All posts by Erik Nordberg

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.


Archives Reading Room Reopens

The Archives Reading Room reopened for research on Tuesday, April 2. Current hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  This has allowed the Garden (lowest) Level of the library to be reopened as well.

Delays associated with the freeze-drying and delivery processes — our materials are being managed by the same facilities handling Hurricane Sandy damaged materials — have made the return to Houghton slow going. Fortunately, the one-third that has been received so far has shown no significant damage.

Read a related story published in The Daily Mining Gazette by clicking here.


Travel Awards Provided to Three Scholars

The "almost ghost town" of Winona includes company houses built by the Winona and King Philip mining companies in 1909. The story of Winona will be the topic of a new documentary film by Michael Luokinen, with research support from a Michigan Tech Archives travel grant. Image MS807-MS04-33-15-002.

The Michigan Tech Archives is pleased to announce three recipients of awards in its 2013 travel grant program. Funding for the program is provided by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library, and encourages out-of-town scholars to visit Houghton to undertake research using the collections of the Michigan Tech Archives.

Robert Goodrich, associate professor of history at Northern Michigan University, will research the significant role of ethnic Slovenes in Michigan’s Copper Country. Part of a larger research initiative examining emigration from the former Habsburg Empire to Michigan, Goodrich will explore the important Slovene presence in the Keweenaw, including missionaries such as Frederic Baraga and the development of a large Slovene immigrant community in the mining town of Red Jacket. Goodrich, who holds a PhD in European history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is currently under contract with Michigan State University Press for book tentatively entitled Austro-Hungarians in Michigan scheduled for publication in 2014.

Michael Loukinen, professor of sociology at Northern Michigan University, will undertake historical research in support of a documentary film project about the “almost ghost town” of Winona. Located 30 miles southwest of Houghton, Winona was a prospering copper mining community in the early Twentieth Century. Although mining and timber industries faded from this remote landscape in the 1920s, the town site continues to support a small community including a school and a church. Archival research will provide the necessary historical background for recorded interviews with current and past residents of Winona. Luokinen holds a PhD in Sociology from Michigan State University and is the writer and producer of more than a dozen documentary films including the critically acclaimed Good Man in the Woods, Medicine Fiddle and a series of films documenting traditional Ojibwe culture and teachings.

Patrick Pospisek, a recent graduate of the doctoral program in history at Purdue University, will explore early federal mining policy in Michigan’s copper mining district.  While silver and gold mining in the American West had significant impact on the federal government’s approach to mineral legislation, earlier experiences in mining regions before the Civil War were equally important to defining federal authority in developing mining districts. Pospisek’s research will examine the collapse of an early federal leasing policy in Michigan’s copper district which encouraged the development of a private, corporate mining industry. The Michigan study will form one component of a larger book-length study of United States mining history in the Mississippi Valley and Midwest.

As part of their research visits, travel award recipients will present a public presentation – either on their research in progress or on a topic from their previous work. Information about these events will be distributed as they are scheduled.

Since 1998, the Friends of the Van Pelt Library have supported more than 30 scholars and researchers from across the United States, Canada, and Europe to access the Archives’ collections. Books, articles, presentations and web content have resulted from the work of travel grant recipients, helping to draw attention to the holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives and the history of Michigan’s Copper Country and Upper Peninsula.


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.


2013 Travel Award Program Accepting Applications

The Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections is currently accepting applications to its annual travel grant program, which brings outside scholars and researchers to Michigan Technological University in Houghton to study the Archives’ collections. Financial support for the travel award program is provided by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library, a support organization for the Library and Archives of the University. Grants are awarded for up to $750.

The Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections houses a wide variety of print, graphic and manuscript resources. Subject coverage includes University and campus life, towns and cities in the Keweenaw, and the companies, social organizations, events and personalities of the Copper Country and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Topical research areas include: Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula; industrial history, particularly copper mining and its ancillary industries; social history, including workforce issues, immigration and ethnicity; urban and community development along the Keweenaw Peninsula; transportation; and the environment.

A completed application (Application2013) and current resume are required for application. Information about the Michigan Tech Archives is online here, with instructions on searching the Archives manuscript collections is available here.  Applicants are encouraged to contact archives staff to discuss projects and identify specific collections relevant to their research.

Review of applications begins on March 1, 2013, with selection announcements made by March 15. The successful candidate must complete their travel by December 13, 2013. Electronic submission is encouraged.

Questions may be directed to Erik Nordberg, University Archivist,  at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu.


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.


“Management and Use of Archival Information” Class

Students learning to encapsulate maps during a class in February 2012.

The Michigan Tech Archives will host a general introduction to archives class during the Spring semester. This regular 3-credit course will start on January 16 and run through the end of April. The course, SS 3990 “Management and Use of Archival Information,”  will be offered Wednesday evenings from 7:00-10:00. The class will meet in the Michigan Tech Library and make use of the facilities and collections of the Michigan Tech Archives.  A short description of the class is appended below.

Individuals must register for the course to participate, but do not have to have been a student at Michigan Tech before January 2013. Call the Michigan Tech Admissions Office at 487-2319 for information on enrolling (the process is pretty simple).

Individuals 60 years of age or older qualify to take up to two classes at Michigan Tech free of charge – but must still enroll through the Admissions Office to participate in the class. Seniors that take free classes are not charged student fees (but are not eligible for gym facilities, reduced ticket prices, etc).

Individuals who are 59 or younger will have to pay tuition of $1,309.50, (3 credits at $436.50 per credit hour) and $119.00 in student fees. There is no lab/course fee with this course.

Additional information is available from the Archives by calling 487-2505 or e-mail to copper@mtu.edu

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SS 3990 Management and Use of Archival Information

This course provides an overview of archival management practices with elements of research methodology and critical discussion of primary sources. In addition to readings and discussion, several practical exercises and assignments will provide opportunities for hands-on experience. Guest lecturers and field visits to archives and records centers will provide broad perspective on the archival profession.

Topics will include the historical development of archives, primary sources as evidence for historical research, basics of document conservation and preservation, arrangement of manuscript collections, international standards for archival description, access and use of archival collections, outreach and public programming, the impact and future of archives in the digital realm, and careers in archives and records fields.

Students will complete a collections project as part of the class. Each will select a small unprocessed collection held by the Michigan Tech Archives. Over the course of the semester, students will undertake progressive small projects to make the material available for researchers. Detailed instructions for each step will be provided.



1913 Strike Exhibit Moves To Ontonagon

“Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display from December 1 through January 5 at the Ontonagon County Historical Society Museum at 422 River Street in Ontonagon, Michigan. The museum will be open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

A special open house will take place on Saturday, December 1. Bruce Johanson will provide a presentation about “Ontonagon County and the 1913 Strike” at 1:00 p.m. and the exhibit will be opened to visitors.

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 Ontonagon Museum through Saturday, January 5 and then tour to five 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 by contacting the Ontonagon County Historical Society at ochs@jamadots.com or 906-884-6165.