Category: About the Archives

This category is used for posts that talk more about the people, services, and operation of the archives as a department.

Travel Grant Talk: Banking on Copper on October 24

2018 Travel Grant Recipient, Wesley Thompson.

Please join us for visiting scholar Wesley Thompson at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, October 24 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Technological University campus for his travel grant talk, “Banking on Copper: An Analysis of National Bank Financial Health and Copper Production within Michigan’s Native Copper Mining District.” This event is free of charge and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

In this presentation, Thompson will guide the audience on a journey through the economic history of the region. Though one of the most studied mining districts within the United States, the history of Michigan’s Copper Mining District remains fertile ground for innovative and relevant research. Of particular interest is the district’s economic history and the relationships between the local mining firms and the district’s professional service firms. This presentation will take a novel approach of examining the history of the region by exploring the empirical relationships that existed between the district’s National Banks and the local mining firms. Specifically, this presentation will analyze the symbolic and mutually profitable connections found between copper production and the health of the banks.

Wesley R. Thompson is an accountant currently working at a firm in metro Detroit. He received his MBA and Masters in Finance from Walsh College of Business. He also received his Bachelor’s in History from Wayne State University and his Masters in Historic Preservation from Eastern Michigan University. His passion for mining history comes from his family’s past of working in both Michigan’s copper mines and West Virginia’s coal mines. His historical interests include historic preservation, economic history and architectural history. He is also interested in assisting communities in creating economic growth through public history and heritage tourism.

For more information, feel free to call the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, email at copper@mtu.edu, or visit on the web at http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/. You can also find us on Facebook, @mtuarchives on Twitter, and as michigantecharchives on Instagram.


An All-Star Flashback Friday: John Scott at Michigan Tech

Two hockey players on the ice

John Scott (Huskies #20) in action on the ice, 2004

At 7:37 tonight, the puck will drop in the opening game of the 2018-2019 season for the Michigan Tech Hockey Huskies. A team of veterans–fresh off the second consecutive WCHA Men’s championship–and eager freshmen will take the ice in brilliant Tech black, gold, and white, hoping to defend their title for yet another year.

Many famous figures in the world of hockey have worn the Michigan Tech jersey over the years. Tony Esposito, now part of the Hockey Hall of Fame, played goalie at Tech and helped to propel the team to an NCAA Championship in 1965. Mel Person, one-time Huskies head coach and now leader of the University of Michigan men’s hockey program, suited up as a forward between 1977 and 1981. Randy McKay, an alumnus later who later served as an assistant coach at Tech, put his name on the Stanley Cup twice as a part of the New Jersey Devils.

Lately, however, conversation about well-known Hockey Huskies has centered around a name that has surprised many outside Michigan Tech circles. John Scott, who started at Tech in 2002 and received his mechanical engineering degree in 2010, rose to a new degree of national prominence in January 2016 through the most remarkable NHL All-Star Game in recent memory. As a professional hockey player, Scott had gained a reputation as an enforcer, a player who was unafraid to deliver hits, start fights to motivate his team, physically punish opponents who endangered a victory, or protect star players from enforcers on the other team. Forwards participating in the All-Star exhibition match were expected to be drawn from the NHL’s most remarkable players in terms of goal scoring and playmaking–traits for which Scott, with five NHL goals to his name, was not known. Taking advantage of the rule that allowed fans to vote for All-Star team members, viewers colluded to prank the NHL by casting votes en masse for Scott. Scott was initially reticent to the fan campaign but ultimately decided to take the place awarded him following a sudden trade, assignment to a minor league affiliate, and unwelcome remarks from an NHL official concerning the effects of playing in the game on Scott’s children. Over the weekend of competition, Scott scored two goals and was honored as the event’s Most Valuable Player.

Anyone who followed the NHL in 2015-2016 had to have heard the John Scott All-Star story, but few have taken a walk back through the Michigan Tech Archives to discover the John Scott Husky story. Scott’s first year on the hockey team went without much reporting by either campus or community newspapers, thanks in part to a shoulder injury that sidelined him for several games. As the rookie became a veteran, however, his dedication to his teammates, his physical talent on the ice, and his cheeky quips off it garnered him press attention. Journalists took one awed look at the 6-foot-7 Canadian then playing defense and chose a slew of colorful adjectives to describe him. “Hulking” turned out to be their favorite.

John Scott with teammates

Scott proved a valuable addition to the Huskies blue line. By his own admission in his autobiography A Guy Like Me: Fighting to Make the Cut (co-written with Brian Cazeneuve), he joined a team that was struggling to put up wins, especially in the first two years. From day one, wrote a local reporter, Scott was a “tower of strength” on the team. In his absence following that freshman-year shoulder injury, “the Husky defense looked dazed and confused.” In 2005, the Tech coach was quoted as saying that Scott was “our best penalty killer” and that his no-holds-barred playing took “a tremendous load off of the rest of the defensive core.” Although “offense [was] not a big part of his game” and defense was his primary focus, when he scored, observers noted, “it counts.” His first goal as a college player broke a tie against the talented University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Other articles over the years recorded key moments when Scott knotted up a game with a “greasy goal” against a big rival or a highlight-reel wrist shot received from a teammate’s no-look pass. As the end of his college career approached, it was clear that Scott’s presence on the ice made a world of difference for his fellow Huskies.

And, yes, there were fights. The local papers loved it when John Scott dropped the gloves: it gave them a chance to trot out even more vivid descriptions than the adjectives they used for his height. After a game versus the University of Alaska Anchorage where Scott and Seawolves forward Justin Johnson took a few good shots at each other, one reporter boasted that Scott’s “stomping” on Johnson made the UAA player realize that “he picked the wrong Husky to mess with.” In the last few minutes of a 2004 match-up, University of North Dakota’s Ryan Hale “made the mistake of challenging hulking MTU defenseman John Scott.” With tangible satisfaction, the paper wrote that Hale “came away having landing [sic] maybe one punch and his face completely mauled by Scott.” 

Appropriately enough, it was at another UND-MTU game in Scott’s senior year that a lucky reporter captured this classic quip, the one that might have best summed up his reputation: “I wish there was fighting in this league. I’d love to go out there… and pound on ‘em, but I can’t do it.”

John Scott, for your grit, your lip, and your heart, both on the ice and off–we’re proud to claim you as a part of Husky history.


Local Lore and History to Be Featured on Travel Channel

Travel Channel crew member filming in the Michigan Tech Archives stacks.
Travel Channel crew member filming in the Michigan Tech Archives stacks.

The Michigan Tech Archives, in cooperation with Travel Channel and Michigan Tech’s University Marketing and Communications, are happy to announce an upcoming episode of Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum, which will feature a few stories from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. “Murder at Greystone, Paulding Light and Tumbleweed Tycoon” premiers Wednesday, October 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Mysteries at the Museum features host Don Wildman who digs into the world’s greatest institutions to unearth extraordinary relics that reveal incredible secrets from the past. Through compelling interviews, rare archival footage and arresting recreations, the show illuminates the hidden treasures at the heart of history’s most incredible triumphs, sensational crimes and bizarre encounters.

Wednesday’s episode includes Wildman investigating the hidden truth behind the murder of a wealthy oil heir, an ominous orb in the north Michigan night sky and

Filming break in the archives stacks.
Filming break in the archives stacks.

a pesky plant that turned into a Kansas woman’s cash crop. A short segment will also include a feature from the Michigan Tech Archives.

For more information about the show, please check out Travel Channel’s website.

Research and filming were conducted on campus, including in the archives last December.

For more information about the Michigan Tech Archives or the show, please contact the department at (906) 487-2505 or by e-mailing copper@mtu.edu. The Archives can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Flashback Friday: American Archives Month

Former university archivist, Theresa Spence, discusses Old Reliable, with author, Larry Lankton, 1982.
Former university archivist, Theresa Spence, discusses Old Reliable, with author, Larry Lankton, 1982.

Since October is American Archives Month, our first Flashback Friday of the month pays tribute to all the archivists that have ever worked to collect, preserve, and provide access to the archival materials and special collections at Michigan Tech.

The photograph from August 1982 prominently features our first university archivist, Theresa Spence, speaking with author and professor emeritus, Larry Lankton at Author’s Day at the Quincy Mine. Larry was promoting his new book, Old Reliable, which was co-authored by Charles Hyde. From left, Larry Lankton; Theresa S. Spence; librarian Amanda Binoniemi; and archives assistant Kay Masters.

Former archivist, Beth Russell poses with the Raymond family, who donated a collection to Michigan Tech in 2014.
Former archivist, Beth Russell poses with the Raymond family, who donated a collection to Michigan Tech in 2014.

The Michigan Tech Archives has a long history that traces back to the early years of the university. The Upper Peninsula copper boom was more than forty years old when the Michigan Mining School (now Michigan Technological University) first opened its doors in the 1880s. In the early years of the school, A.E. Seaman, professor of geology and mineralogy, was given the responsibility for purchasing sets of mining, geology, and engineering journals. As time went on, more titles were sought to build the library and efforts were made during the 1930s to separate important historical titles from the general library stacks. Space limitations prohibited active solicitation of other local history collections at this time.

When the new library building was being planned, a reading room and storage area was specially designed for the historical collections. The first

The current archives reading room, in the Garden Level of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.
The current archives reading room, in the Garden Level of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

archives reading room at Michigan Tech opened to the public in July 1966. With the new space came the first real stimulus to actively solicit local history materials. Michigan Tech signified its commitment to an active archival program in 1978 with the hiring of Theresa Spence, the first professionally trained archivist at the university. The department quickly developed the procedures and policies necessary to solicit and make available premier collections pertaining to the history of Michigan Tech and the local region. The department formally adopted its current name, the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections in 1980. The department continues to grow and has seen many wonderful professionals and support staff throughout its long history. The Michigan Tech Archives is actively growing and currently has three professional archivists, one archives assistant, and one student assistant to protect the collections and provide research support and other services.
If you have any questions about the Archives or American Archives Month, please contact the department at (906) 487-2505 or e-mail copper@mtu.edu

The current archives team poses with Blizzard T. Husky on #AskAnArchivist Day, 2018. From left, Allyse, Blizzard, Allison, Emily, and Lindsay.
The current archives team poses with Blizzard T. Husky on #AskAnArchivist Day, 2018. From left, Allyse, Blizzard, Allison, Emily, and Lindsay.

October is American Archives Month

Since 2006, American Archives Month has given the profession an opportunity to share and remind people about the importance of archives and the items that are being preserved, cataloged, cared for, and made accessible by archivists and other cultural heritage colleagues. Be sure to follow us on social media all month long for collection spotlights, news about programs and events, and all things archives!

Our first event is coming up on October 3, when archivists around the country will take to Twitter to respond to questions tweeted with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. Staff of the Michigan Tech Archives encourage everyone to take this opportunity to engage with us via Twitter (or our other social media) to ask questions about the archival profession, collections at Michigan Tech and local history generally. Questions will vary widely, from the silly (What is the strangest thing in your collection?) to the practical (How can I preserve my family photographs?)

Adding to the fun this year, Blizzard will be stopping by the Archives from 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm to take part in this great event. Please tweet us @mtuarchives and be sure to use the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. We hope you will join the conversation and help us celebrate American Archives Month!

AskAnArchivistDay


Keweenaw Day (K-Day): A Fine Tradition

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While the start of fall semester at Michigan Tech heralds the beginning of a new adventure for new and returning students, it also brings back many fond memories for our alumni. For some, it’s memories of moving into the dorms or buying textbooks; for others, it’s their first class on campus and meeting their advisers for the first time. However, most would agree that it was the student activities outside the classroom that they remember the most. Whether it was their first Tech football game or homecoming activities, if you’ve been a student at Tech since the early 1950s, you remember the fun and excitement of K-Day.

K-Day, short for Keweenaw Day, has been a favorite annual tradition of Michigan Tech students since 1951. The first Keweenaw Day was established as a way to bring the campus community together. In response to a growing student body at the then Michigan College of Mining and Technology (MCMT), faculty member, Dr. Charles San Clemente, suggested to the Faculty Association in the spring of 1951 that the college consider a campus community-wide picnic to bring students, faculty, and staff together before the rush of mid semester.

A couple enjoy Keweenaw Day on Brockway Mountain Drive, 1970.
A couple enjoy Keweenaw Day on Brockway Mountain Drive, 1970.

The November 1951 edition of the MCMT Alumni News reported on the success of the first Keweenaw Day celebration held on October 9 held at the picturesque Fort Wilkins State Park. Over 1,000 members of the campus community and their guests attended the event, marking “the beginning of a fine tradition.” The sounding of the campus siren (sometimes referred to as the Engineer’s Whistle) at 11 a.m. marked the end of classes for the day and the beginning of Keweenaw Day festivities. Buses and vans shuttled people up the coast to take in the scenic vistas of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Upon arriving at Fort Wilkins, K-Day-goers were treated to a picnic lunch and a variety of activities, including games, sightseeing trips to the lake shore and up Brockway Mountain, small game hunting, and fishing. A highlight of the day was the faculty-student baseball game, pictured here. While the game was all in fun, there are rumors that the students won. After the games and tours were ending, K-day culminated in a sing-along around the campfire.

In its 67 years a Tech tradition, K-Day has seen some changes, but at its core, the main themes of festivities, food, and friendship have remained the same. The event was moved to McLain’s State Park in 1976 to shorten the driving time from campus and reduce the road congestion that plagued the event in its early years. Picnicking and fun activities have always been central to K-Day, but additions over the years has kept K-Day a favorite among students. Inflatable games, live music, contests and informational booths; as well as demonstrations featuring medieval fighting, Bonzai bikes, and exploding gummy bears. The student organization fair has also been a great way for new students to learn about campus activities and organizations.

Local band performing at K-Day, 1997.
Local band performing at K-Day, 1997.

Generous financial and moral support from the College administration and the Student Organization helped to support the event in the early years before the Memorial Union Board took over responsibility in 1967 and Inter-Fraternity Council in 1976. Today, K-Day is sponsored by Fraternity & Sorority Life and Student Activities and still a much-beloved campus event.

As Michigan Tech welcomes a new class of Huskies to campus and another day of K-Day, take a trip down memory lane and share your own K-Day stories!


Flashback Friday: Move-In Weekend

Three students relax in a dorm room, 1983.
Three students relax in a dorm room, 1983.

It is hard to believe, but Michigan Tech’s Move-in Weekend is upon us! Move-in weekend is a big part of the new academic year as the university prepares to welcome a new group of Huskies to the Copper Country.

The majority of newcomers plan to arrive sometime between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday to get settled into their dorms, meet new friends, and start the year off right. Housing staff and dormitory resident assistants will be on campus this weekend to welcome new students and their families as well as to help students get acclimated to dorm life.

Our Flashback Friday pays tribute to all the great things about dorm life, looking back to three friends relaxing in a dorm room in 1983. The loft, a classic part of the experience, is prominently featured. For more information about Move-in weekend, see a detailed write-up on the Keweenaw Report website.


Turning the Page to the Next Chapter

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It is hard to believe that summer is almost over and even harder to believe that my time here is up. These past seven weeks as the Michigan Tech Archives intern were full of amazing (and challenging) opportunities. I had the chance to experience many different aspects of the archival profession, gain new archival skills and continue to develop others.

The most valuable and memorable experience from this internship is working with patrons on their reference requests. Providing access to archival materials is one of the most important aspects of an archivist’s job and assisting patrons find the materials they need can be challenging. Each patron and their research is unique and thus requires good communication skills that I developed over the course of this internship.IMG_0051

Property assessments and tax rolls became a surprising favorite research request of mine. Although they can be difficult to understand at first, the documents provide really interesting information about the property owners and the region in general. It is fascinating to see the changing ownership of historic homes and buildings, as well as land.

Overall, I am very blessed and grateful to have had the opportunity to intern at Michigan Tech University and to spend my summer in the Copper Country. This internship gave me the skills and knowledge needed to flourish as a new archivist and has prepared me for my future in this profession. I want to again thank the University Archivist and the rest of the Archive’s team for welcoming me into their archives and guiding me along this internship.


Flashback Friday: Something About a Pasty

Woman preparing pasties

Preparing a batch of mouth-watering pasties. Undated photograph from the Harold Putnam Collection (MS-050).

A good old Cornish song proclaims, “There’s something about a pasty that is fine, fine, fine!” We Yoopers and friends know the truth of those words. The delicious dish nourishes the body and warms the spirit with its blend of meat, potatoes, and rutabaga, all nestled inside a flaky crust.

How did a meal synonymous with Cornwall become a staple of the Upper Peninsula? Cornwall’s long history of copper and tin mining led the rest of Great Britain to remark wryly, “Wherever you find a hole in the ground, you’ll find a Cornishman at the bottom of it.” Life in the mines of England often meant low wages and back-breaking labor, but it also cultivated a skill and knowledge of the work that made the Cornish miners a gold standard. As Michigan’s copper mines were first being opened for industry, their founders looked to Cornwall for able laborers, and the people of Cornwall, whose mines were tapering off, looked to Michigan for a new hope. Twenty Cornishmen, according to one scholarly history of the pasty, were already at work in the Copper Country by 1844. With them came their favorite workday meal, which was subsequently adopted en masse by colleagues of all backgrounds.

Text of pasty recipe

One of many variations on the pasty recipe held at the Michigan Tech Archives. This one was provided by the ladies of the Calumet United Methodist Church.

We don’t know for certain who invented this tasty pocket of joy, which has seen considerable changes over the years, but we do understand why it was so appealing to the men who worked in the mines and the women who prepared their dinners each day. The pasty’s hearty fillings can be prepared in a large batch and energize a person for a day of hard work; the meal can be held in the hand and eaten without utensils; and it’s easy, relatively speaking, for a miner to reheat a pasty over his candle far underground. Nowadays, you’ll see pasties around the Copper Country lunch table, sold at community fundraisers, at picnics by the shores of Lake Superior, or on parade at Calumet’s Pasty Fest, held this Saturday, August 18.

While we can all agree that pasties are scrumptious, debate rages about other aspects of pasty culture. Do carrots belong in a pasty? Should the potatoes be cubed or sliced? Can a pasty mascot appropriately be named Toivo? Most importantly, how can a person justify gravy when everyone knows that real pasties are eaten with ketchup?

Family joyfully eating pasties

Alfred Nicholls and his family show the joy of pasties at the Central Mine Reunion, undated.


Intern Update 3

Angie standing under the Nordberg steam hoist in the 1917 hoist house on the Quincy Mine site. The Nordberg is the largest steam hoisting engine in the world.
Angie standing under the Nordberg steam hoist in the 1917 hoist house on the Quincy Mine site. The Nordberg is the largest steam hoisting engine in the world.

Alumni Reunion is here and we are busy as ever this week helping all sorts of patrons! That doesn’t mean we were so busy that Angie couldn’t provide her regular update though. Read on for an update in Angie’s words!

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Hi!

I hope everyone’s summer is going splendid, I know mine is! My summer internship is now past the halfway point and, while I am sad that it is going by so fast, I am excited to tell you all about the cool activities I am working on.

I recently started accessioning new materials into the archives, which means taking intellectual and physical control over the materials and then entering information into our database ArchivesSpace. This allows the archives to keep track of the materials in its repository and it serves as the first step of processing collections. I have had the opportunity to accession and then process five scrapbooks into the Brodeur and Banks Family Papers Collection (MS-920). These scrapbooks include photographs and newspaper articles from the family’s international and domestic vacations. It has been great getting hands-on experience using these archival skills.

I am also continuing to assist patrons with their reference requests both in-person and through email. I am getting better at finding the material patrons need and learning the tricks to genealogical research.

This internship has also provided the opportunity to visit other archives in the surrounding area. Taking fieldtrips to visit the Keweenaw National Historical Park Archives in Calumet and Finlandia University’s Archives in Hancock allowed me to see the variety of archival repositories. Each archive holds collections that focus on different aspects of the Keweenaw Peninsula, but together they create a rich history of the region.

Additionally, we took a fieldtrip to tour the Quincy Mine up in Hancock. The Michigan Tech Archives holds some of the Quincy Mining Company’s records, including employment records. Seeing the steam hoist (largest in the world at the time) in-person and taking the tram down into the mine really helped me to understand the working conditions for the miners and opened my eyes to life during the early history of Upper Michigan.

I only have a few weeks left, but I am hoping to make the most of it and learn all that I can. Before I go, I also want to give a quick shout out to the MTU Archives’ staff, Lindsay (University Archivist), Allison (Archivist), Emily (Archivist) and Allyse (Archives Assistant), who have been amazing supervisors and coworkers during this internship. Their patience and immense knowledge have made this internship both enjoyable and educational and I am very grateful to get to work with them.