Tag Archives: Holidays

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

Happy (Vintage) Fourth of July Weekend!

Fireworks over Lake Superior and the small-town treetops, parades and campfires, cold beer and family get-togethers are some favorite, time-honored traditions of a Copper Country Independence Day weekend. While red, white, and blue are the hallmark colors of the holiday, we found some festive advertisements in black and white newsprint from our historic newspapers collection. Please note, the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections will be closed on Monday, July 4th in observance of the holiday. We resume normal business hours on Tuesday, July 5. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

A Miller's Department Store advertisement for savings on menswear. Daily Mining Gazette, June 28, 1910.
A Miller’s Department Store advertisement for savings on menswear. Daily Mining Gazette, June 28, 1910.

 

A Bosch Beer advertisement, "Reach for Bosch Instead of..." from the Daily Mining Gazette, June 27, 1940.
A Bosch Beer advertisement, “Reach for Bosch Instead of…” from the Daily Mining Gazette, June 27, 1940.

 

A "Burst of Bargains" from Central Super Market of Downtown Houghton. Daily Mining Gazette, June 29, 1961.
A “Burst of Bargains” from Central Super Market of Downtown Houghton. Daily Mining Gazette, June 29, 1961.

 

"Get Set for the 4th" with ladies fashions from O'Donnel-Seamens. Daily Mining Gazette, June 27, 1940.
“Get Set for the 4th” with ladies fashions from O’Donnel-Seamens. Daily Mining Gazette, June 27, 1940.

 

Montgomery Ward, located in the Huron Building in Houghton, offered great deals on radios during a pre-holiday sale. Daily Mining Gazette, June 27, 1940.
Montgomery Ward, located in the Huron Building in Houghton, offered great deals on radios during a pre-holiday sale. Daily Mining Gazette, June 27, 1940.

Love Letters From the Archives

We send you a message of love and good cheer as we approach Valentine’s Day, 2016. While I was processing a collection this afternoon it just so happened there was a folder of vintage greeting cards. Please enjoy a few samples inspired by Cupid!

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The sunbeams of my heart shall shine
This day on you My Valentine.

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This Valentine is bringing
A message of good cheer,
Wishing joy, success, prosperity
Through all the coming year
Signed, Leo

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Valentine Greeting
To My True Love

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To My Valentine
Valentine, with charms so sweet,
I lay this offering at your feet.

 

The cards in this post are part of MS-943: Nash and Siira Families Papers. The cards are from 1920-1940.

 

Holiday Cooking, Archives Style

[A man, a woman and a child stand around a decorated Christmas tree, a present table and small child size furniture. From the Herman Gundlach Collection.
A man, woman and child stand around a decorated Christmas tree. From the Herman Gundlach Collection.

The holidays are nearly here so there is no time like the present to start preparing for the festivities! For a vintage spin on your holiday preparations, we’ve ventured into the stacks to find some recipes from cherished cookbooks. We hope one of these scrumptious vittles will make it onto your holiday menu. For a glimpse at other vintage recipes, stop down to the Archives and see what is cooking in the stacks. Please take note that the Michigan Tech Archives will be closed to the public from December 21-25 and December 31-January 1. We will be open, with limited service hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on December 28-30. We will resume normal business hours on Monday, January 4, 2016.

For your holiday cocktail party or open house, why not try these savory meatballs in a red wine reduction.

Hot Meatballs in Burgundy Sauce (serves 10-12)

1 pound lean ground beef                                              ¼ tsp. pepper
½ pound ground veal                                                     ¼ tsp. allspice
½ pound lean ground pork                                           ¼ cup milk
2 x 2” piece suet                                                                ¼ cup drippings
2 cups crumbled stale bread crumbs                       1 ½ tbsp. flour
2 eggs, beaten                                                                     ½ cup water
1 cup burgundy wine                                                       1 beef bouillion cube
1 medium onion, diced                                                   garlic, fresh or powdered to taste

Grind meats and suet together, running through food chopper three times. This prevents the meat balls from breaking so easily. Mix with bread, eggs, onion, garlic, seasonings, and milk. Make meat balls about ½” in diameter and brown on all sides in hot drippings. Remove from pan; blend flour, water, burgundy, and bouillion cube in pan, cook stirring constantly until thick and smooth. Return meat balls to pan; cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Transfer to chafing dish to keep warm.

Two men demonstrate how to use the Clouthier tree stands. This photograph is part of the Daily Mining Gazette Photograph Collection.
Two men demonstrate how to use the Clouthier tree stands. This photograph is part of the Daily Mining Gazette Photograph Collection.

 

To replenish after chopping down your tree or for a little nip around a roaring fire, try this classic egg nog recipe.

Egg Nog

To make a quart take three eggs, nearly a pint of good fresh milk, sugar and spice to suit the taste. Put these in a pitcher; add hot water to make a quart; then stir or change from one vessel to another until thoroughly mixed; then add a wine glass or more of the best whiskey. Wine may be used in place of whiskey. The eggs and sugar must be thoroughly beaten before being put with the hot water. Drink hot.

A family scene in the living room. The photograph is part of the William Brinkman Collection.
A family scene in the living room. The photograph is part of the William Brinkman Collection.

 

Nothing beats warm Kropsua and berries for your holiday breakfast to get you ready for an afternoon of sledding or snowshoeing.

Kropsua (Finnish Oven Pancake)

2 eggs                                                                   ½ tsp. salt
2 cups milk                                                          ¼ cup butter or oleo
1 cup flour                                                           1 tbsp. sugar (optional)

Melt butter in 8×12” pan. Set aside to cool. Mix all other ingredients in a deep bowl and beat with rotary egg beater until smooth. Last of all, add melted butter. Pour batter in same pan as butter was melted in. Bake in hot, 400 degree oven, for 1 hour. Serve hot with berries or plain.

Goods collected for the Salvation Army's 1958 holiday food drive.
Goods collected for the Salvation Army’s 1958 holiday food drive.

 

The following recipe requires some patience, so perhaps start now and it will be ready for your New Year’s Eve festivities!

Fine Cucumber Pickles

Make a brine that will bear an egg, and drop in the cucumbers; cover them with grape leaves; weight them down, and let them stand ten or more days. Then take them out, drain well, and a day or two in plenty of clear water, frequently changed. Afterward, put them in a kettle with grape and cabbage leaves and a lump of alum. Cover with weak vinegar, and let them stand until they turn green. Then take out, drain, and put into stone jars. For each three gallons of pickles use one gallon of cider vinegar, and place into it one ounce each of mace and celery seed, two ounces of ginger, three ounces each of cloves and stick cinnamon, four ounces each of mustard seed (black and white mixed), choice black pepper and allspice, two tablespoons of ground mustard, a handful of chopped horseradish, two pods of red pepper, four onions, and two pounds of sugar. Boil, and pour it hot over the pickles. More sugar can be added to suit the taste. Cover the jar very closely, and expose to the sun every day during hot weather.

The recipes above were transcribed from The Blend of a Century, a cookbook compiled by the Iron County Historical and Museum Society in 1981 and Did They Really Eat That?: A 19th Century Cookbook That Acquainted Immigrants With Northwoods Pioneer Fare, a volume reprinted by Copper Sun Publications in 1992.

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.