Flower Power and the Lizard King: student publications at Michigan Tech

The third issue of "flush"  takes a decidedly radical tone despite the ethereal mood suggested by its cover. This issue was published at the advent of The Summer of Love.
The third issue of "flush" takes a decidedly radical tone despite the ethereal mood suggested by its cover. This issue was published at the advent of The Summer of Love.

I attended the Midwest Archives Conference earlier this year. In addition to the session I participated in, I attended a fascinating presentation by Jenna Freedman, Barnard College zine librarian. She talked about aspects of zines that appeal to archivists, like issues of collecting and preserving zines, but she also just talked about zine culture itself. I have to admit I was hooked. Her handouts were even real DIY mini-zines – hand-lettered with random stickers, printed on the back of paper obviously from the recycling bin.

I was pleased to find evidence of an underground press here at Tech when I came across flush, an off-campus newspaper self-published by a band of merry Michigan Tech pranksters in 1968 and ’69. While not a zine in the truest sense of an expression by an individual, flush nonetheless captures the spirit of its time. The inaugural issue claims “flush wants only to enter your mind, to make you aware, to make you THINK.”  It’s irreverent and provocative, hand-drawn and full of quotes from the likes of Ché Guevara and Jefferson Airplane. Interspersed with material carefully calculated to shock the establishment of the day are some thoughtful pieces whose writing reflects compassion and commitment toward making positive change in the world. What stood out most to me as an archivist and historian was a two-part interview with three African American students that addresses head-on the experience of being black on a very white campus during a time of great national unrest and social upheaval. Although dates are noticeably absent from much of flush, given the context of some of the pieces it is evident that this interview took place only months following the assassination of Martin Luther King. Over its two-year run, the contents of flush become more politically charged. Although no reason for its demise is indicated, the newsletter gets less cerebral over time, rather far out, to use the vernacular.

Student publications have flourished on and off-campus through the years, from sanctioned papers like the Michigan Tech Lode, to boldly sardonic broadsheets like the Daily Bull (reminiscent of flush), to the now dormant TechnoBabe Times. Lamentably, not all of these works make their way into the Archives collections, and some are only incompletely represented in the collections.

Do you know of a student publication, or perhaps write for one? Claim your place for posterity and consider placing copies of your newsletter, zine, or publication in the Archives. The Michigan Tech Archives seeks to document the social and cultural history of the Copper Country, and that includes the long relationship between campus and community. Michigan Tech students have been a distinctive presence in the area for 125 years. Make your voice part of the University’s history. Call the Archives at 487-2505, email us at copper@mtu.edu, or just stop by our beautiful reading room and talk to an archivist. While you’re at it, take a look at flush (LD 3347 .F58).


Coming at Ya: The Copper Country in 3D!

An example of a historic stereoview photograph, depicting the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company.
An example of a historic stereoview photograph, depicting the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company.

Tired of viewing the Keweenaw’s fascinating history in only two dimensions? Join Erik Nordberg of the Michigan Tech Archives and Jack Deo of Marquette’s Superior View studios as Copper Country people and places ‘back in the day’ jump off the screen with amazing 3D effects! This special event will occur at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 5, at the Calumet Theatre at the corner of 6th and Elm in historic Calumet, Michigan.

Using special digital technology, more than 100 historic stereoview photos will be projected on the giant screen of the historic Calumet Theatre where audiences will see them in eye-popping three dimensions using special 3D glasses.  See local towns, mines, railroads, and scenery as you’ve never seen them before.

This event is a fundraiser for the Michigan Tech Archives, with proceeds supporting the Keweenaw Digital Archives and preservation of historic photographs in the Copper Country Historical Collections.  The College Avenue Vision Clinic in Houghton is providing the special 3D glasses for this event. Additional sponsors include Superior View studio, The Daily Mining Gazette, The Book Concern, Copper World, The Michigan House Cafe, and Cranking Graphics.

Tickets are only $15 for adults and $7 for children and may be purchased in advance from the Calumet Theatre or at the door. Admission includes your own set of 3D glasses. For further information contact the MTU Archives at 906-487-2505, via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu, or visit them on the web at www.lib.mtu.edu/archives.

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Archives Exhibit Moves to Lake Linden

Calumet & Hecla Smelters, Lake Linden & Hubbell, ca. 1910. Photograph by J.W. Nara, image #Nara 42-017.
Calumet & Hecla Smelters, Lake Linden & Hubbell, ca. 1910. Photograph by J.W. Nara, Image #Nara 42-017.

People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara, a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, is currently hosted in the main museum building of the Houghton County Historical Society in Lake Linden. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public through July 6, 2010 during the museum’s regular hours.  

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 travelling 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 J.W. Nara exhibit will remain on display at the Houghton County Historical Society  through July 6, 2010, and will then move to the Keweenaw County Historical Society in Eagle Harbor.  More informaton about the exhibit is available here, including details on hosting the exhibit at your location.


Archives Closed Some Days This Summer

The Michigan Tech Archives will be closed on the following days: 

Monday, May 31, in observance of Memorial Day.
Tuesday, June 15, for a staff retreat.
Monday, July 5, in accordance with the University’s Independence Day Recess.

Otherwise, the Archives’ summer hours for public research are:
Monday-Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Please call 906-487-2505 or e-mail copper@mtu.edu with any additional questions.


Online access to Calumet & Hecla Collection Finding Aid

Archives’ staff continue work on a project funded by the National Historical Records and Publications Commission to create collection descriptions for each of our manuscript collections.  Although this will provide researchers with a better understanding of the breadth and coverage of our holdings, it won’t initially provide much detail about the contents of individual collections. It is our plan, over time, to continue to create detailed inventories and “finding aids” for each collection which will provide detailed information about the contents of the boxes and folders within each collection.  With a collection of more than 7,000 cubic feet of material, however, this will take a little time.

That said, we do have finding aids available for some of our collections. Researchers may visit our finding aids web page for links to a grouping of some of the more established inventories. During our cataloging project, we’ll also be posting announcements about newly cataloged collections to this blog site.

We’ve recently added a version of the finding aid to Collection MS-002, Calumet & Hecla Mining Companies Collection.  Many thanks to researcher and scholar Eric Nystrom for taking an awkward set of word processing files made years ago in WordPerfect and converting them into a usable web-readable document.


What’s cookin’ today in the reading room.

I worked with a researcher in the Archives today who was interested in any records or documentation of foodways. What are “foodways,” you may ask. Well, that’s academe-speak for what people eat, the social implications of what, how, and with whom they eat; basically, how people interact with food. Food is love, right?

The researcher, Casey Rudkin, an RTC doctoral student, was looking for things like cookbooks and any records that might contain recipes. She was particularly interested in the Brockway Diaries Collection (MS-010), thinking that perhaps Lucena Brockway had noted “receipts,” as recipes were sometimes referred to in the early 19th century and prior. Lucena kept a pretty terse journal, but there are plenty of details to be gleaned of early life on the Keweenaw by the dedicated researcher.

Casey did the hard work, but occasionally we puzzled together over the meaning of some of the text in the diaries; Lucena was not the most legible scribe. We struggled over an entry that recorded the canning of a bushel of cherries, and eventually learned that on one autumn afternoon she and two other women put up 13 cans of cherries by 7 o’clock! No mean feat even on a modern gas range. I can only imagine what that was like on a wood stove in a kitchen without electricity or running water.

Kitchen, circa 1913
This is the kitchen of the Putrich residence in Seeberville (Painesdale), Michigan. It dates to about 40 years later than Lucena Brockway's day of canning. The merchant family Brockway's kitchen may have been a bit larger than the working class Putriches, but the appliances and equipment were quite likely similar.

Lucena seemed to have been ill frequently. Many of her recipes deal with home remedies. One entry notes a “cure for small pox.”

Casey shared her notes with me from the final page of Lucena Brockway’s 1869 diary, written opposite the back cover page (Coll. #MS-010, The Brockway Diary Collection, Box 1, Folder 5). I’m posting it here with a disclaimer that the excerpt is intended for informational purposes only.

Cure for Small Pox

Sulphate of zinc one grain;
Foxglove (digitalis) one grain;
half a teaspoonful of sugar;
mix with two tablespoonfuls of water.

When thoroughly mixed add—
four ounces of water.
Take a spoonful every
hour. Either disease
will disappear in twelve
hours. For a child smaller
doses according to age.
If counties would com
pel Physicians to use
this there would be no
need of Pest houses.

Lucena notes that the remedy worked for Scarlet fever too.

As work continues on our NHPRC-funded project to create collection level descriptions for all of our manuscript collections, we are truly “revealing hidden collections.” Cataloging archivist Beth Russell was able to suggest another source that contained recipes or descriptions of food. In the collection of Perkins Burnham Correspondence (Acc. # 01-103A), a healthy young clerk in the Eagle Harbor general store describes meals at his boarding house with great gusto.

Mmmm, I’m getting hungry….


Library Hosts Book-Signing Events

Company housing and Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Agent Street near Calumet, Michigan. The background is dominated by smokestacks, shafthouses, and other industrial workings of the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company.
Company housing and Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Agent Street near Calumet, Michigan. The background is dominated by smokestacks, shafthouses, and other industrial workings of the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company. Image MS042-039-T-045 (Detail A), Collection MS-042 Reeder Photographic Collection.

Two new publications about the history of the Copper Country will make their debut on April 16 and 20 at Michigan Tech.

Professor Larry Lankton of Michigan Tech’s Social Sciences Department will premiere Hollowed Ground: Copper Mining and Community Building on Lake Superior, 1840s-1990s, at 4 p.m., Friday, April 16. In the book, published by Wayne State University Press, Lankton tells the story of Lake Superior copper mining, including the full life-cycles of the Calumet and Hecla, Copper Range, Quincy and White Pine mines, their influence over their mining locations, and the lives of thousands of immigrant workers. Lankton traces the interconnected fortunes of mining companies and communities through times of bustling economic growth all the way through to periods of decline and closure. Author-signed copies of Hollowed Ground will be available for purchase at the event.

Kim Hoagland, professor emeriti at Michigan Tech, presents Mine Towns: Buildings for Workers in Michigan’s Copper Country, at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 20. In this study of domestic life in Copper Country communities during the boom years of 1890 to 1918, Hoagland uses the architecture of the region to understand the complex relationship between mine managers and their employees. Published by University of Minnesota Press, the book examines houses, churches, schools, bathhouses, and hospitals to understand the nature of everyday life in this mining region. Author-signed copies of Mine Towns will be available for purchase at this event.

Both events will be held in the East reading room of the J.R. Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Tech campus and will include remarks from the authors about their research and writing processes. Lankton’s and Hoagland’s work draws heavily from the historical records of the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, a department within the Library. The events, which are open to the public with free refreshments, are sponsored by the Library, the Michigan Tech Archives and the Michigan Tech Department of Social Sciences.

For further information contact the Michigan Tech Archives at (906) 487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu, or visit the website at www.lib.mtu.edu/archives.

Update: Photos from the Lankton book signing, which attracted a crowd of about 100 people.

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Consortium Meeting Held in Ishpeming May 22, 2010

Underground miners at the Cliff iron mine in Ishpeming, ca. 1890s.  Image #MTU012-008-032, Collection MTU-012 Mining Engineering Photo Collection
Underground miners at the Cliff iron mine in Ishpeming, ca. 1890s. Image #MTU012-008-032, Collection MTU-012 Mining Engineering Photo Collection

The Northland Historical Consortium held its Spring 2010 meeting on Saturday, May 22, 2010, at the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum in Ishpeming, Michigan.

The meeting featured a presentation by Dr. Terry Reynolds on the history of the Cleveland Iron Mining Company and the Iron Cliffs Company, their activity in Ishpeming and at the Cliffs Shaft site, and their role as predecessors of the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company on the Marquette Iron Range.

The day was rounded out with tours of the Cliffs Shaft museum’s buildings, grounds, and interpretive exhibits. Many thanks to Mary Skewis and the volunteers from the museum for a great day!

The Michigan Tech Archives serves as coordinating organization for the Northland Historical Consortium, an informal association of local historical societies, archives and historians in Northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Central and Western Upper Peninsula.  Questions about the group’s activities can be directed to Erik Nordberg at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at enordber@mtu.edu

Here are a few photographs from the event:

The Cliff Shaft Mining Museum was host for today's meeting of the Northland Historical Consortium.
The Cliff Shaft Mining Museum was host for today's meeting of the Northland Historical Consortium.

 

Michigan Tech history professor Terry Reynolds speaks to the consortium attendees about the history of iron mining in Ishpeming.
Michigan Tech history professor Terry Reynolds speaks to the consortium attendees about the history of iron mining in Ishpeming.
Joanne "Josie" Olson was selected for the Harold and Marcia Betnhardt Award, given by the Northland Historical Consortium for her work in the local heritage community. Josie is active with a number of initiatives and groups, particularly the Ontonagon County Historical Society and the Rockland Historical Society.
Joanne "Josie" Olson was selected for the Harold and Marcia Betnhardt Award, given by the Northland Historical Consortium for her work in the local heritage community. Josie is active with a number of initiatives and groups, particularly the Ontonagon County Historical Society and the Rockland Historical Society.
 
Attendees at the meeting had a wonderful guided tour of the buildings and exhibits operated by the Cliffs Shaft mining museum. The Cliffs company built two reinforced concrete shafthouses early in the Twentieth century. They have a unusual Egyptian obelisk architecture.
Attendees at the meeting had a wonderful guided tour of the buildings and exhibits operated by the Cliffs Shaft mining museum. The Cliffs company built two reinforced concrete shafthouses early in the Twentieth century. They have a unusual Egyptian obelisk architecture.
 
The museum includes three shaft houses. The B shaft is a mirror duplicate of the reinforced concrete A shaft. This photographs shows the more modern C shaft, which operated in the mid-Twentieth century.
The museum includes three shaft houses. The B shaft is a mirror duplicate of the reinforced concrete A shaft. This photographs shows the more modern C shaft, which operated in the mid-Twentieth century.
 
Our tour took us through underground tunnels connecting the "dry" to the C shaft. Tunnels provided nice protection from the harsh winter climate.
Our tour took us through underground tunnels connecting the "dry" to the C shaft. Tunnels provided nice protection from the harsh winter climate.

 

Right near the shaft entrance was a small room which housed a safety man and this rack of brass tags. As the men headed underground they took their numbered tag with them. As they finished their shift and came to the surface they returned their tag to this rack. During an emergency this was the easiest way to note any missing men.
Right near the shaft entrance was a small room which housed a safety man and this rack of brass tags. As the men headed underground they took their numbered tag with them. As they finished their shift and came to the surface they returned their tag to this rack. During an emergency this was the easiest way to note any missing men.

 

 

 

Touring "the dry" building - where miners changed clothes (and left their work clothes to dry until their next shift). Baskets on pulleys were used to store clothes amongst the rafters.
Touring "the dry" building - where miners changed clothes (and left their work clothes to dry until their next shift). Baskets on pulleys were used to store clothes amongst the rafters.

Archives Exhibit Travels to Marquette

naraportrait
J.W. Nara Self-portrait, Image #Acc-05-097A-012

People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara, a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, is currently hosted at the Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center, located on the campus of Northern Michigan University. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public through May 21, 2010 during the center’s regular hours.  

On Friday, April 30, the Beaumier 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, “Michigan¹s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara” featuring dozens of historical photographs of the Keweenaw. The reception will begin at 2:00 p.m., with the program to start at 3:00 p.m.

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 travelling 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 J.W. Nara exhibit will remain on display at the Beaumier Heritage Center through May 21, 2010.  Future stops for the exhibit include the Houghton County Historical Society in Lake Linden and the Keweenaw County Historical Society in Eagle Harbor.  More informaton about the exhibit is available here, including details on hosting the exhibit at your location.

Update:  Here are some photographs of the exhibit installation at the Beaumier Heritage Center.

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Archival Speaker Series: U.P. Architect D. Frederick Charlton

Steven Brisson, Chief Curator for Mackinac State Historic Parks, gave a public talk on Wednesday, April 14, 2010, as part of the Archival Speakers Series sponsored by the Michigan Tech Archives. His topic was D. Frederick Charlton, the first professional architect to reside permanently in the Upper Peninsula.
Steve Brisson speaks on the life and architectural work of Frederick Charlton.
Steve Brisson speaks on the life and architectural work of Frederick Charlton.
Over four-hundred buildings are credited to Charlton, including important public and private commissions and the buildings for four state institutions.  His office designed structures in a variety of popular styles of the last phase of Victorian architecture.  These included Romanesque, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Classical Revival.  Three of Charlton’s most important works are the Marquette County Court House, the John M. Longyear House in Marquette (moved and rebuilt in Brookline, Massachusetts), and the Upper Peninsula State Hospital for the Insane at Newberry. Brisson’s research at the Michigan Tech Archives focused in particular on material from the Herman Gundlach Collection.

This research was supported by a Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant, funded by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1998, this program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives. The program is intended to encourage research using the Archives’ lesser known collections or promote new methodological approaches to well-known collections. From a competitive field of applicants, the grant committee selected four scholars this year whose research typifies the spirit of the grant program. They join the ranks of twenty-two past recipients in this most recent round of awards.

The grant supports travel to the Archives with stipends of up to $750. Once a research proposal has been selected, the amount awarded is determined according to an applicant’s distance from Houghton, Michigan, and the degree of financial need. A full-time graduate student working to complete her or his dissertation is an example of the kind of applicant considered to have a high level of financial need. Although the majority of award recipients are associated with academic institutions either as students or facility, applicants need not come from an academic environment. The program recently supported a strong research program in ethnology by funding two genealogy practitioners exploring Calumet’s 19th and 20th century Polish community.

In addition to the research topic, the award committee considers a person’s track record for completing projects in a timely manner. A strong applicant will demonstrate an ability to publish their research, create a public web page, or otherwise make available the results of their work at the Michigan Tech Archives. The Archives houses a rich collection of historic resources  that we want people to know about. And we don’t want the distance someone might have to travel to the Upper Peninsula to discourage them from coming here. The travel grant helps us achieve both of those goals.

Four researchers were selected to receive a Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant for the current year. This year’s recipients will investigate a diverse array of topics in the Archives’ manuscript collections. Research subjects include the practice of 19th and 20th century medicine in a remote industrial community; the relationship between representations of three-dimensional data and the flow of information within an organization; the regional work of Michigan architect D. Fred Charlton; and the politics and economics of community development during an era industrial decline.

For information about Brisson’s research, architect D. Frederick Charlton, or the Michigan Tech Archives and its collections, email us at copper@mtu.edu, call us at 906-487-2505, or visit us on the web at www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives.

U.P. Architect D. Charleton
Announcement used for Brisson’s talk.