds Two Archivists

Senior Project Archivist, Rachael Bussert
Processing Archivist, Daniel Michelson

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections has begun a two-year project funded by a $168,000 grant from the “Detailed Processing Projects” program of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

The grant will be used to improve access to 92 historic collections documenting the history of the Michigan’s Copper Country. The grant supports two project archivists, Rachael Bussert, Senior Project Archivist, and Daniel Michelson, Processing Archivist, to arrange and describe 1,329 cubic feet of documents to the folder level following minimal processing standards.

The collections document a wide range of regional history, from copper mining, railroad, and maritime industries to records of local schools, churches, and social organizations. Among the collections to be processed are records of several Michigan copper mining companies, including a large collection from the Copper Range Company and records relating to the Victoria Mining Company and the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company.  Researchers will also find valuable primary resources about businesses such as the Keweenaw Co-op and The Daily Mining Gazette, as well as social groups like the Miscowabik Club in Calumet and Fortnightly Club in Hancock.

The project will utilize the Archivists’ Toolkit to produce EAD finding aids that will be accessible through the Archives’ web page, the Michigan Technological University Library catalog, and OCLC ArchiveGrid. While the majority of the collections will be processed according to the Greene and Meissner’s “More Product, Less Process” minimal processing philosophy, some personal papers, local business, and non-profit records may require a more detailed approach. The project will maintain metrics on processing rates for different types of records.

Updates and interim reports posted to the Archives’ blog site will allow the public to follow the project’s progress and learn more about the methods used by the project archivists. Archives’ staff will also promote the project through presentations to local community organizations, professional groups, and schools. The project will help to better preserve the collections and greatly improve their discovery and use by researchers.

Funding for this project is provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the granting agency of the United States National Archives and Records Administration. The Michigan Tech Archives is a department of the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library and is located in the library building in the heart of the Michigan Tech campus in Houghton, Michigan. For further information, contact the Archives at 906-487-2505 or at copper@mtu.edu.


Calumet Visitor Center Hosts Archives’ Exhibit

J.W. Nara documented many aspects of life in Michigan's Copper Country, including the underground work of miners. Nara's photography is the topic of an exhibit visiting Calumet through June 24. Nara image 42-142 courtesy Michigan Tech Archives. Click on the image for additional information.

 

A traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, is open to the public at the Calumet Visitor Center of Keweenaw National Historical Park at 98 Fifth Street in Calumet, Michigan. The exhibit, “People, Place, and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara. The exhibit continues through June 24 and is open during the Visitor Center’s normal public hours, severn days per week, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

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. 

Keweenaw National Historical Park will host a public program at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 23 in conjunction with the exhibit. Erik Nordberg, University Archivist at Michigan Technological University, will give an illustrated presentation, “Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara.” The presentation features dozens of historical photographs of the Keweenaw and explores themes of commercial photography, family, and recreation that are depicted in Nara’s photography. 

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 Calumet Visitor Center through June 24. For more information on the exhibit, contact Keweenaw National Historical Park at 906-337-3168 or the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 / copper@mtu.edu.


Northland Consortium Meeting May 12 in Alberta

Built by the Ford Motor Company in 1936 as a small self-sustaining timber mill and farming town, the entire community of Alberta was donated by Ford to Michigan Tech in 1954. Image No Neg 2008-03-05-14 courtesy Michigan Tech Archives (click on image for further details).

The Northland Historical Consortium will convene its Spring 2012 meeting on Saturday, May 12, at the Michigan Tech Ford Center in the historic town of Alberta, Michigan, located 7 miles south of L’Anse. The public is invited to register to attend, regardless of their affiliation with a heritage organization. The program will begin at 9:00 a.m. eastern time.

The meeting’s program will focus on strengthening interpretative programming at heritage sites and museums. Tamara Barnes, assistant director of the Historical Society of Michigan, will help participants understand how to find and tell stories of interest to museum visitors, how to address difficult issues within their community, and how to present these stories to make their history organization more relevant to their visitors and audiences. The workshop will include handouts and other takeaways.

The day will be rounded out with a tour of the historic Ford Motor Company sawmill at Alberta. A luncheon is included in the $15 registration fee and registrations must be postmarked by Monday, May 7.

The Northland Historical Consortium is an informal association of local historical societies, archives and historians in Northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Central and Western Upper Peninsula. The Michigan Tech Archives serves as coordinating organization for the Northland Historical Consortium.

Information about registering for the event is available on Consortium’s blog site here.