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


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