Monthly Archives: January 2013

Students Organize For Increased Wages

student workersEvery now and then, students come together on something that they feel needs to be changed on campus. The fall of 1968 saw the organization of students over the issue of student worker pay rates. What seems like a penance now was the cause for contention: students felt that the hourly rate of $1.25 was too low.

Over 300 students organized into the Student Workers Organization which threatened to protest if its “demands” were not met. Initially, those demands weren’t clear. Even the group’s chosen spokesperson admitted that they needed more time to figure out what those demands were.

But that’s not to say that their ideas were far-fetched. The newspaper The Northern News found that Northern’s student wage rates were significantly lower than other schools and, what’s more, lacked policy and procedure for increase over time or for more skilled labor.

President Jamrich was empathetic to their requests. He went so far as to say that he “would never take punitive action against a group of students who are trying to bring attention to a problem area like this in the University,” the Northern News said. Jamrich encouraged the group to go through the appropriate university avenues to make their voices heard – rather than threatening protests or other dramatic responses.

As a result, the group met with the school’s vice president for business and finance, Leo Van Tassel. The initial frustration was brought to the administration’s attention in the beginning of November 1968, and by Dec. 6, not only had the group and Tassel come to an agreement but the Board of Control had also approved the terms to take effect immediately and retroactively since Nov. 3.

The new graduated system made $1.45 the minimum wage for students and allowed for a $.10 increase every 150 hours of work. Additionally, student supervisors were allowed higher wages.

Another problem that students brought to the attention of administration was also reconsidered. That was the across-the-board policy that anyone with beards, mustaches or long hair would not even be considered for a job – regardless of the job description. In the policy that the Board of Control approved, the supervisor could make decisions about appearance.

This is a really positive experience about how students and administration worked together to affect change. It hasn’t always been so positive in the past, but it’s refreshing to see how students came together and were reasonable but persistent about their requests.

Written by Lucy Hough


Show And Tell – Artifact Descriptions

Every item donated to us here at the Beaumier Heritage Center is placed into our database. The database allows us to keep track of what we have and where everything is located. We try to record as much information about the artifact as possible. Although there are things we might not know about the object, we can always at least put in its description. This is arguably some of the most important information we collect (second only to its story).

This sounds like very obvious information, and it is, but it is not always easy to describe some of the objects in our procession. The description needs to be specific enough that someone who is searching for the item has an approximate idea of what they are looking for and would be able to distinguish it from other similar objects.

How would you describe these objects? You can see our descriptions below.

Object A

Object A

Object B

Object B

Object C

Object C

A) Thermometer encased in a decorative wooden handle. The end of the wood contains a sharp copper point, similar looking to a bullet. The top of the wooden handle is threaded with a string for hanging. The front of the wood face is carved out to display the thermometer which ranges from 18 F – 84 F.

B) Black handkerchief with symbols of animals in red, yellow, white, and black.

C) Metal amulet on a red velvet lanyard. It is in the shape of an oval and a pedestal in the middle with ‘flames’ in the shape of an E and S.

Written By Stephen Glover of the BHC.

The (nearly) Fifty-First State.

First of all, sorry for being a bit late. We’ve had a rash of below-zero temperatures up here in Marquette, and Northern closed the campus these past two days due to dangerous conditions–can you believe the windchill was -30 degrees on Tuesday morning? Anyways, it may be late, but we’ve got a good one for you today!

Those of us who have visited or lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan would probably agree that our isolated piece of paradise is nothing short of unique. The breathtaking landscape and spirited residents give it a pasty-eating, snow-loving, nature-protecting atmosphere unlike that of the urbanized counterpart on the other side of the bridge. While many enjoy the playful Yooper/Troll rivalry, people of the past tried to sever the ties between these two peninsulas.

Portrait of Dominic Jacobetti In 1975, Michigan State Representative Dominic Jacobetti, of Negaunee, led a movement for the Upper Peninsula to break away Lower Michigan and become its own state.  His call for separate statehood was fuelled by the notion that “downstate interests” were a hindrance to the progression and growth of the Upper Peninsula. Some of Jacobetti’s arguments included the idea that the U.P. could support itself with its abundance of natural resources, and he bristled at the tradition of shipping them to downstate communities. He also argued that due to its geographic location and sparse population, the U.P. is subject to a very different set of political issues which do not correlate with the urbanized areas of Lower Michigan. The overall feeling of disconnect between the Lansing agenda and the needs of the Upper Peninsula pushed Jacobetti to call for statehood.

The idea to legalize gambling was suggested during debates about how to run “Superior”, the 51st State. Jacobetti suggested creating a sort of “mini Las Vegas” to attract tourist to bring in revenue and lower the need for local taxes. Remember, this was before Indian Casinos began to pop up all across the state!

Jacobetti was not the first to suggest U.P. statehood. A similar bill was proposed in 1962, but it was not taken seriously by the State Legislature. Dominic Jacobetti’s call for the creation of “Superior” was given much more publicity due to his political reputation, however the bill still did not pass.

Even before that, back in 1916, the first issue of Clover-Land Magazine argued for the creation of a new state. Roger Andrews, the magazine’s creator, was quoted as saying

I am not the leader of any chosen people, nor the arch prophet of the Upper Peninsula.
I am not a candidate for any political office of any sort.
I want to work in the ranks of the loyal company who believe in Clover-Land, who love it and want the world to know it as it is.
I see in the campaign for separate statehood a great opportunity to call the attention of the country to our rich and growing section, endowed in a score of was beyond many of the older states of the Union.

Exciting stuff, right? As with the later efforts, however, Andrews’ proposal never gained enough momentum.

A map illustrating the "Superior" State

If you’d like to know more about State Representative Dominic Jacobetti and his call for U.P. Statehood, come down to the NMU Archives in room 126 of the Learning Resource Center on campus and check out the full collection of Dominic Jacobetti papers. Before you do, you might want to check out the finding aid here. Alternatively, you could check out James Carter’s book on the subject, Superior, A State for the North CountryWe hope to see you soon!

Prepared by Savannah Mallo and Olivia Ernst.

Residence Hall Rumors: Hatchet Man


When looking at Northern’s past, some things that can get lost are the little nuances, inside jokes or funny oddities that make students’ experiences at Northern unique and special. Every now and then, those things show up in the student newspaper.

A funny one that I came across is a rumor that spread in the dorms in the late 1960s: The Hatchet Man. The Hatchet Man was a man in women’s clothing that had allegedly killed 40 women in the Midwest area.

In fact, even Michigan State University’s student newspaper, The State News, reported that women in the dorms didn’t feel that the residence halls were safe enough to protect them from the supposed murderer. Maybe that’s because two men at MSU impersonated the Hatchet Man to scare women by, indeed, dressing as women and wielding a hatchet.

At Northern, this fear demonstrated itself in women locking their doors at night and requiring “elaborate password and counter-password systems” for visitors at the door. Apparently many women were awakened throughout the night from anonymous phone calls, and some received threatening notes from “Hatch.”

A simple Google search suggests that maybe this myth was the combination of a couple of ominous fictions. In Spring Valley, Illinois, there was a mausoleum that was supposedly guarded by the ghost of a “hatchet man.” Or etymologically speaking, it could relate to 1880s California slang for a hired Chinese assassin.

At its core, however, this fear is seemingly from nothing. Even the Northern News article admits, “The fact that no one has been mutilated, much less hatcheted to death, has not diminished the chaos in the women’s residence halls.”

Written by Lucy Hough

The Photometer

The outside of the photometer

The outside of the photometer

As I’ve stated over (and probably over again) in past posts, we at the Beaumier Heritage Center have a plethora of items. One of our larger collections is of old scientific equipment, much of which came from NMU’s physics department. Many of the items were identified by professors of the department around 1999. Luckily, this item was one of them. If we hadn’t been told what it was, we may never have been able to guess exactly what it was.

This artifact is called a Bunsen Photometer and its use was described to us by Dr. Mark Jacobs, Associate Professor in the NMU Physics department.

“The eyeshade/mirror arrangement lets the user look at both light sources (at either end) simultaneously. The images are diffused and combined. The position of the slider is adjusted until the (combined) image has uniform brightness. Then the relative brightness of the two sources can be computed from:

(L1 / L2)= (d1 / d2)2

Where d1 and d2 are distances read on a scale.” -05/07/1999

Where the candle would go

Where the candle would go

This once again illustrates the importance of having a clear understating of the items that are coming into a collection and getting as much information as possible from the people that are gifting these items. And so the mystery of this strange device was never a burden to any poor undergraduate to find out, which I, for one, am very glad.

Written by Stephen Glover of the BHC

Come One, Come All!

First of all, welcome back! We’ve got a whole semester of great blogs and activities lined up, just waiting for you!

Here at the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives, we consider ourselves lucky to be embedded in an environment as friendly and inviting as the Marquette community. From the beautiful landscape to the welcoming people, the Marquette community provides so many wonderful opportunities for our NMU family.  At the NMU Archives, we try to find ways to give back every once and a while.  Many people aren’t aware that, although our office is located on campus, we are open to community members and non- Marquette residents as well as students, faculty, and staff. We make an effort to hold at least two presentations each semester that are open for anyone to attend.

We recently held an event for a group from the Northern Center for Lifelong Learning. Our own Archivist, Marcus Robyns, gave a sort of “Archives 101” presentation to the group of local seniors. His presentation described what an Archives is and, more importantly, what it is not. He dispelled stereotypes, such as one commonly represented in newspaper comics: archivists are simply packrats with too much junk. He clarified that his job consists of throwing records away more often than keeping them. The audience learned that all the records in Archives are irreplaceable, unlike a library, where copies of lost or damaged material can simply be purchased.

The first slide of the Archivist's PresentationPart of the presentation included a discussion on what we can learn about our history that goes beyond the intended use of the material. For example, Professor Robyns showed the audience unlabeled historic photographs and showed them how to determine when the photo was taken and what it tells us about history based on the dress, the surroundings, and the activity being captured. At the NMU Archives we have both University records as well as records dedicated to preserving our regional history.  Mining history, politics and government records, environmental history, and naturalization records for genealogical research are among some of the non-university records that are often utilized by the public.

The Archivist also discussed the different types of Archives as well as what to expect when visiting our office at NMU. There are certain rules patrons are expected to follow, including no food or drinks allowed in the reading room, and bags/coats must be placed on or near the coat rack. These rules are in place to prevent damaged to materials as well as theft.

The Archives is more than a room full of dusty boxes and papers. It is a collection of history, and each institution is unique in its materials. We encourage community members as well as students to come in and learn more about this wonderful resource. Mark your calendars for our next community event, Evening at the Archives, to be held on March 14th at 7:00 pm. More information to come!

Prepared by Savannah Mallo and Olivia Ernst.