Archives’ Staff Offer Workshop in Calumet

Night school class in the Calumet High School, ca. 1916. Image MS019-11-06-06, Brockway Photograph Collection, Michigan Tech Archives.

Have you ever wondered how to start a historical research project? Not sure where to find the right documents to answer your question? Unclear how a research archives operates? Join Julie Blair and Erik Nordberg, archivists from Michigan Tech, and Jeremiah Mason, archivist at Keweenaw National Historical Park, for an introduction to archival research at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 9, at the Calumet Public Library, which is located on the C-L-K schools campus.  

The session will provide a general overview of research using historical records, including an introduction to historical research methods. Learn how to locate, integrate, and cite archival material. 

Presenters will discuss the meaning of phrases like “manuscript collection” and “primary sources,” how to describe different types of archival sources, and learn about the similarities and important differences between archives, libraries and museums. 

The session will draw upon numerous examples from the holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives and Keweenaw National Historical Park, including historical material about the people, communities and industries of the Copper Country. 

Attendees will also learn how to use the Keweenaw Digital Archives to easily find historic images online, how to create an account, make a digital album, and add comments and observations to the photos. 

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library and is free and open to the public. In the event of bad weather, all library programs are cancelled when school is cancelled.

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


J.W. Nara Exhibit Visits Painesdale

A Copper Range Railroad crew takes a break for photographer J.W. Nara in this undated photograph. Image # Nara 42-082, Michigan Tech Archives.

“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 library at Jeffers High School in Painesdale, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and will be open to the public through February 25, 2011 during the library’s normal hours, Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The exhibit will also be available for viewing on Fridays 10:00 – 4:00 p.m. through the support of volunteers from the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center. Additional support is provided by the Adams Township School District

The library will host a public program at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, February 11, 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” featuring dozens of historical photographs of the Keweenaw. 

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. Robert and Ruth will be attending the reception.  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 Jeffers High School library through Friday, February 25. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu

Frank Rugani, a volunteer and board member with the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center, examines one of the interpretive panels.

 

The exhibit will continue at the Jeffers High School library through Friday, February 25.


Local Researchers for Hire

Interested in researching Copper Country history or tracing your family roots but are just to darn far away to visit the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections for yourself?

Although research is best done in person, there are alternatives. -- Photograph of Francis Jacker from the Keweenaw Digital Archives, Image #:MS042-040-T-182

As a courtesy for those who aren’t able to visit the Upper Peninsula, the Michigan Tech Archives offers a list of independent researchers for you to contact. You can make arrangements with these individuals to undertake research for you, from looking up an obituary in a historic newspaper to gathering background information for a book and more.

Zach Kukkonen
608-658-0909
kooksmart@hotmail.com
Open to researching anything.

Marjorie Lindley
755 Seventh Street
Laurium, MI 49913
906-337-2615
marjorielindley@yahoo.com
Will do look ups in the MTU Archives and marriage records in the courthouse. Also local cemeteries, photos, and information.

Peg Neidholdt
26330 Quincy Street
Laurium, MI  49913
906-337-2380
pegnied@charter.net
Researching genealogy records for 32 years. Researching Houghton and Keweenaw County for over five years. Member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

These researchers are not affiliated with Michigan Technological University, and the Michigan Tech Archives has no control over the results of their work.


Reading Room Holiday Hours

The Archives will close for the holiday season at 5:00 p.m., on Wednesday, December 23, 2010.

We will reopen at 10:00 a.m., on Monday, January 3, 2011.

Requests for information can be left via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu or by telephone at 906-487-2505.

On behalf of the Archives’ staff, have a wonderful holiday season!

Erik
Julie
Christine
Beth

A 1915 Christmas scene taken by photographer J.T. Reeder. He titled the picture "Mary's 2nd Christmas tree."

Workshop: Introduction to Archival Research

Ever wonder how to start a historical research project? Not sure where to find the right documents to answer your question? Unclear how a research archives operates?  Join Michigan Tech archivists Julie Blair and Erik Nordberg at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1, for an introduction to archival research. The workshop will take place in Room 244 of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

This session will provide a general overview of research using historical records. The workshop will include an introduction to historical research methods and attendees will learn how to locate, integrate, and cite archival material in their research. Presenters will discuss what is meant by phrases like “manuscript collection” and “primary source,” how to describe different types of archival sources, and learn about the similarities and important differences between archives, libraries, and museums.

Attendees will also learn how to use the Keweenaw Digital Archives to easily find historic images online, how to create an account, make a digital album, and add their own comments and observations to the photos. The session will draw upon numerous examples from the holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives, which collects historical material about Michigan Tech and the people, communities, and industries of the surrounding Copper Country.

This workshop will also be repeated at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 7, and is part of a weekly series of programs offered by the Van Pelt and Opie Library. For more information on the Library’s workshop series, visit their blog.


Keweenaw Digital Archives Reaches 10,000 Images

This photograph, showing a group of copper miners at an unknown location, was the 10,000 image added to the Keweenaw Digital Archives. Image #ACC03-153D-01-02 from the Van Den Belt Photograph Collection.

 

The Keweenaw Digital Archives, a web-based collection of historical photographic images of Michigan’s Copper Country, added its 10,000th image on Friday, November 19.  The collection is drawn primarily from the photographic holdings of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collations and document the social and industrial life of the Keweenaw Peninsula. 

“It’s been an incredible experience,” remarks Christine Holland, library assistant with primary responsibility for adding content to the system. “I’ve lived here all my life, but it really wasn’t until I started scanning photos for the digital site that I really began to appreciate the buildings, places, and history around me.” 

“People know the Keweenaw was a historic mining district, but you can’t see any mining here today. Looking at these historical photos, seeing miners working underground, seeing thousands of copper ingots on the docks, or the crowds dressed in their finery on city streets — that’s when you really begin to understand what happened here.” 

Initial funding for the digital archives initiative was part of the Michigan Tech Archives “Interior Ellis Island” ethnic history project. A donation from Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack, Michigan, supported the purchase of computer and scanning equipment necessary for the work. A grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, supported the more significant aspects of the project.   

“This is an incredible milestone for our digital collection,” noted Erik Nordberg, University Archivist. “We began this project in March 2006 and have grown from success to success over the last four years. It’s a testament to Christine’s efforts that we have been able to create such a rich and varied public resource in such a short time.” 

The Keweenaw Digital Archives includes photographs from a variety of sources and covering a variety of periods. Some of the earliest images include the work of local photographers J.W. Nara, J.T. Reeder and Adolph Isler and date well before 1900. More recent images include photos from Michigan Tech campus photographers and alumni, as well as a large number from Houghton’s local newspaper, The Daily Mining Gazette. Topics include copper mining, local cities and towns, social life, maritime and lighthouses, campus life and athletic teams, and almost every aspect of life in Michigan’s Copper Country. 

When asked for some of her favorite images, Holland stops to think. “That’s a tough question. One that immediately springs to mind is a 1909 photograph of the first dirigible to fly over Houghton. I was able to track down a newspaper article about the event and the reporter commented on how the balloon, named The Comet, did a figure eight around St. Ignatius Church.” 

“Personally, I’ve always loved to see the interior decor of Victorian homes. And I really like photographs of social activities like picnics. It’s interesting to see the clothing people wore and the way they did their hair. It makes you think about how things have changed, but also how things have stayed the same.” 

The public can visit the Keweenaw Digital Archives online at http://digarch.lib.mtu.edu  In addition to searching for images by keyword, visitors can browse by subject, or search for just the most recent images added to the system. Interactive features allow the general public to submit comments about individual images, develop their own online photo album, or generate a duplication order for photographic prints or digital scans. 

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

Detail of image #ACC03-153D-01-02, showing young boy amongst copper miners. From the Van Den Belt Photograph Collection, Michigan Tech Archives.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  

Update:
The Daily Mining Gazette, Houghton’s local newspaper, ran a nice story about our milestone in the December 2, 2010 edition.  The story is in online as part of their web edition and an image capture of the the front page of the paper is attached below (the story is on the lower right). 

  

    


Nara Exhibit Travels to the Finnish American Heritage Center

An unknown man poses in "Finnish Hunter's Costume" at the J.W. Nara photographic studio. Image# Nara 42-264.

“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 Finnish American Heritage Center on the campus of Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and will be open to the public through December 7 during the Center’s normal hours, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, November 3, the Center will host a public program 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” featuring dozens of historical photographs of the Keweenaw. The presentation is scheduled midday for 12:30pm in the Finnish American Heritage Center. 

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. Robert and Ruth will be attending the reception.  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 Finnish American Heritage Center through Tuesday, December 7. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu



The Clarence Monette Collection Finding Aid is Online

He’s one of the Copper Country’s most prolific authors. His name is synonymous with local history.

With the publication of his first book in 1974, Clarence Monette has been researching and writing about the towns, businesses, railroads, and events that make up the storied past of the Keweenaw and its people. His work, over 50 individual publications, comprises the heart of any comprehensive collection on Copper Country history. Each of his volumes gathers together a wealth of facts and details about a particular topic.

In 2008, Monette donated his personal research collection to the Michigan Tech Archives. It was carefully processed by long-time Archives student worker Ryan Cooper, and described in detail by University Archivist Erik Nordberg. The finding aid is available through the Archives’ website. You can link directly to it here.

The material contained in the 54 boxes of material donated by Monette has been rehoused and organized by topic. The collection holds photographs, maps, newspaper clippings, and other information assembled by Monette during the course of his research.

To learn out more about this collection and others, call the Archives at 906-487-2505, email us at copper@mtu.edu, or visit our website at http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/.

”]From the Clarence Monette Collection, this image illustrates the damage to railroad tracks caused by the 1906 Atlantic Mine earthquake. [Image #:MS058-006-001-01]

Archival Speaker Series – Northern Roots

Although the lives of local African-Americans settlers to the area are poorly documented, this photograph shows the interior of  a Calumet barbershop and four of its employees. Image #:Nara 42-149
Although the lives of local African-Americans settlers in the area are poorly documented, this photograph shows the interior of a Calumet barbershop and four of its employees. Image #:Nara 42-149

The Michigan Tech Archives and Center for Diversity and Inclusion are pleased to host visiting researcher Dr. Valerie Bradley-Holliday for “Northern Roots: African Descended Pioneers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,” at 7:00 p.m. on September 28, in Dow 642.

What do Sampson Noll, a 19th century runaway slave, and Charlotte Preston, a member of the first class to graduate from Northern State Normal School (now NMU) have in common? As it turns out, two things. Both of these people lived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and both were Americans of African descent.

Dr. Valerie Bradley-Holliday will tell these stories and more on Tuesday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. in Room 642 of the Dow Building. The event is free and open to the general public.

Bradley-Holliday, a resident of Marquette, is an avocational historian and the author of several books, most recently Northern Roots: African Descended Pioneers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She has a PhD in social psychology from The Union Institute and University, and masters in social work from Wayne State University. She is currently researching an African American settlement at the Elmwood logging camp in Iron County, Michigan. Copies of Northern Roots will be available for purchase at the event.

Her visit is jointly sponsored by the Michigan Tech Archives and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. The Michigan Tech Archival Speaker Series features researchers whose work makes use of the rich resources in the Copper Country Historical Collections. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion supports programs that promote diversity and build an awareness of social injustice issues.

For more information contact the Archives at 906-487-2505, or email copper@mtu.edu.