New Member of the Archives – Meet AJ!

Arriving to Northern Michigan University

College life. A life I didn’t think I would be prepared for, but one I was jumping into the thick of anyway. My name is AJ Laatsch and I am a new student here at Northern Michigan University. I have just graduated from high school last June and I started school here just a couple months ago in August. I am interested in Art & Design and I have to come here to earn a major for it with a concentration in either Computer Art or Graphic Design. My next semester of classes will help me discover the right direction to take. mayville

One of the biggest changes I encountered after coming here was the separation of myself and home. Obviously, that is to be expected of most, but some live close enough to go home often enough. This isn’t the case for me. I was originally born in Ohio, but I’ve lived in Southeastern Wisconsin for most of my life. My home city can be found about an hour northwest of one of the biggest cities in Wisconsin: Milwaukee. The revelation that I would become a resident of a completely different state because of college was so strange to me. But in the long run, it didn’t affect me as much as I thought it would. Even though I would be away from home and my family most of the time, I haven’t been very homesick or bothered in anyway, so I can say I’ve adapted to living here well. Plus, since I’ve lived in Wisconsin, I know what it is like to get a fair share of snow. Although, it starts a little earlier here and there is much, much more of it. However, it isn’t something I can’t handle.

Like for most families, going to college raises concerns on how it’s going to get paid for. I had received a couple of scholarships from my school to help with payment, along with working at a job and filing for student loans. It was a huge issue for my family because for some time, my parents didn’t think it would be worth paying for since it would take much longer than going to a different school with the same program. Yet, they were supportive of my decision to go and let me after some influencing. Not letting my parents down on their decision is now one of the most important things for me to take care of. Once I signed up for courses and was almost ready to start school, I started looking for an on-campus job right away. My only preference was that I didn’t want to work in dining services just because I don’t like working with food. I started off by finding something simple, something that would keep me busy and pay me well, too. After looking for a while, I found nothing that really interested me until I scrolled upon an NMU Archives job opening. I was interested and decided I should show my interest by applying. It turned out to be a little different than I expected.

The Archives & Me

Some time went by and I had received an email detailing a time and date for an interview. This put me in anxious, but also positive mood. Shortly after the interview, I got an email welcoming me to The Archives and I was overjoyed that my interview went well and I had an on-campus job. That was 3 months ago. I still currently work at The Archives and I’m expecting I’ll work here for the next couple of years if things go well. I have been trained in the digitization of physical information through our various equipment, I have a good sense of how to locate information and I’m currently tasked with building websites for different projects The Archives have in mind.

AJ deskFor the most part, what I do at The Archives isn’t anything that should cause much stress. Timewise, everything at The Archives is managed very well and I can go into work expecting to do something. Plus, its work that I should be able to handle and understand. As I continue to work throughout the days, I continuously improve my skills in one aspect or another at what I do, so I’m getting something out of each day. I am going to work and accomplishing something. That alone tells me I’m doing just fine. However, about a month ago, I started getting assigned to bigger projects. These projects required the creation of a website, and it was entrusted to me to learn how to build these websites and then design them.

At first, I was a little overwhelmed because I had never done this kind of thing before. I didn’t even know that much about computers, let alone building an actual website. But I kept quiet and hoped I would be able to figure it out. As time went on, I tried teaching myself this concept of website creation and it was tough for me to get a grip on it. Once I noticed the material wasn’t sticking in my brain like glue, I started to worry that I wouldn’t be smart enough to get the job done. It really started to get to me. I felt if I was moving along very slowly, and somehow, I formulated this idea in my head that my boss wanted the whole thing done immediately. I felt as if I had no time. This was a problem for me because it started cutting into time that I could use to complete other tasks that I have. This made going to work a little hard for me, but I still did it because I felt like I had a duty to see this through.

What I’ve Learned Archives 126

It easy enough to say that stress has been my biggest problem since coming to NMU. Although I still stress out every now and then, I’ve come to realize something important. After talking to some people, I’ve discovered that what I expect of myself is highly unrealistic for how much experience I have. I went to work thinking I should be getting a week’s amount of work done in one day. It’s important to have big goals, but those usually don’t come to fruition overnight. They should take a long time because they have to be worked hard for. Put more importance in what is actually achieved that day instead of thinking of all the things you hadn’t. This allows me to concentrate more and to get things done.

Another aspect of work that has assisted me with handling stress is the people I work with. Most of them are fellow students that I can connect with and talk to. For the last three months, I’ve been able to ask them questions and ask for help on various occasions and they have been more than happy to help out. Once, I announced to one of my coworkers that I wasn’t confident in my ability to help create a website and they told me something that put me at ease. It went along the lines of: Don’t think of this job as struggling to put together a website, and instead, think of it as getting paid to learn a very cool skill. Ever since then, I think about this line and it truly helps me stay on the positive side of things.

The Archives has turned out to be a very cool place to me. Its filled with a bunch of cool people and I get to practice making websites and working with computers, which I plan to be working with for my intended major sometime in the future. It has showed me a lot about myself that I once neglected and I’m happy I chose to work here.

This post was written by AJ Laatsch and formatted by Emily Tinder.

Politics in the Archives: Parties, Politicians, and Campaigns

Part X: The Wrap-Up 

Over 4 million voters participated in Michigan’s midterm election, 52% of the State’s voting-age population, the highest in 56 years.

The midterm elections have wrapped up, as is this series on the politically oriented collections available at the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives.  This morning’s results tell us that we have a Republican Senate and a Democratic House, with over one hundred of the 435 seats up for election won by women.  There were many other firsts in the history of American politics coming out of this election; firsts based on age, heritage, race, religion, sex, and sexual preference.

In Michigan, we re-elected Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) and Jack Bergman (R) was re-elected in U.S. House District 01, representing the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula.  Gretchen Whitmer (D) was elected as Governor, and with two flipped-seats from Districts 8 and 11 downstate, we have an evenly split House with 7 Democratic districts and 7 Republican districts.  Even with the loss of seats, Republicans still hold the 56 positions needed to retain a majority, retaining a Republican-controlled State House.  Voters in Michigan passed all three State-level proposals:  Proposal 18-1: Legalization of Recreational Marijuana (56% for and 44% against); Proposal 18-2: Establishment of a Redistricting Commission (anti-gerrymandering) (61% for and 39% against); and Proposal 18-3: Allowing Automatic and Election Day Voter Registration (67% for and 33% against).

Locally, Marquette City Commissioner Jenna Smith was re-elected, while newly elected Jenn Hill will be assuming the seat of Commissioner Mike Plourde.  Voters in the City of Marquette also passed the Proposed Amendment to the Marquette City Charter regarding payment-in-lieu-of taxes (PILT) calculations for the Marquette Board of Light and Power (70% for and 30% against).   All six members of the Marquette County Board of Commissioners were re-elected to their positions, and with the exception of the Powell Township Library Millage Proposal (42% for and 58% against), all of the Marquette County Millage Proposals were passed.

That’s a wrap!  For additional information, please consult the links provided and come visit us at the CUP and NMU Archives to explore the political history of the Central Upper Peninsula.

The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives seek to acquire the records of political parties and organizations and the papers of politicians and political activists that document the history of public participation in politics and government in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. If you are aware of the existence of such records and papers, or you are interested in donating such collections to the Archives, please contact Marcus C. Robyns, University Archivist, at 906-227-1225 or

Disclaimer:  Originally, Part X was to be an article on the Mike Prusi and Bart Stupak papers written by University Archivist, Marcus Robyns.  Due to prior commitments and time constraints, he was unable to finish the article in time for submission.  Please check back in the near future for his article discussing these donations.

Series developed and written by Glenda Ward

Series digitization performed by Libby Serra


Politics in the Archives: Parties, Politicians, and Campaigns

Part IX:  Dominic J. Jacobetti


 On this year’s ballot are all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, thirty-five of the one hundred seats in the Senate, thirty-nine state and territorial governorships, and some other state and local elections.  The Secretary of State Webpage, Michigan Voter Information Center, provides information on voter registration, absentee ballots, primaries, polling locations, sample ballots, and more.


MSS-078: Dominic J. Jacobetti papers


Dominic J. Jacobetti, son of an Italian immigrant miner, was born in Negaunee, Michigan in 1920.  He graduated from St Paul’s High School in 1938, attended summer institute at the University of Wisconsin, and winter institute at Lake Gogebic. Representative Jacobetti received an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, from Northern Michigan University in 1984.  His first job was as a miner at the Athens Mine began in 1940.  Active in union affairs, Jacobetti eventually became President of UAW Local 4950 and United Steel Workers Local 2867.  He was a member of the United Steelworkers of America, Lions Club, Eagles, Knights of Columbus, Elks, Negaunee Rod and Gun Club, Young Democratic Club, and Druids.  Dominic Jacobetti died while in office on November 28, 1994.


Jacobetti, elected to office in 1953, began his 40-year, 21-session run as Representative in 1954.  He served as a member of the Michigan State House of Representatives (1954-1994) and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Michigan (1960-1964).  As a member of the State House, Jacobetti represented Marquette County (1954-1964), the 108th District (1965-1992), and the 109th District (1993-1994).  Throughout his career, he served on a number of committees: Educational Institutions; Tuberculosis Hospitals; Conservation; House Policy; State Affairs; and was Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.  Jacobetti received the Distinguished Service Award by the Michigan Practical Nurses Association (1961), and honored as one of the “Ten Outstanding State Legislators in the United States” in 1978, as the Upper Peninsula Person of the Year, received the Distinguished Citizens award from Lake Superior State College (1983), and the Good Neighbor of the Year Award in 1990.


Rep. Jacobetti often considered the entire Upper Peninsula as part of his District; he promoted the interest of industry (sometimes at the expense of the environment), strove to improve educational opportunities, and worked hard to improve economic conditions for both the State and his District.  Because of funding Jacobetti obtained for projects in the Upper Peninsula, his constituents and colleagues regarded him as “King Jake,” and the “Godfather of the U.P.”  However, Jacobetti was also “a man of the people” and “the working man’s Representative.” This characterization is evident in his correspondence and the many testimonials and awards he received.



The Dominic Jacobetti collection documents his years as Representative from Marquette County and the Upper Peninsula, including his activities on the House Appropriations Committee and several other committees on which he served.  His position as Representative encompassed at various times the 108th, 109th, and 110th Districts.  The records cover the years 1954 to 1994 and include a wealth of materials pertaining to local and statewide issues, such as abortion/right to life, insurance reform, seat belt legislation, sobriety check lanes and tax limitation, creation of a nuclear waste dumpsite, ELF/Seafarer Sanguine, and the effort to make the Upper Peninsula into the fifty-first state of Superior.  The approximate volume of this collection is 109 cubic feet, for a more detailed list of the contents visit the ASpace website at the collection link above.


The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan Archives seek to acquire the records of political parties and organizations and the papers of politicians and political activists that document the history of public participation in politics and government in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. If you are aware of the existence of such records and papers, or you are interested in donating such collections to the Archives, please contact Marcus C. Robyns, University Archivist, at 906-227-1225 or

Part X:  Mike Prusi and Bart Stupak

Series developed and written by Glenda Ward

Digitization by Libby Serra