Monthly Archives: November 2015

Collection Spotlight: Native American History Resources at the Archives

November is Native American Heritage Month, so today we thought we would share with you some collections at the Archives related to Native American history:

Henry R. Schoolcraft papers: Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was an “author, ethnologist, explorer, geologist, glass manufacturer, and Indian agent” in the nineteenth century. The collection includes his correspondence, published and unpublished articles and essays, journals, reports, and dictionaries of Native American languages. The Archives houses microfilm copies of part of his papers, which are maintained at the Library of Congress. To learn more about Schoolcraft, please see our previous post featuring his collection.

John Pitezel papers: John Pitezel was a Methodist missionary in the Upper Peninsula. His papers contain correspondence, notebooks, essays, and published writings which document his attempts at proselytization among Native Americans in the UP. It should be noted that our copy of the John Pitezel papers is a microfilm copy. The originals are at the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.

Office of Indian Affairs microfilm: These partial microfilm copies of a collection housed at the National Archives document the correspondence between the national Office of Indian Affairs and the Michigan Superintendent and Agents during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They include census roles of Native American tribes in Michigan, correspondence relating to treaty negotiations, land surveys and allotments, and reports sent by the Michigan Agents to the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Interior.

Nishnawbe News: The Nishnawbe News was the newspaper of the North American Indian Student Organization from 1971 to 1983. At one point, it had a circulation of over 8000 people, but lost funding during a budget crisis. Our collection of the Nishnawbe News runs from 1971 to 1982 and does not include every edition of the paper.

Anishinaabe News: The “Nishnawbe News” returned under a new name, the Anishinaabe News, and a new digital format in 2002. In 2005, it became a physical printed newspaper. It is a publication of Northern Michigan University’s Center for Native American Studies (CNAS) that is “dedicated to featuring Native American-related news, perspectives, and artwork of writers, photographers, and proofreaders, both Native and non-Native.” The Archives has copies of most of the Anishinaabe News up to the present edition.

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An example of the Anishinaabe News from July 2015.

Other Native American Newspapers: The Archives also has copies of a number of other newspapers concerned with Native American issues from across the UP. These include the Bay Mills News: Gnoozhekaaning Bidajimowin Newspapers (1999-present), the Gikendaam Chiwiikwegamag Newspapers (2005-2007) from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community near L’Anse, the Menominee Tribal News Newspapers (1990-1999), and the Sault Tribe News/Win Awenen Nisitotung Newspapers (1994-present). These newspapers document local news from regional Native American communities and record local opinion on state and national news as well.

Interested in learning more about Upper Peninsula Native American history? Come check out all of these collections at the Archives!

Written by Annika Peterson



Sometimes while working at the archives, we find ourselves unveiling documents that spark a personal interest. During homecoming week this semester, we were digitizing photographs of previous winning floats for a patron. One of these float-winners in 1957 was an organization called Tri Mu Fraternity. One of our employees being in a Greek organization, took personal interest in the patron’s request.

1957-First Prize Homecoming Float: Tri Mu

The ultimate resource for all things Northern Michigan University is in a book compiled by Dr. Russell M. Magnaghi titled A Sense of Time: The Encyclopedia of Northern Michigan University. We were fortunate enough to find an entry on Tri Mu Fraternity:

“Tri Mu Fraternity was organized on December 19, 1922. One of its founders was John Voelker who was responsible for the writing of the Tri Mu song (lyrics only, melody is the Purdue fight song) and initiation ceremony. The three “Ms” stand for mind, morals, and muscle…In 1961, the members of the fraternity decided to become a chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon, a national fraternity…. (Magnaghi 380).”

Several interesting factoids! Firstly, we couldn’t believe the infamous John Voelker, of all people, would be a founding member of the Tri Mu Fraternity. John Voelker is best known as the author of Anatomy of a Murder which was adopted into a film starring James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara and George C. Scott. Voelker was a former prosecutor, state supreme court justice and avid fisherman. He typically wrote his novels under the name of Robert Traver and based his novels from his previous court cases.

John Volker

John Voelker

Secondly, how very fascinating that, a picture we stumbled upon during a normal patron request, would reveal some history to a Greek organization that exists on Northern’s campus still today. Tau Kappa Epsilon is one of the two fraternities (along with Alpha Sigma Phi) remaining after the majority of NMU’s Greek life was dissolved in the 1980’s. To think that Ishpeming’s John Voelker played a hand in creating a brotherhood that we still see on campus today is awesome!


Tau Kappa Epsilon in 1961

Tau Kappa Epsilon in 2015

Written by Kelley Kanon and Peter Dewan

Collection Spotlight: Political Collections at the Archives

This past Tuesday, November 3, was Election Day in the United States. As it was an off-year election, it featured only special elections to the United States Congress, as well as municipal, school board, gubernatorial, and state legislative elections in a few states. In honor of Election Day, we thought that we would highlight some of our collections related to politics.

The Archives houses the collections of several individuals from the UP active in state politics. One such individual is Dominic Jacobetti, who served from 1954 to 1994 in the Michigan State House of Representatives and was often called the “Godfather of the UP” for his ability to acquire funding to UP projects. The collection comprises seventy-five boxes of material that document his campaigns and his work in the legislature. It includes speeches, reports, correspondence, and newspaper articles.

Dominic Jacobetti, the “Godfather of the UP”

Another collection from a politician is the Charles Varnum papers, who served in the Michigan State House of Representatives from 1966 to 1983. The collection includes records of legislation that he worked on, correspondence, and campaign materials. It also contains audio and photographs of Varnum and his campaigns. His legislative materials especially focus on the Newberry State Mental Hospital.

Another politician who dealt with the Newberry State Mental Hospital was Pat Gagliardi, whose papers are also in the Archives. He served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1982 to 1998. He focused on issues related to lighthouses and the underwater history of the Great Lakes and providing funding for libraries and museums. He also served on many committees covering a variety of topics from the environment to the budget to tourism to retirement issues.

We also have the papers of Fred Sabin, a local leader of the Republican Party who was chairman of the 11th Congressional District Republican Committee and was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1964. His records include correspondence, publications, and campaign materials for the local Republican party as well as scrapbooks documenting his political activities.

The Archives also houses records for political organizations such as the Marquette County Democratic Party. records document the local Democratic Party’s activities from 1990 to 2004. They include correspondence, financial information, membership listings, meeting minutes, event materials, federal election commission records, and records concerning campaign kick-off dinners, campaign headquarters records, party conventions, and memberships. Of particular interest to the NMU community are records of NMU students who interned with the party.

Interested in local political history? Come to the Archives and check out the Marquette County Democratic Party records, or our records from local politicians such as Dominic Jacobetti, Charles Varnum, Fred Sabin, and Pat Gagliardi.

Written by Prince Parker and Annika Peterson