Collection Spotlight: The Peace Newspapers


The underground press movement started in the 1940s during the Nazis’ occupation of Europe. People in countries like France, Denmark, Poland, and the Soviet Union published illegal newspapers while under oppressive regimes. However, the movement continued well into the 1960s and 1970s and is now most associated with the counterculture of that time. These underground newspapers and publications began to spring up all over the United States and Northern Michigan University was no exception.

The term “underground” did not necessarily mean it was illegal, though this was the case in some other countries. In America, “underground newspaper” usually referred to a small independent newspaper focusing on unpopular themes and counterculture issues. In fact the First Amendment, and cases like Near vs. Minnesota, made it nearly impossible for the government to intervene or stop these publications unless people were violating laws while reporting on a news item or while selling the newspapers.

Northern’s first underground newspaper was Cogito (Latin for “to think”) that started in 1967. There were many publications after this including Campus Mirror (1969), Student Action (1969), Black and White (1972), and Broadsheet (1977). However, the one newspaper that stood out among all the rest for its popularity and controversial issues was Peace.

Peace was an underground newspaper published by the student organization Zaca, which was founded on February 25th, 1969. Fred Pentz was the founding president and in their application to become a student organization he wrote that the purpose for Zaca was to “promote student participation in University affairs through various creative adventures including the publishing of a newspaper.”

Many of the articles that Zaca published dealt with University issues such as the closing of the Job Corps, controversy over canceling the ROTC program, and the unequal treatment of black students. They often would write letters to President John X. Jamrich openly ridiculing him and the administration for their policy decisions. A reoccurring column that appeared in Peace issues were letters from King Johannes (President Jamrich) issuing a decree over the Realm of Iswas (Northern) that had to be followed by all the peasants (students) of the land.

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An example of an Iswas column, which was posted on the stairs of Kaye Hall after the university banned the distribution of Peace.

The University couldn’t stop Zaca from publishing Peace. However, they were in control of how the paper was distributed. President Jamrich wrote in a memorandum on March 20, 1969 to the Faculty Senate, “The Student Activities Committee has, with Dean Niemi concurring, withheld permission for the distribution of the paper in university facilities because of its content.” He also wrote to the Student Affairs Committee that same day to ask them to meet and discuss recommendations for what action he should take regarding this matter. Over the course of the next few days, they decided that Zaca would be able to sell Peace in the University Center and the Golden N (an old cafeteria). In a memo to Zaca, the Student Activities Committee wrote, “[this committee] which is hereby affording the privilege of sale of your publication, PEACE, also has the right to withdraw this privilege at any time. Withdrawal of this privilege will only occur, however, if your organization is involved in (a) active solicitation; (b) interference with normal traffic on campus; or (c) in the opinion of the Student Activities Committee there has been flagrant use of obscenity in any issue of PEACE.”

Eventually, Jamrich and the Student Activities Committee ordered the termination of distributing Peace on university grounds after an issue was published with vulgar language. For a while Zaca tried to continue publishing the newspaper but with no proper facility for printing or distribution, the newspaper disbanded.

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These posters were put up all around campus after the banning of Peace. They asked students to wear the paper bow-tie in protest. (Then-President Jamrich was famous for almost always wearing a bow-tie).

Interested in reading more about Zaca and the Peace newspaper? Come visit the Archives!

Blog written by Anne Krohn     

A Brief Announcement

Starting next week, construction is happening at the Archives! We will be getting a hole knocked through one wall so that we can use part of the room next door as extra reading room space and will be having an office and hallway built in one part of our current reading room. We expect this construction to continue for about eight weeks.

For the time being, patrons can still research in our reading room, but please be advised that it will be extremely noisy. It would be a good idea to contact us before coming in so that we can let you know what days may be quieter.

There may come a point at which researching in the reading room will be untenable. At that point, we will be open by appointment only. Please contact us for more information.

Records Analyst Sara Kiszka’s phone, (906) 227-1241, is not working for the time being. Sara can be contacted directly at She can also be reached via the main office phone, (906) 227-1225.

Our Recent Trip to Ishpeming!

NMU is a local government records depository for the state of Michigan, which means the Archives maintains archival records of local governments in the central UP. Rather than these permanent historical records going to Lansing, they remain here in the UP accessible to the public. Ishpeming’s former City Clerk contacted Marcus about old city records that they had on file. She wanted them transferred to the Archives to be properly cared for. Marcus, the former City Clerk, and the former City Manager of Ishpeming had a meeting about these records. Shortly after the meeting, the city clerk retired and the city manager left for a new job.

A few months ago, Marcus contacted Mark Slown, the current City Manager, about the old city records. On Tuesday, July 14th, University Archivist Marcus Robyns, Records Analyst, Sara Kiszka, and student employees Annika Peterson and Prince Parker, took a trip to Ishpeming City Hall. We were on a mission to look through the ledgers and books that contained information about the city. We met up with Karen Kasper, our Genealogy Specialist and Research Consultant, at ten o’clock at City Hall.

Shortly after a small greeting with the wonderful staff in the building, the archives team went straight to work. Mark Slown took us to the basement of the building where most of their records are kept so we could begin our search. Marcus pointed out that we were looking for information that would be of use to historians and genealogist. The records were in a back room. The door was closed, which had caused a lot of dust to accumulate. We only looked through the ledgers and books that City Hall had no space for.

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Annika removing records from the room
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Marcus determining which records we should keep

After two hours of hard work finding the information that was of use to the archives, the team went to lunch with the very nice Mark Slown, who offered to buy us lunch. Ending our break, we got back to work transferring all the materials from the building to the van. After moving many books and ledgers, it was time to head back to the Records Center in Marquette where the records were put in storage for inventory. Annika just finished an inventory of the material and will be completing the accession record shortly. The collection will be processed at some point in the hopefully near future.

Some of the materials in the collection are voter registration records dating from the 1880’s–1930’s, a registration book enrolling women to vote right after the 19th amendment, cemetery records from 1900-1940, birth records for the year 1900, correspondence about local government issues, Many volumes are from the Public Works department, which was in charge of the water, the sewers, and the highways. They contain general correspondence, payroll, and specifications for the sewers.

It was a very dirty job, but someone had to do it, so we took on the challenge and won.

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The end result: boxes and ledgers neatly stacked on temporary shelving at the Records Center until the collection can be processed

Written by Prince Parker

Collection Spotlight: John N. Lowe Scrapbook

One of the many collections processed this summer by our Arrangement and Description Specialist Glenda Ward was a scrapbook created by John N. Lowe, the head of the Natural Sciences department at Northern from 1919 to 1938. His obituary called him “the most discussed member of Northern’s faculty. Students had very decided opinions about him. Shirkers avoided his classes.” He was known for taking his classes on field trips around the peninsula during the summer. Some of the places visited were AuTrain Falls, Bernhardt’s Creek, Blaney Park, Carp River, Cherry Creek, Grand Marais, Hogsback Mountain, Lake Michigan, Lakewood, Little AuTrain Falls, Paul Bunyan’s Camp, Poor Farm Road, Sable Falls, Simmon’s Wood, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Witch Lake. Apparently his classes became quite close as they often wrote songs at the end of the summer in commemoration of their adventures. Each member of his summer classes also signed a page in his scrapbook. student group lowe A trip to Simmon’s Wood on the shores of Lake Michigan

His classes ultimately resulted in two clubs: the Congo Club and the Blazed Trail Club. The Congo Club got its name because of the “safaris” that the students went on around the peninsula. The Blazed Trail Club, founded in 1936 on a trip to the Au Sable Sand Dunes near Grand Marais by members of the summer zoology class calling themselves “Vetco” (for Viola, Ellen, Tina, Clara, and Orelia) dedicated itself  “to the encouragement of the laudable objective of getting folk to walk for the pleasure of walking.” Together with Dr. Karl Christofferson, Dr. Lowe led the two groups on many adventures. lowe and kristofferson Dr. Lowe and Dr. Christofferson leading a field trip   congo club with hatsThe “Congo Club” in Germfask. Note the matching “safari” hats. viola and orelia Viola and Orelia, two of the founding members of the Blazed Trails Club

However, tragedy struck on a trip to Hogsback Mountain on July 27, 1938. His obituary recounted the sad events:

John N. Lowe, Ph. D., head of the natural science department at Northern State Teachers College, Marquette, Michigan, died suddenly on July 27 at the age of fifty-two while conducting a class tour. The cause of his death was a cerebral embolism, which caused his collapse shortly after reaching the top of Hogsback Mountain near Marquette. Members of his class carried him about two miles through dense timber to the road, while others hurried ahead to summon medical aid. When help came Dr. Lowe was already dead. His death came as a profound shock to his many friends, for he had always been in the best of health, and had developed a rugged constitution from his constant life in the open.

Eerily, his scrapbook contains many photos from the trip, so someone must have finished the scrapbook for him after his death. The photos show happy students having fun on the mountain, and so must have been taken mere minutes before his collapse. hogsback 3 hogsback 2 hogsback 1Some photos from the fatal Hogsback trip

Interested in seeing more of the scrapbook? Come and check it out in the Archives!  In addition, more information about John Lowe, including his lengthy and fascinating obituary, is available in the folder “Faculty/Staff–Lowe, John N.” in the Archivist File. View the finding aid for the scrapbook here. 

Written by Annika Peterson

Creating Web Exhibitions: Behind the Making of “Student Protests at NMU”

It’s been four months since NMU Archives unveiled our web exhibit detailing student protests at NMU in the 1960s and 1970s. This exhibition site was created by researching and browsing through a large volume of information, and in order for this information to be easily read by you, the viewers, we had to organize our information in a certain way. Not only did we research the documents you can find in our exhibit, we also had to research what aspects of a web exhibit make it successful.

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Creating a Winning Online Exhibition: A Guide for Libraries, Archives, and Museums by Martin R. Kalfatovic became our go-to source of information when designing the layout and organization of our site. Kalfatovic pulls from Wendy Thomas and Danielle Boily’s Visual Exhibition Production: A Reference Guide, to list the following elements for a “good online exhibition,” which include:

  •   Providing an opportunity to visit [the] exhibitions more than once
  •   Allowing for surprise and wonder, and promoting dreaming and creation
  •   Giving an overall impression of the site on the home page
  •   Updating the site on a regular basis to attract visitors to keep them coming back
  •   Using source material provided by the medium to enhance the meaning
  •   Displaying images that can be used on the Internet
  •   Designing a project like a research tool
  •   Providing access to normally inaccessible documents
  •   Ensuring research projects have international dissemination
  •   Hooking visitors by making browsing pleasant
  •   Touching users’ emotions

It is our hope that our Student Protest Exhibit shows that we took all of these pointers and more into careful consideration. Through our navigation available on each page, we allow visitors to browse information through a chronological narrative via ‘timeline’ or more directly through ‘research by person’ and ‘research by topic’ (still being developed). Our ‘photo and audio album’ provides source content itself. Our sources and photographs utilize the format of the web, and are viewable in the browser. Our design choices are meant to evoke nostalgia for the time, as well as a sense of rebellion without losing sophistication.

We invite you to continue browsing our website exhibition, and thank you for the support and interest we have already seen. If you ever want to provide us with feedback, email us at

Written by Kelley Kanon

A Short Lesson from the Archives: Digitizing Negative Slides with a Scanner

Approximately three weeks ago, a discovery was made in the back stacks of the NMU Archives. Records Analyst Sara Kiszka was conducting a shelf read when she came across a collection emitting the slight aroma of apple cider vinegar. This collection contained a plethora of campus photographs taken in the late 50s and early 60s, and the photos were beginning to deteriorate, producing the friendly odor and subsequent temporary nickname: The Apple Cider Vinegar Collection.

The negative slides contained in the Apple Cider Vinegar Collection needed saving quickly, and the steadfast solution was to digitize these photographs. Though negative slide scanners exist for this purpose, it didn’t seem at all reasonable to purchase new equipment for this collection, especially when the Archives already owned a scanner and efficient photo-editing software. Thus, an incredibly simple but equally efficient technique was born:
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Here’s a negative slide to be scanned.

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If we scan our photo now, we won’t be able to see our negative slide because the background of our scanner is black.

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The solution: A white piece of paper placed behind the photo. Now we see all the detail!

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After scanning, the photo needs to be inverted. With a little bit of photo editing, we have successfully created a digitized photograph!

Digitizing these negatives is the best thing that could have happened to them. Not only will these photographs be preserved forever, their quality was improved, and they can be made available to patrons quickly from around the globe. Most importantly, perhaps, is that this collection can finally be stripped of its Apple Cider Vinegar nickname and given the more appropriate title: Historical University Negatives. Soon, these images will be available for viewing here.


Written by Kelley Kanon

Collection Spotlight: The Tsu Ming Han Papers

1948. A young Chinese man braves the ridged and stormy December waves on a long 22-day voyage to America. He embarks with no knowledge of the language or culture, armed only with the belief that America is a beautiful country. As he watches the “Gio-Gee-Shan” (Old Gold Mountain) pass him by he looks forward to the future, not knowing what it will bring.

Recently, the Archives arrangement and description specialist, Glenda Ward finished processing the Tsu-Ming Han papers. Tsu-Ming was a geologist who worked for the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company starting in 1953. The collection includes an autobiography, awards and certificates, pictures, a photo album of his work in the United States from 1948 to 1951 and other materials about his research and life in Ishpeming.

Tsu-Ming Han was born on September 11, 1924, in a small village called Sha-Chu Zin in the Henan Province. His birth name was Shu-Pen and he lived with his large extended family on farms. Growing up in China during this time was difficult due to the increasing problem of bandits stealing food and ransoming family members. When he was a young boy, Shu-Pen was kidnapped by bandits for 55 days until his family was able to pay his ransom. Fearing for their lives, the family fled their ancestral home in an effort to escape the bandits.

Most of Shu-Pen’s family was uneducated; however, his father believed in the importance of education and eventually their family settled down and his father began a middle school. Bandits were still a problem but his father managed to keep them at bay by selling them drugs like heroin and opium.

When Shu-Pen was old enough he left his family to attend junior middle school where he changed his name to Tsu-Ming, a common practice at the time. He applied to a college hoping to study chemistry but was not accepted into the program. However, he was accepted to the Geology program. He didn’t even know what the word “geology” meant. In his autobiography, Tsu-Ming describes the difficulties of college life due to political turmoil and war.

Amid this strife, Tsu-Ming continued his education and eventually applied to schools in the United States. After a year of effort, he finally received his visa card and enrolled in the University of Cincinnati in 1948. There he met his life-long friend and colleague, Dr. John L. Rich, who helped him complete his master’s degree in science. On Dr. Rich’s advice, he spent the next three years at the University of Minnesota and finished his doctoral degree in 1952.

The following year, the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company hired Tsu-Ming as a Microscopist and he stayed there for the next 40 years. For the majority of his career, he researched pellet quality improvement with respect to compressive strength reducibility and low temperature breakdowns. Despite important contributions, Tsu-Ming concluded at his retirement party “My job during the last 40 years was a secure one. It was also a failed one. Secure because nobody knew what my job was, failure because I failed to communicate my findings to most of the people who were involved.” Ironically, Tsu-Ming’s accomplishments won great praise and admiration from his colleagues. He went on to write, publish, and present many of his findings at conferences around the country. Tsu-Ming’s most notable discovery was the world’s oldest megascopic fossil, which he estimated to be around 2 billion years old. By 1992, he published his findings worldwide in newspapers, magazine, and a CD-ROM for distribution to schools.

After retirement, Tsu-Ming continued attending and presenting at conferences. In 1999, he was awarded the Goldrich Medal for outstanding contributions to The Geology of the Lake Superior Region. Tsu-Ming died at the age of 80 on February 3rd, 2004. His wife still lives in Ishpeming. Dennis Han, Tsu-Ming’s son, donated the collection to the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives.Untitled-4

Blog written by Anne Krohn