Category Archives: About the Archives

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

Thanksgiving Closure

Daily Mining Gazette Photograph Collection
Daily Mining Gazette Photograph Collection

 

The archives will be closed Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27 for Thanksgiving break. Normal hours of operation will resume on Monday, November 30.

This year (and every year, honestly) we are thankful for the Keweenaw Digital Archives. The image featured above shows workers from the Calumet Division’s Ahmeek Number 3 posing with the turkeys they had received for safety awards. Under the Calumet Division’s safety award program, this means the men worked for 21 months without a disqualifying compensable accident.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 


Campus Traditions and Collective Meaning-Making: Exploring Student Life and Memory Building from Michigan Tech and Beyond

In his upcoming talk, visiting scholar David Brown will discuss campus traditions and their meaning, such as Michigan Tech's Winter Carnival. The photograph features Winter Carnival Queen Candidates from 1959.
In his upcoming talk, visiting scholar David Brown will discuss campus traditions and their meaning, such as Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival. The photograph features Winter Carnival Queen Candidates from 1959.

 

Please join us for visiting scholar David Brown at 4:00 pm on Monday, November 16 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Technological University campus. This event is free of charge and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

In this presentation, Brown will discuss his dissertation research which focuses on historical accounts of student life and the ways in which those accounts can inform scholarship and teaching in the modern era. He is especially interested in collective experiences and instances where student life has taken on distinctive character and expression, such as in the case of Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival. In addition to meaning, methodology will also be an important component of the talk. Brown will show how archival research is a valuable tool for studying college student life and provide an example of an exercise that challenges students to consider campus history and their place in it.

David Brown is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation at the University of Kentucky. Under the guidance of noted historian of higher education Dr. John Thelin, Brown’s research focuses on historical and contemporary accounts of college student life and students’ meaning-making activities during their college years. In addition to his research, he also teaches at the University of Kentucky; last year he was a recipient of one of UK’s Outstanding Teaching Awards.

Brown’s research visit and presentation are supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1988, the Michigan Technological University Archives Travel Grant program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives.

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 athttp://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/.


Happy Halloween from the Archives

Here are just a few photographs to get you ready for whatever your Halloween festivities might be this weekend! These images have all been scanned from the Michigan Technological University Lode Photograph Collection.

Have a happy Halloween!

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McDonalds shake and fries, a pre-Twilight vampire, a couple of swashbuckling pirates and choker necklaces abound.
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An eclectic bunch of 1960s and 70s kids.
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Classic sheet togas re-purposed into Princess Leia, flower child and other Halloween costumes.

 


Preservation or Petrification? Creepy Archived Jack-O’-Lantern Images.

These jack-o’-lanterns were carved by Michigan Tech students in 1989 and photographed by Michigan Tech Lode staff. A couple of them look more traditional, but others use creepy and creative add-ons.

Current students, why not glean some “hallowed” inspiration from Tech generations gone by? Consider using a sliver of orange pumpkin rind for a devilish tongue, rubber gloves made to look like eerie pumpkin feet, or give your hollow headed friend some head gear, like a mop wig or a felt hood.

 

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Image scanned from the Michigan Tech Lode Photograph Collection.
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Image scanned from the Michigan Tech Lode Photograph Collection.
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Image scanned from the Michigan Tech Lode Photograph Collection.

Autumn Leaves, Past and Present

A scenic view in the Copper Country, taken by the Michigan Tourist Council in 1958.
A scenic view in the Copper Country, taken by the Michigan Tourist Council in 1958.


One of the best things about color photography is being able to capture the changing leaves of autumn. While the staff in the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections love a good historic photo, black and white photographs simply do not do justice to the breathtaking landscapes and fall vistas of the Copper Country. The bright and dark greens of the trees slowly morph into reds, oranges, and yellows. Many will remark that the Upper Peninsula is never more beautiful than in the fall, with warm, vibrant colors blanketing the hillsides and the cool, crisp air rustling the leaves.

This weekend you can enjoy these fall colors for yourself from one of the best vantage points around: Mont Ripley. Take a ride on the chairlifts and delight in the stunning views from the top of Mont Ripley. Tours run Friday from 3 pm – dusk and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am – dusk. An additional tour will be offered on Wednesday, October 14, 4 pm – 7 pm. The Wednesday tour is hosted by the Michigan Tech Graduate Student Government and the Keweenaw Alumni Association Chapter.

 

A postcard of the Ahmeek #3 and #4 shaft-rockhouse amongst the colors of autumn, 1964.
A postcard of the Ahmeek #3 and #4 shaft-rockhouse amongst the colors of autumn, 1964.

 

Two students enjoy the fall colors across the Portage Canal in the fall of 1983.
Two students enjoy the fall colors across the Portage Canal in the fall of 1983.

 

An aerial view of campus from 2007.
An aerial view of campus from 2007.

 

An aerial view of campus from fall 2009.
An aerial view of campus from fall 2009.

Summer Intern Farewell

The Archives public services team poses for a final photograph. The ladies stand in front of volumes from the historic state records collection. From left to right are Allyse Staehler, Airen Campbell-Olszewski, Alison Fukuchi, and Georgeann Jukuri.
The Archives public services team poses for a final photograph. The ladies stand in front of volumes from the historic state records collection. From left to right are Allyse Staehler, Airen Campbell-Olszewski, Alison Fukuchi, and Georgeann Jukuri.

 

We bid farewell to our intern this afternoon. Alison has shown herself to be a dedicated worker and a true asset to the archives. We will miss her, but we wish her well as she continues her graduate studies and moves on to the next step in her career! Please read on for her final intern update.

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This is my final blog entry, and while part of me wants to say the time has flown by, the truth is these last few weeks have been a bit more measured, as I’ve savored the time and become part of the rhythm of the archives. Although the first weeks were a flurry of new learning and meetings, a certain sense of calm has defined the end of my time here; confidence in my interactions with patrons, awareness of the needs of the reference staff, and determination to complete small processing projects has characterized this time. That is not to say that these haven’t been busy weeks!

Week 5 saw the advent of new challenges in the form of my first record entered into Archivists’ Toolkit for a small collection of family papers. The Coughlin and Gray Family Papers represent my first taste of realistic archival practice in that there were preservation concerns during processing as well as research needs in the compilation of the scope and contents note and biographical sketch. When composing biographical information for the finding aid, I read diary entries from the collection, learning much fascinating early history of Washington Harbor on Isle Royale in the process. To read the firsthand account of a child who spent two years on the island in the 1890s adds such a human element to the history; it’s made an indelible impression on my memory.

Week 6 was Alumni Reunion week at Michigan Technological University, and the Archives played a role as well. We opened early for three days and allowed access on Saturday; I have to say it was a very busy week for the reference staff! We had a visiting researcher from Norway looking into the first Norwegians who worked in the copper mining companies, which had us all working hard to find useful and relevant materials for her including employment records, biographical and photographical vertical files, church and community documents, and mining company ledgers, among many others. There was also an influx of visitors wanting to revisit memories from their time at Michigan Tech; many requested staff and faculty directories, individual photos, and Keweenawan yearbooks. I also processed another small collection, which was just as exciting and interesting as the first, but not as daunting. One aspect of this field that I absolutely love, is the fact that an archivist is constantly learning. We always come across new information about history, the community, and the world. That is truly exciting.

On the personal side, I have had some wonderful experiences here in the UP. Exploring nature was one of my goals, and last week I was able to get out to the North Woods Conservancy to do a bit of hiking around Conglomerate Falls, followed by some beach time at McLain State Park. Lake Superior is similar to Lake Michigan, but the beaches here have a different energy, more inscrutable and very wild. On a visit to The Orpheum in Hancock, I was fortunate to see blues musician Brian Waller perform which was incredibly fun. Local food and drink has also not disappointed; standouts include the Dark Side of the IPA at KBC and the veggie pasty at Roy’s.

Today is my last day, and there are few regrets. I truly believe I made the most of my time here, embracing the opportunities as they arose and focusing my energy on learning and absorbing everything possible in the archives. Of course, I will miss the friends I’ve made and there is so much more to learn, but I believe that is true of anything and everything in life. Any genuine passion will always reveal new challenges, new discoveries, and new truths; I’m fortunate to have found that passion in archival work and I cannot wait to see what history has in store for me!


New Exhibit and Alumni Reunion Weekend

hockey exhibit

Michigan Technological University’s Van Pelt and Opie Library welcomes alumni, family and friends to visit the library for special services and exhibits during Alumni Reunion. The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections staff encourages visits and will have expanded hours.

SPECIAL HOURS DURING ALUMNI REUNION

The library will be open on Saturday, August 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The archives reading room will be open Saturday, August 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

ARCHIVES TOURS
Saturday, August 8

Walk-in between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. for a behind-the-scenes tour of the stacks. Our Senior Archivist will offer 15 minute tours to talk about what we do in the archives and to show off some of the more popular collections.

EXHIBITS

Husky Hockey: A Glimpse into the Past
Location: Archives Reading Room

To coincide with Alumni Reunion and the Hockey Reunion, our new exhibit features a look at the history of men’s ice hockey on campus. Memorabilia and photographs throughout the years showcase the glory and challenges of the program throughout the years. A prominent photograph of the 1964-1965 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey team pays homage to the fiftieth anniversary of the winning season.

Yearbooks and University Publications
Location: Archives Reading Room

Yearbooks and other university books are available for browsing in one of the archives’ book case displays.  This is a nearly complete range of Keweenawan yearbooks from 1924-2002 and a copy of the Engineer from 1915. The display case also includes popular university publications such as the book Michigan Tech Centennial 1885-1985, alumni bulletins from the Michigan College of Mining and Technology (MCMT), the MCMT Freshman Bible, and various years of the University’s Winter Carnival Pictorial. Also available for viewing: Lode on microfilm: 1921-2005 (digital copies of the Lode from 2009-2014 available on their website: http://issuu.com/michigantechlode), Michigan Tech vertical files: newspaper clippings and printed ephemera related to campus activities, sports, organizations, and academics, and Michigan Tech photo vertical files: photos related to campus activities, sports, organizations, and academics. Photocopies are available.


HeritageQuest is Now Powered by Ancestry.com

One of our favorite and most used databases, HeritageQuest (Proquest) underwent an interface makeover and is now powered by Ancestry.com. Along with the enhanced functionality that comes with the site’s redesign, there is a considerable amount of new content, not least of which are the available listings of U.S.Federal Census Records from 1790 to 1940, including the image and every-name indexes for each of these years.

Additional new content includes: city directories, 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules, U.S. Indian Census Rolls, Mortality Schedules, Agricultural and Industrial Schedules, and the 1890 Veterans Schedule.

If you have any questions about using HeritageQuest, please call the the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections at (906) 487-2505 or email us at copper@mtu.edu to learn more.

Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff can access HeritageQuest by following this link. Additionally, all Michigan residents may access HeritageQuest through the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) at mel.org/Databases. Another genealogy related database available through MeL is the Biography and Genealogy Master Index, a readily searchable reference sources index.

 

 


People’s Parks: Tracing Radical Environmental Activism from Berkeley to Michigan

This image shows two students planting flowers at Michigan Tech's People's Park. Built by MTU students, the park was the result of a four-day strike which occured in connection with the Cambodian Invasion and subsequent slayings of students at Kent State and Jackson State. The park was built as a peaceful expression of Tech students' outrage over the above mentioned incidents.
This image shows two students planting flowers at Michigan Tech’s People’s Park. Built by MTU students, the park was the result of a four-day strike which occured in connection with the Cambodian Invasion and subsequent slayings of students at Kent State and Jackson State. The park was built as a peaceful expression of Tech students’ outrage over the above mentioned incidents.

 

Please join us for visiting scholar Kera Lovell at 4:00 pm on Thursday, August 13 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Technological University campus. This event is free of charge and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

In this presentation, Lovell will present a portion of her dissertation which examines the devices and material construction of activism after World War II. In particular, Ms. Lovell will trace the history of the “People’s Park” movement. These coalitions of activists and students spread across the United States from Berkeley, California to Houghton, Michigan, and in places abroad, including South Africa. These spaces protested environmental and socioeconomic injustices. Ultimately, the protests took form through the creation of public parks in vacant lots, signifying a permanent occupancy that was visible to the public.

This talk will examine the visual and rhetorical strategies these activists used to equate their peaceful occupancies with territorial reclamation, and frame their creations as public memorials to colonized peoples. By examining some essential case studies of People’s Parks and situating Michigan Tech’s own People’s Park within this global movement, the talk will shed light on how activists saw space not as property, but as a symbolic representation of power.

Kera Lovell is a PhD candidate and Instructor in American Studies at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. She received her Master’s degree in American Studies from Purdue in 2011, and her Bachelor’s in History and Spanish from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. She has received several awards from institutions to conduct and present her research, including Purdue University, Boston University, the Wisconsin Historical Society, and Michigan Tech. Her dissertation, titled “Radical Manifest Destiny: Urban Renewal, Colonialism, and Transnational American Identity in the Urban Spatial Politics of the Postwar Left” traces the global popularity of a particular post-World War II protest tactic in which activists permanently occupied vacant lots by converting them into politicized urban green spaces they called “People’s Parks.”

Lovell’s research visit and presentation are supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1988, the Michigan Technological University Archives Travel Grant program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives.

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 athttp://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/.


Michigan Tech Archives Seeking Temporary Project Assistant

This photograph was taken at a barbershop in Calumet, Michigan by J.W. Nara (date unknown, but presumed early 1900s). It depicts three barbers standing ready and an African-American gentleman seated in the rear of the shop with a broom. The Michigan Tech Archives is currently seeking a project assistant to help us better understand  what collections we have that might shed light on his story and that of many others.
This photograph was taken at a barbershop in Calumet, Michigan by J.W. Nara (date unknown, but presumed early 1900s). It depicts three barbers standing ready and an African-American gentleman seated with a broom. The Michigan Tech Archives is currently seeking a project assistant to help us better understand what collections we have that might shed light on his story and that of many others.

 
The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections is currently seeking applicants for a temporary Project Assistant position to begin in September 2015. This position is part of a grant-funded research project called “Black Voices in the Copper Country: Exploring Community and Michigan Tech Campus Life, 1870-Present.” The Michigan Tech Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, and the Michigan Historical Center are partners on this project. This project is funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Project Assistant is responsible for researching archival collections, including manuscripts, census records, newspapers, photographs, and other materials to help document resources pertaining to African-Americans in the Copper Country. Secondary responsibilities include assisting with research planning, presenting in public forums, assisting with outreach, writing blog updates, and developing a historical narrative for a future online exhibit. Preference will be given to applicants with some college history coursework and demonstrated research experience.

Characteristic Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Efficiently and effectively provides in-depth historical research using a broad range of primary and secondary sources.
  2. Assists with simple archival organization and descriptive work such as arranging historical papers in chronological order, re-foldering materials for preservation when necessary, creating indexes, drafting research guides, and shelving.
  3. Assists with planning and executing public programs and outreach to present findings.
  4. Performs other assigned duties as appropriate for a project assistant.

This is a 20 hour per week, temporary part-time position. This position will report to the Senior Archivist. The preferred start date is Monday, September 14 and the project ends in May 2016. There are no benefits included with this position. The Project Assistant will be compensated with an hourly wage of $10.00 per hour. To learn more about us, please visit our website: http://www.mtu.edu/library/archives/

E-mail applications are preferred and are due by August 21. Submit your cover letter and resume to:

Lindsay Hiltunen, Senior Archivist
Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
Attn: Project Assistant Position
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.

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