Category Archives: Staff picks

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.

 

Happy Halloween from the Archives

Here are just a few photographs to get you ready for whatever your Halloween festivities might be this weekend! These images have all been scanned from the Michigan Technological University Lode Photograph Collection.

Have a happy Halloween!

MTU168-03-03-006 small
McDonalds shake and fries, a pre-Twilight vampire, a couple of swashbuckling pirates and choker necklaces abound.
MTU168-03-03-005 small
An eclectic bunch of 1960s and 70s kids.
MTU168-03-03-004 small
Classic sheet togas re-purposed into Princess Leia, flower child and other Halloween costumes.

 

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.

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

10808_l
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.

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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: http://digarch.lib.mtu.edu/.

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

 

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

Happy (Vintage) Easter!

Swapping winter wools for light spring cloths, tasty ham, rabbits and candy are just a few of our favorite Easter traditions. Scroll through some 20th century print advertisements our staff has found in a couple of our local historic newspapers.

 

Printed in the Calumet News on April 10,1925 on page 10
Printed in the Calumet News, April 10,1925 on page 10

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette on April 7, 1944 on page 8
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, April 7, 1944 on page 8

 

Printed in the Calumet News on March 30, 1925 on page 5
Printed in the Calumet News, March 30, 1925 on page 5

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette on March 16, 1951 on page 2
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, March 16, 1951 on page 2

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette on March 15, 1951 on page 6
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, March 15, 1951 on page 6

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette March 16, 1915 on page 2
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, March 16, 1915 on page 2

 

These newspapers, along with roughly 70 other local historic newspapers are available for viewing on microfilm at the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections. Feel free to call us at (906) 487-2505 or email us at copper@mtu.edu to learn more.

 

Have a Cautious Friday the 13th Today, Everyone!

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette Friday, November 13, 1953
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette Friday, November 13, 1953

 

“No, Kitty! Not Today!”

THAT HORRENDOUS DAY, Friday the 13th is here again. It is the time to avoid breaking mirrors, walking under ladders and –. But here is Smokey, the cat, ignoring the good advice of Elinor Matteson. Of course Smoky has nine lives and he is not a bit superstitious.

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

 

Broomball

 

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

 

Vintage Copper Country Christmas Advertisements

Have a look at these jolly Christmas advertisements for some last minute gift-giving inspiration. Below, we have provided a small curated sample of print advertising from the Daily Mining Gazette ranging from 1903 to 1953. (Clicking directly on any advertisement will make it larger for readability.)

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, December 19, 1919, page 7
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, December 19, 1919, page 7

 

A little extra heat is always appreciated in the winter, so why not gift an electric heater this year? The Houghton County Electric Light Company certainly hopes you do.

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, December 20, 1929, page 9
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, December 20, 1929, page 9

 

Part stationary furniture, part musical instrument – these wooden radios sold at Klingkammer’s Music Store in Houghton looked great and sounded even better. With light coming from the fireplace and Christmas tree, warmth from blankets on the couch and with Christmas specials quietly playing over your brand new radio, hardly a more cozy scene could be imagined.

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, December 22, 1953, page 15
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, December 22, 1953, page 15

 

“Second only to good food, no treat you can serve will add to the day’s pleasures like smooth, mellow, golden Bosch.” Brewed in the sportsman’s paradise, a case of Bosch would have made a great host or hostess’ gift.

 

DMG 12-22-1929 Pg 2
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, December 22, 1929, page 2

 

If you are lucky enough to be hosting your own holiday dinner this year, do not forget to take advantage of seasonal specials when grocery shopping. You may even be lucky enough to see Santa Claus, as shoppers of Riteway did in 1929.

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, December 19, 1903, page 10
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, December 19, 1903, page 10

 

In 1903, Santa visited the E. F. Sutton Company to meet with children, pass out candy and to see how his toys were selling at the store. During the two weeks preceding Christmas, the E. F. Sutton Company used the Daily Mining Gazette columns to call attention to their huge stock of holiday wares. Because of these ads, the store had huge sales in 1903 compared to previous years.

Prompted by the previous advertisement and Santa’s appearance at the E. F. Sutton Company, two young boys co-wrote and mailed a letter to Santa Claus at Santa Clausland, Lake Linden, Michigan, in care of the E. F. Sutton Company. This letter was printed in the Daily Mining Gazette on December 22, 1903, two days after Santa made his appearance at the E F. Sutton Company. It has been transcribed below.

 

Dear Santa Claus:

I now take the time to write you a few lines and hope I will see you tomorrow. Well, Santa Claus, I suppose I may give my order. I no you won’t forget us for you always come to see us no matter how far we were. Santa Claus,  I won’t ask for too much for I know that there is lots of poor people that I would like to see them have something too. Please may I have these things following: A game of lottos; a game of flinch; a  game of trip to New York; cherket board; the coon’s hunt; a glove box; a handkerchief box; a pare of leggons for boys; a merry go round; a child’s cornet; an airship; three funny books.

I don’t want no doll this year, but I like to have a doll’s head. The rest we will leave to you. Santa Claus, when you see papa’s stockings don’t laugh, but please fill them. Well, I must close, goodby.

P.S. – This is from Albert and I.

 

These newspapers, along with roughly 70 other local historic newspapers are available for viewing on microfilm at the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections. Feel free to call us at (906) 487-2505 or email us at copper@mtu.edu to learn more.

 

Christmas on Isle Royale, Diary entries of a frontier woman

The ever-white winters of the Keweenaw are beautiful, but the intense snowfall can also leave residents feeling isolated. Both of these sentiments become even more true on Isle Royale.

The following set of diary entries were written by Lydia Smith Douglass in 1848 during the first year of her marriage to Columbus C. Douglass. During the winter of this year, the couple lived on Isle Royale while Columbus worked for the Ohio and Isle Royale Mining Company.

These entries were written around the time of Christmas.

 

Isle Royale in Winter. (Photo courtesy of the Keweenaw Digital Archives.)
Isle Royale in Winter. (Photo courtesy of the Keweenaw Digital Archives).

 

 

December 23, 1848

It was eleven o’clock before I retired last night. I said some time before night that I would finish the piece of work I was engaged with before I slept. Consequently, I had to sit up later than usual. Mr. Douglass returned home a little after six this evening, having walked from Epidote to Datholite and from thence home today on snow shoes. He was so fatigued as to be hardly able to stand up, when he came in, and so completely drenched with perspirations, one might have thought he had been in the water. Such overexertion must certainly be very injurious to one’s health.

December 25, 1848

Christmas has come with pleasant weather, and snow sufficient for good sleighing, but unfortunately for us we have neither roads nor teams. The contrast in the manner of our spending the day is quite different from last Christmas Day, then among our friends at Ann Arbor. Now, on a remote and lonely island, but I forbear to repine. We are happy here, even in this solitude, but would still be happier if we could communicate with our friends. We have as many of comforts of life here, as we should enjoy in almost any place. Many more than one would suppose that had no experience in this new country. We have as yet a plenty of fresh meats such as, beef, fish, fowls, rabbits, etc. etc., together with as good vegetables as one would wish to find in any place, also a sufficiency of nick-nacks. In short, everything for our health and comfort.

December 26, 1848

The morning was rather snowy, but cleared away about noon and remained pleasant during the rest of the day. The day passed off in the usual routine of sewing, reading, writing, eating, etc., etc., etc. We brought with us a choice library, with which to employ our leisure moments, and it is a source of amusement and profit to us. We are now reading the Life and Voyages of Columbus, written by Washington Irving, which is very interesting. It seems strange to us of the present day that a civilized people should have thrown so many obstacles in the way of this great discoverer.

 

These diary entries are held by the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections as a part of the Lydia Smith Douglass Diary Collection.

Thanksgiving in the Copper Country, as seen through past advertising

The Michigan Tech Archives will be closed Thursday, November 27 and Friday November 28 for the holiday. Standard operating hours will resume the week of December 1.

Every year we are met with advertisements for upcoming holidays, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Below, we have a small selection of Thanksgiving advertisements dating from the early to mid 1950s originally published in the Daily Mining Gazette. Only some of the businesses that took out space for these ads are still operating in the Copper Country today, but the traditions and scenes depicted in all of the ads remain familiar.

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 12, 1953, page 10
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 12, 1953, page 10

 

Upper Peninsula Power Company’s mascot, Reddy Kilowatt, cooks Thanksgiving dinner for a family in the Upper Peninsula. All mother needs to do is set the control and snap the switch of her big electric oven and her work is done, Reddy Kilowatt takes care off the actual cooking – and for only a few pennies!

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 21, 1951, page 4
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 21, 1951, page 4

 

If you would like to completely remove the hassle of cooking a family meal, the Douglass House offered blue point oysters on the half shell or oyster stew for $0.65 and a table d’hote dinner for $2.00.

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 6, 1950, page 10
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 6, 1950, page 10

 

In the autumn months of 1950, Pearce’s advertisement  for Maytag gas ranges boasts 1949 prices and even offers a free twenty pound turkey with purchase. Who says we can’t have it all?

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 2, 1950, page 9
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 2, 1950, page 9

 

What says Thanksgiving like Spam and cranberries? In 1950, Eatmor Cranberries published this hot dish recipe for readers so they might have something new to serve at Thanksgiving – and to boost the season’s cranberry sales.

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 14, 1950, page 11
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 14, 1950, page 11

 

Haas Brewing Company of Houghton keeps their ad simple with this contented turkey cartoon and straightforward message.

 

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 1, 1950, page 2
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, November 1, 1950, page 2

 

Swift’s Hardware of downtown Houghton advertises their kitchen wares. Stocking everything from pressure saucepans and double boilers, to tableware and cake covers, they sell nearly everything needed for a great Thanksgiving dinner – minus the turkey.

These newspapers, along with around 70 other local historic newspapers are available for viewing on microfilm at the Michigan Tech and Copper Country Archives. Feel free to call us at (906) 487-2505 or email us at copper@mtu.edu to learn more.