Monthly Archives: November 2012

World War II at Northern

WWII Before Thanksgiving, I wrote about former NMU president Henry Tape, who led Northern during World War II. Though students who didn’t fight in the war were somewhat removed, in the rural Upper Peninsula, the war still leaked into every aspect of their lives.

One of the most obvious ways Northern was affected by the war is in the list of men serving that appeared for years in the student newspaper. Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, The Northern News featured a list of men who had joined the Michigan National Guard Company and then the United States Army.

Throughout the war, the student newspaper became a collection of crucial war-time information, including draft information, updates on local men in the war and even war bond advertisements. Articles were published that discussed how the women at Northern were trying to help the “big defense project,” and editorials ran endorsing total commitment to the war.


“Regardless of age or sex, whether we enlist or are drafted, or remain at home; all of us are in the war for the duration. Students and teachers naturally will examine themselves to see how each one can best serve his country,” said an editorial that ran Jan. 7, 1942.

In literally every newspaper that ran during the course of the war, there is some mention of the war effort – either abroad or at home. Northern was very conscious of its alumni and friends who were serving and of the importance of support back home. It illustrates how even a small school in a relatively rural area had an impact on the global war.

Written by Lucy Hough


David Reid: An Olympic Champion

Mitchell and Reid

Reid shortly after winning his Olympic gold medal with his coach and mentor, Al Mitchell.

Established in 1987, NMU’s boxing program trained many athletes in its 21 years that went on to have great careers. One of those greats is David “American Dream” Reid. Reid had successful amateur- and pro-careers before retiring in 2001.

Probably the biggest highlight from his career is his attendance at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. There, he won the gold medal in the light middleweight division of boxing.

Reid and Wong

Taken while Les Wong was NMU president and Reid was coaching.

Reid then started his pro career, where he went undefeated for 17 fights. As his career continued he seemed to falter a bit, gaining his last few wins with extremely close scores and eventually losing 2 fights that were believed to have been relatively easy fights. He retried with a 17-2 record with 7 Kos.

After retiring from his pro-career, he made his way back to NMU and was an assistant and volunteer coach for the boxing program at the USOEC until the program was suspended in 2008.

His gold medal is currently in the USOEC display case in the Superior Dome.

Researcher Spotlight: Amelia Waeghe, HS 390 Student

Many of the faces we see here at the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives belong to NMU’s very own history students. Each semester the archives floods with students enrolled in HS 390, also known as The Historian’s Laboratory. This class requires them to do an Upper Peninsula related research project involving both local traditional archives and digital archives. The students must meet with our head archivist, Marcus Robyns, to discuss a topic and a direction for their research. Once their topic has been approved, they are given a list of materials to get them started. At the end of the semester they compose a paper and present on their findings.

This semester we would like to highlight Amelia Waeghe as our exceptional HS 390

Patron Sign-In Sheet

A sample of the Patron Sign-In Sheet for the month of October, highlighting the frequency of Amelia’s visits.

researcher. Amelia’s project focuses on researching if people from different ethnic groups were more likely to be arrested in Marquette County for violating the prohibition-era liquor laws. She also looked at the deaths in the county during that time. This required spending hours upon hours in the Archives, up to her eyes in boxes of county court records and coroner’s reports. In an official tally, from September through November, Amelia came into the archives 41 times to research. Her professor, Dr. Magnaghi, stated that “the results, to date, have been a variety of well-developed papers that use the Archives to help research topics that are not the run of the mill.” Amelia’s found that no particular ethnic group was arrested more frequently than any other. She also discovered eight deaths in Marquette County during the prohibition era, only two of which were not related to alcohol. We applaud Amelia and the rest of her classmates for their hard work and exceptional research skills!

We love to see NMU students walk through our doors. The Archives is a very valuable resource that every student, whether or not they’re taking HS 390, should utilize. If you’ve never been here before, stop by and check us out in room 126 of the Learning Resource Center on NMU’s campus. We hope to see you soon!

Prepared by Savannah Mallo and Olivia Ernst.

Former NMU president Henry A. Tape

tape welcome

I like to read about former presidents at Northern because the university’s top position often sets the tone for the operation of the institution, and each president is very different. We’ve looked at Ogden Johnson who was an interim president, and today we’ll look at Henry A. Tape who was Northern’s president from 1940 – 1956.

Before coming to Northern, Tape got his bachelors and master’s from University of Michigan and then a PhD from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University. He was the first president at Northern to have a PhD. He also authored the book, “The Community School” in 1938.

The world was changing during Tape’s tenure and the university had to adapt. It was the end of the depression, WWII and then the post-war climate. Northern grew in response with the implementation of GI Ville and Vetville, which were housing communities for veterans returning from the war; Carey and Spooner Halls, which were female and male residence halls; and Lee Hall, Lydia Olson Library and the Peter White Hall of Science, which were academic buildings to account for the increase of students at Northern. In fact, with Tape as president, enrollment reached 1,000 students for the first time.

Tape oversaw a critical point in Northern’s history when being a lasting and competitive university became a realistic dream. Names that are now mainstays of Northern’s identity were administrators and community members during Tape’s time: Carey, Gant, Gries, Meyland and Don H. Bottum. The university’s name also changed from Northern Michigan College of Education to, in 1955, Northern Michigan College.

tape newspaperAt the end of his presidency, Tape fell into multiple bouts of sickness. The first time was for about four weeks in April and May of 1954 and the second in April 1957. The first time, Tape and his wife Flora went to stay with their son Gerald in Long Island, N.Y. for treatment of a duodenal ulcer. Without the ease of e-mail, Tape kept in contact with the university and helped plan the construction of Spooner Hall through letters written by hand and with a type writer, and an interim administrative committee was in place while he was away.

It was this second illness in 1957 that Tape announced his retirement, which brought to light the massive amount of praise that people felt toward Tape.

Ethel Carey wrote, “I wish that I could adequately express my appreciation for all that you have done for me, personally. I can’t. But I hope that after our long association you sense my deep gratitude for having made my work pleasanter here.”

Some NMU presidents have seen even larger change in their tenure, but what makes Tape a good president, I think, is that he left Northern with so much to look forward to. Many buildings were planned and to be built in the near future, curriculum was changing to be more aggressive, and a student council was created to give students a voice on committees and administration decisions.

In an editorial after Tape planned his retirement, The Northern News wrote, “Never before has there been such a spirit at Northern as has developed since Henry Tape became president.” The newspaper also noted the improved relationship between faculty and students and faculty and administration, and said that “good fellowship, scholarly achievement and cordial relations are the present pattern of Northern life.”

Written by Lucy Hough

From Domestic Science and Domestic Art to Technology and Occupational Sciences

iron standSince the beginning, NMU has devoted itself to giving students an excellent, well-rounded education that includes practical, hands-on skills. The staff of Northern instituted a life teaching certificate in Domestic Science and Domestic Art in 1910. As part of this certificate, students were taught several skills such as, how to sew , cook, and put on banquets and teas. As the years passed, the classes offered were expanded upon and the name of the department changed many times. Today the Technology and Occupational Sciences department is the descendent of those first classes and continues to provide excellent educational classes and programs.

ironThis iron and stand combination would have been used in one of the clothes making classes. It is a Gross Star electric iron made by the L. Behrstock Company. The iron by its self weighs 12 pounds and still works!

It is currently off display, but other items from the Domestic Science and Domestic Art classes can be viewed in the conference room of the President’s office.

Written by Stephen Glover of the BHC

It’s Time to Celebrate: Native American Heritage Month

Did you know that November is Native American Heritage month? Here at Northern Michigan University, the Center for Native American Studies puts on events all month long to celebrate the Native American culture. Some of this year’s events include Native American films, workshops, musicians, and speakers. We encourage you to look at the schedule (click on the link below) and support the Center for Native American Studies by attending one of these fascinating events!

Native American Heritage Month 2012.

Native American Dancer

A dancer at the annual “Learning to Walk Together Pow Wow”

If you can’t make it to any of the events this month, don’t fret, you can still learn about Native American Heritage! Here at the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives we have multiple collections related Native American history. For example, we have the Henry Schoolcraft papers on microfilm which are a great record of early European and Native American contact in the Upper Peninsula. Henry Schoolcraft was an explorer, Indian agent, and ethnologist in the 1820s. His papers include information on the Federal Government’s relationship with the Native Americans, Native American religion, and Christian missionary work among different tribes.

We also have issues of the Nishnawbe News, a newspaper for Native Americans of the Great Lakes Area, which was produced by the Organization of North American Indian Students of NMU. It was one of the three Native American publications in the country during the 1970’s. If that isn’t enough, we have photos of the past years’ “Learning to Walk Together Pow Wow,” many books pertaining to Native American History in the Upper Peninsula, and much more! If you want to learn more about Native American heritage, here is a link to the Native American Resource guide from the NMU Archives website:

Resource Guides

Oh, and one more thing: happy Native American Heritage Month!

Student radio since 1971

Before NMU’s student radio was WUPX, as it is now, it was WBKX. The station began in 1971 and broadcasted from Lee Hall. Since the 1990s, when the name changed, the station has moved to the University Center on campus. The programming is handled by students with supervision from a station manager and faculty/staff advisers.

Here’s a look at what the student radio was playing in 1972.

wbkx playlist

WUPX recently became digital and moved its transmitter to another location to allow for a wider reach. Now, students commuting from as far as Munising can hear the radio station on their way to campus.

Written by Lucy Hough