Collection Spotlight: Citizens to Save Superior Shorelines Records

the view of little presque isle

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Did you know that Little Presque Isle almost became a power plant in the late 1960s? If it weren’t for concerned people banding together in the form of a group called Citizens to Save the Superior Shoreline (CSSS), Little Presque might not be the beautiful area that it is today.

Until 1969, a local Marquette family owned Little Presque and kept it open for public use. Then, they began looking to sell the property to anyone who would buy it.

The UP Power Company offered a lot of money for the property and the family agreed. Many people were outraged at the destruction of such a gorgeous area. They came together and formed the CSSS. In the face of a petition with thousands of signatures, the UP Power Company dropped their plan to buy the property. A few years later, the family again almost sold the land to residential developers.

CSSS worried that they would not be able to permanently save Little Presque. Then, in 1975, the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company announced that they were looking to purchase some land from the DNR to expand their mining enterprises. In order to acquire the interior land that they needed, they were going to trade land of equal worth to the DNR.

CSSS saw this upcoming land trade as an opportunity to preserve Little Presque forever. They approached CCI and the DNR and asked if CCI would be willing to buy the land surrounding Little Presque and give that to the DNR in trade for the interior land that they needed for mining. CCI agreed. This area included not just Little Presque Isle but also such popular recreational areas as Harlow Lake and Wetmore Landing.

CSSS did not just work to keep Little Presque Isle and the surrounding areas pristine. They also tackled many other environmental issues, such as local problems with air and water pollution and bottle recycling in Michigan.

Interested in learning more about the activities of CSSS? Come to the Archives and see their collection! It includes meeting minutes, correspondence, newsletters, financial records, copies of legislative bills about environmental issues, news clippings, and maps of Presque Isle.

Or, come and check out our next Chat with the Archivist session on Wednesday, February 25 from 10 AM – 12 PM! Marcus will be somewhere in the lobby areas of first floor Jamrich with some materials from the CSSS collection. He will be happy to answer your questions regarding local environmental history or any archival topic.

Written by Annika Peterson

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Comprehensive Records Survey

The Northern Michigan University and Central Upper Peninsula Archives contains manuscript collections from around the Upper Peninsula, but it also is an in-house collecting archives. As an in-house archives, university offices and departments transfer records to be archived and preserved at the University Records Center. Many of the records are not vital to the university’s function and are eventually destroyed according to retention and disposition schedules. Federal, State, and university policies dictate these schedules that the Archivist or Records Analyst follow to determine when records are confidentially disposed.

Ms. Sara Kiszka, Records Analyst, has launched a Comprehensive Records Survey (CRS) of all official university records on campus. The CRS uses the methodology of functional analysis to determine the historical value of University records.[1]

Functional analysis is a method of appraising records to determine their historical value. It carefully examines the mission and duties of an office. The staff analyzes the importance of each office function within the context of the parent institution’s primary functions and missions. Those office functions determined to be most important for completing the institution’s mission are likely to produce records with the greatest historical value. When appraising records, we identify the type and format of the records, how they are stored and arranged, and the frequency of how often they are used by staff. This macro level approach to arrangement allows us to view records as they are actually used, rather than how traditional appraisal purports them to be.

Typically, university records are arranged by the department or office hierarchy in the university. This method does not allow for flexibility within the constant shifting of departments and functions. With functional analysis method of appraisal for records, university records managers can better adapt their policies with that of the records produced by the university.

After five months of preparation, workshops, and staff, Ms. Kiszka launched the CRS at the beginning of Winter Semester, 2015. CRS Technicians, Prince Parker, Stefan Nelson, and Senior CRS Technician Morgan Paavola, have begun visiting academic departments and collecting information about how offices create and store their records. With this data, Ms. Kiszka and the CRS team will develop and publish online unique appraisal reports for every office; these reports will outline new disposition schedules and file storage recommendations among many other things.

Ms. Kiszka and Ms. Paavola are preparing a case study of the CRS for publication and presentation at the spring meeting of the Midwest Archives Conference and the annual conference of the Michigan Archival Association in June, 2015.


To follow the progress of the CRS click here


[1] Marcus Robyns, Using Functional Analysis in Archival Appraisal: A Practical and Effective Alternative to Traditional Appraisal Methodologies, 2014.

Written by Morgan Paavola

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Chat With the Archivist

Each semester, the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives offers several educational outreach programs designed to increase awareness of the Archives among students and faculty. Every two weeks the Archives will host “Chat with the Archivist” in the busy concourse of Jamrich Hall. Students and faculty can stop and visit to learn about Archives collections and activities. This coming Wednesday February 11, 2015 University Archivist Marcus Robyns will have papers from the John Voelker collection for students, faculty or community members to learn about. John Voelker was born in Ishpeming and is notoriously known for his novel Anatomy of a Murder. The John Voelker collection consists of court cases, personal documents and the actual bullets used in the Anatomy of a Murder case.

MarcusChat with the Archivist

Be sure to stop by anytime between 10am-12pm in Jamrich to learn more about the John Voelker collection. Interested in learning more about the Chat with the Archivist or the Voelker collection? Contact the Archives at

Written by Peter Dewan

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Northern Michigan University Archives Update

untitled-17A lot of things are going to be happening at the Archives this semester. Here’s an update about what’s going on:

New Online Exhibit

You may remember us announcing several months ago an upcoming online exhibit about student protests at Northern in the late 1960s. Well, a few complications pushed back the release date, but it should be going up within a week!

The site has multiple layers to explore. You can read a summary of the events or dive deeper into the sources themselves. We have digitized many sources including newspaper articles, photos, other documents, oral histories, and even some audio recorded at the protests themselves!

The idea first developed last March and research started in May. As one of the people involved with the project as a researcher and writer, I can tell you that we’re very excited to finally be able to share this project with you! Many thanks to the amazing Kelley Kanon an Anne Krohn who have been working very hard to digitize the sources and code and design the website and who have dealt with many delays and revisions!

Digitization and Transcription Project

The state of our oral history collections is currently widely varied. Some were donated with notes or transcripts, some were not. Sometimes those notes are mere topics, sometimes they are descriptions or summaries. In general, those interviews which were donated without transcripts or notes still don’t have them. This limits their accessibility for patrons, and makes it difficult for researchers to find potentially very helpful interviews.

However, even creating notes for a single interview, let alone transcribing it, is a very time-consuming process. The sheer number of oral histories and other audio and video records that we have makes digitization difficult as well. Hence, making these records more accessible has been put on the back burner for a very long time.

James Shefchik and Emily Winnell from the Center for Upper Peninsula Studies are helping us to change that. They are going to go through about five hundred oral history interviews and create a basic summary of what is on the tape. They are also going to develop a ranking for the importance of getting the interviews transcribed and digitized. The long-term goal is to make all of our oral history interviews and other audio records available online with basic notes or transcriptions.

NMU Video Collection

Our video records have been in similar disarray, but in the next few months they are finally going to be properly accessioned by Anne Krohn and Jessica Ulrich, which will make them much more accessible!

Comprehensive Records Survey

The Comprehensive Records Survey of all university records has finally begun and is running smoothly, although it’s keeping our records center team of Morgan Paavola, Prince Parker, and Stefan Nelson very busy. The offices that we have worked with so far are responding well and have been very helpful.

New Collection, Books, and Shelves

Dr. Magnaghi has kindly donated more of his papers to us along with many boxes of books about Michigan and the Upper Peninsula and six bookshelves. The many carts of boxes arrived today and accessioning will begin in the near future.

Upcoming Events at the Archives

Look for announcements about two Evening at the Archives events this semester! As details about time and date are confirmed, we will be releasing that information here and on social media.

On April 10, the Marquette County Genealogical Society will be hosting a genealogy lock-in at Peter White Public Library. We will be there with a display about genealogical resources at the Archives, so come and say hi to us! Space is limited at the lock-in, so be sure to register quickly after registration open if you want to go!

Written by Annika Peterson

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Citizens to Save Little Presque Isle and Wetmore Landing

Most people know Little Presque and Wetmore Landing as a beautiful place to hike, swim and cross country ski, but the area was almost lost when the DNR comprised a $300,000 plan to construct a campground within the Little Presque and Wetmore Landing area in the 1980s. According to this plan, the site would contain twenty-seven campsites on a 2,810 acre state recreation area. Without a group called the Citizens to Save Little Presque Isle and Wetmore Landing, the area would today be highly trafficked by motor vehicles, causing vandalism, litter and damage to the natural environment.


In the 1990s, the public became aware of the ongoing plan. A group of environmentally conscious citizens voiced their concerns with the overall proposal. At first they were misled to believe that all of the sites were walk-in accessible. The original proposed plan stated that nineteen campsites were specifically delegated for motor vehicles (such as RVs and ATVs ) and that only eight sites were walk-in accessible. They believed that the area should be preserved and that the increased traffic created by the campground would take away from the natural beauty of the area. The DNR dismissed the idea of public hearings, causing citizens to voice their concerns through letters and protests. Protests were held outside of the DNR’s office to bring awareness towards the issue. Rallies were held throughout Earth Day to bring attention to the issue within the community.


Without the high amount of interest from citizens to preserve the area of Little Presque & Wetmore Landing, people today would not be able to enjoy a beautiful piece of Marquette.

Interested in learning more about the history of the Citizens to Save Little Presque Isle & Wetmore Landing? Check out the Finding Aid for the group’s records or contact the Archives at

Written by Peter Dewan

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Ski Jumping in the Upper Peninsula

Throughout the Upper Peninsula’s history, Ski Jumping was a popular activity during the winter months. The skier jumps from a large scaffold, often traveling between 230 to 300 feet in the air. Judges score them based upon their form and overall distance. Multiple factors are taken into consideration for achieving maximum distance during the skier’s flight, such as the style of the skier’s bindings, boots, suit and skis. Ski Jumping started in 1808 in Norway and made its grand debut in the 1924 Olympic Games in Charmonix Mont-Blanc, France.

The Upper Peninsula has three ski jumps; Pine Mountain in Ironwood, Copper Peak in Iron Mountain and Suicide Hill in Ishpeming. Pine Mountain has received international recognition for being the largest artificial ski scaffold in North America. In the Archives’ James Goulette Papers, there are newspapers that highlight specific ski jumping events. On February 26th and 27th, 1949, Pine Mountain hosted “America’s greatest congregation of ski jumping talent since the 1932 Olympics at Lake Placid.” The expected attendance was 30,000 spectators with over 130 riders representing Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana, Vermont, New York, Finland, Norway and Canada. North American competitors were aiming for the first 300 foot flight in United States History. Local contestants such as Joe Perrault and Ralph Bietila of Ishpeming and Walter Bietila of Iron Mountain represented the Upper Peninsula by competing in the class A division. Ski Jumping is not as prevalent in the Upper Peninsula as it was 50 years ago. There are still competitions held yearly but not nearly as big as in the past.

Iron Mountain News 2/25/1949, Pine Mountain Ski Competition

Iron Mountain News 2/25/1949, Pine Mountain Ski Competition

Interested in learning more about the history of ski jumping in the Upper Peninsula, check out or Manuscript Findings Aids or contact the Archives staff.

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Records of Marquette Civic Organizations

In recent posts, we have revealed archival collections about the Cambium Club at Northern Michigan University and the Paisano Club, an Italian fraternal organization. Many civic organizations in the Upper Peninsula are charters of global organizations that strive to improve the status of women, businesses and communities.

Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide. The organization seeks to improve the legal, political, economic, health, educational and professional status of women through service and advocacy. In October 1972, a group of women gathered at the Marquette County Historical Society for an introduction to the Zonta International Club. The bylaws for the Marquette Zonta Club were approved by the board of directors and they held their first meeting on November 14, 1972. The Marquette Zonta Club records (1983-2004) contain, but are not limited to, committee meeting minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and fundraising material. The collection documents numerous events including City Clean-Up – Picnic Rocks, American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Literacy Day, the UP Children’s Museum, Harbor House and the Women’s Center.


The Marquette Federation of Women is another civic organization in the Marquette area whose endeavor is to improve the personal and professional lives of women in the Upper Peninsula. Established in 1926, the Marquette Federation of Women’s club continues to serve as an umbrella organization corroborating with other civic organizations and women’s groups in the Marquette area. The Federation purchased a house on the corner of Front and Ridge Streets in Marquette, Michigan for their club house, where it still stands today. The Marquette Federation of Women has been involved with a variety of community service and fundraising activities. This collection includes a club house history written in 1928, scrapbooks containing news clippings and photographs, correspondence, and house caretaker logs.

A number of Rotary Clubs can be found in the Marquette area. Rotary of Marquette and Marquette West Rotary Club records can be found at the Northern Michigan University Archives. The Rotary was established for members to come together from various backgrounds and talents to make a difference in the community, as well as the world. The Rotary Club of Marquette records (1994-1995) include, but are not limited to, lists of membership, board members, committees, constitution and bylaws, and meeting minutes. The Marquette West Rotary Club records (1979 – 2012) document the history and activities of the Marquette West Rotary Club, such as the annual Seafood Fest. This Festival is their most significant organizational activity and all proceeds are used to fund services to the community. The collection also documents the Rotary Youth Exchange, and the Club’s collaboration with other local and global service organizations.


Marquette Ambassadors with Representative Dominic Jacobetti in Lansing.

The Marquette Ambassadors Club was founded for those interested in economic business and community betterment. It was comprised of individuals from the community interested in bettering businesses in the area. The group regularly appeared before Michigan politicians as economic advocates for the city. This collection contains the club scrapbook and photographs of the Marquette Ambassadors Club from 1964-1969.

The Northern Michigan University Archives contains many other local organizations’ manuscript collections. For more information and a look at what other collections we have, take a look at our online finding aids.

By Morgan Paavola

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