Category Archives: Grants Received

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


Vandals!

What are footprints doing on this Copper Range Company document?

A note from Florence E. Gregorich documents that certain records from the Copper Range Company’s old Boston headquarters were sent to Houghton for the use of Dr. J. Robert Van Pelt (former president of Michigan Tech and the library’s namesake) in writing a history of the Copper Range Company.

In September 1976, vandals broke into the warehouse and scattered many of the records.  Due to a lack of time and manpower, there was no attempt to reassemble the records before they were moved into storage at White Pine Mine, from where the material was later donated to the Michigan Tech Archives.

Most likely the vandals were frustrated to have gone to the trouble of breaking into a warehouse only to discover boxes of records, rather than electronics.  However, I like to think that they did this specifically to make trouble for future archivists.  I imagine them shouting “archive this!” as they fling the papers across the room.

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


A Unique Home Storage Solution

Harold Putnam Photograph Collection Slides
These Slides are Vitamin Fresh

Sometimes when processing manuscript collections we archivists come across unique home storage systems. These slides from the Harold Putnam Photograph Collection have been stored in a waxed paper box with the Harold Putnam’s original filing system.  Although FRESHrap may have kept the slides vitamin fresh for many years the slides will be moved to a less adorable, but more practical archival container.  In the archives we store our photographic material in  enclosures that have passed the photographic activity test (PAT.) The PAT basically uses accelerated aging to predict the interaction that will occur over time between the photograph and the enclosure. Photograph albums and scrapbooking supplies that have passed the PAT can even be found at retailers such as Target and Joanne’s Fabrics. Enclosures that have passed the PAT will always indicate as such on their packaging.

This project is supported by a grant from the National Historical Publications and  Records Commission.

National Historical Publications and Records Commission


A Copper Range Railroad Poet

As part of a grant-funded project to process manuscript collections, I have been working closely with the records of the Copper Range Company and its subsidiary holdings.

In 1913, the Copper Range Railroad Company (CRRR) constructed the Painesdale Cut Off, which altered the course of the main line built in 1899.  As in all of the CRRR’s construction projects, most of the work was done by contractors.  To keep track of labor costs, CRRR maintained force accounts, which documented the amount of hours worked by each pay grade of workers.

Although the title page doesn’t indicate it, there is something unusual about this particular force account.  Specifically, the second page:

You may boast about your railroad with its roadbed superfine;

With rolling stock, ect., [sic] hard to beat;

With a startling good record of its long trains ‘there’ On Time,

Or about its sumptuous meals you gladly eat;

Or the grandeur of the scenery that you see when on your way,

Or the stations and the comforts found therein;

Or the cars’ illumination that makes things bright as day;

Or the manners of the train crews that sure win,

If you’d always keep a talking you could not my ‘pinion change,

Or make me think in any different way!

For I’ll always ‘stick up’ proudly for the good old

Copper Range

“The Speedy, On Time, Copper Country Way.”

—Norman T. Bolles, August 1913

Admittedly, it isn’t Shakespeare (if still better than anything I could do).  The rest of the book contains the expected details of the construction.  The track and steam shovel gangs (later joined by a cable gang) worked Monday through Saturday, while a watchman was employed on Sundays.

So who was this poetic railroad man?  Unfortunately, the employee records processed to this point do not include him.  However, there was another Bolles working for the CRRR at the time.  Fred Robert Bolles, better known as F. R. Bolles, was promoted to General Manager in 1912; a position he held until 1920.

At this time it was quite common for whole families to work for a single company in various capacities.  Although the idea of F. R. Bolles hiring his close relatives would be considered nepotism today, it was a widely accepted practice at the time.  On the other hand, Norman Bolles may have already been an employee before F. R. was made general manager.

As the processing of the CRRR records continues, it may be possible to find out more about Norman T. Bolles.  Yet whoever he was, we can thank him for reminding us of the serendipity involved in archival research.

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


Grant Funds Two Archivists

Senior Project Archivist, Rachael Bussert
Processing Archivist, Daniel Michelson

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections has begun a two-year project funded by a $168,000 grant from the “Detailed Processing Projects” program of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

The grant will be used to improve access to 92 historic collections documenting the history of the Michigan’s Copper Country. The grant supports two project archivists, Rachael Bussert, Senior Project Archivist, and Daniel Michelson, Processing Archivist, to arrange and describe 1,329 cubic feet of documents to the folder level following minimal processing standards.

The collections document a wide range of regional history, from copper mining, railroad, and maritime industries to records of local schools, churches, and social organizations. Among the collections to be processed are records of several Michigan copper mining companies, including a large collection from the Copper Range Company and records relating to the Victoria Mining Company and the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company.  Researchers will also find valuable primary resources about businesses such as the Keweenaw Co-op and The Daily Mining Gazette, as well as social groups like the Miscowabik Club in Calumet and Fortnightly Club in Hancock.

The project will utilize the Archivists’ Toolkit to produce EAD finding aids that will be accessible through the Archives’ web page, the Michigan Technological University Library catalog, and OCLC ArchiveGrid. While the majority of the collections will be processed according to the Greene and Meissner’s “More Product, Less Process” minimal processing philosophy, some personal papers, local business, and non-profit records may require a more detailed approach. The project will maintain metrics on processing rates for different types of records.

Updates and interim reports posted to the Archives’ blog site will allow the public to follow the project’s progress and learn more about the methods used by the project archivists. Archives’ staff will also promote the project through presentations to local community organizations, professional groups, and schools. The project will help to better preserve the collections and greatly improve their discovery and use by researchers.

Funding for this project is provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the granting agency of the United States National Archives and Records Administration. The Michigan Tech Archives is a department of the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library and is located in the library building in the heart of the Michigan Tech campus in Houghton, Michigan. For further information, contact the Archives at 906-487-2505 or at copper@mtu.edu.


Historical Collections Now Searchable

A group of new online search tools has enhanced the search and discovery of historical records in the collections of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections in Houghton, Michigan. The improved access is the result of a two-year project to improve description of the Archives’ extensive holdings of regional manuscript material. The initiative was funded through a $167,600 grant from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission, a division of the National Archives and Records Administration.

During the project, Archives’ staff conducted a box-by-box survey of its entire collection, totaling more than 7,000 cubic feet and including personal papers, diaries, organizational records, business materials, mining company records, maps, newspapers, and other historical documents. The project identified more than 700 discrete collections and created standardized descriptions providing information about the size, content, and dates of coverage for each collection.

These descriptions have been revealed to potential researchers throughout the world via a number of online tools.  A full listing of the collections, including collection number, title, and brief description, is now available on the Michigan Tech Archives blog: http://blogs.mtu.edu/archives/nhprc-cataloging-project/collection-registers/.

Catalog records for each collection are also available on the Voyager catalog at Michigan Tech’s Van Pelt and Opie Library: http://ils.lib.mtu.edu/vwebv/searchAdvanced. Visitors may limit their searches by the location “Archives Manuscript Collection.” These records allow searches of collection names, keywords in their brief descriptions and histories, and also using standardized subject headings.

Versions of these catalog records are also searchable through WorldCat, an international bibliographic database maintained by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), a global cooperative of libraries, archives, and museums. The general public can search the main WorldCat catalog: http://www.worldcat.org/. Participating OCLC member institutions may also search these records through the FirstSearch version of WorldCat which allows researchers to limit type to “Archival Materials” and limit availability to library code “EZT” for Michigan Tech archival collection records.

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


Archives Seeks Two Archivists for Grant Project

The Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections seeks two temporary full-time archivists to work on an NHPRC grant-funded project to arrange, preserve, and describe to current archival standards 92 manuscript collections that document the lives and residents of Michigan’s “Copper Country,” a four-county region in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Collections to be processed are primarily paper-based and include diaries, personal papers, organizational records, and corporate documents relating to Michigan’s historic Keweenaw copper mining district.

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SENIOR PROJECT ARCHIVIST
24 months / $33,075 annual

The Senior Project Archivist will supervise the arrangement and description of 92 collections comprising 1,329 feet of manuscript material. This position will develop and implement a processing plan and will supervise and participate in the hands-on aspects of the project. This includes organizing and arranging textual and non-textual materials according to professional archival standards, developing and maintaining written finding aids, inventories and databases, and assisting in the development of metadata for collection management software. The Senior Project Archivist will also have responsibility for updating/correcting subject and authority records for MARC output, production and correction of standardized EAD output (including the use of style sheet templates in oXygen, an XML authoring and editing software), transfer of EAD and MARC records to web servers, OCLC WorldCat, and the library’s local catalog. Descriptive work will provide links from catalog records, registers, and the collection guide to stable URLs for the web-based EAD finding aids.

Further details about this position, including required and desirable education and skills, are available on the Michigan Tech jobs site at https://www.jobs.mtu.edu/postings/274

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PROCESSING ARCHIVIST
21 months / $30,000 annual

The Processing Archivist will work with other project staff to develop and implement a processing plan, organize and arrange textual and non-textual materials according to professional archival standards, develop and maintain written finding aids, inventories and databases, identify materials needing further treatment, and assist in the development of metadata for collection management software.

Further details about this position, including required and desirable education and skills, are available on the Michigan Tech jobs site at https://www.jobs.mtu.edu/postings/272

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Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the positions are filled.

TO APPLY:

Please visit https://www.jobs.mtu.edu/ and look under Staff Job Openings. Questions concerning this opening should be directed to the Michigan Tech Human Resources Department at jobs@mtu.edu.  Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer.