Monthly Archives: May 2015

Druids, Railroads, and Real Estate: New Collections at the Archives

The limited amount of patrons in the summertime makes it a good time for processing new collections. Here are just a few of the collections that we have finished processing recently:

United Ancient Order of Druids, Negaunee Grove No. 3 Records

The Druids were a national fraternal organization with a branch in Negaunee that existed from 1913 to 1997. It supported members and their families in the case of sickness, injury, or death. As with many fraternal organizations, the members were all male (although women could join auxiliary circles) and had to be between 18 and 50 and of “good moral character” in order to join. If a member’s injury, sickness, or death was their own fault due to drunkenness or starting a fight, they did not receive benefits from the society.

Though the Ancient Order of Druids began in Britain, in the United States they were typically a German and Scandinavian fraternal society. In Negaunee, however, almost all members were Italian. In fact, until the 1950s, the local chapter kept all of its records in Italian.

The collection has membership and cash books, a constitution and by-laws, a book of minutes, and a book detailing the secret ceremonies of the society.

Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company Records

This collection has tax assessment records from the 1960s through the 1980s, brochures from the 1960s, and newspaper and magazine articles about the company. Chicago and Northwestern ran from 1859 to 1995, and its lines extended from the Midwest to the West Coast. Locally, it ran though Ishpeming, Negaunee, Escanaba, Crystal Falls, Calumet, Ironwood, and more.

Below is a map of their lines:

North Western Railway Map

Earl H. Closser Papers

Earl Closser was a real estate appraiser and broker. His papers contain appraisals of land in the Upper Peninsula as well as in the Lower Peninsula and Wisconsin. He created many of the appraisals during the expansion of highways in the UP in the 1950s and 1960s. The appraisals have photographs of the land as well as general descriptions of what various communities in the UP were like at the time. 

The Archives also recently acquired the papers of Closser Associates, Earl Closser’s real estate company. However, these papers are currently still unprocessed.


Summer Skeletons

This summer the archives is cleaning out all the old skeletons in our vast closet and dusting them off. During the summer months our staff is able to work longer hours on projects left untouched during the school year. Many of these projects involve cleaning or organizing archival material so that it’s more accessible to patrons. Here is what our staff will be working on:

Annika Peterson aka Boss Lady

Over the past few weeks Annika has been working on various projects while also handling patron requests. Some of the larger projects she has done are the organization of the supply aisle and the disassembly of ledger books from the Bay de Noquet collection so they can be properly stored.

During the next six weeks Annika will be splitting her time between work and research. In April she was awarded the “Rich and Anna Lundin Honors Summer Research Fellowship” granting her the opportunity to research a topic of her choosing and then write a paper about it. Annika will be researching the relationship between the Marquette community and NMU during 1940 – 1970.

Kelley Kanon aka BFF

Kelley is continuing to work on our newest web exhibit about the student protests in the 1960s. This project was started last summer when Annika and Anne started gathering resources and doing research. Now, one year later, the project has come full circle as Kelley finishes the last touches on the website. If you are interested in finding out more check out the website here.

It hasn’t been decided what Kelley’s next big project will be but she is looking forward to working on something new and different.

Glenda Ward aka The Great and Powerful

Each day for the past two weeks Glenda has been processing at least one small collection a day including scrapbooks like John Lowe’s. He was a professor who came to Northern in 1919 and died in 1938 on a field trip after hiking Hogsback. Glenda is also working on processing the Tsu-Ming Han collection, a famous geologist who discovered fossils in the Empire mine dating back a billion years ago. She wants to continue processing as much as she can of the back log that has been built up over the past few years.

 Prince Parker aka Handy Man

This past semester our previous accessioner, Jessica Ulrich, graduated, so Prince has taken over as our new accessioner for the summer.  However, he is still working at the Records Center reorganizing and reboxing materials while also finishing the last of the comprehensive record survey with our Records Analyst Sara Kiszka. Prince has also been working on various projects including relabeling the photographic file, and organizing our slide collection.

Anne Krohn aka Original BFF

The Academic Information and Services department recently approved the archives to update all of our very outdated digital equipment. Anne is very excited to revamp the digitization station and procedures including making our digital archival material more easily accessible in our database with the help of our metadata and cataloging services librarian Catherine Oliver.

Along with updating and revising the digital station, Anne plans on gathering all the reel to reels, tapes, and 16mm film to inventory and prepare for digitization.

Sara Kiszka aka No-AH!

On May 9th Sara and our recently graduated Record Center Coordinator Morgan Paavola gave a presentation about our Comprehensive Records Survey (CRS) project at the Midwest Archives Conference held in Lexington, Kentucky. Sara will be talking more about CRS and the conference in the next blog post so be on the look out for that next week.

For the summer, Sara plans on moving university records from the Archives, which primarily houses permanent manuscript collections, to our Records Center. She will continue giving presentations including a presentation on digital archives tomorrow at the Northland Consortium in Ishpeming and a presentation on CRS in June at the Michigan Archival Association conference in Holland, Michigan.

Marcus Robyns aka Pops

For the summer Marcus is working hard to obtain records from different local places, including records from the Marquette Women’s Center and the city of Ishpeming. He is also developing an online study guide for the archivist certification exam while still maintaining his regular duties as the University Archivist.

Additionally, he is preparing for the archives to be renovated starting in July. We will be building a new office for Sara and a small hallway that will lead to the back of the archives. The room next door will be converted into a conference and break room with an adjacent door.


Written by Anne Krohn

What’s Happening at the Archives

Our last summer update post did not cover everything that’s been going on at the Archives, so this week we’re adding to the updates.

Recently, the Archives acquired a collection of records from the American Playground Company in Nahma, MI. The Bay de Noquet Lumber Company established the town of Nahma in 1881. When it quit logging in the area in 1951, it sold the entire town to the American Playground Device Company. The American Playground Company planned to make Nahma into a resort town but never had the funds to do so. We have not yet accessioned the records and therefore do not know what they contain. However, we presume that they will contain much interesting information about the purchase of Nahma and the company’s plans to make the town into a resort.

Coincidentally, the Beaumier Heritage Center here at NMU is currently running an exhibit about Nahma if you would like to learn more about the town. As these records are accessioned and processed, we will give you updates.

Screenshot (8)

(Photo from LIFE magazine, October 22, 1951)

Marcus Robyns, the University Archivist, also has several projects that he will be working on for the next few weeks. Our processor Glenda Ward has finally managed to force several times onto his schedule to deal with some problematic collections that he has been avoiding. These projects mostly include weeding some of our files that have become excessive and deciding whether some of our collections are manuscript or university series.

Another reminder about our hours: We have now switched over to our summer hours, which are Monday-Friday 8 AM – 5 PM.

Our fall hours, which begin with the start of the fall semester, will be Monday-Friday 10 AM – 8 PM and Saturday 11 AM – 3 PM.

Written by Annika Peterson