Category Archives: Grants Received

The Risks of Radicalism

The following letter, discovered in MS-080, Copper Range Company Records, shows the close connection between the copper mining companies and local government.

Unfortunately, the I. W. W. book was not included with the letter. The context for this letter (given below), derived from various sources in the Michigan Tech Archives, demonstrates the value of having an array of different sources at the same research facility.

  • D. L. Robinson: Member of the prominent law firm Rees, Robinson, and Petermann.
  • I. W. W.: The Industrial Workers of the World were a radical left labor union that was, at the time of this letter, growing in strength across the United States.
  • Mr. Slagg: Milo J. Slagg was the principal of the agricultural school from 1915 to 1919.
  • Agricultural School: The Otter Lake Agricultural School in Tapiola (renamed the John A. Doelle Agricultural School in 1922).
  • Alex Pohja: Probably the same person as the Alex Ponja listed by the 1916-1917 Polk directory as a resident of Trimountain and laborer in the Trimountain Mine.
  • John A. Doelle: Longtime superintendent of the Houghton and Portage Lake public schools.
  • Bill: William H. Schacht, the new general manager of the Copper Range Company and Alex Pohja’s boss.

We don’t know if Schacht took any action on this matter, but it is easy to see the potential risks of expressing radical opinions if your job could be threatened by the actions of your child.

This project is supported with a grant from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission.

NHPRC

A Retro Copper Country Halloween

NHPRCResearchers can find a trove of ghoulish retro Halloween photographs in the Daily Mining Gazette Photograph Collection. The Daily Mining Gazette photograph collection contains photographs documenting people and events in the Copper Country. Most of the photographs were taken between 1952 and 1979. This collection was able to be fully processed during the NHPRC grant funded Detailed Processing Project.

Young trick-or-treaters inspect their loot on the sidewalk
Halloween in the Copper Country, original image from an October 1954 issue of the Daily Mining Gazette
Another group of trick-or-treaters
More trick-or-treaters from a November 1954 issue of the Daily Mining Gazette

And Now for Something (not) Completely Different

For the first NHPRC project blog posting after the October fire, I felt it would be appropriate to take a look at a much more unfortunate case.

In 1917, the resident agent of the St. Mary’s Canal Mineral Land Company, F. W. Nichols, was trying to find some early land records.  He wrote to Richard S. Harvey, who was the son of Charles T. Harvey, the land agent for the company’s predecessor.

The following image is the second page of a response from Harvey.  Take a look at the second paragraph.

And his fourth office burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp.

Look for more about the (surviving) records of the St. Mary’s Canal Mineral Land Company (part of the Copper Range Company Records) in a future blog post.

This project is supported with a grant from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission.

Painesdale Hosts Labor History Exhibit

Company houses at Osceola location. The role that company-provided houses played in the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike will be the topic of a presentation at the Jeffers High School Library at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Photograph courtesy of the Michigan Tech Archives, Image #MTU Neg 05670.

Labor and and management conflict in the Keweenaw Peninsula is explored through a traveling exhibit in Painesdale during the month of April. “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display through May 1. The exhibit is hosted by the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center in the Jeffers High School Library in Painesdale.

A special open house will take place Wednesday, April 10.  Michigan Tech Archivist Erik Nordberg will present an illustrated talk entitled “Company Houses Along the Picket Line” exploring the role of company-owned houses in the 1913 strike. The event is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and the exhibit will be open to visitors. Support for this event is provided by the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center.

On July 23, 1913, members of the Western Federation of Miners took to the streets over grievances about pay and working conditions. The strike was marked by violence and tragedy, including the deaths of more than 70 people, mainly children during a Christmas Eve party at Calumet’s Italian Hall. Local mining companies refused to recognize the union, however, and the strike finally ended in April 1914. The confrontation between organized labor and mining companies affected local residents from all walks of life, created headlines across the nation, and continues to resonate in Michigan’s Copper Country today.

The “Tumult and Tragedy” traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free giveaway brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike online here.

The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.eduor 906-487-2505, or the Jeffers High School Library at 906-487-0599.

1913 Strike Exhibit in L’Anse

“Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display from March 4 to March 27 at the L’Anse Area School Public Library, located in L’Anse High School. The library will be open Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

A special open house will take place on Sunday, March 17. Jane Nordberg, managing editor for The Daily Mining Gazette, will present “Pulp and Propaganda: Newspapers in the Strike Era” at 1:00 p.m. The event and exhibit are free and open to the public.

The exhibit explores a turbulent period in Michigan’s historic copper mining district. On July 23, 1913, members of the Western Federation of Miners took to the streets over grievances about pay and working conditions. The strike was marked by violence, including the deaths of more than 70 people, mainly children during a Christmas Eve party at Calumet’s Italian Hall. Local mining companies refused to recognize the union, however, and the strike finally ended in April 1914. The conflict, sorrow, and tragedy of this confrontation between organized labor and mining companies affected local residents from all walks of life, created headlines across the nation, and continues to resonate in Michigan’s Copper Country today.

The “Tumult and Tragedy” traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free giveaway brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike online here.

The exhibit will remain on display at the L’Anse Area School Library Wednesday, March 27 and then tour to two other locations in Houghton and Baraga Counties.  The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or 906-487-2505, or the L’Anse Area School Public Library at 906-524-6213.

Exhibit and February 9 Event in Houghton Highlight 1913 Strike

Dr. Larry Lankton, professor emeritus from Michigan Technological University, will discuss “Mine Safety Issues in the 1913 Strike Era” during a special open house at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 9, in conjunction with a special exhibit at Houghton’s Carnegie Museum. The event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit, “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” created by the Michigan Tech Archives, is currently on display through February 28 at the Carnegie Museum at the corner of Huron and Montezuma in downtown Houghton. The museum is open to the public Tuesday: 12 noon – 5:00 p.m., Thursday 12 noon – 5:00 p.m., and Saturday 12 noon – 4:00 p.m.

On July 23, 1913, members of the Western Federation of Miners took to the streets over grievances about pay and working conditions. The strike was marked by violence and tragedy, including the deaths of more than 70 people, mainly children during a Christmas Eve party at Calumet’s Italian Hall. Local mining companies refused to recognize the union, however, and the strike finally ended in April 1914. The confrontation between organized labor and mining companies affected local residents from all walks of life, created headlines across the nation, and continues to resonate in Michigan’s Copper Country today.

The “Tumult and Tragedy” traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free giveaway brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike online here.

The exhibit will remain on display at Houghton’s Carnegie Museum through Thursday, February 28 and then tour to three other locations in Houghton and Baraga Counties.  The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or 906-487-2505, or the Houghton Carnegie Museum at 906-482-7140.

Calumet Library Hosts Strike Exhibit

An exhibit exploring labor in Michigan’s historic copper mining district will visit the Calumet Public-School Library in January. “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display from January 7 through February 1 during the library’s regular public hours.

A special open house will take place Tuesday, January 15.  Architectural historian Kim Hoagland will present an illustrated talk entitled “Seeberville 1913: Everyday Life in Violent Times” at 6:30 p.m. and the exhibit will be open to visitors. Support for this event is provided by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library.

The “Tumult and Tragedy” traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free giveaway brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike online here.

The exhibit will remain on display at the Calumet Library through Friday, February 1 and then tour to four other locations in Houghton and Baraga Counties.  The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or 906-487-2505, or the Calumet Public-School Library at 906-337-0311, extension 1107.

1913 Strike Exhibit Moves To Ontonagon

“Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display from December 1 through January 5 at the Ontonagon County Historical Society Museum at 422 River Street in Ontonagon, Michigan. The museum will be open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

A special open house will take place on Saturday, December 1. Bruce Johanson will provide a presentation about “Ontonagon County and the 1913 Strike” at 1:00 p.m. and the exhibit will be opened to visitors.

The exhibit explores a turbulent period in Michigan’s historic copper mining district. On July 23, 1913, members of the Western Federation of Miners took to the streets over grievances about pay and working conditions. The strike was marked by violence, including the deaths of more than 70 people, mainly children during a Christmas Eve party at Calumet’s Italian Hall. Local mining companies refused to recognize the union, however, and the strike finally ended in April 1914. The conflict, sorrow, and tragedy of this confrontation between organized labor and mining companies affected local residents from all walks of life, created headlines across the nation, and continues to resonate in Michigan’s Copper Country today.

The “Tumult and Tragedy” traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free giveaway brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike online here.

The exhibit will remain on display at the Ontonagon Museum through Saturday, January 5 and then tour to five other locations in Houghton and Baraga Counties.  The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or 906-487-2505, or by contacting the Ontonagon County Historical Society at ochs@jamadots.com or 906-884-6165.

Archives Premiers New Exhibit About 1913 Strike

“Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will premier at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 1, in the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. Members of the exhibit project team will discuss the research and design process for the exhibit. The event is free, open to the public and refreshments will be served.

The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

“Tumult and Tragedy” explores the story of a remarkable period in Michigan’s history. The conflict, sorrow, and tragedy of this confrontation between organized labor and mining companies affected local residents from all walks of life, created headlines across the nation, and continues to resonate in Michigan’s Copper Country today.

Tensions boiled over on July 23, 1913, when members of the Western Federation of Miners took to the streets over grievances about pay and working conditions. The strike was marked by violence, including the deaths of more than 70 people, mainly children, during a Christmas Eve party at Calumet’s Italian Hall. Local mining companies refused to recognize the union, however, and the strike ended in April 1914.

The “Tumult and Tragedy” traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels exploring the context, community, conflict, and consequence of the events, and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike.

The exhibit will remain on display at Michigan Tech through November 30 during the library’s regular hours of operation.

In December, the exhibit will begin a tour of six libraries and museums in Houghton, Ontonagon and Baraga Counties. Special events at each host site will include presentations relating to the 1913-1914 Michigan Copper Strike.

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

Tour and Special Events

November 1 –November 30
J. Robert Van Pelt and Opie Library
Michigan Technological University, Houghton
Special event: Thursday, November 1, 6:30 p.m.
Grand Opening with Comments by the Exhibit Project Team

December 1 – January 5
Ontonagon County Historical Museum, Ontonagon
Special event: Saturday, December 1, 1:00 p.m.
Bruce Johanson, “Ontonagon County and the 1913 Strike”

January 7 – February 1
Calumet Public-School Library, Calumet High School, Calumet
Special event: Tuesday, January 15, 6:30 p.m.
Kim Hoagland, “Seeberville 1913: Everyday Life in Violent Times”

February 2 – 28
Carnegie Museum, Downtown Houghton
Special event: Saturday, February 9, 1:00 p.m.
Larry Lankton, “Mine Safety Issues in the 1913 Strike Era”

March 4 – March 27
L’Anse Area School Public Library, L’Anse High School, L’Anse
Special event: Sunday, March 17, 1:00 p.m.
Jane Nordberg, “Pulp and Propaganda: Newspapers in the Strike Era”

April 8 – May 1
Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center
Jeffers High School Library, Painesdale
Special event: Wednesday, April 10, 7:00 p.m.
Erik Nordberg, “Company Houses Along the Picket Line”

May 2 – June 1
Calumet Visitors Center, Keweenaw National Historical Park, Calumet
Special event: Thursday, May 23, 7:00 p.m.
Gary Kaunonen, “Interpreting the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike”

Exhibit Project Team

Erik Nordberg, Project Manager
Gary Kaunonen, Project Historian
Mike Stockwell, Project Designer

Narrative Committee

John P. Beck
Deirdre Erbisch
Larry Lankton
Jon G. LaSalle
Susan R. Martin
Michael Smith
Carla Strome
Sam Sweitz
Jo Urion

Click here to read an article about the opening by Kurt Hauglie in the November 2, 2012 edition of The Daily Mining Gazette.

Photos from the November 1 Grand Opening:

Project Manager- Erik Nordberg

Project Historian- Gary Kaunonen

Project Designer- Mike Stockwell

Narrative Committee

John P. Beck

Deirdre Erbisch

Larry Lankton

Jon G. LaSalle

Susan R. Martin

Michael Smith

Carla Strome

Sam Sweitz

Jo Urion

For further information, contact the

Project historian Gary Kaunonen

Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or 906-487-25

Project historian Gary Kaunonen

05.

National Park Helps With Preservation

Keweenaw National Historical Park is assisting the Michigan Tech Archives in preserving records of the Copper Range Company.  During our current processing and cataloging project (funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission), some documents of the former mining company and its common carrier railroad were discovered to be a bit moldy. This isn’t an unusual discovery for records of former industrial enterprises, as documents were often stored in damp and dirty mining structures. Although the Michigan Tech Archives storage facilities have reasonable temperature and humidity control, there is always a danger of a mold outbreak.

Through a collaborative effort, some of the most valuable of these records were physically delivered to the Calumet facilities of Keweenaw National Historical Park for treatment. The materials were cycled through the Park’s Wei T’o freeze drying machine, a process that kills a variety of pests, including mold. Upon return to the Archives, additional work will be undertake to physically remove the dead mold spores from the material before they become a permanent part of our collections.

Many thanks to Brian Hoduski, Museum Curator and Chief of Museum and Archival Services Division, and Jeremiah Mason, Archivist, for their welcoming and professional assistance with this important preservation work.

Jeremiah Mason, archivist for Keweenaw National Historical Park, adjusts controls on the Park's Wei T'o freeze dry machine. The Park is assisting with mold decontamination on records from the Copper Range Company.

This preservation work is undertaken with the generous support of the National Park Service and its staff, equipment and facilities.  Processing of the Copper Range Company archival records is supported through a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Publications Commission, a division of the National Archives and Records Administration.

National Historical Publications and Records Commission