All posts by Erik Nordberg

Nexus: Seely Talks About Libraries and the Research Process

Dr. Bruce Seely, Dean of the College of Sciences and Arts

Dr. Bruce E. Seely, Dean of the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech, will give an invited presentation at 4:00pm on Wednesday, February 23, in the East Reading Room of the J.R. Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Tech campus.

Seely’s presentation, “Research and the Historian’s Craft: Excursions from the Archives to the World Wide Web,” will address the changing role of libraries, archives, and the Internet in his historical research.

“Over the past 35 years I have been explored several different topics in history of technology,” said Seely. “The subjects of enduring interest to me have included the iron and steel industry, the history of transportation, and the history of engineering education.” Seely’s talk will explore the evolution of these projects and some of the twists and turns encountered in the process of historical research in various locations and settings.  Through these experiences, Seely will highlight how historical research happens and the resulting process of historical interpretation.

Before becoming dean of the College of Sciences and Arts in 2008, Seely spent 22 years as a professor in Michigan Tech’s Department of Social Sciences, including six years as department chair. He has taught courses in history of technology, as well in American history, Western Civilization, history of science, and science and technology studies. Recently he has helped develop Michigan Tech’s undergraduate minor and graduate certificate in nanoscale science and engineering, developing a course in the societal implications of nanotechnology.

The event is the first in the library’s events series “Nexus: the Scholar and the Library” which illuminate ways scholars and scientists productively use libraries and archives. It is open to the public and is sponsored by the Van Pelt and Opie Library. Join us for free refreshments. For further information: (906) 487-2500, library@mtu.edu or www.mtu.edu/library

Michigan Tech chemical engineers in the unit operations laboratory, ca. 1960

 


Archives’ Staff Offer Workshop in Calumet

Night school class in the Calumet High School, ca. 1916. Image MS019-11-06-06, Brockway Photograph Collection, Michigan Tech Archives.

Have you ever wondered how to start a historical research project? Not sure where to find the right documents to answer your question? Unclear how a research archives operates? Join Julie Blair and Erik Nordberg, archivists from Michigan Tech, and Jeremiah Mason, archivist at Keweenaw National Historical Park, for an introduction to archival research at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 9, at the Calumet Public Library, which is located on the C-L-K schools campus.  

The session will provide a general overview of research using historical records, including an introduction to historical research methods. Learn how to locate, integrate, and cite archival material. 

Presenters will discuss the meaning of phrases like “manuscript collection” and “primary sources,” how to describe different types of archival sources, and learn about the similarities and important differences between archives, libraries and museums. 

The session will draw upon numerous examples from the holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives and Keweenaw National Historical Park, including historical material about the people, communities and industries of the Copper Country. 

Attendees will also learn how to use the Keweenaw Digital Archives to easily find historic images online, how to create an account, make a digital album, and add comments and observations to the photos. 

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library and is free and open to the public. In the event of bad weather, all library programs are cancelled when school is cancelled.

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


J.W. Nara Exhibit Visits Painesdale

A Copper Range Railroad crew takes a break for photographer J.W. Nara in this undated photograph. Image # Nara 42-082, Michigan Tech Archives.

“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 library at Jeffers High School in Painesdale, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and will be open to the public through February 25, 2011 during the library’s normal hours, Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The exhibit will also be available for viewing on Fridays 10:00 – 4:00 p.m. through the support of volunteers from the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center. Additional support is provided by the Adams Township School District

The library will host a public program at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, February 11, 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 Jeffers High School library through Friday, February 25. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu

Frank Rugani, a volunteer and board member with the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center, examines one of the interpretive panels.

 

The exhibit will continue at the Jeffers High School library through Friday, February 25.


Workshop: Introduction to Archival Research

Ever wonder how to start a historical research project? Not sure where to find the right documents to answer your question? Unclear how a research archives operates?  Join Michigan Tech archivists Julie Blair and Erik Nordberg at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1, for an introduction to archival research. The workshop will take place in Room 244 of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

This session will provide a general overview of research using historical records. The workshop will include an introduction to historical research methods and attendees will learn how to locate, integrate, and cite archival material in their research. Presenters will discuss what is meant by phrases like “manuscript collection” and “primary source,” how to describe different types of archival sources, and learn about the similarities and important differences between archives, libraries, and museums.

Attendees will also learn how to use the Keweenaw Digital Archives to easily find historic images online, how to create an account, make a digital album, and add their own comments and observations to the photos. The session will draw upon numerous examples from the holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives, which collects historical material about Michigan Tech and the people, communities, and industries of the surrounding Copper Country.

This workshop will also be repeated at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 7, and is part of a weekly series of programs offered by the Van Pelt and Opie Library. For more information on the Library’s workshop series, visit their blog.


Keweenaw Digital Archives Reaches 10,000 Images

This photograph, showing a group of copper miners at an unknown location, was the 10,000 image added to the Keweenaw Digital Archives. Image #ACC03-153D-01-02 from the Van Den Belt Photograph Collection.

 

The Keweenaw Digital Archives, a web-based collection of historical photographic images of Michigan’s Copper Country, added its 10,000th image on Friday, November 19.  The collection is drawn primarily from the photographic holdings of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collations and document the social and industrial life of the Keweenaw Peninsula. 

“It’s been an incredible experience,” remarks Christine Holland, library assistant with primary responsibility for adding content to the system. “I’ve lived here all my life, but it really wasn’t until I started scanning photos for the digital site that I really began to appreciate the buildings, places, and history around me.” 

“People know the Keweenaw was a historic mining district, but you can’t see any mining here today. Looking at these historical photos, seeing miners working underground, seeing thousands of copper ingots on the docks, or the crowds dressed in their finery on city streets — that’s when you really begin to understand what happened here.” 

Initial funding for the digital archives initiative was part of the Michigan Tech Archives “Interior Ellis Island” ethnic history project. A donation from Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack, Michigan, supported the purchase of computer and scanning equipment necessary for the work. A grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, supported the more significant aspects of the project.   

“This is an incredible milestone for our digital collection,” noted Erik Nordberg, University Archivist. “We began this project in March 2006 and have grown from success to success over the last four years. It’s a testament to Christine’s efforts that we have been able to create such a rich and varied public resource in such a short time.” 

The Keweenaw Digital Archives includes photographs from a variety of sources and covering a variety of periods. Some of the earliest images include the work of local photographers J.W. Nara, J.T. Reeder and Adolph Isler and date well before 1900. More recent images include photos from Michigan Tech campus photographers and alumni, as well as a large number from Houghton’s local newspaper, The Daily Mining Gazette. Topics include copper mining, local cities and towns, social life, maritime and lighthouses, campus life and athletic teams, and almost every aspect of life in Michigan’s Copper Country. 

When asked for some of her favorite images, Holland stops to think. “That’s a tough question. One that immediately springs to mind is a 1909 photograph of the first dirigible to fly over Houghton. I was able to track down a newspaper article about the event and the reporter commented on how the balloon, named The Comet, did a figure eight around St. Ignatius Church.” 

“Personally, I’ve always loved to see the interior decor of Victorian homes. And I really like photographs of social activities like picnics. It’s interesting to see the clothing people wore and the way they did their hair. It makes you think about how things have changed, but also how things have stayed the same.” 

The public can visit the Keweenaw Digital Archives online at http://digarch.lib.mtu.edu  In addition to searching for images by keyword, visitors can browse by subject, or search for just the most recent images added to the system. Interactive features allow the general public to submit comments about individual images, develop their own online photo album, or generate a duplication order for photographic prints or digital scans. 

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or at copper@mtu.edu 

Detail of image #ACC03-153D-01-02, showing young boy amongst copper miners. From the Van Den Belt Photograph Collection, Michigan Tech Archives.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  

Update:
The Daily Mining Gazette, Houghton’s local newspaper, ran a nice story about our milestone in the December 2, 2010 edition.  The story is in online as part of their web edition and an image capture of the the front page of the paper is attached below (the story is on the lower right). 

  

    


Nara Exhibit Travels to the Finnish American Heritage Center

An unknown man poses in "Finnish Hunter's Costume" at the J.W. Nara photographic studio. Image# Nara 42-264.

“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 Finnish American Heritage Center on the campus of Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and will be open to the public through December 7 during the Center’s normal hours, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, November 3, the Center will host a public program 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. The presentation is scheduled midday for 12:30pm in the Finnish American Heritage Center. 

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 Finnish American Heritage Center through Tuesday, December 7. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu


Traveling Photograph Exhibit Visits Ontonagon

 

J.W. Nara sold copies of photographs as souvenirs. This image, copied from an unknown published source, shows a load of logs from Ewen which were displayed at the World's Fair.
J.W. Nara sold copies of photographs as souvenirs. This image, copied from an unknown published source, shows a load of logs from Ewen which were displayed at the World's Fair.

“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 Ontonagon County Historical Society museum in Ontonagon. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and will be open to the public through September 25 during the museum’s regular hours. 

On Friday, September 3, the Society will host a public reception and program 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. The presentation is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at the museum complex. 

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 Ontonagon County Historical Museum through Saturday, September 25. Its next stop will be the Finnish-American Heritage Center in Hancock, Michigan.


Northland Consortium to Meet in Ontonagon

Pieces of mass copper awaiting shipment from the dock at Ontonagon. J.T. Reeder photo, Image MS042-048-999-U644.
Pieces of mass copper awaiting shipment from the dock at Ontonagon. J.T. Reeder photo, Image MS042-048-999-U644.

The Northland Historical Consortium will convene its Fall 2010 meeting on Saturday, September 25, 2010, in Ontonagon. The event, hosted by the Ontonagon County Historical Society, will be held at the Holy Family Catholic Church at the corner of Pine Street and Michigan Avenue in the village of Ontonagon. The public is invited to attend, regardless of their affiliation with a heritage organization and the program will begin at 8:30 a.m. eastern time.


The meeting will feature two presentations. The first, by Michael Genrich, will discuss the research and writing process for the author’s third novel, titled Interior, and will include an illustrated presentation concerning the ghost town of the same name in Ontonagon County.  In the second segment, Bruce Johanson, president of the Ontonagon County Historical Society, will discuss the group’s efforts to engage younger people in local history and museum activities, and suggest projects and programming that historical societies can use to involve a new generation of youth in this important work.

 

The day will be rounded out with tours of the historic Ontonagon Lighthouse, which has been under continuing restoration and interpretation by the historical society, as well as the group’s main museum in downtown Ontonagon. All tours, access to the facilities, and a luncheon are included in a $15 event registration fee. Following lunch, historical organizations will have an opportunity to report on their recent activities and to discuss the Consortium’s work to highlight heritage activity in the region. 

 

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.  A $15 event registration fee will include all presentations, tours, refreshments and the luncheon. 

 

For further information on the event, or to register to attend, contact Bruce Johanson at 884-6886 or Josie Olson at 886-2645 / oldjosie@jamadots.com

 

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

 

 

 


Brown Bag Seminar with Industrial Historian Charles Hyde

Dr. Charles Hyde, professor of history at Wayne State University, will be the featured speaker at a brown bag seminar hosted by the Michigan Tech Archives and the Social Sciences department. The event is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, August 4th in the Alumni Lounge of the Memorial Union Building.

Professor Hyde has done significant work in the field of industrial archeology, completing more than 70 projects involving the documentation of historic buildings or structures. His 1978 survey of industrial sites in the Upper Peninsula identified the significant material culture remains at the Quincy mine site. This encouraged a subsequent intensive survey of the site by Hyde and other historians, including current Michigan Tech professor Larry Lankton. Hyde and Lankton coauthored Old Reliable: An Illustrated History of the Quincy Mining Company in 1982 and Hyde went on to publish Copper For America: The United States Copper Industry from Colonial Times to the 1990s, a survey of the United States copper industry, in 1998.

Hyde’s publication and historical documentation efforts include significant work with Michigan’s automotive industry. These include studies of the Dodge Main, Chrysler Jefferson Avenue and Chrysler Highland Park assembly plants, scholarly articles on architect Albert Kahn’s work for the automobile industry, and book publications on Dodge, Chrysler, Nash, Hudson, and American Motors.

The informal seminar is open to the public and attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch or refreshments. For further information contact Erik Nordberg in the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or enordber@mtu.edu


Upcoming Special Events

The Michigan Tech Archives has planning underway for the following events:

Tuesday, August 17, 4:00 p.m., East Reading Room, Van Pelt and Opie Library
Gary Kaunonen will present information from his new book Challenge Accepted: A Finnish Immigrant Response to Industrial America in Michigan’s Copper Country. The book draws upon work Kaunonen did in the Archives’ collections for his master’s degree in industrial archaeology. Further details about this event are available here.

Tuesday, September 14, 7:00pm (Room 642, Dow Environmental Sciences Building)
Jennifer Gunn, the fourth recipient of a 2010 research travel award, will provide a public presentation about her research which examines rural medicine practices in twentieth-century America.

Tuesday, September 28, 7:00 p.m.  (Room 642, Dow Environmental Sciences Building)
Dr. Valerie Bradley-Holliday will discuss research from her recently published book Northern Roots: African Descended Pioneers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

More information about these events will be distributed when available. Contact the Michigan Tech Archives by telephone at 487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu.