Monthly Archives: August 2015

Fall 2015: Here We Go Again!

A new semester has started. As some of you have been hearing about all summer, the Archives is undergoing renovation and we have new office hours. Even with all of the new things happening, we are happy to have the same group of dedicated staff working here at the Archives. We are also constantly acquiring and processing new collections to bring more of the history of the Central Upper Peninsula to the masses. Keep up on the goings-on at the Archives by following our Social Media sites.

Renovation:

Construction started on August 17th and has been progressing steadily. When all is done we will have added a conference room by expanding into the office next door, converted a small office space into a microfilm viewing area, added a larger office space for the Records Manager, and created a hallway leading from the Reading Room area into the Archival Processing Area.

Office Hours:

Monday through Friday: 10 AM-8 PM

Saturdays: 11AM-3PM

Sundays: Closed

The Archives reading room will be open by appointment for the duration of the renovations (4-? weeks). Staff will continue to respond to email requests, phone requests, and document retrievals. Access to microfilm and collections will be limited; however, none of our virtual reference services will be affected. You may schedule time to view documents, meet with our genealogy researcher, Karen Kasper, discuss institutional records with our Records Manager, Sara Kiska, or to consult with the University Archivist, Marcus Robyns, by emailing archives@nmu.edu or by calling us at 906-227-1225. When noise and construction activities prevent research in the Reading Room, Archives staff will work with you to make alternate space available. Please call ahead to check on availability and access.

Location:

We are located on the 1st floor of the LRC in room 126, near Fiera’s, the elevator, and the tunnel leading to West Science.

Archives Staff:

The Archives boasts fourteen of the most dedicated team members you will find. Leading the pack is Marcus Robyns, University Archivist since 1997. Sara Kiska graced us with her upbeat personality, talent, and skill as the Records Manager/Analyst in July 2014. The Lydia M. Olson Library provides support for the Archives by sharing the knowledge and expertise of Catherine Oliver, Metadata and Cataloging Services Librarian; Cataloging Assistant, Keith Greising; and Library Systems Specialist, John S. Hambleton.

The rest of our team is made up of student employees and volunteers, all here to help. The multi-talented student staff is represented by Annika Peterson, Senior Student Assistant; Peter Dewan, Marketing and Public Outreach Specialist; Anne Krohn, Digitization Specialist; Kelley Kanon, Web Design Specialist; Stefan Nelson, Records Center Coordinator; Prince Parker, Accessioning Specialist; and Glenda K. Ward, Arrangement and Description Specialist. Our two dedicated volunteers are Karen Kasper, Genealogy Specialist and Research Consultant, and Dr. Steven Peters, Volunteer Project Archivist.

For more information about our staff and to watch short videos explaining what they actually do, visit the About Us section of our website http://www.nmu.edu/archives.

Archival Collections:

The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives houses the historical records of Northern Michigan University and historical materials documenting the history of the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This includes the counties of Alger, Delta, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee and Schoolcraft.

The archives houses extensive collections, including labor, government and political files; items from Cleveland Cliffs Iron Mining Co.; the John D. Voelker papers; the Moses Coit Tyler collection of rare books (American history, theology and literature); genealogical resources; and many other collections from community organizations, the university and prominent historical figures. Materials include manuscripts, maps, photographs, film and video, oral histories, newspapers and periodicals.

The Archives is transitioning to a new catalog for its finding aids, ArchivesSpace. ArchivesSpace allows you to browse our collections by title, name of person or institution, or subject, and to search our descriptions of them by keyword.

Social Media:

The Archives leaves its social media footprint on Facebook (Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University), Twitter (@nmu_archives), YouTube (Central Upper Peninsula and NMU Archives); FlickR (https://www.flickr.com/photos/nmu_archives), and our weekly blog (https://northerntradition.wordpress.com). Keep current on the goings-on at the Archives by following us, subscribing to us, and reading our blog.

Written by Glenda Ward

Construction Has Started

Construction has started.

The workers are here.

Darkness.

Vibration.

Strange voices we hear.

Hard hats.

Sheet plastic .

Blue tape abounds.

Drywall.

Wheelbarrows.

Marks on the ground.

Lights fixtures.

Hanging.

Suspended in air.

Danger.

Caution.

Don’t go in there.

Construction has started.

The workers are here.

CLOSED

Written by Glenda Ward

The Undiscovered Treasure Trove

Piled high above our heads always in clear view but never seen, stowed away in a plain cabinet we walked past every day, sitting silently abandoned and forgotten, waiting, waiting. Until now. For years, the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives reel-to-reel audio recordings have sat untouched gathering dust. The majority of these recordings were recorded between the late 1960s and the early 1990s. This treasure trove, waiting to be discovered for decades, has finally begun to surface.

This summer one of the projects that our digitation specialist, Anne Krohn, has been working on is organizing our reel-to-reel audio recordings into two complete and easily researchable collections: WNMU Media and Audio Visual Media. For many years these recordings have been scattered into a number of collections. The majority of them have never even been accessioned or inventoried! It was decided that these recordings would be split into two collections based on who produced them. This will allow other media forms, like the VHS tapes and film reels, to be added into the WNMU and Audio Visual Media collections once they have been processed.

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The WNMU Media Collection: Anne completed processing it a few days ago

There have been many interesting discoveries while going through these reels including various Media Meet productions and a radio program about the Upper Peninsula’s attempt to secede in the 1970s. Media Meet was a series produced by WNMU’s Public TV 13, which started in 1972. They covered a variety of topics and would sometimes ask NMU faculty and Marquette community members to discuss various issues including political, world and local news. Some of the topics that were recorded on reel-to-reel include: Dr. Irving Greenburg on the Holocaust, Scams and Frauds, Finn Fest, UFO Studies, and many more! In the mid 1970s, the Upper Peninsula attempted to secede from Michigan and become the State of Superior. An interview with a local senator in 1975 addresses the reasons why the Upper Peninsula wanted to leave and what the process for seceding would be.

As exciting and thrilling as it is to find these new gemstones, there is also a sad realization: Nearly a fourth of our reel-to-reel recordings are lost. Technology has a way of preserving the past while also destroying it. These “lost” recordings were recorded at a slower speed than what our reel to reel player can play. There is no way to speed up the recording digitally or on the player so the audio is lost. For example: I digitized a 10 minute recording of a man talking but I couldn’t understand what he was saying due to the recording being too slow (we’ll call this effect slow talk). So I tried to speed up the recording in the hope that his voice would speed up as well and I would be able to understand him. I sped up the recording so that it was five minutes long. However, all that accomplished was to create a now five minute recording of slow talk.

What we have lost on those recordings will forever remain a mystery. However, there are still many we can save and many we will preserve.

Interested in learning more and listening to the reels yourself? Contact the archives!

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The Audio Visual recordings: Anne is still processing them, as can be seen in the bottom picture.

Currently the WNMU reel-to-reels have been processed and are available for patrons. The Audio Visual recordings are still being processed but should be available in the coming weeks. The long-term goal is to digitize all our reel-to-reels so they can be preserved in a digital format.

Blog written by Anne Krohn

Collection Spotlight: The Historic Library Catalog

Recently the Archives stumbled across a forgotten treasure. While inventorying a row that had become a bit disheveled, I found a stack of seven large bound books that said “Accessions” on the outside. At first, I was a bit confused. “Accessioning” is the first step in processing a new archival collection in which the donor officially transfers the material to the archives and the archives makes an initial brief inventory of the collection. However, these books were clearly old and hand-written, and Northern’s archives did not start until the 1980s.

As soon as I opened the ledgers, however, it became clear—they were actually Olson Library’s handwritten (and later typewriter-written) catalog that recorded all books in the library from 1899 to 1958!

The ledgers themselves shed interesting light on library science at the time. They are American Library Association Standard Accession-books which many libraries throughout the country used at the time. In the front was a manual about how to accession library books. It included acceptable standard abbreviations as well as the colors to be used on the bindings of books of various languages (a feature probably not much used at Northern).

The ledgers also shed light on what sorts of books Northern sought to collect in its first years. As a normal school, Northern’s primary function in its early years was to train teachers. Consequently, its early books included math, psychology, and physics textbooks, children’s books for the training school, and books on education.

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The first entry into the catalog: a translation of Histoire de la pédagogie by Gabriel Compayré.

last page

The last entry in the catalog: The Study of War, Volume II by Q. Wright.

These early years of the library’s catalog also record the receipt of what is now Olson Library’s Moses Coit Tyler Collection. Moses Coit Tyler was a professor of rhetoric and English literature at the University of Michigan during the second half of the nineteenth century. Tyler was interested in examining the historical contexts of works of literature, and he was perhaps best known for being one of the first scholars to write about the history of American literature. He also helped to found the American Historical Association, where he promoted a more critical form of American history.

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Moses Coit Tyler, 1835-1900

His personal library of over three thousand books focused on American history and politics, language and grammar, literature, and theology. In his will, he requested that his library be sold to some public institution. In 1904, four Marquette citizens: attorney Albert Miller, banker Nathan Kaufman, mining engineer Edward Breitung, and businessman Peter White learned that Tyler’s personal collection of books was up for sale. They purchased them in order to grow Northern State Normal School’s still quite small library.

Eventually, the Tyler collection was separated from the general library and put into Special Collections. Though still part of the library’s collections, the books are housed at the Archives’ Records Center in a climate controlled environment.

Interested in the Tyler collection or the library catalog? The catalog can be viewed at the Archives, and brochures about Tyler are available at the front desk. A catalog of Tyler’s books can be found in Olson Library.

Written by Annika Peterson