Churches of Marquette and other Religious Affiliated Collections at the Archives

The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives contains several collections relating to history of Christian religious organizations in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. These manuscript records document the different stories through original correspondence, journals and reports of financial and sacramental records. The number and variety of collections are suitable for extensive research on the history of religious conviction in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


St. Peters Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan


Majority of the collections pertain to the history of Catholic groups and Churches in Marquette. Before the city of Marquette was established the area had been explored by Missionaries with the intent to convert natives and immigrants in the area. Marquette, Michigan, was named in honor of a French Jesuit missionary Father Jacques Marquette (1637-1675). Father Marquette founded Michigan’s first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and explored much of what is known today as Upper Peninsula. Today, a large number of Christian denominations are active in the region, including, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Jehovah witness.

Participation in religious associations and activates eased the transitions to a new land. Italian’s are just one of many nationalities to settle in the mining and lumber towns. In 1965, Msgr. David Spelegatti founded the Paisano Club as a benevolent society for Italian immigrants and their children. The Msgr. David P. Spelgatti papers document the early years of the Pisano Club and the activities of St. John’s Catholic Church of Ishpeming, Michigan. Msgr. Spelgatti served the St. John the Evangelist parish from 1958 to 1991.


In 2005 a presentation commemorating St. Louis the King Catholic Church describes the history of the St. Louis the King Catholic Parish in Harvey, Michigan from 1955 to 2005. St. Louis the King Catholic Church was formed in 1954 in Harvey, Michigan, just south of Marquette. After a groundbreaking ceremony for the first church structure in 1955, the congregation grew to nearly 700 families by 1999. A new church structure was opened in 2000 and he original church building became the church social hall. The church operates the Annual Chocolay Summerfest, contributes to the local parish school system, and has had six pastors since its inception. The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan records detail the history and the growth of the Church in the Upper Peninsula. The Archives maintains related religious collections, such as; the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church records, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church records, and First Methodist Church records.

Within other collections you can find leading figures in Marquette’s history including Peter White, Which can be found in the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church records. Peter White is well-known for his contributions to the building of the city of Marquette and major contributions establishing the Peter White Public Library.

Shortly after the Civil War, immigrants from all over Europe began to settle in the Upper Peninsula forming close communities based a similar background’s and common language. Immigrants from Cornwall and other areas of Great Britain began arriving in the Upper Peninsula in the 1840s. They took jobs as iron and copper miners and were members of the Anglican Church. In 1854, the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan expanded to the Upper Peninsula and built two churches in Houghton and Ontonagon, Michigan, to address the religions needs of Cornish miners. In 1891, the Dioceses appointed Gershom Mott Williams as the first Archdeacon of the Upper Peninsula. Later in 1895, the archdeaconry became the Episcopal Diocese of Marquette with Archdeacon Williams consecrated as the first Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan.

For more information The Archivist File is open for browsing or scroll through the Manuscript Finding Aids or contact the Archives staff.

Written by Morgan Paavola

Posted in Central U.P. and NMU Archives | Leave a comment

Collection Spotlight: The Cambium Club Records

CambiumThe Cambium Club was a student organization for Biology majors and minors at Northern. The name cambium “refers to the vital tissue in the stems of trees and shrubs which makes possible continued growth and development over a period of years” and was supposed to symbolize the students, who were the “cambium of the biological future”.

It was formed in December of 1938 at a meeting at the house of Dr. Luther West (the namesake of the West Science building). A 1960s pamphlet described the activities of the club:

“They socialize–you know, eat cookies, drink Hawaiian Punch and talk semi-intelligently with one another. Sometimes they climb Hogsback Mountain, and sometimes they have camp parties with lots of food, horseshoes, and Pepsi Cola. Sometimes they get serious and listen to speakers who know something about careers in teaching, in medicine, in pharmaceuticals, in microbiology, in fish and wildlife, in forestry. They watch good movies about biology. They pick up litter or plant trees or just make themselves useful in other ways. In other words, the Cambium Club is sort of a coed Biological Boy Scouts. The Cambium Club doesn’t give merit badges, but coed Boy Scouts can be fun, anyhow.”

Members attended talks given by Northern professors and guests on topics such as “Some of my Worst Experiences in Biology”, “The Fishing Habits of the Huron Mountain Club”, “Insects Affecting Farm Animals”, “How Not to Get Lost”, and “The One-Celled Animals of Michigan”. One presentation by Dr. Hunt, “Magic in Chemistry”, “consisted of interesting chemical experiments that were enjoyed by all”. They also watched movies such as “How to Construct a Sanitary Pit Privy” and “The Budding of Yeast”.

The Cambium Club went on collecting trips to Little Presque, Seney, and Saint Ignace and planned environmental teach-ins.  They were also responsible for creating and maintaining trails in Longyear Forest and for running an annual science fair and science newsletter for UP high school and NMU students. The Cambium Club also ran an exhibit every year. Over the years, their exhibits included a Foucault pendulum showing the rotation of the Earth and a vivisected turtle whose heart was subjected to salts while students watched.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Cambium Club was their strange initiation ritual. Prospective members had to write an essay on a topic assigned to them by Cambium members. Topics included “Theories of Causes of Monsters and Anomolies”, “Recent Developments in Hydroponics”, and the “Histogenesis of Leukocytes”. If the paper was approved, students were admitted into the club. During the initiation ritual, Cambium members played the roles of various tree parts, such as “Worthy Cork Cambium”, “Worthy Chloroplast”, “Faithful Keeper of the Annual Rings”, “Epidermal Stoma”, “Medulary Ray”, and the “Principal Storage Cell”. Then, a quartet consisting of a Song Sparrow, Tree Toad, Snowy Tree Cricket, and a Katydid (played by Dr. West) sang a song entitled “The Sad Fate of a Youthful Sponge”. The new members became “undifferentiated parenchyma” who could progress to more specialized roles in the club as time went on.

Sadly, interest in the Cambium Club and its bizarre rituals waned over time, and the club ceased to exist in 1970.

The Cambium Club records include financial records, meeting minutes, publicity and events materials, and photographs. For more information about this collection, check out our finding aid!

Blog PictureWritten by Annika Peterson

Posted in Central U.P. and NMU Archives | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Collection Highlight: Seney National Wildlife Refuge collection

If you have ever traveled down state highways 28 or 77 to get to Marquette, you have driven along the borders of the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Located between the small town of Seney, Michigan, and the Hiawatha National Forest, the Refuge is just one of the many beautiful national parks in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.morganone

In 1935, the Michigan Conservation Department recommended that the Federal Government redevelop the heavily logged area near Seney as a wildlife refuge. Today the 95,238 acres includes the 25,150 acres of the Seney Wilderness Area as well as Whitefish Point, Harbor Island, and other scattered National Wildlife Refuges that harbor migratory birds and other wildlife.
The Seney National Wildlife Refuge collection contains the Annual Narrative Reports from 1938-1982 highlighting the rebuilding of the area. These reports provide extensive and detailed descriptions of climate conditions, resource management, fire control, types of species and their condition, land use planning, pesticide studies, water management practices, and habitat management. The collection also includes brief histories of the towns of Germfask and Grand Marais which are located near the refuge.


Harvey C. Saunders papers are also included in the collection. Harvey Saunders spent 16 years working for the Refuge and as a supervisor for the Civilian Public Service (CPS). During World War II the federal government operated CPS camps for conscientious objectors. The Seney National Wildlife Refuge was also the site for federally funded programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Saunders began writing about his time as a supervisor and working for the Wildlife Refuge in detailed letters and journals. His memoirs, for example, offer researchers a unique window into the workings of the CPS camps and the life of their inhabitants.

The Seney Wildlife collection contains many photographs from the rebuilding of the wetlands and the preservation center. For more information about this collection see the finding aid.

Another collection at the Archives, the Elizabeth Losey Papers, also concerns the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Betty Losey was the first female field biologist for the National Wildlife Service. For more information, see the finding aid to her collection or our blog post about her.

To learn more about the Seney wildlife refuge, click here.

Written by: Morgan Paavola

Posted in Central U.P. and NMU Archives | Leave a comment

Welcome Back NMU!

As the fall semester begins, we thought that we would give everyone an update on what has occurred at the Archives this summer and what will be happening here this fall.

New Book

The University Archivist, Marcus Robyns, has published a book entitled Using Functional Analysis in Archival Appraisal: A Practical and Effective Alternative to Traditional Appraisal Methodologies. You can read more about the book on Amazon

Upcoming Exhibit on John X. Jamrich

The Archives has several events coming up this semester. In September, the Archives will be celebrating the dedication of the new Jamrich Hall with an exhibit about John X. Jamrich and the old Jamrich Hall. This exhibit will be physically displayed outside the Archives and virtually displayed on our website.

Evening at the Archives

There will also be two Evening at the Archives presentations this semester. In honor of the dedication of New Jamrich, the University Archivist will give a presentation entitled “Blood on the Table: The Battle for Shared Governance at Northern Michigan University 1967-1976″ on September 24th at 7 PM.

The second Evening at the Archives this semester will occur during October, which is both National Archives Month and Nation Genealogy Month. The Archives will be hosting a workshop on genealogy with the Marquette County Genealogical Society. Check our blog or our website as October nears for more detailed information.

Upcoming Exhibit on Student Protests at Northern

During November, the Archives will release a web exhibit on student protests at Northern in the late 1960s. There may also be a presentation on the subject. Check our website as November approaches for details.

University Records Survey

This fall, our Records Analyst Assistant Sara Kiszka will be conducting a campus-wide records survey to determine whether departments are donating the proper records to the Archives.

Are you a Northern student looking for a job?

This fall we are hiring five new student assistants. One will manage our websites, create new web exhibits, and assist our Digitization Specialist with the digitization of archival materials. Another will be an educational outreach specialist who will help plan outreach events and will help with reference requests. Two student assistants will be helping with the university records survey. These positions will entail visiting various campus offices and determining which records should be preserved at the Archives. For more information, check our postings on Cat Career Tracks. Be sure to turn in your application by September 5th.

If you have any questions, please inquire by e-mail at or at the Archives (LRC 126).

Written by Annika Peterson

Posted in Central U.P. and NMU Archives | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Collection Spotlight: The Moral Re-Armament Papers

The Northern Michigan University and Central Upper Peninsula Archives has recently finished processing a collection containing a number of books and plays published by the Moral Re-armament. The Moral Re-armament (MRA) grew out of the Oxford Group founded by Frank Buchman in the 1930’s. It was founded on ‘the four absolutes’, moral standards that had been directed by God. They were; honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness and absolute love.

The MRA grew in response to the military rearmament leading up to the Second World War. Eventually, Buchman launched a worldwide evangelistic campaign based on God’s guidance, the four moral absolutes, and individuals who changed their lives in order to serve God and believed in the motto ‘Change yourself and you can change the world’.


orange-Good_Road-8“The Good Road”, one of the many melodramatic Moral Re-Armament theatrical productions. ( Source:

For a brief time the movement held conferences and put on plays at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island beginning in 1942. By the early 1950’s the MRA owned a large part of the island. They constructed a training center, theatre, and sound stage there. As the movement grew internationally, many celebrities and influential people began to take notice. Supporters of the organization included, Presidents Nixon and Eisenhower as well as the pope and many celebrities including Glenn Close. After the death of Buchman in 1961, Peter Howard took over the MRA and continued to spread the idea of morality and the four absolutes.

Following the end of the Second World War, the MRA workers returned to the task of establishing a lasting peace. In 1946, fifty Swiss families active in the work of MRA bought and restored a large, derelict hotel at Caux, Switzerland. Today, the Moral Rearmament lives on by the Up with People (UWP) and Initiatives of Change (IofC) organization still based in Switzerland.

Some published works by the Moral Rearmament that can be found in the Archives collection include;” Remaking Men”, “Where Do We Go From Here?”, and “Moral Re-Armament- What is it?” Play scripts include “The Diplomats”, “Music at Midnight” and many more!

Written by Morgan Paavola

Posted in Central U.P. and NMU Archives | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Collection Spotlight: The Women’s Center Oral History Collection

Women's Center2The Archives recently finished digitizing a new collection of oral history interviews. For past several months, digitization specialist Anne Krohn and her predecessor Kacey Lewis have worked with Jane Ryan to film and digitize interviews with community members involved with the Marquette Women’s Center.

The Women’s Center began with a conference called “The Changing Role of Women in the 70s” at Northern Michigan University in 1972. From 1973 to 1980, the Women’s Center was an office of the university’s Continuing Education branch. Its original focus was counseling women to pursue non-traditional jobs. Budget cuts in 1980 caused the university to close the Women’s Center. However, it continued as an independent non-profit organization in Marquette. For the next six years, Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church Guild Hall housed the Center. In 1986, the Women’s Center moved into its own building on Front Street and in 2013 it celebrated its 40th anniversary. It is the oldest women’s center in Michigan.

The Center has a variety of functions. It runs workshops on assertiveness training, active listening, and displaced homemakers. It also provides domestic violence and sexual assault counseling and support services for survivors of childhood abuse and incest. The Center opened the Harbor House in 1978 as a shelter for domestic violence victims. The Harbor House provides temporary housing for women while educating them about “finances and budgeting, housing application processes, employment, and educational options”. It also runs a sexual assault response team which helps women to deal with hospitals and law enforcement agencies.

The collection includes oral history interviews with the five “Founding Mothers” of the Women’s Center: Sally May, Gail Griffith, Holly Greer, Karlyn Rapport, and Patricia Micklow, as well as interviews with staff, volunteers, and recipients of Women’s Center services. All of the interviews are online here.

Interested in more information about the Women’s Center? The Archives has several collections which include material dealing with the Women’s Center. The papers of NMU’s Presidential and Vice Presidential Offices as well as the Marquette County Labor Council contain correspondence related to the Center and the decision to close it in 1980. It also contains the paperwork for a 1977 grant given to Holly Greer at the Women’s Center to study how to effectively eliminate “vocational educational role stereotyping”.  There is also an oral history interview with Holly Greer from 1981 when the Center was transitioning from a Northern Michigan University program to a non-profit organization.

Interested in getting involved with the Women’s Center? Their website can be found here.

Women's Center1Written by Annika Peterson.

Posted in Central U.P. and NMU Archives | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ishpeming’s Long Hair Controversy

It is spring in the year 1970. US troops have recently invaded Cambodia. Anti-war protests continue to rage across the country as the credibility gap widens. The trial of the Chicago 7 fills the national news….

Meanwhile in Marquette County, controversy rages over the length of a boy’s hair….

It sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? But for several weeks in 1970, the Marquette Mining Journal focused upon the haircut of a single individual. It began when Ishpeming High School valedictorian Steven Koenig was barred from commencement exercises due to the length of his hair. Several weeks of vitriol-filled editorials on both sides of the issue followed.

Many of the editorials supporting the school board sound like a parody of the classic curmudgeon-like, pro-Establishment 1960s parent as they extol the school board’s infinite virtues:

“This fine school board is now being taken to court because of a haircut. In their wisdom, this school board made the guidelines for apparel and length of hair…knowing from experience these fads can escalate out of control as in other schools. Most sad is the clergy condoning the action of the inequities of youth. In his defiance of the school board he acted against the teachings of Paul in the Holy Bible when he said you shall obey the authorities. All parents should guide their children in the study of the Gospel so that we might be spared the doubtful benefits of a ‘student demonstration’.”

There were many who seemed convinced that this was the beginning of the end of the decidedly non-counter-cultural UP:

“Maybe now they will realize the movement has hit the UP and will be well aware of what can happen. The first step is ‘Hair’, then to court, then, unless you stick to your convictions, your dress code will be abolished, acid rock concerts will flourish, underground newspapers will be daily news, obscenities the password, students striking in sympathy, senior high ‘bill of rights’, junior high ‘bill of rights’, abolishing discipline policy, etc….Just look at Ann Arbor. It can and will happen only if you allow it.”

Only weeks before the Koenig incident, the Supreme Court had ruled that public schools could not discipline students for hair length. Some Marquette County residents felt that this was due to loose parenting:

“It is a sad commentary on the state of parental authority when the length of a boy’s haircut has to be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court. One would think that our Supreme Court had more pressing issues to rule on and no doubt would if some parents did not shirk their responsibility of teaching the necessity of authority and law and order.”

Still, there were some who defended the abrogation of Steven’s personal freedom with impassioned speech:

“Under the existing code, my fellow German immigrant Albert Einstein, whose many virtues did not extend to the neatness or tapering of hair, would not have been permitted to attend the commencement program of this school either. Nor would he have wanted to do so.”

“Steven was not a truant…his hair was too long. Steven was not a protester…his hair was too long. Steven was not a failure in class work…his hair was too long. Steven dared to stand up for a principle…but his hair was too long. Steven was not a dope-user…his hair was too long.

“Dear Sir: My congratulations go to the principal and board of education at the Ishpeming high school, who with intelligence and forethought stopped a long-haired student from participating in graduation exercises. By rejecting him you have shown him that he is inferior to his short-haired classmates and totally unfit to live in our great society. Now we can only hope that the President and Congress follow in your steps by exiling all long-haired people: Jesus Christ, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Einstein, just to name a few. After all, isn’t it common knowledge that it’s not what’s inside someone which makes him a man but the length of his hair which makes him what he is.”

Ultimately, the hemming and hawing led to naught–Steven Koenig was still not allowed at his commencement ceremony, and the UP didn’t enter into an immoral, lawless age of abandon because of long-haired hooligans. One wonders what vicious debates now will seem silly to the next generation.

Written by Annika Peterson.

Posted in Central U.P. and NMU Archives | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment