Category: Collections

This category will include posts about the holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives: manuscript materials, photographs, maps, books, and other physical items held by the department.

2016 Travel Grant Program Call for Proposals

Arthur Edmund Seaman, former head of the Department of Geology and Mineralogy at the Michigan College of Mines (now Michigan Tech), conducting some research, circa 1905. Photograph is courtesy of the Keweenaw Digital Archives.
Arthur Edmund Seaman, former head of the Department of Geology and Mineralogy at the Michigan College of Mines (now Michigan Tech), conducting some research, circa 1905. Photograph is courtesy of the Keweenaw Digital Archives.

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections is currently accepting applications for its annual Travel Grant Program, which brings in scholars and researchers external 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 library and archives of Michigan Tech. Grants are awarded for up to $750 to defray the costs of travel to visit and conduct research in Houghton, Michigan.

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 includes university and campus life, regional towns and cities, local industries and businesses, as well as 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 February 29, 2016. Award recipients will be notified by March 31. The successful candidate must complete their travel by December 9, 2016. Electronic submission is preferred.

For further information, please contact:

Lindsay Hiltunen, Senior 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) 487-2505
E-mail: copper@mtu.edu


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.

MTU168-03-03-001-small
Image scanned from the Michigan Tech Lode Photograph Collection.
MTU168-03-03-002-small
Image scanned from the Michigan Tech Lode Photograph Collection.
MTU168-03-03-003-small
Image scanned from the Michigan Tech Lode Photograph Collection.

Remembering Dr. Robert Nara

The J.W. Nara exhibit, “People Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” will be on display until mid-December 2015. The exhibit was installed to honor the memory of Dr. Robert Nara, who passed away in September.
The J.W. Nara exhibit, “People Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” will be on display until mid-December 2015. The exhibit was installed to honor the memory of Dr. Robert Nara, who passed away in September.

Last month the campus community and residents all across the Copper Country said goodbye to Dr. Robert Nara, a well-loved local dentist and philanthropist. Nara and his wife Ruth, who survives him, made significant contributions to many aspects of life and community in the Copper Country, and specifically to Michigan Technological University. The J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library, including the archives department, have been lucky to be a part of the generosity of the Nara family and the Nara Foundation. Notable gifts include contributions of funds and equipment to help jumpstart the Keweenaw Digital Archives as well as support to develop a traveling exhibit about Nara’s grandfather, pioneering local photographer J.W. Nara.

In an effort to honor the memory of Dr. Robert Nara and to thank him for his kindness and generosity over the years, the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections has installed the J.W. Nara  exhibit, “People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara.” The exhibit will be on display throughout the remainder of the fall semester in the Opie Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

Dr. Robert Nara viewing the “People, Place and Time” exhibit during its grand unveiling in December of 2009.
Dr. Robert Nara viewing the “People, Place and Time” exhibit during its grand unveiling in December of 2009.

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.


Summer Intern Update

Our Friends of the Van Pelt Library Intern, Alison Fukuchi, has been a great asset during our busy summer season. She has learned the ropes of helping a wide variety of researchers and utilizing our various collections.
Our Friends of the Van Pelt Library Intern, Alison Fukuchi, has been a great asset during our busy summer season. She has learned the ropes of helping a wide variety of researchers and utilizing our various collections.

Thanks to the Friends of the Van Pelt Library, we have had the sincere pleasure of hosting a graduate intern this summer. Alison Fukuchi has been hard at work the past few weeks, gaining experience in public service, collections handling, and research. If you wish to learn more about what our intern has been working on, please read Alison’s update report below.

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I am in the middle of my fourth week interning at the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, and I am surprised at how time flies! During this relatively short period of time I have had a wealth of experience in many areas of archival practice. For the first two weeks, my focus was primarily on the reference desk and various services provided for researchers, as well as developing familiarity with locating resources using Archivists’ Toolkit and finding aids. I became acquainted with the most commonly requested materials for genealogical research, such as the extensive employment records for the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, Quincy Mining Company, and Copper Range Mining Company. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to utilize the database HeritageQuest to assist patrons with locating census records, to work with original Sanborn-Perris fire insurance maps from the 1900s, and to handle a wide-variety of materials from the closed stacks.

On the technological side, I have been very fortunate to learn how to use digital micro-format readers as well as analog machines, and I now feel comfortable teaching this technology to patrons. In week 3, I had a brief overview of duplication services using our digital scanner with Adobe Photoshop, complete with a lesson in cataloging. Digitization is the next step, scheduled for week 5, which is an area I hope to become much more proficient in as it is greatly in-demand.

Behind the scenes, I have been able to work on my very own processing project involving a recent accession of commencement materials which will be added to MTU-027, Michigan Technological University Commencement Collection. The opportunity to get hands-on experience is extremely valuable and has taught me a lot about setting realistic goals and deadlines for project completion. Plus, I have had some interesting surprises! Earlier this week I uncovered several rolls of film negatives that had been edited and spliced using metal splices. Learning how to process such materials for longevity is one of the most fascinating areas of archival preservation.

Alison pulling some material from our state records collection.
Our intern pulling some material from the state records collection.

On a personal note, I am finding great enjoyment in the rich natural landscape around Houghton. Joining the Outdoor Adventure Program’s Paddle the Portage, I was able to kayak under the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, which was quite loud and rather exciting. Michigan Tech Trails and Recreational Forest has proven a haven of birdsong and solitude. The A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum’s exhibits really lent perspective to the mining history of the region, plus the fantastic displays seem more like science fiction then science fact. There was even a chance to socialize with area archivists during a dinner party overlooking the Portage.

Finally, my experience in the Van Pelt and Opie Library in general has set a very high bar for future work environments. Not only has the entire staff been helpful and friendly, they also offered me a very warm welcome. Last week, I had the good fortune to attend a routine library meeting that included dynamic, informative presentations from library staff on conferences they had attended. This institutional culture of support for professional development and collaboration has quite honestly blown me away. I certainly look forward to my final few weeks working with the exceptional staff here in the Michigan Tech Archives and the Van Pelt and Opie Library, confident that when I reflect back it will bring back fond memories of the professional engagement I’ve witnessed all around.


Over 13,000 Images Now Hosted on the Keweenaw Digital Archives

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Michigan Technological University Marketing and Communications Photograph Collection ACC 10-010-143


The Keweenaw Digital Archives surpassed an impressive milestone in April 2015 – the online repository for the Michigan Tech Archives’ digital images now hosts just over 13,000 images.

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J. W. Nara Photograph Collection ACC-05-097A-022

The Digital Archives got its start as a grant project funded by the Michigan Humanities Council in 2004-2005. The project was geared at providing online access to a database of key-word-searchable digitized historic images from the archives’ collections, while allowing users to add comments to the images online.

The Digital Archives also facilitates an interface for duplication service requests, and provides secure, off-site storage for digital surrogate files.

Today, it acts as a portal to  the Copper Country’s visual past that is visited by thousands worldwide every month.

This milestone has been met thanks to hard work by many different members of Archives staff over the past decade.

To visit the Keweenaw Digital Archives and search for historic Copper Country images, click the following link: http://digarch.lib.mtu.edu/.

If you have any questions about the Keweenaw Digital Archives, please call us at (906) 487-2505 or
email us at 
copper@mtu.edu to learn more.

Daily Mining Gazette Photograph Collection MS051-012-001-002


Happy (Vintage) Easter!

Swapping winter wools for light spring cloths, tasty ham, rabbits and candy are just a few of our favorite Easter traditions. Scroll through some 20th century print advertisements our staff has found in a couple of our local historic newspapers.

Printed in the Calumet News on April 10,1925 on page 10
Printed in the Calumet News, April 10,1925 on page 10
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette on April 7, 1944 on page 8
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, April 7, 1944 on page 8
Printed in the Calumet News on March 30, 1925 on page 5
Printed in the Calumet News, March 30, 1925 on page 5
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette on March 16, 1951 on page 2
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, March 16, 1951 on page 2
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette on March 15, 1951 on page 6
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, March 15, 1951 on page 6
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette March 16, 1915 on page 2
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette, March 16, 1915 on page 2

These newspapers, along with roughly 70 other local historic newspapers are available for viewing on microfilm at the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections. Feel free to call us at (906) 487-2505 or email us at copper@mtu.edu to learn more.


Fire, Miners and Elephants: Hancock in Photos and Words, 1860-1940

Please join us for local author, John Haeussler as he discusses the research process for his book Images of America book about Hancock.
Local author, John Haeussler will discuss the research process and photographs used for his Images of America book about Hancock at 5 pm on Thursday, March 12 in the library’s East Reading Room.

Please join us for a talk by local author John Haeussler at 5:00 pm on Thursday, March 12 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.

Haeussler’s presentation will begin with a brief overview of his recent work, Images of America, Hancock, from Arcadia Publishing, and progress to outline the importance of the Michigan Tech Archives’ role as a historic image repository for projects such as this one. After exploring his research process, the remainder of the presentation will be a discussion of pre-1940 images of Hancock from the Michigan Tech Archives. This exploration will include readings from contemporary newspaper accounts that pertain to some of the historic photos. There will be allotted  time for questions, answers and discussion following the presentation, though audience participation is encouraged throughout the talk.

Along with his authorship of Hancock, a part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series, Haeussler co-authored and co-edited Hancock’s sesquicentennial publication, Hidden Gems and Towering Tales: A Hancock, Michigan Anthology. This earlier text was published by the City of Hancock in 2013.  John, his wife Megan and their children Maggie and Jack have resided in Hancock since 2007.

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/.


Have a Cautious Friday the 13th Today, Everyone!

Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette Friday, November 13, 1953
Printed in the Daily Mining Gazette Friday, November 13, 1953

“No, Kitty! Not Today!”

THAT HORRENDOUS DAY, Friday the 13th is here again. It is the time to avoid breaking mirrors, walking under ladders and –. But here is Smokey, the cat, ignoring the good advice of Elinor Matteson. Of course Smoky has nine lives and he is not a bit superstitious.


Winter Carnival, Then and Now

The Michigan Tech Archives will be open for special hours over Winter Carnival Weekend from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday, February 7nd. 

Ever since Winter Carnival debuted as the Ice Carnival in 1922, Michigan Tech students have found reason to hope for piles of snow and below freezing temperatures. Though traditions other than the iconic snow statues have held fast throughout the decades; the winter Carnival Queen coronation, races, broomball tournaments, the Snow Ball, the beard contest and others have all withstood the test of time.

Scroll through some of these winter carnival memories and see for yourself how constant everyone’s favorite Winter Carnival tradition has remained.

Clicking on an image will take you to the available bibliographic information for that image.

Winter Carnival Snow Statues 

Keweenaw Digital Archives #: Book LD3328H3-261-7
Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU-208-2014-04

Snow Statue Construction

Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU004-002-69-28-01
Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU-118-2014-11-04-064

Queen Coronation

Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU004-002-69-36-22
Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU-118-2014-11-04-042

Team Races

Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MS050-12-21-01-F903
Keweenaw Digital Archives #: ACC 10-010-251

Individual Races 

Keweenaw Digital Archives #: Acc 35-08-31-1986-001
Keweenaw Digital Archives #: ACC 10-010-222

Broomball

Keweenaw Digital Archives #: Book LD3328H3-237-6
Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU-118-2014-11-04-057

Stage Review

Keweenaw Digital Archives #: MTU Neg 03266
Keweenaw Digital Archives #: ACC 10-010-207