Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Send-Off for our New Graduates!

This semester, we say goodbye to two longtime Archives employees, Olivia Ernst and Kyle St. John.

Olivia Ernst PortraitOlivia Ernst, our Senior Student Assistant, started at the Archives in September 2009 as the Digital Resources and Technology Coordinator. She helped to create project websites for the John D. Voelker Papers, the Oral History Collection, and the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company Historical Records Digitization Project.  In 2011 she became the Technical and External Reference Request Coordinator, and in May of 2012 she took on her current role. During this time, Olivia has also completed the coursework for a BA in Graduate Bound English and German Studies, and will be graduating summa cum laude on May 4th. She is looking forward to a year “off” while she takes time to apply to various PhD programs in English Literature with a specialization in Medieval Studies. During this time, she hopes to work as a copy editor, applying the writing and editorial skills she’s learned from managing this blog, as well as from her time as an editorial intern with Passages North, the Literary Journal of NMU. Olivia will greatly miss the Archives and her fellow coworkers, as well as Marcus’s German outbursts, and wishes Savannah Mallo the best of luck as she transitions into the Senior Student Assistant position.

Two days after this was posted, Olivia found out that she will be attending University of Colorado – Boulder this fall in pursuit of a Masters in English Literature. We wish her the best of luck!

Kyle St. John PortraitKyle, hired in September of 2011 as the University Records Center Coordinator, will be graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology. He has already received a job as a Pathfinder with Schlumberger, in Texas, where he will be working on oil rigs and using the latest available technology to help clients reach oil and natural gas reserves. We wish him the best of luck with his budding career. Kyle would like to leave with a short anecdote about his experience here, and while it does not portray the usually professional and productive side of the Archives, we thought we would share it with you anyways.

               When you get hired, you’re usually told what you will be doing, right? Even though I never saw it in the job description, this is what happened.  I got a frantic phone call from Marcus one day, saying something about a street name and the end of the world. After several minutes he was able to calm down and tell me that his car had broken down and was currently sitting in the middle of the intersection. I simply said, “what do you want me to do about it?” to which he yelled “WELL YOU’RE AN ENGINEER, FIX IT!” before hanging up. So I sought out this “end of the world” situation. It was snowing at the time, so the road was soaked and freezing cold as I crawled under the car to try to fix the starter. This didn’t work, of course. As I crawled out from under the car he simply looked at me and said “well, we’ll just have to tow it.” I stupidly said “sure, sounds good,” not realizing that he meant I should tow him across town, since I had an SUV and a tow strap. So it was back under the car to properly attach the strap, and the entire time the boss was whining, “It’s the end of the world.” After giving him a crash course in what not to do when being towed, we were off to south Marquette and the auto shop. Surprisingly, the trip was uneventful.  Then finally, after we got back, he simply looks at me and says, “Good job, now take the rest of the day off”. Walking back to my car I asked myself, “What the hell just happened?”

We hope that you have enjoyed this odd story, and we also hope that you will join us in sending off these two valuable employees. We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors!


An Introduction to William Vandament, former NMU President

This week, we at the Archives started compiling our resources about a former NMU President, William Vandament.

Vandament was born in Missouri in 1931. In 1952, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Quincy College. He later earned a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from Southern Illinois University in 1953 and a second Master’s in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts in 1963. To round out his educational experience, he received his Doctorate in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts in 1964. Before coming to Northern he held various positions at the State University of New York, Ohio State University, New York University, and California State University.

Vandament's Key to Retirement

In 1991, Vandament was named NMU’s interim president after Dr. James Appleberry, and in April of ’92 he became the permanent president after a failed national search. During his reign at NMU he faced many budget cuts and setbacks but always came out ahead. Despite the many efforts to save Longyear Hall, President Vandament had no choice but to have it demolished in 1993. However, during his time as president (’92-’97), 53 construction, expansion, and renovation projects were undertaken. Major construction projects included renovating the University Center, Gries Hall and the Vielmetti Health Center, the Learning Resource Center, Thomas Fine Arts, and West Science. As part of the West Science Renovation, the Glenn T. Seaborg wing was added. Vandament also helped to make construction of the famous Superior Dome possible.

President Vandament rightfully won numerous awards during his tenure, and the Vandament Volleyball Arena was named in his honor. In just five short years at NMU he guided the university forward and laid a foundation for years to come.Vandament Arena Dedication

For more information about President Vandament, visit the Archives in Room 126 of the LRC (down by Starbucks).

Prepared by Alexandria Eisner and Olivia Ernst.

It’s almost Summer–Time for some Genealogical Research!

We are back to normal pace here at the archives, just in time for the semester to start winding down. We will be open all summer, Monday through Friday, and during that time we usually see quite a number of patrons researching our most popular topic: genealogy.

For those of you from the Upper Peninsula, this can be a great way to trace your roots and find out more information about your heritage. We have many collections to aid in your search, such as Immigration and Naturalization records for Marquette County, Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Mining Company records, Coroner’s Inquests that date back to the late 1800s, and Marquette County Court records. We also host a vast array of oral history interviews from our Italian-American Oral History Collection, some of which can be found online at

Miners at the Lake Mine around the turn of the century.

Miners at the Lake Mine around the turn of the century.

Other Oral History collections that could provide genealogical information include our Recorded in Stone: Voices on the Marquette Iron Range collection and The Red Dust Oral History collection. Recorded in Stone provides information on the history of immigration in the Marquette Iron Range. The Red Dust collection is a collection of interviews conducted between 1983 and 2000 by students of the former National Mine School (what is now Aspen Ridge Middle School).

In addition to this variety of sources, information can also be found in the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church records or the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan collection. St. Paul’s was the first Episcopal church in Marquette.

So whether you’re searching for general family lineage or in-depth research of a specific person from Marquette County, we hope to see you in the archives!

For more information about the Archives or genealogical research, visit our website at or come check us out in Room 126 of the LRC (down by Starbucks).

Prepared by Alexandria Eisner and Olivia Ernst.