All posts by Erik Nordberg

Historian Discusses Life of Pioneer Resident Lucena Brockway

Lucena Brockway was one of the first white female settlers in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Visiting historian Kathleen Warnes will discuss her pioneer experiences at a public presentation on July 28. Image No Neg 2007-12-13-03 (click on image for full record).

The life and experiences of Lucena Brockway will be the topic of a public presentation at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 28 in the East Reading Room of the J.R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie library at Michigan Tech. The presentation is part of the “Archival Speakers Series” and is free and open to the public.  

Dr. Kathleen Warnes, an independent scholar based in Allendale, Michigan, will discuss her research into the life of Lucena Brockway, an early pioneer resident of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. A native of New York State, Lucena arrived in the Lake Superior region in 1843 with her husband Daniel Brockway as one of the first white families to settle the area. Initially living in L’Anse, where Daniel worked as a government blacksmith, the Brockways moved to Copper Harbor in 1846 and remained linked to the Keweenaw until their deaths in 1899.

Details of Lucena’s life are captured in a series of personal diaries, photographs, and family and business papers preserved at the Michigan Tech Archives. As her children matured and left home, and as her husband spent more and more time at his various business ventures, Lucena found herself increasingly isolated and alone. Brockway’s diaries document her daily activities and struggles, pointing out the type of independent character required of women along the copper mining frontier.

Warnes’s research is supported by a Michigan Tech Archives travel grant, with funding provided by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1998, the Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant has assisted more than 25 scholars advance their work through research in the department’s varied historical collections.

For more information on the July 28 presentation, call the Michigan Tech Archives at 487-2505 or e-mail to copper@mtu.edu.

Lucena and Daniel Brockway on the porch of their home in 1898. Image MS019-05-04-03 (click on photo for full record).

 

Update: Here are some photographs from the event, which drew more than 60 participants. Click on individual photographs for larger image:

 


Archives Exhibit Visits Calumet All-School Reunion

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 currently hosted at the Calumet Public School Library, located within Calumet High School. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public during the library’s regular hours.   The installation is intended to coincide with the 2011 All School Reunion planned for Calumet High School and Sacred Heart High School.

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 travelling 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 J.W. Nara exhibit will travel to Copper Harbor at the end of July and remain on display there through Labor Day weekend.  More informaton about the exhibit is available here, including details on hosting the exhibit at your location.


Exhibit: Made in the Copper Country

C. M. Bailey exhibits one of the wooden rolling pins made in the Shepperd Parrish plant at Ewen, October 23, 1953. Photograph courtesy Michigan Tech Archives, Daily Mining Gazette Collection.

A new exhibit of photographs in the reading room of the Michigan Tech Archives highlights the many products and types of produce which have been “Made in the Copper Country.”   

Some photographs capture expected items from the region’s historic industrial base, like the thousands of copper ingots lining the Houghton shoreline and copper wire produced at a mill in Dollar Bay. The timber and wood products industry is also represented in photos of the Gregoryville sawmill near Lake Linden, samples of the work of the Ripley Bowling Pin Company, as well as rolling pins manufactured in Ontonagon County. 

The Copper Country has also been a significant producer of food products, a topic represented throughout the exhibit. Vollwerth sausages and Hancock’s Star Bakery are both included, as are the raw materials grown in the local area such as fish, eggs, strawberries, and maple syrup

The historical photographs are also augmented with displays of some tools underground miners used to produce copper. Local collector and historian Bill Haller has assembled an informative display of miners’ lamps and artifacts relating to the use of explosives in area mines. Objects on loan from Allan Johnson and the Quincy Mine Hoist Association help to tell these important stories. 

In addition to the physical exhibit in the Archives’ reading room, many more images documenting the people and places of Michigan’s historic Copper Country are available online at the Keweenaw Digital Archives.  Photographs may be reviewed from any web browser and visitors are encouraged to add online comments about each image. 

The exhibit will remain in place through Labor Day and is accessible during the Archives normal hours for public research.  For further information contact the MTU Archives at (906) 487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu


Houghton Carnegie Museum Hosts Nara Exhibit

Warmer weather has more people out and about looking for places to visit. Why not plan a stop in Houghton and learn a bit more about Copper Country history?

“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 Carnegie Museum at the corner of Huron and Montezuma Streets in Houghton, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and will be open to the public through July 5, 2011 during the museum’s normal hours:  Tuesdays 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. ,  Thursdays 12:00 to 5:00 p.m., and Saturdays 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.

The museum will host a public program at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7 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” featuring dozens of historical photographs of the Keweenaw. 

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. Robert and Ruth will be attending the reception.  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 Carnegie Museum through Tuesday, July 5. 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 Carnegie Museum at 906-482-7140 / history@cityofhoughton.com


Archives Seeks Summer Grad Student Intern

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections seeks a graduate student intern for Summer 2011. As a regional history manuscript collection, the Michigan Tech Archives collects material which documents the history of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula, including its historic copper mining industry.

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.

Requirements:

  • Enrolled in a Master’s Degree program in Library & Information Science specializing in archival studies.
  • 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 summer position from June 15 to September 2, 2011, although the start and end dates are flexible. The intern will be expected to work 40 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 a cover letter and current resume to:

Michigan Technological University Archives
Van Pelt and Opie Library
Attn: Graduate Student Summer Intern Position
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
copper@mtu.edu
tel: 906-487-2505
fax: 906-487-2357

Review of applications will begin on May 27.

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer.


Local Students Selected for National History Day Finals

National History DayA number of students from the Western Upper Peninsula were selected as national finalists at the Michigan History Day state finals held April 30 at Grand Valley State University.

These students participated in the local District 1 competition held February 26 in Houghton, which was sponsored by the Michigan Tech Social Sciences Department, the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, the Quincy Mine Hoist Association and the Historical Society of Michigan.    

National finalists now have the opportunity to compete in the national competition to be held in June 12-16 in College Park, Maryland.  Alternates will be invited if any of the finalists in their division and category are unable to participate.

The list of National Finalists includes:

Group Documentary Category
Copper Strike of 1913
Dinah Bekkala, Kaylee Hanson, Brook Harter
Hometown: Calumet, Hancock, Hancock
School: Hancock High School

Group Performance Category
The Diary of Fashion
Katelyn Anderson, Kelsey Bekkala, Kristen Berg
Hometown: Hancock, Calumet, Hancock
School: Hancock Central High School

Individual Website Category
The Formation of the United Nations: Diplomacy Around the World
Aaron Posega
Hometown: Hancock
School: Hancock Central High School

The list of Altnerntes includes:

Individual Documentary Category
Detroit Burning: The 12th Street Riot
Mariah Hallstrom
Hometown: Hancock
School: Hancock Central High School

Individual Exhibit Category
The Boundary Question: A Simple Debate That Caused the Toledo War
Cassie Simula
Hometown: Hancock
School: Hancock Central High School

In addition, a special award for “Best Entry in Use of Oral History” was presented in the Senior Division for the exhibit “How Far Is Too Far? Josef Mengele’s Debatable Experiments on the Twins of Auschwitz,” by Erica LeClaire of Dollar Bay-Tamarack City High School.

Congratulations to all of the students who participated in both the district and state competitions. And good luck to those moving on to the national competition!


Museum Exhibit Planning Workshop May 14, 2011

The Michigan Tech Archives continues to serve as coordinating agency for the Northland Historical Consortium, and is pleased to announce that the Consortium and the Heritage Sites of Keweenaw National Historical Park will convene a joint spring 2011 meeting on Saturday, May 14, 2011, in Houghton. The meeting will feature a day-long workshop entitled “Interpretation and Exhibit Planning for Small Heritage Organizations” in Ballroom A of the Memorial Union Building on the campus of Michigan Technological University. The event will begin at 7:30 a.m. Central/8:30 a.m. Eastern, will run until 3:30 p.m. Central/4:30 p.m. Eastern, and will include lunch.

The workshop is specifically designed for small and medium-sized museums, and includes sections on developing institutional interpretive goals and constructing exhibitions for small museums with limited budgets. Participants will receive instruction on how to identify interpretive themes based on their museum’s location and collections, and how to select artifacts and write text for effective exhibits. Although the workshop is primarily designed for volunteers and staff at museums, members of the public are welcome to register for the event.

The workshop will be presented by Daniel Truckey, director and curator for the Beaumier Heritage Center at Northern Michigan University. Dan has over two decades of experience working in the museum and heritage field, is past vice president for programs with the Michigan Museums Association, and has worked in museums in Michigan, Iowa, and Connecticut.

The fee for this day-long workship will be $20.00 per person and will include lunch.   Pre-registration is required by Monday, May 9.

Copies of the program and registration form are available here.

The Northland Consortium is an informal association of local historical societies, archives and historians in Northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Central and Western Upper Peninsula.  The Keweenaw Heritage Sites include museums and historic sites affiliated with Keweenaw National Historical Park. For further information on the event, or to register to attend, contact Erik Nordberg or Julie Blair at the MTU Archives 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu


Hancock School Public Library Hosts Travelling Exhibit

A travelling exhibit from the Michigan Tech Archives is currently installed in the Hancock School Public Library, located in the Hancock High School complex in Hancock, Michigan. “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 and is open to the public through May 7, 2011 during the library’s normal hours, Mondays and Wednesdays, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.,  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Fridays, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 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. 

The travelling 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. 

For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu or contact Sue Zubiena at the Hancock School Public Library at 483-2544 (extension 5).


Nara Exhibit at Houghton High School Library

A streetcar from the Houghton County Traction Company crossing the former swing bridge across Portage Lake. J.W. Nara image 42-101, Michigan Tech Archives.

The library at Houghton High School is the latest venue to host “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 explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public through March 18, 2011 during the library’s normal hours, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 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. 

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. Robert and Ruth will be attending the reception.  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. 

For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu


Archives Sponsors National History Day Competition

 
Macy Holombo, Sara Kilpela, Ayla LaRoe, from Chassell High School, with their exhibit on "The Six-Day War." This team was selected to move on to the state finals for Michigan History Day.

 

History came alive for more than 90 students in grades 4 through 12 as they participated in the District 1 regional competition for National History Day.  The event took place Saturday, February 26, 2011 at the Memorial Union Building on the Michigan Tech campus.  Although judging of the exhibits took place behind closed doors, the public was invited to a community showcase  to examine the exhibits, documentaries, websites, and other student submissions.     

An awards ceremony rounded out the event, with finalists  selected to advance to the Michigan History Day state finals on April 30, 2011 at Grand Valley State University. That event will identify an even smaller group of participants to travel to the national finals in College Park, Maryland, in June.    

District 1 is comprised of 12 counties in the Central and Western Upper Peninsula. The district competition is sponsored annually by the the Michigan Tech Social Sciences Department, the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, the Quincy Mine Hoist Association and the Historical Society of Michigan.    

For more information on National History Day, email District 1 coordinator Jane Nordberg at jlnordbe@mtu.edu or contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu    

——————–    

STUDENTS MOVING ON FROM DISTRICT TO STATE COMPETITION:    

Junior Division, Individual Documentary:
Sam Wallace, Houghton Middle School, “Animal Testing: Cruelty, crisis and compromise.”    

Junior Division, Individual Exhibit:
Meagan Kangas, Dollar Bay High School, “Did John F. Kennedy’s Signing of the Equal Pay Act Help Men and Women’s Income?”    

Junior Division, Group Exhibit:
Haley Makela, Amanda Mattila, Paris Puuri, Jeffers High School, “The Cuban Missile Crisis: The brink of a nuclear war    

Senior Division, Research Paper:
Marcel Mongeau, Lake Linden High School, “The Toledo War”    

Senior Division, Group Performance:
Kirsten Berg, Kelsey Bekkala, Katelyn Anderson, Hancock High School, “The Diary of Fashion”    

Senior Division, Group Documentary:
Kaylee Hanson, Brook Harter, Dinah Bekkala, Hancock High School, “The Copper Strike of 1913: Mining the struggles of the industrial era”
Rebecca Yeshe, Natalie Larson, Nyomie Olson, Abigail Carr, Chassell High School, “The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: Leading to the end of slavery”    

Senior Division, Individual Documentary:
Mariah Hallstrom, Hancock High School, “Detroit Burning: The 12th St. riot”    

Senior Division, Individual Exhibit:
Cassie Simula, Hancock High School, “The Boundary Question: A simple debate that caused the Toledo War”
Leilani Johnson, Chassell High School, “Anna Howard Shaw: One woman’s impact on women’s rights”
Erica LeClaire, Dollar Bay High School, “How far is too far? Josef Mengele’s debatable experimentation on the twins of Auschwitz”    

Senior Division, Group Exhibit:
Macy Holombo, Sara Kilpela, Ayla LaRoe, Chassell High School, “The Six-Day War: The war that could have put Israel and the Arab states at peace”
Cameron McKenzie, Jacob Wells, Joel Maki, Hancock High School, “The Rush-Bagot Agreement: The peacekeeper of the Great Lakes”
Braden Peterson, Brandon Joyal, Brian Kass, Hancock High School, “The Cuban Missile Crisis: At the brink of world’s end”    

Senior Division, Group Website:
Jacy Goddard, Juliana Hupp, Chassell High School, “Kill the Indian, Save the Man”
Jamie Dompier, Kaitlyn Hietala, Ashley Laux, Chassell High School, “Suffragettes leading the debate over the ratification of the 19th Amendment”  
Katelyn Kelley,  Dylan Whittaker, Hancock High School, “Zero” 

Senior Division, Individual Website:
Aaron Posega, Hancock High School, “The Formation of the United Nations: Diplomacy around the world”
Brooke Corrigan, Lake Linden High School, “The My Lai Massacre”    

Local History Award:
Kaylee Hanson, Brook Harter, Dinah Bekkala, Hancock High School, Sr. Division Group Documentary on: “The Copper Strike of 1913: Mining the struggles of the industrial era”