Author: Lindsay Hiltunen

Copper Range Exhibit Hits the Road

Last October the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections launched its latest traveling exhibit, “Becoming the Pride of the Upper Peninsula: A Glimpse at the Early Years of the Copper Range Railroad.” Starting this month, the exhibit hits the road! The six panels will be on display at various heritage sites from June to December 2019. The exhibit will include a free souvenir postcard and commemorative booklet at each site (while supplies last.)

The schedule is detailed below:

June: Ontonagon County Historical Society, Ontonagon Historical Museum in Ontonagon, Michigan

July: CopperTown USA Mining Museum, Calumet, Michigan

August: Iron County Historical Society Museum, Hurley, Wisconsin

September: Quincy Mine Hoist Association, Quincy Mine, Hancock, Michigan

September 28: Grace Lutheran Church, Northland Historical Consortium Fall Meeting, South Range, Michigan

October: Portage Lake District Library, Houghton, Michigan

November and December: Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, Houghton, Michigan

If you have any questions regarding how to view the exhibit, please contact the appropriate site to check for hours and visiting information. In addition, the exhibit is available to borrow from January – June 2020. If your site is interested in hosting the panels, please contact Lindsay Hiltunen, University Archivist, Michigan Tech Archives at lehalkol@mtu.edu or (906) 487-2505.

This exhibit was funded in part by the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission Heritage Grant program. 


Flashback Friday: Memorial Day

Michigan Tech ROTC

Today’s Flashback Friday serves as a reminder that the Michigan Tech Archives will be closed on Monday, May 27 in observance of Memorial Day. The photograph depicts Michigan Tech ROTC cadets on campus in the late 1930s.

Each May, the United States celebrates Memorial Day, which was first widely observed as a national holiday in may 1868. The day was originally meant to commemorate the sacrifices of the Civil War and honor a proclamation made by General John A. Logan that, “the 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion…”

Since World War I, Memorial Day has transformed into a celebration to honor all of those who died in service to the United States, as well as veterans and current members of the military. In 1971 the holiday became an official federal holiday celebrated on the last Monday of May.


2019 Travel Grant Recipient Announced

Portrait of Katherine Belliel.
A portrait of 2019 Travel Grant recipient, Katherine Belliel.

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections and the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library are pleased to announce Katherine Belliel as the recipient of the 2019 Travel Grant award.

Katherine Belliel is an American writer based in Turkey and the United States. With roots in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Columbus, Ohio, this Midwest native turned global citizen has a B.S. in History from Eastern Michigan University and is currently an MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University. Her work has appeared in several expat anthologies such as Tales from the Expat Harem (Eds. Ashman and Gokmen, 2005), Encounters with the Middle East (Bowman and Khashan, 2006), and Single Mothers Speak on Patriarchy (eds. Hendren and Daly, 2016). She is currently the co-editor of the upcoming foodoir anthology, Expat Sofra; Culinary Tales of Foreign Women in Turkey. When she is not globe-trotting with her young son, she can be found feeding the neighborhood cats or still trying to make the perfect cup of Turkish coffee.

The Michigan Tech Archives will host Katherine’s visit later this year. Check the blog for details about the public talk she will give when she is in town. For more information about the travel grant or the archives other programs and services, please contact (906) 487-2505 or copper@mtu.edu.


Copper Range Railroad Exhibit – Call for Traveling Exhibit Hosts

Last October the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections launched its latest traveling exhibit, “Becoming the Pride of the Upper Peninsula: A Glimpse at the Early Years of the Copper Range Railroad.” Now that the summer tourist season is upon us, the exhibit is ready to travel to regional heritage sites for display.  

A hunting party gathers at the Copper Range depot in this undated photograph.

The exhibit contains six panels that document the early years of the Copper Range Railroad, from the early founding of the railroad until its initial expansion beyond the main line. The last panel provides a glimpse beyond the formative years, including the impact of the decline of mining in the area, the school train runs, and the dissolution of the company.

The exhibit is available to be loaned to partner host sites on a monthly basis from June 2019 – June 2020. The Michigan Tech Archives will assist with delivery/pick-up options for the panels and will also provide booklets and postcards for each host site. Site hosts are asked to formally launch the exhibit by having an opening reception or some special program surrounding the exhibit.

If you are interested in hosting the exhibit at your museum, library, or school please contact university archivist, Lindsay Hiltunen, at (906) 487-3209 or at copper@mtu.edu.

This exhibit was made possible in part by the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission Heritage Grant Program. All research was conducted in the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections.

The Copper Range Railroad exhibit on display at its initial launch in October 2018.

Flashback Friday: Rolling Into Commencement Weekend

Soichiro Honda
Soichiro Honda and Michael Comstock pose on the Honda CB 350 Four that was given away at the May 1974 commencement ceremony.

Commencement weekend is upon us once again! To honor all the hard work of those graduating this spring, our Flashback Friday looks back to the honest words shared during a very special commencement. It was May 18, 1974 and President Raymond L. Smith, the Board of Control, students, faculty, and guests were very pleased to welcome Soichiro Honda, Founder of the Honda Motor Company, as the commencement speaker and recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering. It was fitting that this most special commencement, to that point the largest one held at Michigan Technological University, should have a surprise or two.

First, Honda’s address to the 736 graduates was presented in Japanese with accompanying translation. Yet, the biggest surprise, much to the delight of the graduates, was when President Smith closed out the ceremony by rolling out a brand new super-deluxe Honda CB 350 Four. He then announced that Mrs. Honda, who had accompanied her husband from Tokyo, would present the motorcycle to one of the graduates. Our Flashback Friday photo depicts Honda and the lucky winner, Michael Comstock, an honors graduate who received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Talk about starting your next chapter on the right foot, or wheel rather!

To help inspire and wish well all those who are graduating this weekend, the translation of Soichiro Honda’s commencement address is shared in full below. Best of luck Huskies! Onward and upward!

Mrs. Soichiro Honda
Mrs. Honda as she selects the winner of the motorcycle during the 1974 commencement at Michigan Tech.


Simple Rules for Life Cycling by Soichiro Honda
It was 15 years ago that my company first brought motorcycles into the United States. In this country at that time, motorcycles were ridden by only a limited group of people, notably those who were labeled “black jackets,” and who were not well received by society. I was told by many people that trying to sell motorcycles in the United States would be ridiculous and a waste of time and effort.

But, I knew from my own experience of youth what young people are attracted to. Furthermore, I was convinced that if we brought in new, original motorcycles that would shatter the past image, we would be able to popularize them. My basic thinking was not that we wanted to make motorcycles by imitating other people because the market was there, but rather we would create the market with original products.

Obviously, we faced many hardships, but we were on the right path. Today, our motorcycles are popular among peoples of all ages and all walks of life in well over 100 countries throughout the world, and they are there to stay. In the United States, the YMCA’s throughout the country are conducting a major program, using our mini bikes, to combat juvenile delinquency. The federal government has given its positive support, and this program has been most successful.

If we had done nothing but imitate others 15 years ago, there would not have been the motorcycle popularity there is today. I take pride in saying that our originality and creativity were factors behind today’s success.

The third point that I wish to emphasize is that the solution to any problem should be sought at its very root. As an example, I would like to touch on the air pollution problem. Pollution of the air through automotive exhaust emissions has become an increasingly serious problem not only in the United States but throughout the world. In 1970, under the leadership of Senator Edmund S. Muskie, the Clean Air Act was amended, requiring a drastic reduction of unwanted emissions from automobiles. Later, a similar law was enacted in Japan.

In order to meet the standards of this legislation, we tackled the problem of how to clean exhaust gases within the engine itself. This is because we thought that a basic solution could be achieved only if the exhaust gases were clean as they came out of the engine.

We endeavored to change the combustion process itself, and successfully developed what we call the compound vortex controlled combustion, or CVCC, engine system. It has been established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that this system can meet the stringent emission standards originally set forth in the Clean Air Act without the use of such aftertreatment devices as catalytic converters. This, I believe, is a success which could not have been achieved without a philosophy of seeking the solution to a problem at its very root.

Lastly, I would like to speak on harmony among men. In today’s modern civilization, where science and technology are making rapid progress in every field, we often observe a tendency to think that the machine has priority over humanity, or that science is omnipotent. I think, however, that such thinking is not only very dangerous but fundamentally wrong.

No matter how much progress and development is made in science and technology or social structure, it must not be forgotten that it is men who operate them. And this cannot be done by just one person alone. It takes the heart-to-heart unity of purpose of many people if they are to become “masters” who effectively operate machines and social structures, and thus contribute to mankind. It is with this thought in mind that I tell young employees of my company: “Don’t be used by the machine; use the machine.”

It has been an honor to have this opportunity of speaking to you on some of the things that are always in my mind. Nothing would give me greater pleasure and satisfaction than if they might be of some use and value to you in the future.

In closing, I would like to say how pleased I am to have had the opportunity of making friends with Dr. Smith, members of the Board of Control and the faculty. Furthermore, my wife and I are very happy to have been able to meet with and talk with many beautiful and kind ladies.


Michigan Tech Archives Seeking Graduate Intern for Summer 2019

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, a department within the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library at Michigan Technological University, is currently seeking applicants for the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library Graduate Archives Internship for summer 2019. The archives provides a high level of service to scholars, students and a wide range of walk-in visitors and global patrons through virtual reference. Summer services are fast-paced and we see an increase in visitors, especially through our role as part of the Keweenaw Heritage Site network, a partnership with the Keweenaw National Historical Park. Areas of emphasis include manuscripts, maps, print and digital images which document the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula (U.P.) and university history. The intern selected will receive experience in both public service and collections handling. The intern will assist in day-to-day reference activities, including greeting and assisting researchers, retrieving and shelving collections, and assisting university and community patrons with use of materials and equipment. The intern will also gain experience in organizing, describing, and processing archival collections.

Preference will be given to applicants currently enrolled in or recent graduates of (within six months) a graduate archival studies program, but consideration may be given for equivalent education and experience. The following skills are required:

  • Knowledge of contemporary archival practices, policies and procedures, including arrangement and description, and familiarity with DACS, MARC, LCSH, Dublin Core, and MPLP.
  • Demonstrated analytical and research skills.
  • Ability to work independently and exercise initiative, discretion, and judgment.
  • Ability to work collegially and effectively in a team-based environment.

This is a 35 hour per week, part-time summer position intended to span seven weeks. The preferred start date is July 1. There are no benefits included with this position and the successful candidate will be expected to cover travel expenses to Houghton, Michigan. The intern will be compensated for actual work performed in the form of a stipend up to $5,000, to be paid out bi-weekly throughout the duration of employment. Offers of employment are contingent upon and not considered finalized until the required background check has been performed and the results received and assessed. Housing options in the Copper Country include independently requesting a single occupancy dorm room and included meal plan (depending on availability) or making off-campus housing arrangements. In addition to a great working environment you will enjoy exquisite scenery, moderate temperatures, and outdoor activities near the shores of Lake Superior!

To learn more about us, please visit our website: http://www.mtu.edu/library/archives/

Applications are due by April 19, 2019. Direct any questions, or submit your cover letter and resume to:

Lindsay Hiltunen, University Archivist
Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
Van Pelt and Opie Library
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
copper@mtu.edu
(906) 487-2505

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.


Flashback Friday: The Great Tony ‘O’

Tony Esposito with the NCAA Trophy
Tony Esposito with the NCAA Trophy, March 1965.

The National Hockey League (NHL) Stanley Cup Playoffs are just around the corner, so for Flashback Friday it seems appropriate to fondly remember one of the most recognizable NHL faces connected to Michigan Tech hockey; Tony Esposito! This photograph appeared in the Daily Mining Gazette on Monday, March 22, 1965. The image depicts Tony holding the NCAA hockey championship trophy. Esposito tended goal for the Huskies that season and held Boston College to only two goals in the 8-2 championship final.

Tony Esposito with 1965 trophy.
Tony Esposito celebrates in 1965.

Esposito has some pretty impressive stats from his Michigan Tech days, some which have stood the test of time:

  • Three year letter winner
  • Three time All-America first team selection
  • Three time All-WCHA first team selection
  • Named first team NCAA All-Tournament Team choice in 1965
  • Currently second in goals against average (2.55)
  • Currently third in career saved percentage (.912)

Esposito’s post-Michigan Tech career included a legendary 17-year run in the NHL. His debut was with the Montreal Canadiens during the 1968-1969 season against the Oakland Seals, a relief for starting goalie Rogie Vachon. But more interesting was Tony’s first NHL start, which was a match against the Boston Bruins on December 5, 1968. Tony’s older brother Phil, an intimidating center and seasoned NHL ice man, was a leading threat on the Bruins. Oddly enough, Phil recalls the night being one of apprehension:

“I think I was more nervous than Tony that night. In fact, it was probably the most frightful game of my entire hockey career. I had been a pro since 1962 and was then in my sixth season in the NHL. I was an established player getting ready to shoot pucks at my own brother, who had been in the league only one week.” – Phil Esposito, excerpted from The Brothers Esposito

The game ended in a 2-2 tie. Phil scored both goals for Boston, which Tony recalls as being “lucky shots” which he “should have gotten glove on,” but at least he was able to hold his brother to only the two goals. It is important to mention, Tony made an impressive 33 saves in his first NHL start.

The Brothers Esposito
The Brother Esposito by Phil and Tony Esposito. This book is available in the Michigan Tech Archives.

Not since their street hockey days back in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada had the brothers found themselves on opposing teams. To say the least, it was a historic moment, and one that adds the necessary dose of drama that makes for good hockey stories and sets the foundation for legend-status. Both brothers have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and have been named on the 100 Greatest NHL Players’ in history list.

Tony’s run with the Habs lasted for only one season and he would go on to join the Chicago Blackhawks off waivers for the 1969-1970 season. He put up a phenomenal season, recording record-breaking shutouts and winning a lot of league accolades, including the Calder Memorial Trophy and the Vezina Trophy. This is the year that earned him the nickname Tony ‘O’ for his shutout skills. Esposito remained with Chicago the duration of his on-ice career, making it to the Big Show several times. However, the Stanley Cup alluded him. But clearly, not all legends get to hoist the Cup.

Every now and then, there is a good Tony ‘O’ story that comes across us in the archives. To us, he will always special, and yes, always a Husky!


Flashback Friday: Women’s History Month

Biography - Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks at a press conference at Michigan Technological University, May 20, 1989.
Biography - Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks poses for a photo after the press conference.

Today marks the beginning of Women’s History Month. This years national theme is Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence. To help kick-off the month our Flashback Friday pays tribute to a national treasure and icon of peace, Rosa Parks. Parks, an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, was an honored guest at Michigan Tech during the 1989 spring commencement exercises. She spoke at the graduation ceremony and also received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the program. While on campus she also engaged with the university community through a press conference and various discussions with campus leaders and students.

Please be sure to check our other social media outlets throughout the month of March for various posts dedicated to the many visionary women of Michigan Tech!


Archives Travel Grant Program 2019 – Call for Applicants

A photo of the photographer J. T. Reeder at his desk in the Calumet & Hecla offices, date unknown.

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, a department within the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library, is currently accepting applications for its annual Travel Grant Program, which brings scholars and researchers to Michigan Technological University to work with the archives’ collections. Financial support for the Travel Grant Program is provided by the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library, a support organization for the Van Pelt and Opie Library. Grants are awarded for up to $750 to defray the costs of travel to visit and conduct research in Houghton, Michigan. In addition, graduate students applying to the program may request up to an additional $200 to help defray any duplication costs incurred during a qualified research trip.

The Michigan Tech Archives houses a wide variety of historical print, graphic and manuscript resources related to the Copper Country and Michigan Technological University. Subject coverage is vast, some of which includes university and campus life, regional towns and cities, local industries and businesses, social organizations, events and personalities of the Copper Country and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Primary topical research areas include the western Upper Peninsula, industrial history, particularly copper mining and its ancillary industries, social history, community development along the Keweenaw Peninsula, transportation and the environment. Finding aids for some of the collections can be found here: http://www.mtu.edu/library/archives/collections/.

To apply for funding through the Travel Grant Program please visit the program website: http://www.mtu.edu/library/archives/programs-and-services/travel-grants/

Applications are due on March 29, 2019. Award recipients will be notified by late April or early May. The successful candidate must complete their travel by December 6, 2019. Electronic submission of applications is required.

For further information, please contact:
Lindsay Hiltunen, University Archivist
Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
Phone: (906) 487-3209
E-mail: copper@mtu.edu


Flashback Friday: Winter Carnival Then and Now

Today’s Flashback Friday celebrates all things Winter Carnival with this image from on this day in 2001. Students work diligently to finalize their statue just as our campus community saw a few nights ago during the 2019 all-nighter.

Winter Carnival is a time-honored tradition here at Michigan Tech, with its beginning taking place back in 1922 when the Student Organization presented a one-night show called the “Ice Carnival.” The show consisted of acts, whimsical displays and performances put on in the traditional circus style, with students in an assortment of costumes. The show was held in the old Amphidrome ice rink, so of course the carnival also included ice skating events, including speed and figure skating contests. The circus theme continued for the next two years and, behold, the tradition was born.

The carnival progressed and made changes as the years went on, with the addition of a Carnival Queen competition and the parade in 1928. There is film footage of the 1928 carnival available on YouTube.

A glimpse back at Winter Carnival Queen Candidates.

After 1929, there was a lapse of a few years, but in 1934 the Blue Key Fraternity took over the sponsorship of the festivities and put one on that year. The Winter Carnival of ‘34 looked more like the carnival of today, with a two-game hockey series, a parade, skiing, skating, and snowshoe races, and a dance. The focal point of carnival was the parade, with Greek organization, campus societies, and other student organizations developing elaborate floats.

1936 was the debut of the snow statues, which were built by students and student organizations, as well as local school children. As information on the building methods was passed on from year to year, the statues became bigger and more elaborate, with fine detail work and inclusion of ice art.

Decades, and nearly 100 years later, Winter Carnival continues to be a most treasured time of year for Michigan Tech. This year’s theme is “Years of Innovation STEM from this Snowy Situation.” For more information about activities, contest results, and more, please check out the official Winter Carnival website

A glimpse back at the Winter Carnival Beard Competition.

The Michigan Tech Archives will be open for Second Saturday during Winter Carnival from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, February 9. Take a break from statue gazing and stop in to see some memorabilia and photographs from Winter Carnivals gone by. For more information, please call the archives at (906) 487-2505 or e-mail copper@mtu.edu.