Monthly Archives: April 2015

End of the Semester Updates and Summer Projects at the Archives!

As the semester winds down, we at the Archives are starting to do our “spring cleaning” and plan out our summer projects.

In the past few weeks, as our Comprehensive Records Survey has been winding down, Prince Parker and Stefan Nelson, two of the Archives staff involved in the survey, have been shelf reading. While not a particularly exciting part of archival work, regular shelf reads are necessary for keeping our records organized and making sure that everything is where it is supposed to be and has not been accidentally misfiled. Our “spring cleaning” has also extended to our internal office files, which we are currently in the process of re-organizing.

In other news, we recently received an exciting collection from the Peter White Public Library—many boxes of recordings from meetings of the City of Marquette’s Board of Commissioners! These recordings span several decades. While we already had paper minutes from these meetings (which have been digitized and are available here), the recordings will be a valuable addition for those interested in researching local governmental history.

In other news, our processor, Glenda Ward, is about to finish a collection of two hundred CCI old age pension records. They range in date from 1908-1917. The names on the pension records will be available in our database, so if you have a relative who worked at CCI during that time period, be sure to check it out!

Speaking of the CCI collection, one of our major summer projects is to create a better inventory of the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Mining Company Records. At the moment, our decades-old index contains such helpful headings as “correspondence—multiple companies; unknown date range.” With thousands of volumes in the collection and no locations in our database, researching in the CCI collection can be quite difficult. A better summary of the collection and exactly where each volume is located will allow us to provide better access to the collection so that researchers can use these valuable records more easily.

The summer will also provide us with time to catch up of a backlog of preservation, accessioning, and processing, and other such activities. This includes flattening and encapsulating maps, getting a slide collection into proper slide envelopes, checking and fixing broken links on our website, and more. And as always, we will also be working on the continuing digitization of our audio and film collections as well.

Finally, the end of this semester marks the graduation of two of our staff: Morgan Paavola and Jessica Ulrich. Morgan, the Records Center Coordinator, is going on to the Archives and Records Administration program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jessica, the Accessioning Specialist, received a Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship and will be attending Ball State University for science education.

We will all miss Morgan and Jessica, but we know that they will do well in all of their future endeavors.

Changes in our Schedule

Our hours will be changing for the summer: Starting Monday, April 27 (the first day of finals week), our hours will change to Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM.

We are also going to be experimenting with a new schedule during the fall semester. In an attempt to better suit the needs of patrons who cannot come in during the work day, our fall hours will be Monday through Friday 10 AM – 8 PM and Saturday 11 AM to 3 PM. Have an opinion on the schedule changes? Feel free to e-mail feedback, comments, or questions, to us at archives@nmu.edu.

Written by Annika Peterson

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Dominic Jacobetti

The Dominic J. Jacobetti collection focuses on his forty year (1954-1994) career as member of the Michigan House of Representatives. Within this time period Jacobetti sought to provide funding for multiple projects throughout Michigan but primarily the Upper Peninsula. Jacobetti was a proud Yooper and was often known as “a man of the people” and “the working man’s Representative.”

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Dominic Jacobetti was born in Negaunee, MI July 20, 1920 to Nick and Josephine Jacobetti. He attended St. Paul’s High School in 1938 and quickly started working as a miner for Athens Mining Company, and was promoted to become president of the United Steel Workers Union. Once he was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives he served on multiple committees such as the Conservation, Educational Institutions and Tuberculosis Hospitals Committees, the Conservation and Fish and Fisheries Committees, the Educational Institutions Committee, the Conservation Committee, the House Policy Committee, the House Policy and State Affairs Committees; and the Appropriations Committee. He involved himself with state-wide and local issues such as abortion/right to life, insurance reform, seat belt legislation, sobriety check lanes and tax limitation.

Jacobetti’s political focus was to maximize job opportunities, education programs, equal rights, transportation facilities and provide funding for ongoing projects within the Upper Peninsula.  Jacobetti felt so attached to the Upper Peninsula that he fought towards the effort of the Upper Peninsula becoming the fifty-first state.

Come check out Chat with the Archivist next Wednesday in the Jamrich lobby to learn more about Dominic Jacobetti.

Written by Peter Dewan

The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives Digital Collections

The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives contains widespread and historically rich paper collections, but we also have an extensive digital collection. Audio and visual materials present the natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula, the growth of Northern Michigan University, and visits by influential and famous people. Digital materials include several hundred U-matic video tapes, VHS tapes, 8mm and 16mm film, oral history interviews, and other audio tape recordings.

Archives are dedicated to preserving and making available historical documents for public research, and the digitization of original documents and their presentation on a global scale via the Internet offer the most efficient way to present historical information.

However, digitization also presents the archivist with a unique set of challenges, such as computer hardware and software obsolescence, the large volume of historical materials, and the high cost of digitization technology. Combined, these challenges make digitization of historical documents very expensive and out of the reach of smallest, most poorly funded archival institutions. As a result, many archivists are forced to seek external funding sources, mainly through grants, in order to afford digitization projects. Unfortunately, grant writing is very time consuming and difficult without any guarantee of success.

Digitized Collections 

In 2009, the National Historical Publication and Records Commission (NHPRC) awarded the NMU Archives nearly $90,000 to digitize three record series from the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company  (CCI) records. NMU hired Rachael Bussert (now Assistant Professor and Congressional Papers Archivist at the University of Hawaii) as the project archivist. Ms. Bussert and four student assistants digitized 70,000 documents, 500 maps, and over 200 photographs. The collection documents nearly seventy years of the Company’s history on the Marquette Iron Range beginning in 1893.

The Anatomy of a Murder  online exhibit commemorates the Fiftieth Anniversary of the publication of Anatomy of a Murder, written by John Voelker. The 1952 murder trial of Army Lt. Coleman Peterson inspired Voelker to write the novel which later became an Academy award nominated movie of the same name (1959). Voelker was Peterson’s defense attorney and saved the erstwhile officer with an insanity plea. The exhibit highlights the original court transcripts, the hypothetical question, Voelker’s handwritten manuscripts, Lieutenant Peterson’s testimony, Paquette’s testimony, and photographs.

Two former Archives student assistants, Jennifer Hanfelt and Olivia Ernst, designed and created the NMU digital audio collection. The project identified and digitized historically significant oral history interviews of faculty and staff and important events on campus. Hanfelt and Ernst cataloged the digital copies and created links to the Lydia Olson Library catalog, making them more available to researchers. The collection includes the visits by former president Gerald Ford and Alexander Ginzburg, a renowned Russian human rights activist. Also included are Commencement Speeches (1977-1988), a series of recordings related to Italian Histories in the central Upper Peninsula, and links to the Finnish Folklore Oral History Project at Finlandia University.

Up Coming Projects

On April 2, the NMU Archives unveiled a new online exhibition. The exhibition examines the history of student protests on Northern Michigan University’s campus during the 1960s. NMU was not immune to the political and social strife that gripped the nation at that time. Although some protest actions mirrored larger state and national events, many reflected the unique culture and circumstances of the Upper Peninsula. Student assistants Annika Peterson, Anne Krohn, and Kelley Kanon researched, wrote, and designed the exhibition. To view the exhibition, please visit the Archives web site at www.nmu.edu/archives.

University Archivist Marcus Robyns and Records Analyst Sara Kiszka recently submitted a grant to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). The NMU Archives proposes to use NHPRC funds to digitize the Dr. Michael Loukinen Folklore Film Collection.  The Collection includes over 2,000 minutes of analog audio and 16 mm film outtakes that Loukinen used to produce four one-hour folklore documentaries about the Upper Peninsula.  The project will make the digital collection freely available online.

Written by Morgan Paavola