Category: Public Events

Researcher to Speak about 1913 Strike

Members of the Western Federation of Miners held a meeting June 8, 1913, at the Calumet Theatre to discuss possible strike action. Dr. Aaron Goings will give a public presentation on July 17 at Michigan Tech about events leading up to the 1913 Michigan Copper Miners' Strike. Image #Acc-400-12-13-1988-01-08-01. Click on photograph for more information.

The Michigan Tech Archival Speaker Series will feature visiting scholar Dr. Aaron Goings at 6:30pm on Tuesday, July 17 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Tech campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Goings’ presentation, entitled “Class Struggle in the Copper Country: The Long View,” will discuss labor history in Michigan’s Copper Country. His work focuses on working conditions, labor unions, and labor struggles in the years leading up to the 1913 Michigan Copper Miners’ Strike. His presentation will highlight earlier labor disputes, as well as the day-to-day struggles between workers and employers in the Copper Country during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Dr. Aaron Goings is Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Saint Martin’s University in Washington State. He earned his PhD from Simon Fraser University, where his dissertation addressed class and community issues in Grays Harbor, Washington. Goings is currently working with co-author Gary Kaunonen on a book to be published in 2013 by Michigan State University Press which argues that the 1913-1914 strike was the culmination of decades of regional labor struggles. The talk will conclude by discussing the national significance of this important labor event and reasons it has drifted from public memory outside of the Copper Country.

Going’s research visit and presentation are supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1998, the Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives.

For more information call the Michigan Tech Archives at 487-2505 or e-mail copper@mtu.edu.

Here are some photographs from the event, which attracted more than 75 attendees (click on individual photographs for larger versions).


Nara Photograph Exhibit in Marquette

This photograph by J.W. Nara not only includes the Nara's son, William "Onni" Nara, but also one of J.W.'s cameras. Image Acc-05-097A-015 from the Nara Photograph Collection (click on image for additional information).

“People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, is on display through July 27 at the Peter White Public Library at 217 Front Street in Marquette, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public during regular library hours

The public is invited to an illustrated lecture by Michigan Tech archivist, Erik Nordberg, about J.W. Nara’s work. The presentation features additional historic photographs and explores the themes depicted in Nara’s work. This event is scheduled for 3:00pm on Thursday, July 26, in the library’s community room. 

Born in Finland, J.W. Nara immigrated to the United States and established a photographic studio in Calumet in the heart of America’s most productive copper mining region in the early 1890s. Nara’s lens captured downtown Calumet at its zenith, the lives of underground workers in the mines, local residents socializing at weekend picnics, and events of the bitter 1913 copper miners’ strike. Nara’s lens also recorded the Keweenaw Peninsula’s rural landscape, providing some of the only photographs of farms and farm families during this era. As a commercial photographer, Nara took thousands of studio portraits – many purchased by immigrants to Michigan’s historic copper district and shipped to family and friends across the globe. 

The traveling exhibit, funded in part by descendants Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack Michigan, works from historical photographs held at the Michigan Tech Archives. A small exhibit catalog is available at no charge and includes three Nara photograph postcards from the collection.  

The exhibit will remain on display at the Peter White Public Library through July 27. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Library at 906-226-4318 or the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 and via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu

We are thankful to Johanna Boyle and The Mining Journal for wonderful front page coverage of this installation. View Johanna’s story here.

 


Calumet Visitor Center Hosts Archives’ Exhibit

J.W. Nara documented many aspects of life in Michigan's Copper Country, including the underground work of miners. Nara's photography is the topic of an exhibit visiting Calumet through June 24. Nara image 42-142 courtesy Michigan Tech Archives. Click on the image for additional information.

 

A traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, is open to the public at the Calumet Visitor Center of Keweenaw National Historical Park at 98 Fifth Street in Calumet, Michigan. The exhibit, “People, Place, and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara. The exhibit continues through June 24 and is open during the Visitor Center’s normal public hours, severn days per week, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

John William Nara was born in Finland in 1874. He later immigrated to the United States and established a photographic studio in Calumet, Michigan, in the heart of America’s most productive copper mining region. In addition to posed studio portraits, J. W. Nara’s lens also captured the people, place, and time he experienced in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Copper mining and industry are an important part of the story, but Nara also captured the Keweenaw’s rural landscape, including local farms, shorelines, lighthouses, and pastoral back roads. 

Keweenaw National Historical Park will host a public program at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 23 in conjunction with the exhibit. Erik Nordberg, University Archivist at Michigan Technological University, will give an illustrated presentation, “Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara.” The presentation features dozens of historical photographs of the Keweenaw and explores themes of commercial photography, family, and recreation that are depicted in Nara’s photography. 

The traveling exhibit, funded in part by descendants Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack Michigan, works from historical photographs held at the Michigan Tech Archives. Interpretive panels highlight the people, places, and times that J.W. Nara experienced during his lifetime and include material on urban life, farming, and the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike. A small exhibit catalog is available at no charge and includes three Nara photograph postcards from the collection. 

The exhibit will remain on display at the Calumet Visitor Center through June 24. For more information on the exhibit, contact Keweenaw National Historical Park at 906-337-3168 or the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 / copper@mtu.edu.


Archives’ Traveling Exhibit Visits L’Anse

J.W. Nara produced thousands of studio portraits, such as this group of four Calumet miners. Nara's photography is the topic of an exhibit visiting the L'Anse Area School Public Library through April 6, 2012. Nara Image #42-117 (click on image for additional information)

“People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, has moved to the L’Anse Area School Public Library in L’Anse, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public through April 6, 2012 during the library’s normal hours, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. The library is part of the L’Anse Area Schools campus at 201 North Fourth Street, L’Anse, MI 49946. 

John William Nara was born in Finland in 1874. He later immigrated to the United States and established a photographic studio in Calumet, Michigan, in the heart of America’s most productive copper mining region. In addition to posed studio portraits, J. W. Nara’s lens also captured the people, place, and time he experienced in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Copper mining and industry are an important part of the story, but Nara also captured the Keweenaw’s rural landscape, including local farms, shorelines, lighthouses, and pastoral back roads. 

The traveling exhibit, funded in part by descendants Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack Michigan, works from historical photographs held at the Michigan Tech Archives. Interpretive panels highlight the people, places, and times that J.W. Nara experienced during his lifetime and include material on urban life, farming, and the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike. A small exhibit catalog is available at no charge and includes three Nara photograph postcards from the collection. 

The exhibit will remain on display at the L’Anse Area School Public Library through Friday, April 6. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu

Some photographs of the installation in L’Anse:


Archives’ Exhibit Visits Marquette

John William Nara. A travelling exhibit of Nara's photography will be on display from January 13 through February 11 in Marquette. Nara photograph #Acc-05-097A-016 (click image for further information).

“People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, has moved to the Marquette Regional History Museum located at 145 W. Spring Street in Marquette, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and will be open to the public from January 13, 2012 to February 11, 2012, during the museum’s normal hours Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. In addition, the museum remains open until 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday evenings.

The museum will host a public program at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25 in conjunction with the exhibit installation. Erik Nordberg, University Archivist at Michigan Technological University, will give an illustrated presentation, “Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara.” The presentation features dozens of historical photographs of the Keweenaw and explores themes of commercial photography, family, and recreation that are depicted in Nara’s photography.

John William Nara was born in Finland in 1874. He later immigrated to the United States and established a photographic studio in Calumet, Michigan, in the heart of America’s most productive copper mining region. Nara succeeded as one of the Keweenaw’s first and most successful commercial photographers, producing thousands of portraits of area residents. In addition to posed studio portraits, J. W. Nara toured the region, documenting the people, place, and time he experienced in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Copper mining and industry are an important part of the story, but Nara also captured the area’s rural landscape, including local farms, shorelines, lighthouses, and pastoral back roads. 

The traveling exhibit, funded in part by descendants Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack Michigan, works from historical photographs held at the Michigan Tech Archives. Interpretive panels highlight the people, places, and times that J.W. Nara experienced during his lifetime and include material on urban life, farming, and the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike. A small exhibit catalog is available at no charge and includes three Nara photograph postcards from the collection. 

The exhibit will remain on display at the Marquette Regional History Museum through February 11. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu or the Marquette Regional History Museum 906-226-3571.

Photos from the exhibit, which included a wonderful array of historical artifacts from the collections of the Marquette Regional History Museum and items on loan from Jack Deo at Superior View studios:


November 17: Tuberculosis in the North Woods

The current Houghton County Medical Care Facility was originally built in 1951 as the Copper Country Sanatorium. It replaced an early building which was described as a "disaster hotel housing the sick." The history of tuberculosis treatment in the local area will be the topic of a November 17 presentation at Michigan Tech. Herman Gundlach construction photograph, courtesy Michigan Tech Archives. Click image for additional information.

The Michigan Tech Archival Speaker Series will feature visiting scholar Dr. Jennifer Gunn at 6:00pm on Thursday, November 17 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Tech campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Gunn’s presentation, entitled “Tuberculosis in the North Woods: Public Health and Social Implications in the Early Twentieth Century.” will exmaine the history of tuberculosis in the Upper Great Lakes region, particularly the impact of the disease in Michigan’s historic Keweenaw copper mining district. In 1938, the Houghton County tuberculosis sanatorium had a 60% death rate—much higher than the tuberculosis mortality for Michigan as a whole. This talk will explore the intersections of occupation, geography, and poverty in the incidence of tuberculosis in the Copper Country and the strong efforts of the state and the Houghton-Keweenaw Health District to control the disease.

Dr. Jennifer Gunn is Associate Professor and Director of the Program in the History of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. She earned her Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania, where her dissertation examined the history of graduate medical education in the United States. Currently researching a book regarding rural health and medicine in the Upper Midwest, 1900-1950, Professor Gunn’s interest in mining communities and rural health disparities in an urbanizing society is informed by her experience as a coal miner in Alabama.

Gunn’s presentation is supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1998, the Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives.

For more information call the Michigan Tech Archives at 487-2505, e-mail to copper@mtu.edu, or visit them on the web at http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/


November 7 Open House Celebrates Completed Cataloging Project

Army cadets in the military-mining course at the Michigan College of Mines visited the Quincy mine in 1918. Image #MTU-166-03-0001, Michigan Tech Archives.

The public is invited to an open house at the Michigan Tech Archives at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, November 7, 2011. The event will mark the completion of a two-year project to improve description of the Archives’ extensive holdings of regional manuscript material. The initiative was funded through a $167,600 grant from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission, a division of the National Archives and Records Administration

During the project, Archives’ staff conducted a box-by-box survey of its entire collection, totaling more than 7,000 cubic feet and including personal papers, diaries, organizational records, business materials, mining company records, maps, newspapers, and other historical documents. Conservation and preservation assessments were made and some donations merged together into larger, single collections. 

The project identified more than 700 discrete collections and created standardized descriptions providing information about the size, content, and dates of coverage for each collection. These descriptions are now accessible to researchers through the Archives’ web site, the online catalog of the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library, and OCLC WorldCat, an international online resource for printed materials. Through this work, the holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives have been revealed to potential researchers throughout the world. 

The November 7 event is open to the general public and refreshments will be served. A small display will highlight interesting materials discovered and described during the project. These include the June 1853 journal of civil engineer L.L. Nichols describing construction of the ship canal and locks at Sault Ste. Marie, a 1915 beer delivery log book from the Bosch Brewing Company, coded telegrams from the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company,  illustrated weekly reports showing military-mining courses at the Michigan College of Mines during World War I, printing samples from the Keweenaw Printing Company, and original fieldnote books from the ongoing wolf-moose ecological study on Isle Royale. 

The event will also introduce Elizabeth Russell, recently hired as a full-time archivist at the Michigan Tech Archives.  Russell was the primary cataloger on the two-year grant project and has accepted a regular position with the Archives. 

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu 


Archives Exhibit Travels to Eastern U.P.

An immigrant to Michigan’s copper mining district poses for a portrait in J.W. Nara’s Calumet studio. The work of this early Twentieth Century photographer is featured in a travelling exhibit at the Brimley Area Schools Library from October 21 through December 16. Image Nara 42-121, courtesy of the Michigan Tech Archives (click image for additional details).

“People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be hosted by the Brimley Area Schools Library from October 21 through December 16, 2011. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and will be open to the public during the library’s regular hours, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The Library is located in the Brimley Area Schools complex at 7134 South M-221 in Brimley, Michigan.

The Library will host an exhibit opening program on Friday, October 21. Erik Nordberg, University Archivist at Michigan Technological University, will give an illustrated presentation, “Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara” featuring dozens of historical photographs of the Upper Peninsula. The presentation is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in the Library, with the exhibit open extra hours that evening 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for the opening event.

John William Nara was born in Finland in 1874. He later immigrated to the United States and established a photographic studio in Calumet, Michigan, in the heart of America’s most productive copper mining region. In addition to posed studio portraits, J. W. Nara’s lens also captured the people, place, and time he experienced in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Copper mining and industry are an important part of the story, but Nara also captured the Keweenaw’s rural landscape, including local farms, shorelines, lighthouses, and pastoral back roads.

The traveling exhibit, funded in part by descendants Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack Michigan, draws upon historical photographs held at the Michigan Tech Archives. Interpretive panels highlight the people, places, and times that J.W. Nara experienced during his lifetime and include material on urban life, farming, and the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike. A small exhibit catalog is available at no charge and includes three Nara photograph postcards from the collection.

The exhibit will remain on display in Brimley through December 16. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu or the Brimley Area Schools Library at 906-248-3217, extension 529 / ewaters@eup.k12.mi.us


Historian Discusses Life of Pioneer Resident Lucena Brockway

Lucena Brockway was one of the first white female settlers in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Visiting historian Kathleen Warnes will discuss her pioneer experiences at a public presentation on July 28. Image No Neg 2007-12-13-03 (click on image for full record).

The life and experiences of Lucena Brockway will be the topic of a public presentation at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 28 in the East Reading Room of the J.R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie library at Michigan Tech. The presentation is part of the “Archival Speakers Series” and is free and open to the public.  

Dr. Kathleen Warnes, an independent scholar based in Allendale, Michigan, will discuss her research into the life of Lucena Brockway, an early pioneer resident of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. A native of New York State, Lucena arrived in the Lake Superior region in 1843 with her husband Daniel Brockway as one of the first white families to settle the area. Initially living in L’Anse, where Daniel worked as a government blacksmith, the Brockways moved to Copper Harbor in 1846 and remained linked to the Keweenaw until their deaths in 1899.

Details of Lucena’s life are captured in a series of personal diaries, photographs, and family and business papers preserved at the Michigan Tech Archives. As her children matured and left home, and as her husband spent more and more time at his various business ventures, Lucena found herself increasingly isolated and alone. Brockway’s diaries document her daily activities and struggles, pointing out the type of independent character required of women along the copper mining frontier.

Warnes’s research is supported by a Michigan Tech Archives travel grant, with funding provided by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1998, the Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant has assisted more than 25 scholars advance their work through research in the department’s varied historical collections.

For more information on the July 28 presentation, call the Michigan Tech Archives at 487-2505 or e-mail to copper@mtu.edu.

Lucena and Daniel Brockway on the porch of their home in 1898. Image MS019-05-04-03 (click on photo for full record).

 

Update: Here are some photographs from the event, which drew more than 60 participants. Click on individual photographs for larger image:

 


Local Students Selected for National History Day Finals

National History DayA number of students from the Western Upper Peninsula were selected as national finalists at the Michigan History Day state finals held April 30 at Grand Valley State University.

These students participated in the local District 1 competition held February 26 in Houghton, which was sponsored by the Michigan Tech Social Sciences Department, the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, the Quincy Mine Hoist Association and the Historical Society of Michigan.    

National finalists now have the opportunity to compete in the national competition to be held in June 12-16 in College Park, Maryland.  Alternates will be invited if any of the finalists in their division and category are unable to participate.

The list of National Finalists includes:

Group Documentary Category
Copper Strike of 1913
Dinah Bekkala, Kaylee Hanson, Brook Harter
Hometown: Calumet, Hancock, Hancock
School: Hancock High School

Group Performance Category
The Diary of Fashion
Katelyn Anderson, Kelsey Bekkala, Kristen Berg
Hometown: Hancock, Calumet, Hancock
School: Hancock Central High School

Individual Website Category
The Formation of the United Nations: Diplomacy Around the World
Aaron Posega
Hometown: Hancock
School: Hancock Central High School

The list of Altnerntes includes:

Individual Documentary Category
Detroit Burning: The 12th Street Riot
Mariah Hallstrom
Hometown: Hancock
School: Hancock Central High School

Individual Exhibit Category
The Boundary Question: A Simple Debate That Caused the Toledo War
Cassie Simula
Hometown: Hancock
School: Hancock Central High School

In addition, a special award for “Best Entry in Use of Oral History” was presented in the Senior Division for the exhibit “How Far Is Too Far? Josef Mengele’s Debatable Experiments on the Twins of Auschwitz,” by Erica LeClaire of Dollar Bay-Tamarack City High School.

Congratulations to all of the students who participated in both the district and state competitions. And good luck to those moving on to the national competition!