All posts by jblair

The Clarence Monette Collection Finding Aid is Online

He’s one of the Copper Country’s most prolific authors. His name is synonymous with local history.

With the publication of his first book in 1974, Clarence Monette has been researching and writing about the towns, businesses, railroads, and events that make up the storied past of the Keweenaw and its people. His work, over 50 individual publications, comprises the heart of any comprehensive collection on Copper Country history. Each of his volumes gathers together a wealth of facts and details about a particular topic.

In 2008, Monette donated his personal research collection to the Michigan Tech Archives. It was carefully processed by long-time Archives student worker Ryan Cooper, and described in detail by University Archivist Erik Nordberg. The finding aid is available through the Archives’ website. You can link directly to it here.

The material contained in the 54 boxes of material donated by Monette has been rehoused and organized by topic. The collection holds photographs, maps, newspaper clippings, and other information assembled by Monette during the course of his research.

To learn out more about this collection and others, call the Archives at 906-487-2505, email us at copper@mtu.edu, or visit our website at http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/.

”]From the Clarence Monette Collection, this image illustrates the damage to railroad tracks caused by the 1906 Atlantic Mine earthquake. [Image #:MS058-006-001-01]

Archival Speaker Series – Northern Roots

Although the lives of local African-Americans settlers to the area are poorly documented, this photograph shows the interior of  a Calumet barbershop and four of its employees. Image #:Nara 42-149
Although the lives of local African-Americans settlers in the area are poorly documented, this photograph shows the interior of a Calumet barbershop and four of its employees. Image #:Nara 42-149

The Michigan Tech Archives and Center for Diversity and Inclusion are pleased to host visiting researcher Dr. Valerie Bradley-Holliday for “Northern Roots: African Descended Pioneers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,” at 7:00 p.m. on September 28, in Dow 642.

What do Sampson Noll, a 19th century runaway slave, and Charlotte Preston, a member of the first class to graduate from Northern State Normal School (now NMU) have in common? As it turns out, two things. Both of these people lived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and both were Americans of African descent.

Dr. Valerie Bradley-Holliday will tell these stories and more on Tuesday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. in Room 642 of the Dow Building. The event is free and open to the general public.

Bradley-Holliday, a resident of Marquette, is an avocational historian and the author of several books, most recently Northern Roots: African Descended Pioneers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She has a PhD in social psychology from The Union Institute and University, and masters in social work from Wayne State University. She is currently researching an African American settlement at the Elmwood logging camp in Iron County, Michigan. Copies of Northern Roots will be available for purchase at the event.

Her visit is jointly sponsored by the Michigan Tech Archives and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. The Michigan Tech Archival Speaker Series features researchers whose work makes use of the rich resources in the Copper Country Historical Collections. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion supports programs that promote diversity and build an awareness of social injustice issues.

For more information contact the Archives at 906-487-2505, or email copper@mtu.edu.


Matching the Care to the Place: Medical Provision in Mining Regions, 1900 to 1950

On Tuesday, September 14, at 7 p.m., the Michigan Tech Archives Speaker Series hosts visiting scholar Jennifer Gunn in Room 642 of the Dow Building on the Michigan Tech campus.

Gunn will present “Matching the Care to the Place: Medical Provision in Mining Regions, 1900 to 1950.” Mining, logging, and farming could mangle bodies and it took more than a wife to mend them. In the Copper Country, mining companies employed doctors, built hospitals, and taxed their workers to support that medical infrastructure.  On the Iron Range of Minnesota, however, a similar contract system was used to induce private doctors to take responsibility for creating hospitals and the public health in the remote rural areas. As mining and extractive industries declined, what were the remaining residents’ expectations of health and medicine? What arrangements emerged for health care in small towns and rural communities to replace the industrial-dominated medicine?

Interior view of the surgery room at the C&H Hospital, circa 1928.
Interior view of the surgery room at the C&H Hospital, circa 1928.

Jennifer Gunn is Associate Professor and Director of the Program in the History of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. She earned her Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania., where her dissertation was on the history of graduate medical education in the United States. Her first publication was on industrial medicine. Currently working on a book on rural health and medicine in the Upper Midwest, 1900-1950, Professor Gunn’s interest in mining communities and rural health disparities in an urbanizing society is informed by her experience as a coal miner in Alabama.

Gunn’s presentation is sponsored by the Michigan Tech Archives and the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1998, the Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives. The program is intended to encourage research using the Archives’ lesser known collections or promote new methodological approaches to well-known collections. From a competitive field of applicants, the grant committee selected four scholars this year whose research typifies the spirit of the grant program. They join the ranks of twenty-two past recipients in this most recent round of awards.

For more information on the September 14th presentation, call the Michigan Tech Archives at 487-2505.

Update: Here is a photo from the event, with more than 40 in attendance:

gunn


Archives Features Talk & Book Signing by Local Author Gary Kaunonen

The Michigan Tech Archives hosts local author Gary Kaunonen for a presentation and book signing in the JR Van Pelt & Opie Library’s East Reading Room on Tuesday, August 17 at 4 p.m.

In his latest book, Challenge Accepted: a Finnish immigrant response to industrial America in Michigan’s Copper Country, published by Michigan State University Press, Kaunonen tells the story of the Finnish immigrant challenge to the historic social order. He explores their clash with Copper Country industrialists by examining the written record and material culture of the Finnish immigrant working class through analysis of buildings, cultural institutions, and publication of print media.

Challenge Accepted takes an in-depth look at the way a portion of the Finnish immigrant working class gambled the success of early organizational efforts by participating in the bitter and bloody 1913-14 copper miners’ strike. This nine-month struggle between organized labor and the mining companies culminated in the tragic events at Italian Hall. Kaunonen examines the events of the 1913-14 Strike and Italian Hall using often-overlooked proletarian Finnish immigrant sources.

Based in Hancock, the Tyomies Publishing Company rallied strikers and their families during the 1913-14 copper miners’ strike. Author Gary Kaunonen’s new book explores the politics and culture of the working class Finnish immigrants who made a stand against the mining companies. This image from the Keweenaw Digital Archives (#400-12-13-1988-01-08-04) was taken in February 1914 near the end of the Copper Country’s most violent labor strike.
Based in Hancock, the Tyomies Publishing Company rallied strikers and their families during the 1913-14 copper miners’ strike. Author Gary Kaunonen’s new book explores the politics and culture of the working class Finnish immigrants who made a stand against the mining companies. This image from the Keweenaw Digital Archives (#400-12-13-1988-01-08-04) was taken in February 1914 near the end of the Copper Country’s most violent labor strike.

Kaunonen suggests that the most noteworthy accomplishment of these Finnish immigrants in the Copper Country was that as a largely unskilled group of immigrant laborers, newspaper employees, and radical “hoboes,” they had a very considerable impact on the history of a place dominated by powerful mining companies and the men who ran those companies. This was truly remarkable, a challenge accepted by a proactive segment of the Finnish immigrant working class to have a say in their own working conditions. Embedded in this study of ethnic political-labor history is also a story of division and decline that ultimately fractured a working class movement dedicated to solidarity. This demise is significant when recounting the capabilities and vulnerabilities of the American labor movement in the early twentieth century.

Gary Kaunonen is a social and labor historian currently working on a PhD at Michigan Tech. He received a Master’s in Industrial History and Archaeology from Michigan Tech in 2007, and for a while worked as an archivist at the Finnish American Historical Archive at Finlandia. Kaunonen studies the history of the UP’s Finnish immigrant population, and the interaction between Finns and American industry. Both of his grandfathers worked in the iron mines of Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, and Kaunonen himself charged blast furnaces and operated a bull-ladle before turning to academics. His first book, also published by Michigan State University Press, is called The Finns in Michigan.

Limited copies of Kaunonen’s latest book, Challenge Accepted, will be available to purchase at the August 17 event at the JR Van Pelt & Opie Library at Michigan Tech.

For more information, call the Archives at 487-2505.


Archives By the Numbers

archives-logo-smallEstablished in 1978, the Michigan Tech Archives is an actively used repository that collects and preserves historical and cultural records of Michigan’s historic copper mining district (the “Copper Country”) and Michigan Technological University to support education and research by University faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students. The Archives strives to be the first and best resource for historical information about the Copper Country and Michigan Technological University.

Permanent professional staff                         2

Permanent support staff                                 1

Grant-funded professional staff                      1 (2-year position)

Federal work-study student workers              0.8 FTE

Public hours                                                    35 hours/week

Annual reference transactions                        4,377 (in person and electronic)

Class instruction sessions                               21 annually

Materials used in reading room                      15,071 items

Collections                                                      931 manuscript collections

Collections in cubic feet                                  7,985 cf

Keweenaw Digital Archives                            9,132 images

The Keweenaw Digital Archives is a searchable online database of historical photographs providing a detailed look at the lives of copper miners and their families in Michigan’s historic copper mining district.  Users can search for images by keyword or browse subject headings. The site allows visitors to add comments and information to photographs in the archives, create a personal web album of images, and purchase prints and digital scans.

Archives Travel Grant Program                     26 funded researchers, 1997-present

This travel-to-collections grant program provides up to $750 to support research in the Archives. Funded by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library, the program increases awareness of the Archives’ collections and encourages use of some lesser-known resources by scholars. Visiting scholars give public talks on their research topics, ranging from the role of fraternal orders in Lake Superior mining communities, the development of company housing at Hecla Location near Calumet, to the transformation of former mining districts into vacation and tourist destinations after World War II. The Archives has sponsored visiting scholars from throughout the United States and as far away as Sweden and England.

Archives web page:  http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/

Archives blog: http://blogs.mtu.edu/archives/

Keweenaw Digital Archives: http://digarch.lib.mtu.edu/

Digital Exhibits: http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/exhibits


Archival Speaker Series: The View From Below


mine-map
Mining engineers faced challenges in displaying three-dimensional information on underground mine workings. Technological changes in blueprinting helped transform the way engineers and labor practiced their professions. This drawing shows the extent of Calumet & Hecla's Tamarack mine in 1910.

Calumet and Hecla Mine – Tamarack [Image #:MTU Neg 03253]

This Tuesday night, July 13, at 7 p.m., the Michigan Tech Archives Speaker Series hosts visiting scholar Eric Nystrom in Room 102 of the Chemical Science Building on the Michigan Tech campus.

Nystrom will give a presentation on his research, called “Change of Plans: Blueprint technology and the evolution of engineering practice.” The advent of blueprinting technology in the late years of the 19th century gradually changed the organization, presentation, and use of visual information in the late 19th and early 20th century American industrial enterprise.  Blueprints helped consolidate authority in the space of the engineering office and in the hands of upper management, enabling them to exercise greater control over work at a greater distance from the office, and changed the labor of engineering work.  This change was gradual and uneven, as managers and engineers figured out how to use blueprinting to their advantage, reorganize their practices to accommodate the limitations of the new technology, and increase efficiencies in administration.  Nystrom will sketch the broad contours of changes wrought by blueprinting technology, including the gradual transformation of engineering spaces, practices, and labor, by drawing on examples and artifacts from the Keweenaw and elsewhere.

Nystrom is an assistant professor of history at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester New York. He is working on a book manuscript about the history of underground mapping and modeling in the American mining industry.

The presentation is sponsored by the Michigan Tech Archives and the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1998, the Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives. The program is intended to encourage research using the Archives’ lesser known collections or promote new methodological approaches to well-known collections. From a competitive field of applicants, the grant committee selected four scholars this year whose research typifies the spirit of the grant program. They join the ranks of twenty-two past recipients in this most recent round of awards.

For more information on the July 13th presentation, call the Michigan Tech Archives at 487-2505.


Not all the Archives’ treasures are collections

Even when you enjoy your work, as I do, it is refreshing to experience your profession anew through the eyes of an enthusiastic student in the discipline. Crystal Laudeman is such a person. A graduate of Northern Michigan’s history program, Crystal is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and is completing a graduate student internship at the Michigan Tech Archives.

Crystal’s internship is supported through a grant from NHPRC, part of a two-year project to develop catalog-level descriptions of all our collections. You can access these records as they are created through our library’s Voyager catalog, WorldCat, this blog, and the public web. Crystal has had the enviable job of actually getting to look into every box in the Archives and reporting on the physical condition of the archival material within.

She’s gotten a crash course in on-the-fly preservation assessment, a skill that will stand her well in her future profession. In addition to surveying the collections, Crystal has brought to our attention many of the hidden gems in the collection. You can read about some of her adventures in the Archives in past blog entries.

http://blogs.mtu.edu/archives/2010/01/20/records-document-groundbreaking-of-the-soo-locks/

One of the things I will miss most when Crystal leaves us to continue her education are our philosophical debates on the theory and practice of the archival profession. The nexus of these elements is, on a day-to-day basis, a pragmatic approach that balances the twin goals of access and preservation. These two ideals, perfect preservation and total access, are really what drives an archives forward. It has been a real pleasure to have Crystal so actively contribute to our professional discourse.

We’ve been very fortunate to have Crystal’s enthusiasm and energy throughout the past six or so months. Although she is leaving us, she has become a part of the Michigan Tech Archives. The results of her work will benefit our patrons and staff for many years to come.

Crystal has somehow managed to survive these past months without her cats, Boomer and Cleo, but they forgive her and will let her make it up to them when she returns home.

Boomer and Cleo
Boomer and Cleo missed Crystal while she was gone, when they could fit it into a busy napping schedule.


Flower Power and the Lizard King: student publications at Michigan Tech

The third issue of "flush"  takes a decidedly radical tone despite the ethereal mood suggested by its cover. This issue was published at the advent of The Summer of Love.
The third issue of "flush" takes a decidedly radical tone despite the ethereal mood suggested by its cover. This issue was published at the advent of The Summer of Love.

I attended the Midwest Archives Conference earlier this year. In addition to the session I participated in, I attended a fascinating presentation by Jenna Freedman, Barnard College zine librarian. She talked about aspects of zines that appeal to archivists, like issues of collecting and preserving zines, but she also just talked about zine culture itself. I have to admit I was hooked. Her handouts were even real DIY mini-zines – hand-lettered with random stickers, printed on the back of paper obviously from the recycling bin.

I was pleased to find evidence of an underground press here at Tech when I came across flush, an off-campus newspaper self-published by a band of merry Michigan Tech pranksters in 1968 and ’69. While not a zine in the truest sense of an expression by an individual, flush nonetheless captures the spirit of its time. The inaugural issue claims “flush wants only to enter your mind, to make you aware, to make you THINK.”  It’s irreverent and provocative, hand-drawn and full of quotes from the likes of Ché Guevara and Jefferson Airplane. Interspersed with material carefully calculated to shock the establishment of the day are some thoughtful pieces whose writing reflects compassion and commitment toward making positive change in the world. What stood out most to me as an archivist and historian was a two-part interview with three African American students that addresses head-on the experience of being black on a very white campus during a time of great national unrest and social upheaval. Although dates are noticeably absent from much of flush, given the context of some of the pieces it is evident that this interview took place only months following the assassination of Martin Luther King. Over its two-year run, the contents of flush become more politically charged. Although no reason for its demise is indicated, the newsletter gets less cerebral over time, rather far out, to use the vernacular.

Student publications have flourished on and off-campus through the years, from sanctioned papers like the Michigan Tech Lode, to boldly sardonic broadsheets like the Daily Bull (reminiscent of flush), to the now dormant TechnoBabe Times. Lamentably, not all of these works make their way into the Archives collections, and some are only incompletely represented in the collections.

Do you know of a student publication, or perhaps write for one? Claim your place for posterity and consider placing copies of your newsletter, zine, or publication in the Archives. The Michigan Tech Archives seeks to document the social and cultural history of the Copper Country, and that includes the long relationship between campus and community. Michigan Tech students have been a distinctive presence in the area for 125 years. Make your voice part of the University’s history. Call the Archives at 487-2505, email us at copper@mtu.edu, or just stop by our beautiful reading room and talk to an archivist. While you’re at it, take a look at flush (LD 3347 .F58).


What’s cookin’ today in the reading room.

I worked with a researcher in the Archives today who was interested in any records or documentation of foodways. What are “foodways,” you may ask. Well, that’s academe-speak for what people eat, the social implications of what, how, and with whom they eat; basically, how people interact with food. Food is love, right?

The researcher, Casey Rudkin, an RTC doctoral student, was looking for things like cookbooks and any records that might contain recipes. She was particularly interested in the Brockway Diaries Collection (MS-010), thinking that perhaps Lucena Brockway had noted “receipts,” as recipes were sometimes referred to in the early 19th century and prior. Lucena kept a pretty terse journal, but there are plenty of details to be gleaned of early life on the Keweenaw by the dedicated researcher.

Casey did the hard work, but occasionally we puzzled together over the meaning of some of the text in the diaries; Lucena was not the most legible scribe. We struggled over an entry that recorded the canning of a bushel of cherries, and eventually learned that on one autumn afternoon she and two other women put up 13 cans of cherries by 7 o’clock! No mean feat even on a modern gas range. I can only imagine what that was like on a wood stove in a kitchen without electricity or running water.

Kitchen, circa 1913
This is the kitchen of the Putrich residence in Seeberville (Painesdale), Michigan. It dates to about 40 years later than Lucena Brockway's day of canning. The merchant family Brockway's kitchen may have been a bit larger than the working class Putriches, but the appliances and equipment were quite likely similar.

Lucena seemed to have been ill frequently. Many of her recipes deal with home remedies. One entry notes a “cure for small pox.”

Casey shared her notes with me from the final page of Lucena Brockway’s 1869 diary, written opposite the back cover page (Coll. #MS-010, The Brockway Diary Collection, Box 1, Folder 5). I’m posting it here with a disclaimer that the excerpt is intended for informational purposes only.

Cure for Small Pox

Sulphate of zinc one grain;
Foxglove (digitalis) one grain;
half a teaspoonful of sugar;
mix with two tablespoonfuls of water.

When thoroughly mixed add—
four ounces of water.
Take a spoonful every
hour. Either disease
will disappear in twelve
hours. For a child smaller
doses according to age.
If counties would com
pel Physicians to use
this there would be no
need of Pest houses.

Lucena notes that the remedy worked for Scarlet fever too.

As work continues on our NHPRC-funded project to create collection level descriptions for all of our manuscript collections, we are truly “revealing hidden collections.” Cataloging archivist Beth Russell was able to suggest another source that contained recipes or descriptions of food. In the collection of Perkins Burnham Correspondence (Acc. # 01-103A), a healthy young clerk in the Eagle Harbor general store describes meals at his boarding house with great gusto.

Mmmm, I’m getting hungry….


Archival Speaker Series: U.P. Architect D. Frederick Charlton

Steven Brisson, Chief Curator for Mackinac State Historic Parks, gave a public talk on Wednesday, April 14, 2010, as part of the Archival Speakers Series sponsored by the Michigan Tech Archives. His topic was D. Frederick Charlton, the first professional architect to reside permanently in the Upper Peninsula.
Steve Brisson speaks on the life and architectural work of Frederick Charlton.
Steve Brisson speaks on the life and architectural work of Frederick Charlton.
Over four-hundred buildings are credited to Charlton, including important public and private commissions and the buildings for four state institutions.  His office designed structures in a variety of popular styles of the last phase of Victorian architecture.  These included Romanesque, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Classical Revival.  Three of Charlton’s most important works are the Marquette County Court House, the John M. Longyear House in Marquette (moved and rebuilt in Brookline, Massachusetts), and the Upper Peninsula State Hospital for the Insane at Newberry. Brisson’s research at the Michigan Tech Archives focused in particular on material from the Herman Gundlach Collection.

This research was supported by a Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant, funded by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1998, this program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives. The program is intended to encourage research using the Archives’ lesser known collections or promote new methodological approaches to well-known collections. From a competitive field of applicants, the grant committee selected four scholars this year whose research typifies the spirit of the grant program. They join the ranks of twenty-two past recipients in this most recent round of awards.

The grant supports travel to the Archives with stipends of up to $750. Once a research proposal has been selected, the amount awarded is determined according to an applicant’s distance from Houghton, Michigan, and the degree of financial need. A full-time graduate student working to complete her or his dissertation is an example of the kind of applicant considered to have a high level of financial need. Although the majority of award recipients are associated with academic institutions either as students or facility, applicants need not come from an academic environment. The program recently supported a strong research program in ethnology by funding two genealogy practitioners exploring Calumet’s 19th and 20th century Polish community.

In addition to the research topic, the award committee considers a person’s track record for completing projects in a timely manner. A strong applicant will demonstrate an ability to publish their research, create a public web page, or otherwise make available the results of their work at the Michigan Tech Archives. The Archives houses a rich collection of historic resources  that we want people to know about. And we don’t want the distance someone might have to travel to the Upper Peninsula to discourage them from coming here. The travel grant helps us achieve both of those goals.

Four researchers were selected to receive a Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant for the current year. This year’s recipients will investigate a diverse array of topics in the Archives’ manuscript collections. Research subjects include the practice of 19th and 20th century medicine in a remote industrial community; the relationship between representations of three-dimensional data and the flow of information within an organization; the regional work of Michigan architect D. Fred Charlton; and the politics and economics of community development during an era industrial decline.

For information about Brisson’s research, architect D. Frederick Charlton, or the Michigan Tech Archives and its collections, email us at copper@mtu.edu, call us at 906-487-2505, or visit us on the web at www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives.

U.P. Architect D. Charleton
Announcement used for Brisson’s talk.