Category Archives: Photographs

Holiday Blog Post 2016

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A sparkling tree in an elegant family room.

 

The Carpenters and Perry Como tell us that “there’s no place like home for the holidays,” since it is here that we gather family and friends around us to share the joy of the season. How were people in the Copper Country celebrating with their loved ones and neighbors a hundred years ago? Perhaps one of these parties or events sounds like one you would enjoy–or maybe like one that’s already on your schedule!

 

A holiday sleigh party.
A holiday sleigh party.

 

In December 1911, the Calumet Woman’s Club had a “fine Yuletide Program” featuring “opening and closing numbers by twelve little girls” clothed in German Christmas apparel. Members of the club sang German carols and received “a little Christmas gift, direct from Berlin” as they enjoyed a luncheon of sandwiches, cookies, and gingerbread.

On Christmas Eve in 1909, the Scots of the Calumet area gathered in Laurium for “a musical and literary program” to be followed by dancing. Guests were guaranteed to find something to get their toes tapping, since the party promised to include “all of the popular old time dances interspersed with waltzes and two-steps.”

 

From the Calumet News on December 21, 1910.
From the Calumet News on December 21, 1910.

 

Ice skating was a centerpiece of many parties organized by groups of coworkers. Calumet & Hecla Mining Company (C&H) machinists gathered at the Palestra in Laurium in December 1910 for their outing, while the Calumet telephone operators hired the C&H band in December 1916 for their skating party at the Colosseum Rink.

 

Ice skating on a frozen Portage Canal, image #MS042-034-999-G137J
Ice skating on a frozen Portage Canal, image #MS042-034-999-G137J

 

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Children enjoying a skating party.

 

In 1916, the Ladies of St. Vincent de Paul of Keweenaw County prepared 1,000 bags of candy and nuts to give away to local children at a party in Ahmeek. A decorated Christmas tree, with toys and other gifts adorning it, and an appearance by Santa Claus were the centerpieces of the gathering.

 

A festive tree overflowing with gifts.
A festive tree overflowing with gifts.

 

Residents walking through Red Jacket (Calumet) the night before Christmas in 1909 were greeted with the sweet sound of carols, courtesy of the Cornishmen in the Laurium Male Choir, who had commandeered the sidewalk before the Red Front store to share their music.

On December 25, 1911, the Jewish ladies of Calumet hosted a splendid “Chanika [Hanukkah] ball… for the benefit of the Jewish cemetery” just outside town. Tickets to the event sold like hotcakes.

Chassell celebrated its Christmas in 1916 with a pageant and present distribution at its Knights of Pythias Hall. “All nationalities, creeds, and social orders” in the village “joined enthusiastically” in the jubilee, coming together with unity to share the peace and harmony of the season.

 

Festive dancing!
Festive dancing!

 

We at the Michigan Tech Archives hope that your holiday celebration, whatever form it may take, offers you the same joy and togetherness! Please note, the Michigan Tech Archives will be closed from Monday, December 26 – Friday December 30 for the holidays. We reopen at 10 a.m. on Monday, January 2. You may contact us via copper@mtu.edu over the holiday break. Happy holidays!

By Emily Riippa, Assistant Archivist

Fire, Miners and Elephants: Hancock in Photos and Words, 1860-1940

Please join us for local author, John Haeussler as he discusses the research process for his book Images of America book about Hancock.
Local author, John Haeussler will discuss the research process and photographs used for his Images of America book about Hancock at 5 pm on Thursday, March 12 in the library’s East Reading Room.

 

Please join us for a talk by local author John Haeussler at 5:00 pm on Thursday, March 12 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.

Haeussler’s presentation will begin with a brief overview of his recent work, Images of America, Hancock, from Arcadia Publishing, and progress to outline the importance of the Michigan Tech Archives’ role as a historic image repository for projects such as this one. After exploring his research process, the remainder of the presentation will be a discussion of pre-1940 images of Hancock from the Michigan Tech Archives. This exploration will include readings from contemporary newspaper accounts that pertain to some of the historic photos. There will be allotted  time for questions, answers and discussion following the presentation, though audience participation is encouraged throughout the talk.

Along with his authorship of Hancock, a part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series, Haeussler co-authored and co-edited Hancock’s sesquicentennial publication, Hidden Gems and Towering Tales: A Hancock, Michigan Anthology. This earlier text was published by the City of Hancock in 2013.  John, his wife Megan and their children Maggie and Jack have resided in Hancock since 2007.

For more information, feel free to call the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, email at copper@mtu.edu, or visit on the web athttp://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/.

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.

J.W. Nara Exhibit Moves to Finlandia University Library

The "Old Main" building at Suomi College, as captured by J.W. Nara. Image Acc 11-005-025, click photograph for further details.

“People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, has moved to the Sulo and Aileen Maki Library at Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public through October 29, 2012 during the library’s public hours

A public presentation is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 2 and will feature Michigan Tech archivist Erik Nordberg. His talk, entitled “Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” features dozens of historical photographs of the Keweenaw. 

John William Nara was born in Finland in 1874. He later immigrated to the United States and established a photographic studio in Calumet, Michigan, in the heart of America’s most productive copper mining region. In addition to posed studio portraits, J. W. Nara’s lens also captured the people, place, and time he experienced in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Copper mining and industry are an important part of the story, but Nara also captured the Keweenaw’s rural landscape, including local farms, shorelines, lighthouses, and pastoral back roads. 

The traveling exhibit, funded in part by descendants Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack Michigan, works from historical photographs held at the Michigan Tech Archives. Interpretive panels highlight the people, places, and times that J.W. Nara experienced during his lifetime and include material on urban life, farming, and the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike. A small exhibit catalog is available at no charge and includes three Nara photograph postcards from the collection. 

The exhibit will remain on display at the Maki Library through Monday, October 29. For more information on the installation, contact the library at 906-487-7252 or via e-mail at maki.library@finlandia.edu.  Addition information about the exhibit is available from the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu.

Photographs of the exhibit installation at the Maki Library:

Archives’ Photographs Featured in Film

Historical photographs from the Michigan Tech Archives depicting the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike and relating to the tragedy at Calumet’s Italian Hall on December 24, 1913, are featured in a new film to be screened on October 5 and 6 in Calumet.  The film, entitled “1913 Massacre,” explores the historical events as well as the lasting cultural impact across the Copper Country to the present day.

Details about the film’s local debut are online here.

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 Moves Toward New Technologies

Working on mark-up of an EAD file during Michael Fox's recent archival description workshop.

The Archives was closed Thursday-Friday, September 8-9, 2011, so that staff could be  trained in several new software tools.

Michael Fox, recently retired from the Minnesota Historical Society, spent three days with staff of the Michigan Tech Archives (as well as some other friends). Fox reviewed some basic elements of how manuscript collections differ from museum and library collections. It is important to realize that unlike other item-level collections, archives have complex inter-relations within their manuscript collections. Very few archives catalog material to the item level. Instead, they gather descriptive data at the collection level, as well as information about groupings of documents in folders or within collections as records series. The hierarchical relationship between individual documents, the folders they reside in, the series of which they were created, as well as the overall collections which hold them require complex systems of description.

Encoded archival description (EAD) is a standard which has emerged in recent years to help archivists create and hold this type of hierarchical descriptive information. It uses extensible mark-up language (xml)  to take previous types of written inventories and finding aids and turn them into a standardized data format (it also relies on a descriptive standard called “describing archives: a content standard,” or DACS, to ensure that the contents of individual fields is consistent across the board). With information about our collections held in EAD format, the Michigan Tech Archives will be able to export information to web sites and other places where potential researchers might discover our collections.

This work is not for the faint of heart, however, and will involve many changes in the way that we do our work at the Michigan Tech Archives. One of these changes will be the migration of collections information to a new open source archival collections management software tool called Archivists’ Toolkit. AT will allow us to gather a variety of information about our collections, including both descriptive information and internal administrative notes about preservation and processing. From AT, we’ll be able to output descriptive information compliant to the EAD standard. We’ll also be able to export catalog records compliant to the library world’s MARC standard.  In these formats, we’ll be able to update and share information through sites like OCLC’s Worldcat and ArchiveGrid.

Although this may sound like technical mumbo-jumbo to some of our non-archivist researchers, it will mean a dramatic improvement to the variety and level of information that researchers may discover about our holdings.

We were pleased to have Fox’s training workshop supported through grant monies from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission. Over the course of the last two years, NHPRC’s funding of our current ‘basic archives’ grant has provided the first steps in this move toward better and more standardized description. During this period, we have already created collection-level records for each of the manuscript collections held at the Michigan Tech Archives (you can read some of these on our blog over here). With NHPRC funding for Michael Fox’s visit, we made the first steps toward implementation of Archivists’ Toolkit, EAD, and the next steps in our program.

Look for additional updates here.

Workshop: Introduction to Archival Research

Ever wonder how to start a historical research project? Not sure where to find the right documents to answer your question? Unclear how a research archives operates?  Join Michigan Tech archivists Julie Blair and Erik Nordberg at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1, for an introduction to archival research. The workshop will take place in Room 244 of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

This session will provide a general overview of research using historical records. The workshop will include an introduction to historical research methods and attendees will learn how to locate, integrate, and cite archival material in their research. Presenters will discuss what is meant by phrases like “manuscript collection” and “primary source,” how to describe different types of archival sources, and learn about the similarities and important differences between archives, libraries, and museums.

Attendees will also learn how to use the Keweenaw Digital Archives to easily find historic images online, how to create an account, make a digital album, and add their own comments and observations to the photos. The session will draw upon numerous examples from the holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives, which collects historical material about Michigan Tech and the people, communities, and industries of the surrounding Copper Country.

This workshop will also be repeated at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 7, and is part of a weekly series of programs offered by the Van Pelt and Opie Library. For more information on the Library’s workshop series, visit their blog.

Keweenaw Digital Archives Reaches 10,000 Images

This photograph, showing a group of copper miners at an unknown location, was the 10,000 image added to the Keweenaw Digital Archives. Image #ACC03-153D-01-02 from the Van Den Belt Photograph Collection.

 

The Keweenaw Digital Archives, a web-based collection of historical photographic images of Michigan’s Copper Country, added its 10,000th image on Friday, November 19.  The collection is drawn primarily from the photographic holdings of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collations and document the social and industrial life of the Keweenaw Peninsula. 

“It’s been an incredible experience,” remarks Christine Holland, library assistant with primary responsibility for adding content to the system. “I’ve lived here all my life, but it really wasn’t until I started scanning photos for the digital site that I really began to appreciate the buildings, places, and history around me.” 

“People know the Keweenaw was a historic mining district, but you can’t see any mining here today. Looking at these historical photos, seeing miners working underground, seeing thousands of copper ingots on the docks, or the crowds dressed in their finery on city streets — that’s when you really begin to understand what happened here.” 

Initial funding for the digital archives initiative was part of the Michigan Tech Archives “Interior Ellis Island” ethnic history project. A donation from Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack, Michigan, supported the purchase of computer and scanning equipment necessary for the work. A grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, supported the more significant aspects of the project.   

“This is an incredible milestone for our digital collection,” noted Erik Nordberg, University Archivist. “We began this project in March 2006 and have grown from success to success over the last four years. It’s a testament to Christine’s efforts that we have been able to create such a rich and varied public resource in such a short time.” 

The Keweenaw Digital Archives includes photographs from a variety of sources and covering a variety of periods. Some of the earliest images include the work of local photographers J.W. Nara, J.T. Reeder and Adolph Isler and date well before 1900. More recent images include photos from Michigan Tech campus photographers and alumni, as well as a large number from Houghton’s local newspaper, The Daily Mining Gazette. Topics include copper mining, local cities and towns, social life, maritime and lighthouses, campus life and athletic teams, and almost every aspect of life in Michigan’s Copper Country. 

When asked for some of her favorite images, Holland stops to think. “That’s a tough question. One that immediately springs to mind is a 1909 photograph of the first dirigible to fly over Houghton. I was able to track down a newspaper article about the event and the reporter commented on how the balloon, named The Comet, did a figure eight around St. Ignatius Church.” 

“Personally, I’ve always loved to see the interior decor of Victorian homes. And I really like photographs of social activities like picnics. It’s interesting to see the clothing people wore and the way they did their hair. It makes you think about how things have changed, but also how things have stayed the same.” 

The public can visit the Keweenaw Digital Archives online at http://digarch.lib.mtu.edu  In addition to searching for images by keyword, visitors can browse by subject, or search for just the most recent images added to the system. Interactive features allow the general public to submit comments about individual images, develop their own online photo album, or generate a duplication order for photographic prints or digital scans. 

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

Detail of image #ACC03-153D-01-02, showing young boy amongst copper miners. From the Van Den Belt Photograph Collection, Michigan Tech Archives.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  

Update:
The Daily Mining Gazette, Houghton’s local newspaper, ran a nice story about our milestone in the December 2, 2010 edition.  The story is in online as part of their web edition and an image capture of the the front page of the paper is attached below (the story is on the lower right). 

  

    

Traveling Photograph Exhibit Visits Ontonagon

 

J.W. Nara sold copies of photographs as souvenirs. This image, copied from an unknown published source, shows a load of logs from Ewen which were displayed at the World's Fair.
J.W. Nara sold copies of photographs as souvenirs. This image, copied from an unknown published source, shows a load of logs from Ewen which were displayed at the World's Fair.

“People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, has moved to the Ontonagon County Historical Society museum in Ontonagon. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and will be open to the public through September 25 during the museum’s regular hours. 

On Friday, September 3, the Society will host a public reception and program in conjunction with the exhibit installation. Erik Nordberg, University Archivist at Michigan Technological University, will give an illustrated presentation, “Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara” featuring dozens of historical photographs of the Keweenaw. The presentation is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at the museum complex. 

John William Nara was born in Finland in 1874. He later immigrated to the United States and established a photographic studio in Calumet, Michigan, in the heart of America’s most productive copper mining region. In addition to posed studio portraits, J. W. Nara’s lens also captured the people, place, and time he experienced in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Copper mining and industry are an important part of the story, but Nara also captured the Keweenaw’s rural landscape, including local farms, shorelines, lighthouses, and pastoral back roads.

 The traveling exhibit, funded in part by descendants Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack Michigan, works from historical photographs held at the Michigan Tech Archives. Robert and Ruth will be attending the reception.  Interpretive panels highlight the people, places, and times that J.W. Nara experienced during his lifetime and include material on urban life, farming, and the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike. A small exhibit catalog is available at no charge and includes three Nara photograph postcards from the collection.

The exhibit will remain on display at the Ontonagon County Historical Museum through Saturday, September 25. Its next stop will be the Finnish-American Heritage Center in Hancock, Michigan.