Category Archives: Collections

This category will include posts about the holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives: manuscript materials, photographs, maps, books, and other physical items held by the department.

Student Assistant Update on Mine Memories Project

This is the first of two articles written by one of our student assistants, Andrea Dubs, who is working with us on the Mine Memories Oral History Project as our Audio Technician. She is responsible for much of the recording that we do during our interviews and refining audio files for clarity.

 

Part one out of two:

 

I have been working with the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections as a student assistant for a little over a month now, and I must say that it has been quite interesting. Even though I’ve only been here a short amount of time, I feel like I’m part of the family. Everyone is always smiling and has a happy greeting for you when you walk in. I am currently working as the audio technician on the Mine Memories Oral History Project.  This project is really very interesting, listening to people telling their stories and realizing that it is their history has had a huge impact on me.

 

When I first joined this project, I had no idea what to expect. I was in new territory but I was also prepared to learn new things. As the audio tech for this project, I had to first learn how to use the recorder that had been purchased. The recorder we are using is a Zoom H5. I watched several YouTube videos and skimmed through the user manual to work out the best ways to use the equipment in an interview setting. After learning how to use the recorder, I learned how to edit audio files in Audacity, a free open source audio editing software. To do this, I watched several tutorial videos.

Andrea Dubs,  editing audio files with Audacity
Andrea Dubs, editing audio files with Audacity

After familiarizing myself with the Zoom5 and Audacity, I started to think about how we would be using the recorder specifically in an interview setting. I worked out the optimal location for the recorder so that it could pick up the both  interviewee and interviewer voices. We started asking questions such as: how can we minimize the effects of people tapping on the table? How can we minimize drastic sound shifts caused by coughs or sneezes? How can we equalize voices that are speaking at very different volumes, so the audio recording is easier to listen to for researchers?

 

In order to answer these questions, Sawyer Newman (Communications and Research Assistant), a graduate student volunteer and I sat down to record several mock interviews. In these interviews, the interviewee and interviewer did different things that could occur during the actual interviews. For example, they did some table tapping and covered their mouths with their hands or spoke particularly loudly or softly.

The Archive's Zoom H5 Handy Recorder
The Archive’s Zoom H5 Handy Recorder

From these tests, we were able to determine the optimal location and input volumes for the recording equipment, which gave us a good idea about how much space we would need to conduct an interview. We also determined that we should use a muffler over the microphone, and place the recorder on a tissue box or stack of newspapers in order to minimize the effects of distracting sounds, such as tapping.

Stay tuned for the second installment, which will be posted later this week. 

If you have any questions about this project, or if you would like to share your mine-related histories, please contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or at 906-487-2505.

The Mine Memories project is funded in part by a Heritage Grant from the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission.

“Oral Histories and Archives” Talk to be Held at the Calumet Public Library

The Friends of the Calumet Public Library is sponsoring a presentation next week by Sawyer Newman, Communications and Research Assistant at the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections.

During this talk, Newman will discuss the value that archives can have as active members of their respective communities and the benefit that oral histories add to archival collections. The talk will utilize examples of oral history from the current Mine Memories project and other oral history collections held by the Michigan Tech Archives.

The talk will take place on Wednesday, April 6 at 6:30 P.M. at the Calumet Public Library (located on the C-L-K campus, 57070 Mine Street, Calumet). The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

If you have any questions about this project, or if you would like to share your mine-related histories, please contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or at 906-487-2505.

The Mine Memories project is funded in part by a Heritage Grant from the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission. 

 

Calumet and Hecla Photograph Collection
Calumet and Hecla Photograph Collection

Love Letters From the Archives

We send you a message of love and good cheer as we approach Valentine’s Day, 2016. While I was processing a collection this afternoon it just so happened there was a folder of vintage greeting cards. Please enjoy a few samples inspired by Cupid!

FullSizeRender

The sunbeams of my heart shall shine
This day on you My Valentine.

FullSizeRender2

This Valentine is bringing
A message of good cheer,
Wishing joy, success, prosperity
Through all the coming year
Signed, Leo

FullSizeRender4

Valentine Greeting
To My True Love

FullSizeRender3

To My Valentine
Valentine, with charms so sweet,
I lay this offering at your feet.

 

The cards in this post are part of MS-943: Nash and Siira Families Papers. The cards are from 1920-1940.

 

Holiday Cooking, Archives Style

[A man, a woman and a child stand around a decorated Christmas tree, a present table and small child size furniture. From the Herman Gundlach Collection.
A man, woman and child stand around a decorated Christmas tree. From the Herman Gundlach Collection.
 

The holidays are nearly here so there is no time like the present to start preparing for the festivities! For a vintage spin on your holiday preparations, we’ve ventured into the stacks to find some recipes from cherished cookbooks. We hope one of these scrumptious vittles will make it onto your holiday menu. For a glimpse at other vintage recipes, stop down to the Archives and see what is cooking in the stacks. Please take note that the Michigan Tech Archives will be closed to the public from December 21-25 and December 31-January 1. We will be open, with limited service hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on December 28-30. We will resume normal business hours on Monday, January 4, 2016.

For your holiday cocktail party or open house, why not try these savory meatballs in a red wine reduction.

Hot Meatballs in Burgundy Sauce (serves 10-12)

1 pound lean ground beef                                              ¼ tsp. pepper
½ pound ground veal                                                     ¼ tsp. allspice
½ pound lean ground pork                                           ¼ cup milk
2 x 2” piece suet                                                                ¼ cup drippings
2 cups crumbled stale bread crumbs                       1 ½ tbsp. flour
2 eggs, beaten                                                                     ½ cup water
1 cup burgundy wine                                                       1 beef bouillion cube
1 medium onion, diced                                                   garlic, fresh or powdered to taste

Grind meats and suet together, running through food chopper three times. This prevents the meat balls from breaking so easily. Mix with bread, eggs, onion, garlic, seasonings, and milk. Make meat balls about ½” in diameter and brown on all sides in hot drippings. Remove from pan; blend flour, water, burgundy, and bouillion cube in pan, cook stirring constantly until thick and smooth. Return meat balls to pan; cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Transfer to chafing dish to keep warm.

Two men demonstrate how to use the Clouthier tree stands. This photograph is part of the Daily Mining Gazette Photograph Collection.
Two men demonstrate how to use the Clouthier tree stands. This photograph is part of the Daily Mining Gazette Photograph Collection.

 

To replenish after chopping down your tree or for a little nip around a roaring fire, try this classic egg nog recipe.

Egg Nog

To make a quart take three eggs, nearly a pint of good fresh milk, sugar and spice to suit the taste. Put these in a pitcher; add hot water to make a quart; then stir or change from one vessel to another until thoroughly mixed; then add a wine glass or more of the best whiskey. Wine may be used in place of whiskey. The eggs and sugar must be thoroughly beaten before being put with the hot water. Drink hot.

A family scene in the living room. The photograph is part of the William Brinkman Collection.
A family scene in the living room. The photograph is part of the William Brinkman Collection.

 

Nothing beats warm Kropsua and berries for your holiday breakfast to get you ready for an afternoon of sledding or snowshoeing.

Kropsua (Finnish Oven Pancake)

2 eggs                                                                   ½ tsp. salt
2 cups milk                                                          ¼ cup butter or oleo
1 cup flour                                                           1 tbsp. sugar (optional)

Melt butter in 8×12” pan. Set aside to cool. Mix all other ingredients in a deep bowl and beat with rotary egg beater until smooth. Last of all, add melted butter. Pour batter in same pan as butter was melted in. Bake in hot, 400 degree oven, for 1 hour. Serve hot with berries or plain.

Goods collected for the Salvation Army's 1958 holiday food drive.
Goods collected for the Salvation Army’s 1958 holiday food drive.

 

The following recipe requires some patience, so perhaps start now and it will be ready for your New Year’s Eve festivities!

Fine Cucumber Pickles

Make a brine that will bear an egg, and drop in the cucumbers; cover them with grape leaves; weight them down, and let them stand ten or more days. Then take them out, drain well, and a day or two in plenty of clear water, frequently changed. Afterward, put them in a kettle with grape and cabbage leaves and a lump of alum. Cover with weak vinegar, and let them stand until they turn green. Then take out, drain, and put into stone jars. For each three gallons of pickles use one gallon of cider vinegar, and place into it one ounce each of mace and celery seed, two ounces of ginger, three ounces each of cloves and stick cinnamon, four ounces each of mustard seed (black and white mixed), choice black pepper and allspice, two tablespoons of ground mustard, a handful of chopped horseradish, two pods of red pepper, four onions, and two pounds of sugar. Boil, and pour it hot over the pickles. More sugar can be added to suit the taste. Cover the jar very closely, and expose to the sun every day during hot weather.

The recipes above were transcribed from The Blend of a Century, a cookbook compiled by the Iron County Historical and Museum Society in 1981 and Did They Really Eat That?: A 19th Century Cookbook That Acquainted Immigrants With Northwoods Pioneer Fare, a volume reprinted by Copper Sun Publications in 1992.

Mining Memories Project to Start this Winter

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections is pleased to announce that its staff will be initiating an oral history project this winter. This project, funded in part by the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission, aims to collect first hand accounts from Copper Country mine workers and their families in an effort to preserve local mining heritage.

Calumet and Hecla Photograph Collection
Calumet and Hecla Photograph Collection

 

Why are we doing this?

The Michigan Tech Archives has hundreds of cubic feet of mining company records within its collections but does not have nearly the same bulk of primary source materials characterizing mine workers and their families on a personal level. By reaching out to individuals who have stories to tell about the mines, the archives will give people agency over their own local history and will capture memories that would otherwise be forgotten.

Personal accounts of working for the local mines and of living in the local mining community will add so much to our historical narrative

Do you have a story to tell?

If you have worked for a Copper Country mine, or were close with a family member who worked for a mine, we would love to schedule an interview with you. We will be interviewing 15 people between January and May 2016.

Interviews will be scheduled for 45 minute blocks in the Michigan Tech Archives. The interviews will follow a predetermined set of questions, but will allow for freeform discussion as well. If you are interested in participating, but are not able to travel to the Michigan Tech Archives, please let us know. We may be able to set up another centralized location for interviews within our community.

Further Questions?

If you would like to learn more about this project or would like to schedule an interview, please email the archives at copper@mtu.edu or call us at (906)-487-2505.

 

2016 Travel Grant Program Call for Proposals

Arthur Edmund Seaman, former head of the Department of Geology and Mineralogy at the Michigan College of Mines (now Michigan Tech), conducting some research, circa 1905. Photograph is courtesy of the Keweenaw Digital Archives.
Arthur Edmund Seaman, former head of the Department of Geology and Mineralogy at the Michigan College of Mines (now Michigan Tech), conducting some research, circa 1905. Photograph is 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 in scholars and researchers external to Michigan Technological University to work with the Archives’ collections. Financial support for the Travel Grant Program is provided by the Friends of the Michigan Tech 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 conduct 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: http://www.mtu.edu/library/archives/collections/.

To apply for funding through the Travel Grant Program please visit the program website: http://www.mtu.edu/library/archives/programs-and-services/travel-grants/

Applications are due on February 29, 2016. Award recipients will be notified by March 31. The successful candidate must complete their travel by December 9, 2016. 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
E-mail: copper@mtu.edu

Preservation or Petrification? Creepy Archived Jack-O’-Lantern Images.

These jack-o’-lanterns were carved by Michigan Tech students in 1989 and photographed by Michigan Tech Lode staff. A couple of them look more traditional, but others use creepy and creative add-ons.

Current students, why not glean some “hallowed” inspiration from Tech generations gone by? Consider using a sliver of orange pumpkin rind for a devilish tongue, rubber gloves made to look like eerie pumpkin feet, or give your hollow headed friend some head gear, like a mop wig or a felt hood.

 

MTU168-03-03-001-small
Image scanned from the Michigan Tech Lode Photograph Collection.
MTU168-03-03-002-small
Image scanned from the Michigan Tech Lode Photograph Collection.
MTU168-03-03-003-small
Image scanned from the Michigan Tech Lode Photograph Collection.

Remembering Dr. Robert Nara

The J.W. Nara exhibit, “People Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” will be on display until mid-December 2015. The exhibit was installed to honor the memory of Dr. Robert Nara, who passed away in September.
The J.W. Nara exhibit, “People Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” will be on display until mid-December 2015. The exhibit was installed to honor the memory of Dr. Robert Nara, who passed away in September.

 

Last month the campus community and residents all across the Copper Country said goodbye to Dr. Robert Nara, a well-loved local dentist and philanthropist. Nara and his wife Ruth, who survives him, made significant contributions to many aspects of life and community in the Copper Country, and specifically to Michigan Technological University. The J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library, including the archives department, have been lucky to be a part of the generosity of the Nara family and the Nara Foundation. Notable gifts include contributions of funds and equipment to help jumpstart the Keweenaw Digital Archives as well as support to develop a traveling exhibit about Nara’s grandfather, pioneering local photographer J.W. Nara.

In an effort to honor the memory of Dr. Robert Nara and to thank him for his kindness and generosity over the years, the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections has installed the J.W. Nara  exhibit, “People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara.” The exhibit will be on display throughout the remainder of the fall semester in the Opie Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

 

Dr. Robert Nara viewing the “People, Place and Time” exhibit during its grand unveiling in December of 2009.
Dr. Robert Nara viewing the “People, Place and Time” exhibit during its grand unveiling in December of 2009.

HeritageQuest is Now Powered by Ancestry.com

One of our favorite and most used databases, HeritageQuest (Proquest) underwent an interface makeover and is now powered by Ancestry.com. Along with the enhanced functionality that comes with the site’s redesign, there is a considerable amount of new content, not least of which are the available listings of U.S.Federal Census Records from 1790 to 1940, including the image and every-name indexes for each of these years.

Additional new content includes: city directories, 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules, U.S. Indian Census Rolls, Mortality Schedules, Agricultural and Industrial Schedules, and the 1890 Veterans Schedule.

If you have any questions about using HeritageQuest, please call the the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections at (906) 487-2505 or email us at copper@mtu.edu to learn more.

Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff can access HeritageQuest by following this link. Additionally, all Michigan residents may access HeritageQuest through the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) at mel.org/Databases. Another genealogy related database available through MeL is the Biography and Genealogy Master Index, a readily searchable reference sources index.

 

 

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.