Category Archives: About the Archives

This category is used for posts that talk more about the people, services, and operation of the archives as a department.

Summer Intern Update

Our Friends of the Van Pelt Library Intern, Alison Fukuchi, has been a great asset during our busy summer season. She has learned the ropes of helping a wide variety of researchers and utilizing our various collections.
Our Friends of the Van Pelt Library Intern, Alison Fukuchi, has been a great asset during our busy summer season. She has learned the ropes of helping a wide variety of researchers and utilizing our various collections.


Thanks to the Friends of the Van Pelt Library, we have had the sincere pleasure of hosting a graduate intern this summer. Alison Fukuchi has been hard at work the past few weeks, gaining experience in public service, collections handling, and research. If you wish to learn more about what our intern has been working on, please read Alison’s update report below.


I am in the middle of my fourth week interning at the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, and I am surprised at how time flies! During this relatively short period of time I have had a wealth of experience in many areas of archival practice. For the first two weeks, my focus was primarily on the reference desk and various services provided for researchers, as well as developing familiarity with locating resources using Archivists’ Toolkit and finding aids. I became acquainted with the most commonly requested materials for genealogical research, such as the extensive employment records for the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, Quincy Mining Company, and Copper Range Mining Company. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to utilize the database HeritageQuest to assist patrons with locating census records, to work with original Sanborn-Perris fire insurance maps from the 1900s, and to handle a wide-variety of materials from the closed stacks.

On the technological side, I have been very fortunate to learn how to use digital micro-format readers as well as analog machines, and I now feel comfortable teaching this technology to patrons. In week 3, I had a brief overview of duplication services using our digital scanner with Adobe Photoshop, complete with a lesson in cataloging. Digitization is the next step, scheduled for week 5, which is an area I hope to become much more proficient in as it is greatly in-demand.

Behind the scenes, I have been able to work on my very own processing project involving a recent accession of commencement materials which will be added to MTU-027, Michigan Technological University Commencement Collection. The opportunity to get hands-on experience is extremely valuable and has taught me a lot about setting realistic goals and deadlines for project completion. Plus, I have had some interesting surprises! Earlier this week I uncovered several rolls of film negatives that had been edited and spliced using metal splices. Learning how to process such materials for longevity is one of the most fascinating areas of archival preservation.

Alison pulling some material from our state records collection.
Our intern pulling some material from the state records collection.

On a personal note, I am finding great enjoyment in the rich natural landscape around Houghton. Joining the Outdoor Adventure Program’s Paddle the Portage, I was able to kayak under the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, which was quite loud and rather exciting. Michigan Tech Trails and Recreational Forest has proven a haven of birdsong and solitude. The A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum’s exhibits really lent perspective to the mining history of the region, plus the fantastic displays seem more like science fiction then science fact. There was even a chance to socialize with area archivists during a dinner party overlooking the Portage.

Finally, my experience in the Van Pelt and Opie Library in general has set a very high bar for future work environments. Not only has the entire staff been helpful and friendly, they also offered me a very warm welcome. Last week, I had the good fortune to attend a routine library meeting that included dynamic, informative presentations from library staff on conferences they had attended. This institutional culture of support for professional development and collaboration has quite honestly blown me away. I certainly look forward to my final few weeks working with the exceptional staff here in the Michigan Tech Archives and the Van Pelt and Opie Library, confident that when I reflect back it will bring back fond memories of the professional engagement I’ve witnessed all around.

Copper Country Scavenger Hunt Booklets Have Arrived

Copper Country Scavenger Hunt booklets on display in the Michigan Tech Archives Reading Room.
Copper Country Scavenger Hunt booklets on display in the Michigan Tech Archives Reading Room.

As a member of the Keweenaw Heritage Site network, the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections is proud to support the new Copper Country Scavenger Hunt program. Part of Keweenaw National Historical Park’s contribution to the National Park Service “Find Your Park” campaign, the scavenger hunt was designed to get children engaged with history at each of the Keweenaw Heritage Sites. The Michigan Tech Archives has received our first shipment of the official scavenger hunt booklets, so please stop by and begin the quest today! For more information about the Copper Country Scavenger Hunt, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at (906) 487-2505 or see the press release issued by the Keweenaw National Historical Park which is included below.


For Immediate Release

Contact:  Kathleen Harter

Phone number:  906-483-3024

The Copper Country Scavenger Hunt Makes History Fun—and a Bit Competitive!

What did miners put in their lunch pails to keep their pasties warm? Who rescued 24 people and a dog from the shipwreck L.C. Waldo in 1913? Children of all ages have a chance to win a prize by finding the answers to questions like these at the park’s Keweenaw Heritage Sites and completing the Copper County Scavenger Hunt.

The booklet is free and available at each of the staffed Keweenaw Heritage Sites as well as the NPS’s Calumet Visitor Center. The booklet is divided into four geographical regions and features the Keweenaw Heritage Sites in each of those regions. When a participant has answered enough questions in a region, they receive a collectable sticker. Completing all four regions, reciting the Copper Country Heritage Explorer pledge, and filling out their certificate makes the first 10 participants a prizewinner! The first 10 kids to complete the booklet and stop by the park’s Calumet Visitor Center in downtown Calumet will receive an award of their choice, from a selection of books, puzzles, and Junior Ranger merchandise. Awards are provided by the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission and the Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks Association.

The booklet was developed with the help of two local educators, Carrie Karvakko and Traci Welch from Houghton High School, and is part of the national Find Your Park campaign. Find Your Park is a national public awareness and education campaign aimed at connecting with the next generation of park visitors as the country prepares for the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016. Find Your Park invites the public to connect with national parks, state parks, and places that are special to them. With the Copper Country Scavenger Hunt, participants have a chance to find their park while exploring 21 different Heritage Sites.

For more information about the Copper Country Scavenger Hunt or Find Your Park, please visit or contact 906-483-3176.

Welcome to Graduate Intern Alison Fukuchi

FullSizeRenderOn behalf of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, in partnership with the Friends of the Van Pelt Library, we hope you will help us welcome our new graduate intern for summer 2015. Alison Fukuchi was selected as the Friends of the Van Pelt Library Graduate Intern after a competitive national call for applicants. While in Houghton, Alison will be assisting with public service and behind-the-scenes tours in the Michigan Tech Archives, particularly during the busy summer research season. She will also arrange and describe a recent acquisition of research and administrative files from a Michigan Tech faculty member who did extensive research on the health of Torch Lake. Other duties will involve arranging and describing several smaller acquisitions of various topics, including the creation of original finding aids. We are very excited to have Alison on board. Below, please take a moment to get to know Alison as she introduces herself in her own words.


My name is Alison Fukuchi, and I am extremely fortunate to have been selected as the Friends of the Van Pelt Library Graduate Intern for summer 2015. It was a circuitous path that brought me to Michigan Tech and the archives profession; my first passion was for Japanese language and culture which led to a BA in Japanese Language and Literature from the University of Georgia. Eager to immerse myself in all things Japanese, I moved to Tokyo, Japan where I taught English as a Foreign Language for several years before pursuing an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language at Hawaii Pacific University. After five years of surf and sun in Hawaii, Chicago became my home while I advanced as an ESL educator. Despite enjoying career success as a teacher, I still found myself rather unfulfilled professionally. Extensive research (and many interesting, but slightly ridiculous personality and career quizzes) revealed an enthusiasm and aptitude for library work, especially the preservation and conservation practices common to the archival profession. Currently, I am attending the San Jose State University distance program in Information Science with a specialization in Management, Preservation, and Digitization of Cultural Heritage and Records.

During my time at Michigan Tech, I am excited to learn more about the rich history of the Copper Country while gaining practical experience in archival work. The beautiful natural landscape is certainly a bonus as I enjoy hiking, kayaking, and swimming along with the more sedate pursuits of reading and watching soccer (Go Barcelona!). If you are so inclined, come say hello and check out the wonderful collections housed in the Michigan Tech Archives.


For more information on the Friends of the Van Pelt Library Graduate Internship pilot program or to set up a time to say hello to our new intern, please call Lindsay Hiltunen at (906) 487-2505 or e-mail us at

Over 13,000 Images Now Hosted on the Keweenaw Digital Archives

Michigan Technological University Marketing and Communications Photograph Collection ACC 10-010-143

The Keweenaw Digital Archives surpassed an impressive milestone in April 2015 – the online repository for the Michigan Tech Archives’ digital images now hosts just over 13,000 images.

J. W. Nara Photograph Collection ACC-05-097A-022

The Digital Archives got its start as a grant project funded by the Michigan Humanities Council in 2004-2005. The project was geared at providing online access to a database of key-word-searchable digitized historic images from the archives’ collections, while allowing users to add comments to the images online.

The Digital Archives also facilitates an interface for duplication service requests, and provides secure, off-site storage for digital surrogate files.

Today, it acts as a portal to  the Copper Country’s visual past that is visited by thousands worldwide every month.

This milestone has been met thanks to hard work by many different members of Archives staff over the past decade.

To visit the Keweenaw Digital Archives and search for historic Copper Country images, click the following link:

If you have any questions about the Keweenaw Digital Archives, please call us at (906) 487-2505 or
email us at to learn more.


Daily Mining Gazette Photograph Collection MS051-012-001-002

2015 Travel Grant Recipients Announced

Students reading and researching in the Michigan College of Mines Library Reading Room, circa 1920s.
Students reading and researching in the Michigan College of Mines Library Reading Room, circa 1920s.


The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections has selected three outstanding recipients for the 2015 Travel Grant Award, a competitive research grant generously funded by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. The recipients of the award will be visiting the Michigan Tech Archives to conduct research on a wide variety of topics using resources in our collections.

David Brown is a doctoral candidate at the University of Kentucky, studying Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation. He will be visiting the Archives to explore the history of Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival and the student culture surrounding it. Mr. Brown will examine what Winter Carnival means to students, both past and present, and discover why it holds such a special place in their hearts. He has observed that alumni have a very strong fondness for their days at Michigan Tech and suspects that cherished traditions like Winter Carnival are at the root of those memories. Mr. Brown will no doubt find a wealth of resources in the Archives documenting the history of the Winter Carnival tradition including the Michigan Technological University Winter Carnival Collection, Michigan Technological University Winter Carnival Photograph Collection, Michigan Tech Lode Binding Collection, and Michigan Technological University Reminiscences.

Philip Hartmeyer is a Maritime Archaeologist conducting research at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena, Michigan. His research at the Michigan Tech Archives will center on the Keweenaw Peninsula’s maritime history. Although the Great Lakes, Lake Superior specifically, were vital to the copper industry, not much has been written about the Keweenaw’s maritime identity. Mr. Hartmeyer will primarily use the Roy Drier Collection, which contains important primary sources such as lighthouse journals and mining company shipping records. These resources will provide firsthand insight into the maritime practices of the Copper Country mining companies and the ships that transported the copper. The Archives is very fortunate to have a comprehensive, complete collection of daily reports from the Portage River Lighthouse which contributes detailed information about the ships passing through.

Kera Lovell is a PhD candidate and Graduate Instructor in American Studies at Purdue University. While at the Michigan Tech Archives, Ms. Lovell will focus on researching Michigan Tech’s People’s Park. A People’s Park is a unique method of protesting in which activists permanently occupy vacant lots and convert them into public parks rather than participate in violent or disruptive rallies. Michigan Tech students created a People’s Park in response to the incidents at Kent State University in 1970. Ms. Lovell will use many of the Archives resources during the course of her research, most notably the Keweenaw Digital Archives, Raymond L. Smith Papers, Michigan Tech Lode Binding Collection, and Michigan Technological University Archives’ Photographic print files.

Since its inception, the Travel Grant Program has enabled more than twenty-five researchers to travel to Houghton from the United States, Canada, and Europe, to examine the unique social and cultural resources housed at the Michigan Tech Archives. Past grant recipients have studied a wide variety of topics, such as the use of images and models by mining engineers to manage complex work sites; the role that fraternal orders have played in Lake Superior mining communities; the adoption of the English language by European transplants to Michigan’s Copper Country; and the part played by various immigrant populations in the 1913-1914 Copper Strike. This year’s awards continue a tradition of supported research using the manuscript collections curated by the Michigan Tech Archives.

The grant program is financially supported by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. This year’s award committee members were Don Durfee, Larry Lankton, Susan Martin, and Lindsay Hiltunen.

For further information about the awards program or about the Michigan Tech Archives collections, please call 487-2505 or visit our website at

Michigan Tech Archives Seeking 2015 Summer Intern

Four archival student assistants look over historical documents in the Michigan Tech Archives Reading Room (2009).
Four archival student assistants look over historical documents in the Michigan Tech Archives (2009).


The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections is currently seeking applicants for the Friends of the Van Pelt Library Graduate Internship for summer 2015. As a regional history manuscript collection and designated Keweenaw Heritage Site, the Michigan Tech Archives collects material documenting the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula, and the history of Michigan Tech.

The intern selected will receive substantial experience in both public service and collections handling. The intern will assist in day-to-day public service activities, including greeting and assisting researchers, retrieving and shelving collections, and assisting university and community patrons with use of materials and equipment. The intern will also gain experience in organizing, describing, and processing archival collections. This includes researching people or events covered by a collection, cleaning, arranging, boxing, and creating finding aids.

Preference will be given to applicants currently enrolled in a graduate archival studies program, but consideration may be given for equivalent education and experience. The following skills are required:

  • Knowledge of contemporary archival practices, policies, and procedures, including arrangement and description, and familiarity with DACS, LCSH, and AAT.
  • Demonstrated analytical and research skills.
  • Ability to work independently and exercise initiative, discretion, and judgment.
  • Ability to work collegially and effectively with others.
  • Knowledge of basic computing and software in the Microsoft Office Suite.

This is a 35 hour per week, part-time summer position to span seven weeks. The preferred start date is June 29, to coincide with the university’s second summer session, but a different June start date may be possible. There are no benefits included with this position and the successful candidate will be expected to cover travel expenses to Houghton, Michigan. The intern will be compensated in the form of a $2000 housing stipend and an hourly wage of $10.00 per hour. The housing stipend can be used for a single occupancy dorm room + meal plan or the intern can independently make their own off-campus housing arrangements. In addition to a great work environment you will enjoy exquisite scenery, moderate temperatures, and outdoor activities near the shores of Lake Superior!

To learn more about us, please visit our website:

Applications are due by April 30, 2015. Direct any questions, or submit your cover letter and resume to:

Lindsay Hiltunen, Senior Archivist
Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
Attn: Graduate Student Summer Intern Position
Van Pelt and Opie Library
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
(906) 487-2505

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

New Location for the Archives’ Dissertations, Master’s Theses and Master’s Reports

Archives' dissertations, theses and reports in their new location
Archives’ dissertations, theses and reports in their new location


The Michigan Tech Archive’s has moved all of its university dissertations, master’s theses and master’s reports to one centralized location on the Garden Level of the Van Pelt and Opie Library, an area formerly occupied by government documents.

For patrons, this means that the historic texts are no longer held in an off site storage area, and do not require a long waiting period for retrieval. However, while these materials are now located physically outside of the Archives’ doors, they will still be maintained by the department. These stacks will be locked to the public and will require an Archives employee to retrieve the texts for patron use in the Reading Room.

For more information on this topic or about other Archives’ matters, call the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, email or visit us on the web at .

Winter Carnival, Then and Now

The Michigan Tech Archives will be open for special hours over Winter Carnival Weekend from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday, February 7nd. 

Ever since Winter Carnival debuted as the Ice Carnival in 1922, Michigan Tech students have found reason to hope for piles of snow and below freezing temperatures. Though traditions other than the iconic snow statues have held fast throughout the decades; the winter Carnival Queen coronation, races, broomball tournaments, the Snow Ball, the beard contest and others have all withstood the test of time.

Scroll through some of these winter carnival memories and see for yourself how constant everyone’s favorite Winter Carnival tradition has remained.

Clicking on an image will take you to the available bibliographic information for that image.


Winter Carnival Snow Statues 


Keweenaw Digital Archives #: Book LD3328H3-261-7


Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU-208-2014-04


Snow Statue Construction


Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU004-002-69-28-01


Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU-118-2014-11-04-064


Queen Coronation


Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU004-002-69-36-22



Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU-118-2014-11-04-042


Team Races


Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MS050-12-21-01-F903


Keweenaw Digital Archives #: ACC 10-010-251


Individual Races 


Keweenaw Digital Archives #: Acc 35-08-31-1986-001


Keweenaw Digital Archives #: ACC 10-010-222




Keweenaw Digital Archives #: Book LD3328H3-237-6


Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU-118-2014-11-04-057


Stage Review


Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU Neg 03266


Keweenaw Digital Archives #: ACC 10-010-207


2015 Travel Grant Program Call for Proposals

An early photograph of the library at the Michigan Mining School, now Michigan Technological University. Photo courtesy of the Keweenaw Digital Archives.
An early photograph of the library at the Michigan Mining School, now Michigan Technological University. Photo courtesy of the Keweenaw Digital Archives.


The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections is currently accepting applications for its annual Travel Grant Program, which brings outside scholars and researchers to Michigan Technological University to work with the Archives’ collections. Financial support for the Travel Grant Program is provided by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library, a support organization for the Library and Archives of Michigan Tech. Grants are awarded for up to $750 to defray the costs of travel to visit and research in Houghton, Michigan.

The Michigan Tech Archives houses a wide variety of historical print, graphic and manuscript resources related to the Copper Country and Michigan Technological University. Subject coverage includes university and campus life, regional towns and cities, local industries and businesses, as well as social organizations, events and personalities of the Copper Country and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Primary topical research areas include the western Upper Peninsula, industrial history, particularly copper mining and its ancillary industries, social history, community development along the Keweenaw Peninsula, transportation and the environment. Finding aids for some of the collections can be found here:

To apply for funding through the Travel Grant Program please visit the program website:

Applications are due on March 15, 2015. Award recipients will be notified by March 31. The successful candidate must complete their travel by December 11, 2015. Electronic submission is preferred.

For further information, please contact:
Lindsay Hiltunen, Senior Archivist
Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI  49931
Phone: (906) 487-2505

Culture, Immigration and Identity: A Book Talk about Serbians in Michigan

Please join us for visiting scholar Paul Lubotina at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, January 14 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Technological University campus. This event is free of charge and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

In this presentation, Lubotina will give a research talk on his new book Serbians in Michigan, published by the Michigan State University Press as a part of its Discovering the Peoples of Michigan series. The talk will examine the lives of Serbian immigrants from lowland areas of the Balkans and the distinct highland culture of Montenegro. Lubotina will provide cultural background to Serbian society that serves as a benchmark for the changes that occurred amidst the population after arriving in Michigan. A key theme in Lubotina’s book is how the Serbian Orthodox Church has maintained Serbian heritage and nationalism through several generations in America. The talk will conclude with a discussion of Serbian cultural contributions, including music, religion, dancing and food.

Lubotina was born into a third generation iron mining family of Serbian and Finnish heritage on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. He has studied at the University of Minnesota, the University of Helsinki, the Renvall Institute and Saint Louis University. His studies of Finnish diplomatic history led him to cultivate relationships with Vatican scholars, who helped him complete his master’s thesis on Finnish-American relations in the World War II era. These Jesuit scholars also supported his admittance to the graduate history program at Saint Louis University. While in Saint Louis, his focus on European history began to examine the integration process of immigrants who came to the United States. In his doctoral dissertation, he wrote about the role conflict played in restructuring Nordic, Slavic and Latin communities in Minnesota mining districts. He currently teaches at Middle Tennessee State University where he has published articles on ethnicity, integration, immigrant labor organizations and racism.

Lubotina’s research visit and presentation are supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1988, the Michigan Technological University Archives Travel Grant program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives.

For more information, feel free to call the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, email at, or visit on the web at