Category Archives: Donated Collections

New Art Piece On Display

Donor Jane Libby and Archivist Lindsay Hiltunen pose with the framed portrait of Christeen M. Shelden, daughter of local historic figure Ransom B. Shelden. The painting was donated to the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections on Monday, June 20.
Donor Jane Libby poses with the framed portrait of Christeen M. Shelden, daughter of local historic figure Ransom B. Shelden. The painting was donated to the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections earlier this week.

 

Therissa Jane Libby recently made a pilgrimage to the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections to donate a painting of her great grandmother, Christeen M. Shelden. Christeen was the daughter of Ransom B. Shelden, patriarch of the well-known and highly respected Shelden family of Houghton. Ransom Shelden is credited with being one of the original founders of Houghton and the Shelden family was very active in local business, politics and social affairs in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Mrs. Libby remarked that “Christeen has come home,” and was delighted that the staff at the Van Pelt and Opie Library shared in her enthusiasm. The painting was gifted to Libby by her grandmother in the 1940s, although little is known about when the painting was completed or who the artist was. The donor has heard anecdotal evidence that it was done by an itinerant artist sometime prior to 1880. After securing the gift, the art piece was installed prominently in the reading room of the Michigan Tech Archives where it can be enjoyed by researchers and visitors.

If you are interested to view the painting, please visit the archives during normal business hours, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more about the Michigan Tech Archives or to inquire about donating a collection, please e-mail copper@mtu.edu or call (906) 487-2505.


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.

Baraga Resident Donates World War I Era Collection

Ellen Raymond, center, donated her father-in-law’s materials to the University Archives after a suggestion from her friend, Sharon Eklund, left. Archivist Beth Russell, right, formally accepted the donation.  (Photo courtesy of Tech Today)

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections was pleased to welcome a new collection this week thanks to a local resident. Ellen Raymond, a 94 year old from Baraga, visited the archives on Tuesday, July 8 and donated a family collection of World War I era documents and ephemera.

After finding a stash of documents and photos in her closet, Raymond wasn’t quite sure what to do, but her friend Sharon Eklund, a volunteer for Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly who looks in on Raymond, had a pretty good idea. Eklund suggested donating the materials to the Michigan Tech Archives and that is exactly what they did. After coordinating the donation with Archivist Beth Russell, Raymond and Eklund arrived earlier this week to present the material and formally pass ownership to the archives. The donation ceremony was attended by library staff, Little Brothers representatives, and various journalists.

The collection is a file that had been preserved by Raymond’s father-in-law, Harvey William Raymond. It includes his diploma from Baraga High School, a certificate of mine safety from what was then the Michigan College of Mines, correspondence between H.W. Raymond and his fiancée, and several photos, one of particular importance to Michigan Tech as it showcases a class photo taken in 1918 of new recruits at Michigan Tech’s military training facility.

The Michigan Tech Archives does not have many documents or photos from the World War I era so this donation is an important one to broaden our holdings. Archivist Beth Russell called this a “wonderful collection” and it is a perfect example how community donations can enhance the materials we have to offer researchers. The collection will be arranged and cataloged to make it available to researchers in the archives and there are possible plans to have some of the photos scanned and placed in the Keweenaw Digital Archives, where they can be widely accessible even to those unable to visit the archives in person. Overall, Raymond is delighted that her father-in-law’s papers have found their way to a historical collection where the documents and photos will be preserved for future generations. “I think it’s great, and I think he would be proud,” she said, to know that his papers have found their way to a place such as this. Please monitor our blog and Facebook page for news on when this collection is available for use.

Thanks to the generosity and thoughtfulness of local donors the archives is able to collect, preserve, and make available resources of historical importance.  If you have a collection you think may be suitable to donate to the archives, please contact Lindsay Hiltunen at lehalkol@mtu.edu or by calling (906) 487-3209 or (906) 487-2505.  Inquiries about donations can also be directed to Ellen Marks, University Librarian and Library Director, at ebmarks@mtu.edu or by calling (906) 487-2500.