Monthly Archives: February 2015

Collection Spotlight: Citizens to Save Superior Shorelines Records

the view of little presque isle

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Did you know that Little Presque Isle almost became a power plant in the late 1960s? If it weren’t for concerned people banding together in the form of a group called Citizens to Save the Superior Shoreline (CSSS), Little Presque might not be the beautiful area that it is today.

Until 1969, a local Marquette family owned Little Presque and kept it open for public use. Then, they began looking to sell the property to anyone who would buy it.

The UP Power Company offered a lot of money for the property and the family agreed. Many people were outraged at the destruction of such a gorgeous area. They came together and formed the CSSS. In the face of a petition with thousands of signatures, the UP Power Company dropped their plan to buy the property. A few years later, the family again almost sold the land to residential developers.

CSSS worried that they would not be able to permanently save Little Presque. Then, in 1975, the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company announced that they were looking to purchase some land from the DNR to expand their mining enterprises. In order to acquire the interior land that they needed, they were going to trade land of equal worth to the DNR.

CSSS saw this upcoming land trade as an opportunity to preserve Little Presque forever. They approached CCI and the DNR and asked if CCI would be willing to buy the land surrounding Little Presque and give that to the DNR in trade for the interior land that they needed for mining. CCI agreed. This area included not just Little Presque Isle but also such popular recreational areas as Harlow Lake and Wetmore Landing.

CSSS did not just work to keep Little Presque Isle and the surrounding areas pristine. They also tackled many other environmental issues, such as local problems with air and water pollution and bottle recycling in Michigan.

Interested in learning more about the activities of CSSS? Come to the Archives and see their collection! It includes meeting minutes, correspondence, newsletters, financial records, copies of legislative bills about environmental issues, news clippings, and maps of Presque Isle.

Or, come and check out our next Chat with the Archivist session on Wednesday, February 25 from 10 AM – 12 PM! Marcus will be somewhere in the lobby areas of first floor Jamrich with some materials from the CSSS collection. He will be happy to answer your questions regarding local environmental history or any archival topic.

Written by Annika Peterson


Comprehensive Records Survey

The Northern Michigan University and Central Upper Peninsula Archives contains manuscript collections from around the Upper Peninsula, but it also is an in-house collecting archives. As an in-house archives, university offices and departments transfer records to be archived and preserved at the University Records Center. Many of the records are not vital to the university’s function and are eventually destroyed according to retention and disposition schedules. Federal, State, and university policies dictate these schedules that the Archivist or Records Analyst follow to determine when records are confidentially disposed.

Ms. Sara Kiszka, Records Analyst, has launched a Comprehensive Records Survey (CRS) of all official university records on campus. The CRS uses the methodology of functional analysis to determine the historical value of University records.[1]

Functional analysis is a method of appraising records to determine their historical value. It carefully examines the mission and duties of an office. The staff analyzes the importance of each office function within the context of the parent institution’s primary functions and missions. Those office functions determined to be most important for completing the institution’s mission are likely to produce records with the greatest historical value. When appraising records, we identify the type and format of the records, how they are stored and arranged, and the frequency of how often they are used by staff. This macro level approach to arrangement allows us to view records as they are actually used, rather than how traditional appraisal purports them to be.

Typically, university records are arranged by the department or office hierarchy in the university. This method does not allow for flexibility within the constant shifting of departments and functions. With functional analysis method of appraisal for records, university records managers can better adapt their policies with that of the records produced by the university.

After five months of preparation, workshops, and staff, Ms. Kiszka launched the CRS at the beginning of Winter Semester, 2015. CRS Technicians, Prince Parker, Stefan Nelson, and Senior CRS Technician Morgan Paavola, have begun visiting academic departments and collecting information about how offices create and store their records. With this data, Ms. Kiszka and the CRS team will develop and publish online unique appraisal reports for every office; these reports will outline new disposition schedules and file storage recommendations among many other things.

Ms. Kiszka and Ms. Paavola are preparing a case study of the CRS for publication and presentation at the spring meeting of the Midwest Archives Conference and the annual conference of the Michigan Archival Association in June, 2015.


To follow the progress of the CRS click here


[1] Marcus Robyns, Using Functional Analysis in Archival Appraisal: A Practical and Effective Alternative to Traditional Appraisal Methodologies, 2014.

Written by Morgan Paavola

Chat With the Archivist

Each semester, the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives offers several educational outreach programs designed to increase awareness of the Archives among students and faculty. Every two weeks the Archives will host “Chat with the Archivist” in the busy concourse of Jamrich Hall. Students and faculty can stop and visit to learn about Archives collections and activities. This coming Wednesday February 11, 2015 University Archivist Marcus Robyns will have papers from the John Voelker collection for students, faculty or community members to learn about. John Voelker was born in Ishpeming and is notoriously known for his novel Anatomy of a Murder. The John Voelker collection consists of court cases, personal documents and the actual bullets used in the Anatomy of a Murder case.

MarcusChat with the Archivist

Be sure to stop by anytime between 10am-12pm in Jamrich to learn more about the John Voelker collection. Interested in learning more about the Chat with the Archivist or the Voelker collection? Contact the Archives at

Written by Peter Dewan