Tag Archives: Michigan History

A Man of Many Talents: The Poetry of A.E. Seaman

 

Seaman
A.E. Seaman, undated

Today, the name A.E. (Arthur Edmund) Seaman is well-known in the Copper Country, largely for his close ties to the Michigan Technological University and for the mineral museum along Sharon Avenue in Houghton that bears his name. Born in Casnovia, Michigan on December 29, 1858, Seaman was a graduate from Michigan Tech, having earned his B.S. degree in 1895 at the age of 37. Seaman later became a full professor in the Department of Geology and Mineralogy and was a noted authority on the pre-Cambrian geology of the Lake Superior region. Among his contemporaries, he had a reputation for having a wider, first-hand knowledge of the geology of the Lake Superior region than any other man.

Seaman retired in 1928 with the title of professor emeritus of mineralogy and geology, but was made curator of the mineralogy and geology museum, which was then housed on the third floor of the college’s new engineering building. According to the 1928-1929 Bulletin of the Michigan College of Mining and Technology, the collection was “unusually complete” and “famous for its well arranged and complete assortment of rocks and minerals from all parts of the world.” The museum was renamed in Seaman’s honor in 1932 as the A.E. Seaman Museum, later renamed to the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum and moved to its current location along Sharon Avenue.

DMG Nov 17 1918 Image
Peace With Justice, Daily Mining Gazette, November 17, 1918.

While Seaman’s contributions to the field of mineralogy and to Michigan Tech, a relationship he maintained until his death in 1937, cannot be understated, what is less widely known is the personal side of this important figure within the Copper Country. His granddaughter, Jeanne Seaman Farnum, described Seaman as being, “known as a kindly gentleman with a bubbling sense of humor” with “a habit of being cheerful.” A man of a seemingly friendly nature and genuine concern for his students, Seaman was a softhearted man of many talents. Among his non-academic interests was his penchant for writing poetry, something that he shared with family, friends, and students alike.

His poem, Peace with Justice, published in the Daily Mining Gazette on November 17, 1918 just days following the armistice is a reflection on the costs of war. Several of Seaman’s poems scattered throughout speak of war, freedom, sacrifice and patriotism, issues common throughout the country at the time. These were obviously themes that weighed heavily on his mind as well. His poem Cootie, The Mascot, however brings a tinge of humor to his World War I poetry, in his ode to the tiny lice that plagued so many of the men in the trenches.

His World War I poetry put aside, the majority of Seaman’s poetry reflects his life in the Copper Country, his love of nature and geology. In his poem What I Write About published in a family compilation of his work titled Reminiscence of An Old Prospector, Seaman writes,

“Of scenes along the woodland trail

Where joy is never known to fail;

Of crags that form the mountain crest-

Of things I love, I write the best.”

Indeed, the bulk of his poems to reflect the landscape, heritage, and natural beauty of the Keweenaw. References to the mining industry, local plant and wildlife, as well as geological makeup of the land permeate his poems. Poems in the collection reflect his interests in geology and history such as his poems Down The Ages, Dinosaurs, or Stories Of The Rocks, which directly reflect his interest in various geological eras and the beasts that occupied the land long before man.

Seaman wrote, at least in part, about his personal experiences. His poem My First Discovery (Idaho, 1899) chronicles his discovery of gold out west and subsequent digging where he “worked until the perspiration filled my/eyes and made me blind-/worked and toiled with muttered cursings-/no more colors could I find.”. It’s unclear whether the poem is biographical, thought the title does suggest it, or merely a musing on the feverish feeling of a first time discovery. However, read within the larger context of the mining history in the Copper Country Seaman’s poem speaks volumes to local mining tradition.

Nature poetry and Graduates_Page_4
Through Keweenaw, undated.

A.E. Seaman was a man of many talents and interests. His poetry may never be revered in the same way as Shakespeare’s, but it represents a fascinating layer to a man well-known in the Copper Country for his other achievements and one that provides a glimpse into the personal side of a very public figure.

You can view more of A.E. Seaman’s poetry in the Seaman Family Collection as well as in the semi-published compilation of his work, Reminiscence of an Old Prospector, at the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections.

District 1 Michigan History Day Competition To Be Held This Saturday

Michigan History Day 2017

 

The Michigan Technological University Department of Social Sciences and the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections are pleased to announce that the Michigan History Day district 1 competition will be held at the Memorial Union Building at Michigan Tech, Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Several secondary schools from MI-District 1 (the 6 western counties of the UP) will be sending over 40 students for the competition. Top entries in each category — exhibits, documentaries, websites, papers, and performances — will be eligible to go to state competition in the spring. Winning entries will also be on display in May at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton.

History Day is a competition for middle and high school students who develop historical research projects based on an annual theme that highlight people, events and ideas in history.  This year’s national theme is “Taking a Stand in History” and projects are on local, state, national and even world history. Michigan History Day is sponsored and coordinated by the Historical Society of Michigan, which coordinates 13 districts statewide.  Each school in the district has initial competitions and sends up to three entries (individual or group) in each category to the district competition, which then sends on top projects in each category to state finals. History day is open to the public and all are welcome to attend.

ABOUT MHD-district 1: Associate Professor Steven Walton and Assistant Professor Jonathan Robins, both historians in the Dept. of Social Sciences, and University Archivist Lindsay Hiltunen of the Michigan Tech Archives are the coordinators for Michigan District 1, which includes Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, Ontonagon, Iron and Gogebic counties.

The Department of Social Sciences offers a B.A. degree in history with particular strength in industrial and environmental history and archaeology.  The Michigan Tech Archives holds unparalleled historical resources on the Copper Country and its mining history. Michigan Tech has been hosting the district contest each February or early March for nearly a decade.

For more information, contact: Steven Walton, 906-487-3272 (office) or sawalton@mtu.edu, or visit the District 1 Michigan History Day website.

Black Voices Online Exhibit Launches

BlackVoices Blog Piece

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections recently launched an online exhibit to showcase some of the findings from the Black Voices in the Copper Country project. The exhibit examines the African American experience in the Keweenaw, showcasing historic documents and photographs available for research use at the Michigan Tech Archives. The online exhibit, created by project director Lindsay Hiltunen and project researcher Martin Hobmeier, is intended to highlight materials that explore underrepresented individuals and narratives in Michigan history and serves to encourage researchers to consider more inclusivity when telling regional and state history. Information can be found about the early mining era, the student experience at Michigan Tech and the Richey family, who were prominent Houghton residents in the late 1800s. Although the exhibit features interpretive content, project staff were most interested in uncovering materials available at the archives so they could be better equipped to help future researchers wanting to explore the topic.

The exhibit launch is the final piece of the yearlong project, which included substantial archival research, public programming and exhibits. A social media campaign took place during the month of February in which the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Michigan Tech partnered with project researchers to share historic images of black students and community members. Another project event was a photograph exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw which was installed during Black History Month. These are just a few examples of programs and outreach that took place over the course of the project. The project was funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

To view the exhibit, please visit the following link: http://blackvoices.lib.mtu.edu/

For more information about the Black Voices project or the Michigan Tech Archives, please e-mail copper@mtu.edu or call (906) 487-2505. The Michigan Tech Archives is open to the public Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome!

African American History Presentation to be Held on March 2

Dr. Michelle S. Johnson, a Community Historian with the Michigan Historical Center, will be presenting a talk on African American history in Michigan on Tuesday, October 27 at 4:00 p.m. at the Van Pelt and Opie Library. This photograph is courtesy of Kzoo Uncaged. See there website for a great interview with Dr. Johnson.
Dr. Michelle S. Johnson, a Community Historian with the Michigan Historical Center, will be presenting a talk on African American history in Michigan on Wednesday, March 2 at 4:00 p.m. at the Van Pelt and Opie Library. This photograph is courtesy of Kzoo Uncaged. See their website for a great interview with Dr. Johnson.


As part of the “Black Voices in the Copper Country” project, the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections will be hosting a talk by Dr. Michelle S. Johnson, a Community Historian with the Michigan Historical Center in Lansing.

The talk will be held at 4pm on Wednesday, March 2 in the Van Pelt and Opie Library’s East Reading Room. The presentation, “Exhibits for a New Century: Researching the African American Experience in Michigan from the Copper Country to the Capital,” will explore the historical center’s Exhibits for a New Century project, which is an interpretive exhibit documenting the African American experience across the state. Johnson will also discuss the methods and meaning behind the exhibit as well as a statewide research initiative to uncover and share African American narratives in Michigan history, such as the grant-funded project taking place at the Michigan Tech Archives.  This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Johnson has executed extensive work on securing and promoting spaces where socially marginalized people express their autonomous and authentic selves. As co-founder and executive director of Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative, she collected and oversaw the collection of numerous oral histories around issues of place, community, race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality and history. Johnson served as the Freedom Trail coordinator for the State of Michigan from 2000-2008 and consults on 19th century history projects in the state and the mid-west region, especially the Underground Railroad. She researches, writes and lectures for academic and public settings on aspects of African American culture in Michigan. Her scholarship includes a community project in Loughman, Florida researching, interpreting and performing the work of Zora Neale Hurston. Named WIDR’s “most beloved DJ,” Johnson has appeared as a weekly host for Slip Back Soul for 9 years as DJ Disobedience.

This talk is made possible in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

MHC Publicity

Michigan History Day District 1 Competition to be held at Michigan Tech this Saturday

Michigan History Day 2016

The Michigan Technological University Department of Social Sciences and the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections are pleased to announce that the Michigan History Day district 1 competition will be held at the Memorial Union Building at Michigan Tech, Saturday, February 20, 2016 from 9am to 1pm.

Five secondary schools from MI-District 1 (the 6 western counties of the UP) will be sending nearly 100 students with over 40 History Day projects to Michigan Tech for a district competition. Top entries in each category — exhibits, documentaries, websites, papers, and performances — will be eligible to go to State competition in April. Winning entries will also be on display in May at the Carnegie Museum on Houghton.

History Day is a competition for middle and high school students who develop historical research projects based on an annual theme that highlight people, events, and ideas in history.  This year’s national theme is “Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History” and projects are on local, state, national, and even world history.  Michigan History Day is sponsored and coordinated by the Historical Society of Michigan, which coordinates 13 state districts.  Each school in the district has initial competitions and sends up to three entries (individual or group) in each category to a district competition, which then sends on top projects in each category to state finals in May.

ABOUT MHD-district 1: Assistant Professors Steven Walton and Jonathan Robins, both historians in the Dept. of Social Sciences, and Senior Archivist Lindsay Hiltunen of the Michigan Tech Archives are the coordinators for Michigan District 1 (Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, Ontonagan, Iron and Gogebic counties). The Department of Social Sciences offers a B.A. degree in history with particular strength in industrial and environmental history and archaeology.  The Michigan Tech Archives holds unparalleled historical resources on the Copper Country and its mining history. Michigan Tech has been hosting the district conception each February or early March for nearly a decade.

Website: http://www.mtu.edu/social-sciences/undergraduate/history/mhd.html

For more information, contact: Steven Walton, 906-487-3272 (office) or 906-370-3877 (cell) or sawalton@mtu.edu

Talk To Be Rescheduled

Dr. Michelle S. Johnson, a Community Historian with the Michigan Historical Center, will be presenting a talk on African American history in Michigan on Tuesday, October 27 at 4:00 p.m. at the Van Pelt and Opie Library. This photograph is courtesy of Kzoo Uncaged. See there website for a great interview with Dr. Johnson.
Dr. Michelle S. Johnson, a Community Historian with the Michigan Historical Center, will be presenting a talk on African American history in Michigan on Tuesday, October 27 at 4:00 p.m. at the Van Pelt and Opie Library. This photograph is courtesy of Kzoo Uncaged. See their website for a great interview with Dr. Johnson.

 

The talk that was to take place on Tuesday, October 27 at 4 pm has been postponed. We are trying to reschedule the talk for later this semester. Please check back or call the Michigan Tech Archives at (906) 487-2505 for more information.

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As part of the “Black Voices in the Copper Country” project, the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections will be hosting a talk by Dr. Michelle S. Johnson, a Community Historian with the Michigan Historical Center in Lansing. The talk, “Exhibits for  New Century: Researching the African American Experience in Michigan from the Copper Country to the Capital,” will explore the historical center’s Exhibits for a New Century project, which is an interpretive exhibit documenting the African American experience across the state. Johnson will also discuss the methods and meaning behind the exhibit as well as a statewide research initiative to uncover and share African American narratives in Michigan history, such as the grant-funded project taking place at the Michigan Tech Archives.  This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Johnson has executed extensive work on securing and promoting spaces where socially marginalized people express their autonomous and authentic selves. As co-founder and executive director of Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative, she collected and oversaw the collection of numerous oral histories around issues of place, community, race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality and history. Johnson served as the Freedom Trail coordinator for the State of Michigan from 2000-2008 and consults on 19th century history projects in the state and the mid-west region, especially the Underground Railroad. She researches, writes and lectures for academic and public settings on aspects of African American culture in Michigan. Her scholarship includes a community project in Loughman, Florida researching, interpreting and performing the work of Zora Neale Hurston. Named WIDR’s “most beloved DJ,” Johnson has appeared as a weekly host for Slip Back Soul for 9 years as DJ Disobedience.
This talk is made possible in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

MHC Publicity