Category Archives: Exhibits and Events

This broad category will include any of the types of outreach activities the Michigan Tech Archives is involved with. This includes exhibits, presentations, travel grant award winners, participation in off-campus activities, etc.

Symposium Travel Grant Awards Announced

the 1913-1914 Mining/Labor Strike Symposium of 2014
Join us April 11-12, 2014.

The University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections has selected nine recipients for the 2014 Symposium Travel Award. These grant recipients will be among the many scholars and researchers participating in “Retrospection & Respect: Michigan’s 1913-1914 Mining/Labor Strike Symposium,” to be held in Houghton, Michigan, April 11-12, 2014, on the occasion of the centennial of the cessation of the 1913-1914 Western Federation of Miners labor strike against copper mining companies in the Copper Country of Upper Michigan.

John Beck, from Michigan State University, will explore Father Dietz and the Catholic Church within the history of the 1913-1914 Copper Miners’ Strike.  Thomas Mackaman, from Kings’ College (PA), will look at new immigrants and American industry in 1914 and Erik Nordberg, from the Michigan Humanities Council and formerly Michigan Tech’s University Archivist, will present a paper on company houses along the picket line.

Roger Burt, from the University of Devon (UK) will present on the role of fraternal organizations in mining communities.  Peter Krats, from Western University (Ontario), will explore ethnic identity in the Keweenaw and Nickel Belts to 1930.  Peter Lubotina, from Middle Tennessee State University will profile Teofilo Petriella, a Marxist revolutionary.

Shannon Rebecca Kirkwood, from Central Michigan University, will explore gender and feminine strategies in the 1913 copper strike.  Patrick Allan Pospisek, from Grand Valley State University, will present on federal authority and the development of corporate mining from 1807-1847 and Ryan Driskell Tate, from Rutgers University, will present on cross-class cooperation in the 1916 Iron Range strike.

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Funded by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library since its inception over 10 years ago, the grant has enabled more than 20 researchers to travel to Houghton from the United States, Canada, and Europe, to examine the unique social and cultural resources in the Archives collections. 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 above and below ground; the role that fraternal orders have played in Lake Superior mining communities; and the adoption of the English language by European transplants to Michigan’s Copper Country. This year, the Friends of the Library provided generous support for competitive travel awards for the symposium.

The award committee included Larry Lankton, Professor Emeritus from the Michigan Tech’s Department of Social Sciences, Susan Martin, Professor Emerita from the Department of Social Sciences, Don Durfee, Friends of the Van Pelt Library and Social Sciences, and Beth Russell, University Archives. For further information about the awards program or about the collections of the University Archives: 906- 487-2505; www.mtu.edu/library/archives/ or copper@mtu.edu


Symposium Speakers Announced

The  speakers for Retrospection & Respect: The 1913-1914 Mining/Labor Strike Symposium of 2014” have been announced!  FinnForum X speakers will be added soon.

Full conference registration is $30.00 and includes Friday reception and Saturday sessions for both the 1913-1914 Mining/ Labor Strike and FinnForum X concurrent sessions, and includes breakfast and lunch. Keynote dinner reservations must be made separately.

Registration opens February 15, 2014 at Registration, 906-487-2505, or copper@mtu.edu. The full conference registration deadline is April 9, 2014. Walk-in registrations are welcome, but meals tickets will not be available.

the 1913-1914 Mining/Labor Strike Symposium of 2014
Join us April 11-12, 2014, running concurrently with FinnForum X.

The following topics will be covered:

John Beck Co-director, Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives, Associate Professor, Labor Education Program, School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI :

“Father Dietz, the Catholic Church and the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike”

Roger Burt, Professor Emeritus, History Department, College of Humanities, University of Exeter, Devon, UK :

“The role of fraternal organisation in migration and informal Labour organisations in mining communities: Cornwall, the Keweenaw and California Compared”

Peter Kratz, Professor, History Department, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada :

Mainari, Farmari, Lumperjäkki, Piika : “Ethnic Identity” and Earning a Living in the Keweenaw and Nickel Belts to 1930″

Paul Lubotina, Assistant Professor, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN :

“Teofilo Petriella: Marxist Revolutionary”

Thomas Mackaman, Assistant Professor of History, King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA :

“Our lives, our thoughts and our allegiance : New immigrants and American industry in 1914″

Alice Margerum, Houghton, MI :

“Beneath the Starry Flag: the Flags and Songs of the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike as Image-making in the American Labor Movement”

Erik Nordberg, Executive Director, Michigan Humanities Council, Lansing, MI :

“Company Houses along the Picket Line”

Brendan Pelto, Student, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI :

“The 1968-1969 Copper Strike”

Patrick Allan Pospisek, Department of History, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI :

“Federal Authority and the Development of Corporate Mining, 1807-1847”

Ryan Tate, PhD student, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ :

“Flash in the Pan: Cross-Class Cooperation in 1916 Iron Range Strike”

Joanne Thomas, Allouez, MI :

“100 Years to Red Jacket – and Annie : An Extraordinary Mass”


Nara Exhibit on Display

Portage Lake District Library hosts J.W. Nara Photograph Exhibit

Michigan Tech Archives Nara Exhibit
Onni Nara with camera; Keweenaw Digital Archives Image #:Acc-05-097A-015

“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 Portage Lake District Library in Houghton, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public through Dec. 16 during the library’s normal hours. The library is located on the Houghton waterfront, at 58 Huron Street, Houghton, MI 49931-2194.

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 Portage Lake District Library through Monday, December 16. For more information on the installation, contact the library at 906-482-4570 or via e-mail at info@pldl.org. Additional information about the exhibit is available from the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu.


Call for Papers: 1913 Copper Miners’ Strike Symposium

Retrospection & Respect: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Miners’ Strike

A symposium to be held April 11-13, 2014 on the campus of Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, USA

Banner from the 1913-14 Copper Miners' Strike (Acc-400-12-13-1988-01-08-15)

The Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections of the Van Pelt Library of Michigan Technological University announces a symposium to be held in Houghton, Michigan, April 11-13, 2014, on the occasion of the centennial of the cessation of the 1913-1914 Western Federation of Miners labor strike against copper mining companies in the Copper Country of upper Michigan.  The symposium is co-sponsored by the Archives, the Department of Social Sciences, and the Department of Humanities at Michigan Technological University, the Keweenaw National Historical Park, and the Finnish American Historical Archive at Finlandia University.  The symposium is being held in conjunction with the 2014 meeting of Finn Forum, a professional association of researchers who investigate northern European migration to the United States.

We anticipate paper submissions from a range of disciplinary perspectives in the following and other topical areas:  analyses of labor organization in the historical and contemporary American and European mining industries, the impact of historical European immigration on labor organization, the impacts of early twentieth century labor organizational practices and strikes on American managerial practices in mining and other industries, the impact of women’s activism on early twentieth century labor organization in mining and other industries, comparisons between labor activities and organizational practices over a range of mining commodities, the impacts of labor organizational and strike strategies on historical and current mining communities, contemporary remembrance and collective memory pertaining to labor/strike histories, as well as other topics connecting issues of ethnicity, identity, class, gender, and other cultural divisions to civic discourse and the historic struggle for civil liberties within industry.

Abstract submission is now open and will close on December 16, 2013.  Submitters will be notified of the acceptance of papers on January 16, 2014.  Please direct all inquiries regarding paper topics and presentation details to Dr. Sam Sweitz (srsweitz@mtu.edu).  We will consider proposals for mini-symposia, consisting of three to five papers, organized around a central theme or project as part of this symposium.  Please contact Dr. Sweitz regarding any such proposals.

Abstracts should be submitted via email to copper@mtu.edu, with the subject line “Symposium Proposal.” Abstracts should be no more than 250 words.  Accepted paper presentations will be 20 minutes in length.

The Michigan Tech Archives is offering funding for up to $750 through its Travel Grant Program for scholars to travel to the Archives to research its collections in order to submit a proposal for the symposium. Grant recipients whose papers are selected will be eligible for a second stipend to help allay the cost of travelling to the symposium in April. Please contact the Archives at copper@mtu.edu to apply for grant funding.

The conference proceedings will be published through Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech, an open access platform. The creator(s) of papers shall retain their copyright, but will agree to a non-exclusive license to distribute and preserve their work in Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech.


Archival Speaker Series: Austro-Hungarian Immigrant Identity

This photograph of a Hungarian immigrant laborer was included with the Declaration of Intention application for United States citizenship.

The Michigan Tech Archival Speaker Series will feature visiting scholar Dr. Robert Goodrich at 7 PM on Thursday, June 13 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Tech campus. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Goodrich will talk about the complexities acting to make Habsburg-influenced national identity in Austro-Hungarian immigrants to Michigan so difficult to identify, despite the large numbers that came to America in the 19th and 20th centuries. His presentation will highlight how modern concepts of ethnic heritage and identity do not always fit neatly into our ideas of fixed national traits.

Dr. Robert Goodrich is an Associate Professor of History at Northern Michigan University. His teaching focuses on broad themes in modern Europe. He earned his PhD from University of Wisconsin – Madison, where his dissertation addressed identity formation of working-class Catholics in the Rhineland of Germany. He is working on a book on the construction of Habsburg emigrant identity in the United States.

Goodrich’s research visit and presentation are supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1998, the Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives.

For more information call the Michigan Tech Archives at 487-2505, e-mail to copper@mtu.edu, or visit them on the web at http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/


Painesdale Hosts Labor History Exhibit

Company houses at Osceola location. The role that company-provided houses played in the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike will be the topic of a presentation at the Jeffers High School Library at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Photograph courtesy of the Michigan Tech Archives, Image #MTU Neg 05670.

Labor and and management conflict in the Keweenaw Peninsula is explored through a traveling exhibit in Painesdale during the month of April. “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display through May 1. The exhibit is hosted by the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center in the Jeffers High School Library in Painesdale.

A special open house will take place Wednesday, April 10.  Michigan Tech Archivist Erik Nordberg will present an illustrated talk entitled “Company Houses Along the Picket Line” exploring the role of company-owned houses in the 1913 strike. The event is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and the exhibit will be open to visitors. Support for this event is provided by the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center.

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 and tragedy, 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 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 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.eduor 906-487-2505, or the Jeffers High School Library at 906-487-0599.



1913 Strike Exhibit in L’Anse

“Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display from March 4 to March 27 at the L’Anse Area School Public Library, located in L’Anse High School. The library will be open Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

A special open house will take place on Sunday, March 17. Jane Nordberg, managing editor for The Daily Mining Gazette, will present “Pulp and Propaganda: Newspapers in the Strike Era” at 1:00 p.m. The event and exhibit are free and open to the public.

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 L’Anse Area School Library Wednesday, March 27 and then tour to two 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 L’Anse Area School Public Library at 906-524-6213.


Exhibit and February 9 Event in Houghton Highlight 1913 Strike

Dr. Larry Lankton, professor emeritus from Michigan Technological University, will discuss “Mine Safety Issues in the 1913 Strike Era” during a special open house at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 9, in conjunction with a special exhibit at Houghton’s Carnegie Museum. The event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit, “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” created by the Michigan Tech Archives, is currently on display through February 28 at the Carnegie Museum at the corner of Huron and Montezuma in downtown Houghton. The museum is open to the public Tuesday: 12 noon – 5:00 p.m., Thursday 12 noon – 5:00 p.m., and Saturday 12 noon – 4:00 p.m.

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 and tragedy, 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 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 Houghton’s Carnegie Museum through Thursday, February 28 and then tour to three 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 Houghton Carnegie Museum at 906-482-7140.


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.