Monthly Archives: May 2013

Oh, Moses, the Tyler collection!

In 1904 Northern State Normal School’s original library purchased Moses Coit Tyler’s working library. This consisted of 2,000 titles comprising 3,000 volumes which are now being housed by the NMU Archives. Most of the collection is about the history of the United States including works about Old World history. These publications reflect the experiences of the American Revolution and include writing from Edmund Burke and William Cobbett (reformer).

The collection also encompasses works from some of our founding fathers such as Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and Hamilton. There are also biographies such as Life of George Washington, by John Marshall, and Life of Andrew Jackson, President of the United States, by William Cobbett.

Moses Coit Tyler

Moses Coit Tyler

In addition to the collection, the Archives also has pictures and materials about Tyler himself, highlighting his contribution to the historical development of American Literature in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century.  He studied at the University of Michigan but left to attend Yale and graduated in 1857. In 1873, he became an editor of The Christian Union in New York.  In 1874, he realized his heart was in education and became a faculty member of University of Michigan until Cornell University offered him a position as chair of American history (first in the country). In 1884, Tyler helped found the American Historical Association.

To view the collection or for more information visit the   Archives in room 126 of the LRC (down by Starbucks).

Prepared by Alexandria Eisner, Kacey Lewis, and Savannah Mallo


Life of the ‘Barracks Boys’

This week at the Archives we have been updating our database and came across the Barracks Boys. Curiosity struck and we learned of a grant-in-aid program for men at Northern Michigan College, which was the name of the university before it switched to Northern Michigan University in 1963.

In 1952 coach C.V. “Red” Money helped NMC grant athletic scholarships to sixteen men. The group lived in abandoned barracks on campus that used to be used by soldiers using the G.I. Bill. The Barracks Boys were around from 1952-1956 and many became doctors, lawyers, and coaches.

In 1955, George Tomasi, one of the original Barracks Boys wrote an article for Northern College News in which he states, “This program was designed for guys just like you — guys who are short on cash but who have spirit enough to try athletics and get good grades.”

The original Barracks Boys of 1952-53.

The original Barracks Boys of 1952-53.

To be eligible for the barracks, the boys had to sign an agreement and abide by many regulations such as sharing the pro-rated expenses (fuel oil, phone, etc) of the barracks, pay the college $1.00 per month for rent, and participate in at least two sports between football, basketball, track and field, tennis, or golf.

The boys were also expected to be up and have beds made by 9am daily expect for Sundays. Rooms and halls had to be ready for inspection, and all bills had to be paid on time. Failure to keep up with these guidelines as well as a good academic standing would  result in dismissal from the program.

For more information on the Barracks boys or to see pictures, visit us at the Archives in room 126 of the LRC (down by Starbucks).

Prepared by Alexandria Eisner and Kacey Lewis

New Collection: The Paisano Club of Upper Michigan

Here at the Archives, our Description and Arrangement Specialist, Glenda Ward, has finished processing a collection of the Paisano Club of Upper Michigan.

The Paisano Club of Upper Michigan was foundedPaisano Club in 1965. It was introduced by founding member Msgr. David P. Spelgatti of Ishpeming. The club was established to commemorate, preserve, and highlight the contribution of the Italian immigrant to the Upper Peninsula.

Before 1965, the club was a chapter of the Federated Italian American Societies until Spelgatti proposed to establish an Italian society specifically for the UP in 1963.

Since its creation, the club has formed additional branches in Dickinson and Gogebic Counties. The Archives has many materials such as artifacts, pictures, and over 150 oral interviews of the Paisano Club.

We have Dr. Russell M. Magnaghi papers about the project, membership information, information about the annual meetings they’ve had, as well as photos. There is also information about relief efforts that the group provided to help when an earthquake shook southern Italy in the 1980s. Also, we have information about international awards (La “Stella della Solidarieta” Awards) that three members received in 1963. The club has also sent two groups on trips to Italy.

One of the Paisano Club groups on their trip to Italy in 1970.

Paisano Club on a trip to Italy in 1970.

The club is still active and is to this date the only organization in Michigan to perform such extensive research on immigrant history.

For more information on the Paisano Club of Upper Michigan or to hear any of the oral interviews, visit us in the Archives in Room 126 of the LRC (down by Starbucks).

Prepared by: Alexandria Eisner and Glenda Ward