All posts by Erik Nordberg

2012 Travel Grants Awarded

The development of an Upper Peninsula extra low frequency (ELF) transmitter for communication with nuclear submarines is one topic of interest to recipients of 2012 archives travel awards. This graphic is taken from a United States Navy report in collection MS-037 U.S. Navy Seafarer Program / Project ELF Collection. Click on the image for further information about this collection.

The Michigan Tech Archives is pleased to announce three recipients of awards in its travel grant program. Funding for the program is provided by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library, and encourages out-of-town scholars to visit Houghton to undertake research using the collections of the Michigan Tech Archives.

Aaron Goings, a professor at Saint Martin’s University in Washington State, will visit campus in August to continue his research into aspects of the 1913 Michigan Copper Miners’ Strike. Goings has particular interest in working-class organization and activism in the region and argues that labor unrest in 1913 was the product of decades of class-based activity by Copper Country workers. The travel award will allow him to examine company correspondence from both the Quincy and Calumet & Hecla copper companies to assess how local mine managers cooperated to obstruct these activities. Goings, who holds a PhD in history from Simon Fraser University, is co-authoring a book about the 1913 strike to be published by Michigan State University Press.

Louis Slesin, editor and publisher of Microwave News, will examine research reports and local response to two United States Navy radio transmission installations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin. Developed under the project names “Sanguine” and “Seafarer,” the sites operated extra low frequency (ELF) transmitters for communication with naval submarines from 1989 to 2004. Concerns about potential ecological and health effects of electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation prompted a series of scientific studies, some conducted by researchers at Michigan Technological University. Slesin, who holds a PhD in environmental policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and intends to produce a book-length study of ELF EMF effects from the submarine transmitter as well as power lines providing electricity to the facilities.

Susan Evans, associate professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Michigan’s Oakland University, will visit in May to examine historical photographs of Finnish immigrants to the region. A photographer and artist, Evans is seeking parallels between how Finnish photographers capture aspects of culture in their work. Following her visit to Houghton, Evans will travel to Haukijarvi, Finland, for a summer residency with the Arteles Creative Center. While in Finland, Evans plans to compare her Michigan research to historical Finnish photographic images and create new photographic work using historic wet plate techniques which are inspired by her archival research. The resulting images will be incorporated into Evans’ professional exhibition, presentation, and publication projects.

As part of their research visits, travel award recipients will present a public presentation – either on their research in progress or on a topic from their previous work. Information about these events will be distributed as they are scheduled.

Since 1998, the Friends of the Van Pelt Library have supported more than 25 scholars and researchers from across the United States, Canada, and Europe to access the Archives’ collections. Books, articles, presentations and web content have resulted from the work of travel grant recipients, helping to draw attention to the holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives and the history of Michigan’s Copper Country and Upper Peninsula.

For more information on the Travel Grant program and the Archives’ collections, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 487-2505, copper@mtu.edu, or on the web here.


Archives Welcomes Two New Faces

Rachael Bussert and Dan Michelson recently joined the staff of the Michigan Tech Archives.

The Michigan Tech Archives is pleased to have two archivists join our regular staff. Senior project archivist Rachael Bussert and processing archivist Daniel Michelson began work on a grant-funded project March 12, 2012 which will keep them at the Michigan Tech Archives through the end of 2013. 

Funded by the National Historical Records and Publications Commission, the two-year project will target 92 manuscript collections for archival processing and description.  Information about the project is online here.

Rachael Bussert earned a B.A. in history from The Ohio State University and an M.A. in public history from Wright State University, where she also completed graduate coursework in archives management. Previous to Michigan Tech, Bussert was employed by Northern Michigan University and completed a project to digitize records of the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company and was also involved in a pilot project to manage local government records in digital formats. While completing her graduate degree she also completed archival internships with the University of Dayton, the Ohio Historical Center, and the Beavercreek Historical Society.

Dan Michelson earned a B.A. in history and education at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and an M.A. in archives and public history from New York University, which included graduate archival coursework. During his graduate studies, Dan completed internships at National Archives in both Boston and New York, as well as the American Jewish Historical Society.  His most recent work was as a graduate assistant at the Tamiment Library and the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University.

Their arrival coincided with warming temperatures in the Keweenaw. We haven’t told them about the snow yet…


Houghton County Potato Farming

Potatoes at Otto Sibilsky house, July 1924, Image MS042-008-53-950-56, Reeder Family Photograph Collection (click image for additional details)

Presentation by Erik Nordberg
Michigan Tech Archives
Wednesday, April 25, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Calumet Public Library
Open to the public/Refreshments served

The Great Depression caused widespread distress in the mining and timber communities of the Upper Peninsula. Unemployment skyrocketed and the short growing seasons and cold winters squeezed the people’s ability to survive. While many are familiar with Roosevelt’s New Deal programs like the CCC and WPA, many don’t realize it also transformed Houghton County into one of the nation’s most productive potato-producing regions. 

Illustrated with dozens of historical photographs, Nordberg’s presentation will chart the transformation of the county into one of the nation’s premier potato-growing regions during the 1930s and 1940s. At its height, more than 300,000 bushels of potatoes were exported from Houghton County, utilizing a community of growers, numerous potato warehouses and a niche market for high-quality table stock potatoes in midwestern cities.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library.
For more information, visit the library or call 337-0311 ext 1107
(In case of bad weather, when school is cancelled, all library programs are cancelled.)

 


Archives Seeking 2012 Summer Intern

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections seeks a graduate student intern for Summer 2012. As a regional history manuscript collection, the Michigan Tech Archives collects material broadly documenting the Keweenaw Peninsula and environs associated with Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula.

The intern selected will receive substantive experience in both public service and collections handling activities. The intern will assist in day-to-day public service activities, including greeting and assisting researchers, retrieving and shelving historical records, and assisting university and community patrons with use and duplication of materials.

The intern will also gain experience in organizing, describing, and processing archival collections. S/he will apply theories of appraisal, organization, and description to working manuscript collections. This includes researching people or events covered by a collection, sorting, cleaning, arranging, boxing, and creating a full finding aid complete with appropriate index terms. The intern will likely work with several recent accessions relating to Isle Royale, its contracted ferry service, and the ongoing wolf-moose predator-prey scientific survey which began in 1958.

Preference will be given to applicants currently enrolled in a graduate archival studies program, but consideration may be given for equivalent forms of education and experience.  Applicants must possess the following skills: 

  • Knowledge of contemporary archival practices, policies, and procedures, including arrangement and description, and familiarity with DACS, LCSH, and AAT.
  • Demonstrated analytical and research skills.
  • Ability to work independently and exercise initiative, discretion, and judgment.
  • Ability to work collegially and effectively with others.
  • Knowledge of basic computing and software in the Microsoft Office Suite.

This is a part-time summer position from June 25 to August 31, although the start and end dates are flexible. The intern will be expected to work 30 hours per week and will be paid at the rate of $10.00 per hour. There are no benefits included with this position and the successful candidate will be expected to cover his or her own travel expenses to Houghton, Michigan. Although housing is not provided, Michigan Tech may have dormitory housing available at an affordable rate. Enjoy exquisite scenery, moderate temperatures, and many different outdoor activities!

To submit an application for this position please mail, fax, or e-mail cover letter and resume to:
Michigan Technological University Archives
    Attn: Graduate Student Summer Intern Position
Van Pelt and Opie Library
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
copper@mtu.edu
tel: 906-487-2505
fax: 906-487-2357

Review of applications will begin on April 12.
Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer.


2012 History Day Students Advance to State Finals

Eighty students from five school districts participated in nine categories at the National History Day, Michigan-District 1 competition held Feb. 25 at the Michigan Technological University Memorial Union Building in Houghton.

The district competition is sponsored by the Michigan Tech Archives, Michigan Tech Social Sciences Department, the Quincy Mine Hoist Association, and The Historical Society of Michigan.

Following the national theme of “Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History,” students in grades 6-12 produced works in the categories of research paper, group and individual documentary, group and individual exhibit, group and individual performance, and group and individual website.

Forty-three students from District 1 will proceed to the state competition to be held April 28 in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

Junior Division-Individual Documentary
Samuel Wallace, Houghton Middle School, “Coups, Collaborators and Consequences: Chile 1973,”

Junior Division-Group Website
Isabella Maki and Colleen Toorongian, Houghton Middle School, “60s Anti-War Music (Vietnam)”

Junior Division-Group Exhibit
Lisa Keskimaki, Rebekah Scherbring and Hannah Wentworth, Houghton Middle School, “The ‘Unsinkable’ Titanic”
Wyatt Liston, Gunnar Stein and Ri Chen, Houghton Middle School, “Michael Jordan.”
Linsey Johnson and Jensen Rajala, Jeffers High School, “Slam Dunk into Basketball Changes”

Senior Division-Individual Research Paper
Noah Kozminski, Hancock Central High School, “Vive la Revolution!”
Jackie Jahfetson, Chassell Schools, “First Greensboro – In the End, Victory!”
Deven Muljo, Lake Linden High School, “The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald”

Senior Division-Group Performance
Laura Berg, Ashlyn Kero and Olivia Leukuma, Hancock Central High School, “Jackie Robinson: Breaking Color Barriers to Integrate Sports”
RyLee Anne Maki, Madeline Huhta and Juliana Hupp, Chassell Schools, “A Blast from Harriet’s Past! Abolishment of Slavery as a Reaction to Tubman’s Work on the Underground Railroad”

Senior Division-Group Documentary
Ayla LaRoe and Karli Michaels, Chassell Schools, “The Beatles: From Europe to America, they Conquered it All”
Kadie G. Alholinna and Callie Stromer, Hancock Central High School, “Reactions to 911: Beyond America’s Tears”
Mia Ruonavaara, McKenzie Jackola and Nathan Meyette, Hancock Central High School, “The American Jews’ Involvement in the Destruction of Adolf Hitler”

Senior Division-Individual Exhibit
Heather Waineo, Chassell Schools, “John Brown’s Revolt Against Slavery”

Senior Division-Group Exhibit
Jacy Goddard and Marti Warren, Chassell Schools, “Dorothea Dix and the Asylum Movement”
Ellie Hyypio and Abby Heikkila, Chassell Schools, “Pablo Picasso’s Revolution in Art”
Kailey Auguston and Leslie Hamar, Hancock Central High School, “The Stolen Generations: The Aboriginal Fight for Equality”

Senior Division-Group Website
Alex Almquist and Taylor Mattson, Hancock Central High School, “The High Rise for Women’s Basketball”
Sara Kilpela and Kirsten Daavettila, Chassell Schools, “American Industrial Revolution”
Tanner Kearly, Tony Fisher and Anna Meese, Hancock Central High School, “Steroids in Baseball”

Senior Division-Individual Website
Marah Erickson, Chassell Schools, “Germ Theory: Revolution in Medicine”
Aaron Posega, Hancock Central High School, “Digital Music Distribution: Changing the World, One Download at a Time”

Local History Award
Group Exhibit: Abby McConnon, Madison McConnon and Beth Sundblad, Lake Linden-Hubbell High School, “Ghost Towns of the U.P.”


Archives’ Traveling Exhibit Visits L’Anse

J.W. Nara produced thousands of studio portraits, such as this group of four Calumet miners. Nara's photography is the topic of an exhibit visiting the L'Anse Area School Public Library through April 6, 2012. Nara Image #42-117 (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, has moved to the L’Anse Area School Public Library in L’Anse, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public through April 6, 2012 during the library’s normal hours, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. The library is part of the L’Anse Area Schools campus at 201 North Fourth Street, L’Anse, MI 49946. 

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 L’Anse Area School Public Library through Friday, April 6. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu

Some photographs of the installation in L’Anse:


2012 Travel Award Program Accepting Applications

The Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections is currently accepting applications to its annual travel grant program, which brings outside scholars and researchers to Michigan Technological University in Houghton to study the Archives’ collections. Financial support for the travel award program is provided by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library, a support organization for the Library and Archives of the University. Grants are awarded for up to $750.

The Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections houses a wide variety of print, graphic and manuscript resources. Subject coverage includes University and campus life, towns and cities in the Keweenaw, and the companies, social organizations, events and personalities of the Copper Country and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Topical research areas include: Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula; industrial history, particularly copper mining and its ancillary industries; social history, including workforce issues, immigration and ethnicity; urban and community development along the Keweenaw Peninsula; transportation; and the environment.

Review of applications begins on February 24, 2012, with selection announcements made in early March. The successful candidate must complete his/her travel by December 14, 2012. Electronic submission is encouraged.

A completed application (Application 2012) and current resume are required for application to the program. Information about the Michigan Tech Archives is online here, with instructions on searching the Archives manuscript collections is available here.

Questions may be directed to Erik Nordberg, University Archivist,  at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu.


Public Meeting Seeks Input and Partners for 1913 Strike Centennial

Striking miners gather outside the Calumet office of the Western Federaion of Miners in 1913. Photo courtesy Michigan Tech Archives, Image #MS003-007-001C-12 (click on image for additional details)

 

Community input and volunteers are sought for planning activities to mark the centennial of the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike. A public meeting is scheduled for Saturday, January 28, 2012, at 1:00pm at the Calumet Visitor Center of Keweenaw National Historical Park, in the Historic Union Building at 98 Fifth Street in Calumet, Michigan. Refreshments will be served.

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.

Current ideas for marking the centennial include historical exhibits, tours of historic sites connected to the strike’s events, publication of books and web content, a symposium on historical topics, tie-in activities for K-12 students, a memorial ceremony on the centennial of the Italian Hall tragedy, and many other public events across the region.

The January 28 meeting will provide an update on planning to date, discuss ideas for additional activities, and seek volunteers able to move specific events forward. For more information contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, e-mail at copper@mtu.edu, or visit 1913strike.wordpress.com.


Archives’ Exhibit Visits Marquette

John William Nara. A travelling exhibit of Nara's photography will be on display from January 13 through February 11 in Marquette. Nara photograph #Acc-05-097A-016 (click image for further 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, has moved to the Marquette Regional History Museum located at 145 W. Spring Street in Marquette, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and will be open to the public from January 13, 2012 to February 11, 2012, during the museum’s normal hours Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. In addition, the museum remains open until 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday evenings.

The museum will host a public program at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25 in conjunction with the exhibit installation. 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.

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. Nara succeeded as one of the Keweenaw’s first and most successful commercial photographers, producing thousands of portraits of area residents. In addition to posed studio portraits, J. W. Nara toured the region, documenting 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 area’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 Marquette Regional History Museum through February 11. 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 Marquette Regional History Museum 906-226-3571.

Photos from the exhibit, which included a wonderful array of historical artifacts from the collections of the Marquette Regional History Museum and items on loan from Jack Deo at Superior View studios:


Archives Holiday Hours and Contacts

This December 1969 photograph from The Daily Mining Gazette shows Mrs. Fannie Hanson and the oldest resident of Lakeview Manor, John H. Polglase, 85, enjoying the new 23 inch Zenith color television set deliverd by Santa with a note signed, "Merry Christmas to the residents of Lakeview Manor from Herman Gundlach, Industrial Piping, and M & J Electric." Image #MS051-031-003-001, Daily Mining Gazette Photograph Collection. Click on the image for further details.

The Archives will close Friday, December 23 at 5:00pm for the holiday recess and will reopen on Monday, January 2 at 10 AM and return to our normal hours of operation.

Patrons may send e-mail inquiries to copper@mtu.edu or via voicemail at 906-487-2505.  

Information about the Michigan Tech Archives’ collections and services can be found:
  – in our web site 
  – in our blog site 
  – by searching our manuscript collections
  – and amongst more than 10,000 images in the Keweenaw Digital Archives

On behalf of the Archives staff, have a very peaceful holiday season.