Monthly Archives: February 2016

Facility Feature: University Records Center

Hi everybody, Stefan here. As the Records Center Coordinator, I thought I would focus this week’s blog post on an infrequently mentioned topic: the University Records Center (URC). While most blog posts feature on aspects of the Archives such as a specific collection or upcoming event, there is much more going on behind the scenes. In the Learning Resources Center (LRC) where the Archives’ reading room is located, only a fraction of our total holdings are retained there. The rest of our materials are housed at the URC, which is a large climate controlled facility in the General Services Building.



A row in the URC.

Since the URC is climate controlled and secured, it serves as the primary depository for both permanent and non-permanent University records. In addition, the URC also provides storage for materials which require climate control for preservation purposes. Examples of some of these items include fragile photographs, glass negatives, and bound books, and various types of film. Additionally, since the NMU Archives is a local government depository, the URC also stores over 130 years worth of Marquette County court records, marriage certificates, coroner inquests, and various city and county tax ledgers. To see a complete list of our local government documents, and many other genealogical resources, click here.

The URC also provides special storage for the Moises Coit Tyler Collection, a portion of the Lydia Olson Library’s Special Collections. With roughly 3,000 volumes spanning several decades, the collection includes books on American history, philosophy, theology, and literature. To learn more about the Tyler Collection, please click here.


A look at the Tyler Collection.

In order to help us transfer materials between the URC and the Archives’ reading room, we use a large cargo van to allow for maximum cargo space. In addition to transferring materials across campus, I also oversee new record donations or transfers from offices on campus. When new University records arrive at the URC, I accession the materials into our internal database ArchivesSpace, label the boxes appropriately, and find available locations on one of our shelving units. I also pull and scan court cases for the County Clerk’s office, pull boxes or files and deliver them to individuals or offices on campus, and maintain the URC’s general cleanliness.


The van we use for transporting records.

We are also currently working on several projects in the URC to fix previous organizational and storage issues. Some of these long term projects include updating inventories, re-boxing permanent records into approved record center boxes, and updating box labels.


A stack of newly constructed (and empty) record center boxes.

That’s all for this week! To learn more about records management and the URC, please see our website here. We’re updating it every day with new material, so please keep checking back for more!

Post written by Stefan Nelson.


Anatomy of A Murder

At the beginning of fall semester the archives team was collaborating on promotional ideas for the upcoming year. The archives achieved major success after last year’s Evening at the Archives events. We wanted to continue the success so we decided to focus on the history of the film “Anatomy of A Murder.” The 1959 courtroom drama starring James Stewart and Lee Remick was filmed in Marquette, Ishpeming, Big Bay and Michigamme.
The screenplay is based upon John Voelker’s novel in which he was the defense attorney for the murder case.

The John D. Voelker papers are located at the Archives and they contain information about the history of the Voelker family, correspondence with family and friends, documents on his legal career, manuscripts of his books and records from the making of Anatomy of Murder the movie. The film was selected for preservation by the National Filmy Registry by the Library of Congress and has received recognition through the American Film Institute.

On February 21st the Archives in conjunction with Campus Cinema and the Beaumier Heritage Center will be premiering “Anatomy of a Murder” in Jamrich 1100 at 6pm.An exhibit on John Voelker as well as some items from his papers will be available for viewing courtesy of the Beaumier Heritage Center and the Archives. The doors will open at 5:30 and admission is free to students via student ID and $1 to the public.

Who was Grace Magnaghi?

Since I began working at the archives a little over one year ago I’ve heard the names of several important patrons and gracious donators hang in the air. Without a doubt, the name I started encountering most often was that of “Grace Magnaghi”, likely because of the association with our Grace H. Magnaghi Visiting Research Grant.

When I was given the task to create an external website to showcase this grant, I was simultaneously given the opportunity to find out more about the infamous “Amazing Grace” Magnaghi. Prior to this project, the only thing I knew was that she was the mother of NMU’s own University Historian and retired professor, Russell Magnaghi.

What I learned is that Grace Magnaghi was a woman who I personally really admire. Beginning with her obituary from March 16, 2011, I got the beginnings of her story. Grace Mendiara was born in San Francisco on February 8, 1911; the daughter of French immigrants. She worked as a bookkeeper before marrying in 1931. The couple then had two sons, and Grace spent much of her time being active in the Catholic Daughters of America, Italian Catholic Federation, St. Anthony’s Guild and the Native Daughters of he Golden West. Grace was said to have had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed having a good time. She would go to the Landmark for a burger and a beer, or celebrate Bastille Day (France Independence) with crepes and champagne. Because of our Visiting Research Grant in her name, I had already known Grace Magnaghi was a contributor to the research and promotion of UP History. I learned that she additionally funded the Center for UP Studies; making $500 available each year to the NMU community or other parties to pursue research or create educational activities revolving around UP history. What made me even more fond of this woman, though, was her devotion to exercise.

An article from The Mining Journal published on January 19, 2006 is titled Working to Walk: Woman, 95, Beating the Odds. The story summarizes that Grace, after being bedridden with pneumonia for a year, was told she’d never walk again because her muscles had atrophied. However, when her son took her to personal trainer, Mike Koskiniemi, she was up and using a walker in eight weeks. She worked harder every day and encouraged others to do the same, she said:

“If a 95-year-old woman who has been stuck in a wheelchair can get motivated enough to come to a gym where only ‘fit people’ are supposed to be – what’s that say to someone who’s just sitting on the couch? That’s a big ‘yes, you can.’”grace-profile

So, thank you, Grace Magnaghi, for a multitude of things. I am fortunate to have been able to learn about a fraction of your legacy. And remember, as February is now here and we begin to doubt our resolutions, the words of this amazing woman! I know they will motivate me.

And look forward to a website from the Central Upper Peninsula and NMU Archives in the next two weeks dedicated to the Grace H. Magnaghi Visiting Research Grant.

Written by Kelley Kanon