Spotlight Feature: Statistics of the Northern Tradition Blog!

For this blog post, I thought it might be interesting to let all of you know some of the statistics about our blog here, and how we have changed (or not?) over time. As it turns out, you all comprise a pretty diverse crowd of viewers.  To start off, here is a graph of all of our views for the past several weeks:

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Obviously this week isn’t done yet, and after our post today should get more views as is normal. We can view how many views we’ve got by the last 10 days, weekly, monthly, or annually.

Other interesting statistics we can look at include the total number of views per month since we began the blog back in 2012:

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So far, we’re on track to come out ahead of the total views for 2013, which was our “most popular” year. Last month (October) was our “most popular” month of 2017 so far, and our third-most viewed month since the blogs’ inception. To all of you that have been with us since 2012, or if this post is your first, we at the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives appreciate you!

Additionally, we can look at which posts have been viewed the most. Here is a list of some of our most popular posts in the last year:

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My favorite statistic to look at is the country of origin of our viewers. Surprisingly, we have viewers from all over the globe, with people reading about our archives from every continent (except Antarctica)! See how the map continues to fill in as time progresses backwards. Countries highlighted in yellow or red have viewed our blog.

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Every country highlighted in color (yellow or red) has viewed our blog! As to be expected, most of you are from the Unites States, whereas many of you are abroad, which is pretty cool. In total, we have had viewers from 104 countries around the world!

For next week, we will be open during our normal times from Monday-Wednesday, and closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday and Friday. Have safe travels, enjoy your next week, and feel free to stop in the archives! Give us a call at 906-227-1225 or email us at archives@nmu.edu to let us help with your research needs.

(This post was written by Senior Student Assistant Stefan Nelson)

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Person Spotlight: Norman “Boots” Kakuk

Norman “Boots” Kukuk grew up here in Marquette, Michigan. Growing up, he always had a penchant for sports, especially hockey. In his four years at Northern State Teachers College, Boots earned three varsity letters for football and track and field, while continuing to play hockey for the Marquette Sentinels and maintaining his grades. He held the record for pole vault until 1939 and also earned a gold track shoe for javelin in 1940. In 1939, Boots was recommended to try out for the United States Olympic Hockey Team, but the start of World War II the following year put an end to those hopes. Interestingly, family lore claims that Adolf Hitler actually invited Boots to play hockey against the German team, but Boots’ father destroyed the letter the day he got it.

Upon graduation from Northern State Teachers College, Marquette public schools employed Boots as an Industrial Arts teacher and as a track and football coach. In 1941, Boots considered trying out for the Chicago Blackhawks or the Cleveland Barons Professional Hockey Clubs but was drafted into the army. He entered the U.S. Navy’s flight program on November 24, 1941. Boots was awarded the Navy-Marine Corps Heroism Medal in August of 1944. He also earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses and six Air Medals during his time in the Navy.

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After the War, Boots returned to Marquette and became the Director of Recreation for the City of Marquette. He accomplished a great many things during his time as director, such as installing the first artificial ice plant in the Palestra, the indoor community ice rink. In addition, Boots managed all of the city’s recreational programs, such as sporting events and festivals. Despite all this work, Boots still found the time to play hockey with the Marquette Sentinels for several more years before finally retiring his jersey.

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Sand being laid down on the floor in the making of the ice rink in the Palestra.

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Getting ready for the Annual Ice Carnival.

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Hockey Team on ice rink, year unknown.

If you’d like to learn more about Norman “Boots” Kakuk or our other collections, come on in to the Archives, give us a call (906-227-1225) or send us an email (archives@nmu.edu) and we’ll be happy to help you!

(This post was written by Grace Menter)

Day in the Life Spotlight: The Film Projector Cont.

Continuing with our past blog post’s theme of a Day in the Life Spotlight, I’d like to build on the continuing saga of the Film Reel Projector.

It was a cold week in October. I was given the task of training our new digitization assistant on setting up the Film Reel Projector, like so many digitization student workers before me. I had a feeling I’d met this “Reel Projector” before… But upon seeing it, without mental preparation, I became lost in the procedural nuances (cords swept deep under desks; parts put away, out of sight). This Projector setup procedure had been cracked before, but our initial figuring out of how to set it up was a real brainteaser! Like Kyleigh said two weeks ago, it took at least 45 minutes.

Here’s a haiku about the experience-

Projector’s Corner

Wires tangle up in my head

Can’t connect nada

We got it to run, but we still didn’t get it to connect to our computer and record through that. So we were back figuring it out again Friday the week after and finally we figured it out.

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Discovered new cord

Hmm is this the place for thing?

Victory, at LAST

So all’s well. Now, we have a new task at hand. One which we will enthusiastically take up for the sake of future Digitization student workers. Justice will be served to Projector (AKA we’ll be writing up more detailed instructions).

(This post was written by Lydia Henning)

Day in the Life Spotlight: First Six Days at Work

When I applied to the Archives Student Assistant position at the beginning of the Fall Semester, I was unaware of the type of work I might have been doing if I was hired. A friend of mine who works at the library claimed that they would most likely have me at a desk, welcoming patrons, and taking calls. Today, I will be coming into a close of my sixth day working at the archives, and although I have been trained on how to take calls and welcome patrons, everything I have done has been far more interesting than anyone (myself included) would have assumed.

It was expressed to me that I would be taking on the title of Digitization Specialist I. For those who do not know, digitization is the conversion of documents, photos, or sound recordings into a digital form. What I find fascinating about this type of work is that digitization gives people access to these historical documents or photos without having to physically walk into the archives. Of course, I think every student should come in to see the beauty of the archives, but as a true millennial, I take pleasure in knowing that the world can be accessed from my fingertips. Now, I can gladly inform other students that they can time travel back in time just by visiting our website, Archives Space, the online exhibits links, and our blog, etc.
Although my job is to take these old photos, cassettes, and documents and make them
accessible online, I found that while I was being trained I had mixed feelings. One of those feelings was nostalgia; looking at the VHS trying to recall how to even place it into the player, as I had not used a VHS player since I was five or six years old. The other was a mix between curiosity and humility. As I stated before, I truly do enjoy being born into a generation in which much of the world can be accessed by my smartphone, a time in our world that I can call my mother, while emailing a coworker, while texting a friend. In the age of multitasking, today I found myself truly entranced by the amount of work I had to put into learning how to use the Film Reel Projector.

To use this projector, my coworker and I had to find a 16mm film reel. This started with us being given a location for a film called Trout Madness by John Voelker on our database Archives Space, and then using the location number to find it. When we had found the box, we took the film out and had to figure out how to loop the film onto the actual projector. Once this had been deciphered, we found ourselves with yet another obstacle. While we could hear the film, there was no projection to be seen. After messing with different buttons, and the moving the lens in and out of focus, finally we had achieved a clear moving picture of Trout Madness. This whole process took about 45 minutes, and although frustrating and puzzling, it was immensely satisfying to finally see what we had worked so hard for.

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(The film projector in use.)
Had I not applied to the Archives, it is likely I would have not ever used a VHS player again, I would have never learned how to use a film reel projector (or even seen a 16mm film), or learned that John Voelker had an obsession with trout fishing. I guess what I am trying to say is that although I love this fast paced time that is 2017, I am so appreciative of the different things I can gain from learning about the past.

(This post was written by Kyleigh Sapp)

Person Feature: New Student Assistants!

For this week’s blog post, all of us here at the Archives would like to welcome our new staff members! As is customary, we’ll highlight our new hires for you all.

Emily Wros will be one of two AAUP Specialists. The AAUP (American Association of University Professors) records collection is being merged with the Academic Senate records, in a large time-consuming project sponsored by a grant that our resident University Archivist, Marcus Robyns, received. Emily is a junior with a History Major at NMU. She hopes to work as a librarian or an archivist in the future.

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Our other AAUP Specialist is Eliza Compton. Eliza is a freshman with a Secondary Education- Social Studies major and double minoring in Secondary Education- Spanish, and Secondary Education- English.

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Lucas will be our Records Center Specialist, a title formerly held by Stefan (now Number One #11). He will be assisting Marcus with accessioning and other various projects out at the University Records Center- our other records storage facility. Lucas is a junior, majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Environmental Studies.

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Kyleigh Sapp will be joining Lydia and Libby as another digitization specialist. Kyleigh is a sophomore with an International Studies Major, from Hudsonville, Michigan. Her interests include learning Spanish, watching random documentaries on YouTube and Netflix, and making food with friends. She is excited to see what she can learn from working at the Archives.

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Check out the Meet the Staff page on NMU Archives website to learn more about our new employees! Welcome Kyleigh, Emily, Eliza, and Lucas!

(This post was written by Libby Serra and Stefan Nelson).

Collection Feature: The Granite Island Lighthouse Keeper’s Log Books

Shimmering on the horizon about 12 miles north of Marquette, Granite Island is a windswept, desolate outcrop of rock raising about 60 feet above the surface of Lake Superior. Looking something like an overturned boat or the conning tower of a modern day submarine, the Ojibwe Indians aptly named the island Na-Be-Quon (canoe with a hump). By the end of the Civil War, the Island had become a serious threat to the numerous sail and steam ships serving the expanding iron ore mines and bustling town of Marquette. Recognizing the peril, in 1865 Congress approved funds for a lighthouse on the Island, and the following year the state of Michigan condemned the property and seized it by right of eminent domain. Construction began in 1868, and the lighthouse became operational in 1869 with the arrival of its first two keepers.
Granite Island Lighthouse_1904In 1999, NMU alum and chair of the NMU Board of Trustees, Scott Holman, purchased
Granite Island from the U.S. Coast Guard and began a long and expensive process of renovation. This past summer, he loaned the Central Upper Peninsula and NMU Archives photocopies of the Granite Island Lighthouse Keeper’s Log Books maintained by the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The original log books are part of the historical records of the U.S. Coast Guard and document lighthouse operations from 1901 to 1937. The keeper or assistant keeper made daily entries concerning maritime events, work around the lighthouse, and special visits. They would also note weather conditions and report on the visibility of the signal light during periods of poor inclement weather.

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The Keeper’s Log Books offer a partial glimpse into the rugged, isolated, and largely
mundane life of the Granite Island Lighthouse keeper and his assistant. Entries are mainly colorless iterations of the same general work activities, such as scrubbing floors or chopping wood, punctuated from time-to- time with accounts of sudden activity, drama, or horror. John Wheatley was the longest serving Granite Island Lighthouse keeper, retiring at the age of 83 after 30 years (1885-1915) in the company of his assistant keeper, annoying seagulls, and wild rhubarb. In 1898, the long suffering Wheatley lost his son to a sudden gale that overturned the young man’s small sail boat in transit to the Island from Marquette. Five years later, the assistant Keeper, John McMartin, launched the station’s boat on a routine supply run to Marquette. As McMartin rounded the southern tip of the island, Wheatley watched helplessly as rough seas smashed the boat into the jagged rocks, drowning McMartin. His body was never found. Despitethe horror of the incident, Wheatley’s laconic prose for October 2, 1903, departs little insubstance or emotion from all his previous prosaic entries about daily life on the rock.

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Regardless of Wheatley’s stoic powers of observation, the Keeper’s Log Books actually
document the most active and expansive period in the history of the Granite Island Lighthouse. Over the next thirty years, the Coast Guard constructed, among many other improvements, a new seawall; rebuilt the boathouse and relocated it to a more sheltered spot; and built steel boat ways on the north side of the island. In October 1901, a work crew arrived to build a new boat house and lay walkways around the island. Rough weather and seas made boat landings and work often hazardous, as Wheatley’s log entry about the crew’s arrival notes rough weather that included “changeable wind” and “rain squalls.”

Below are some examples of the Keeper’s log book entries.

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Transcription: At 8 AM Mr. J. McMartin went to boat houses got boat and started to sail it round to south side of island by [circling] [preparatory] to going to Marquette. Fierce wind from NE. Sea caught boat and dashed it against front of rocks; boat smashed to [pieces] and Mr. J. McMartin was drowned. Nothing was seen of body.

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Entry for October 3, 1903, documenting the arrival of a work crew to begin construction of a boathouse and walkway around the island. Note the arrival of the steamer USS Amaranth. This steamer continued to service the island well into the 1930s.

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Entry for July 25, 1926, noting an unusual social visit by a family from Marquette.

The Archives has created digital copies of the Granite Island Lighthouse Keeper’s Log Books and plans to make them available online as soon as possible. In the meantime, NMU alumni and the general public are welcome to visit the Archives anytime during our open hours, or contact the University Archivist, Marcus Robyns, for more information about the collection.

(This post was written by the Archivist, Marcus Robyns).

 

Feature: Upcoming Events

With fall approaching, the Archives has two special events coming up; both of them are a part of our semi-annual showcasing tradition- Evening at the Archives! The first of these is on October 12, the second Thursday of the month, at 7:00 pm in Room 224 of the Harding Learning Resource Center. It is our Genealogy Workshop, back by popular demand. Come and learn about our resources available, and pick up some tips for your own journey of genealogy!

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The second will be coming up on Thursday, November 9, also at 7pm, as always. This Evening at the Archives event will be showcasing the work of Dr. Russell M. Magnaghi, Professor and University Historian. He has a new book titled Prohibition in the Upper Peninsula: Booze & Bootleggers on the Border. The synopsis states,

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This event will be held in the Atrium in the back of the library on the second floor of the LRC. After the presentation, Dr. Magnaghi will be doing book signings. Please come and check it out!

Additionally, two of our student assistants Lydia Henning and Libby Serra will be presenting on a web site they constructed concerning the UP Radio History Talk interviews, which includes numerous interviews between Dr. Magnaghi and others. These talks will be digitized and summarized for public viewing on the website.

Feel free to stop by the Archives for your research needs or to have a quiet place to study. Our hours are 10:00am-5:00pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and from 10:00am-7:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

(This post was written by student assistant Lydia Henning)