Event Spotlight: Upcoming Evening at the Archives on March 23

In a few weeks, we at the Archives will host another Evening at the Archives presentation. We’ve been holding these fun events since at least 2012, maybe as early as 2011. We try to host at least one a semester, sometimes two. This semester, there are two presentations. Last night’s Evening at the Archives presentation (#1) by Bruce Sargeant and our own Glenda Ward was successful and interesting, and highlighted the history of railroads through the Upper Peninsula and how they have evolved over time. The upcoming Evening at the Archives event (#2), like the others, will be on a Thursday at 7pm. However, unlike many of our past presentations, this upcoming one will be held in the Mead Auditorium, located in the West Science Building in the Glenn Seaborg Center. We anticipate a larger crowd than usual, which is why the presentation will not be held in the Archives at 126 Learning Resources Center room.

Frank Boles and Jessica Holman will present. Frank is the Director of the Clarke Historical Library in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and Jessica works at the Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library. They will discuss their experiences with the acquisition and documentation of KKK records, and the process and controversy involved therein. This presentation is in conjunction with/part of the Diversity Common Reader Project Events, and focuses on what the role of archives has in documenting difficult or painful times in history/memory. Refreshments and snacks will be provided, and there will be time for questions and discussion at the end of the presentation. Stop on by for some insightful and interesting speakers!

Libby Serra, our digitization and design specialist, is still finalizing the posters for this event. Look for them across campus in the upcoming weeks!

Written by Stefan Nelson

The Grace H. Magnaghi Visiting Research Grant: Apply by March 10!

It’s that time of year again! The Archives is accepting applications for the Grace H. Magnaghi Visiting Research Grant. We have previously discussed who Grace Magnaghi was on this blog, but today we thought that we would give a brief overview of how to apply for the grant.

The grant is designed to help scholars pay for their travel costs to the archives to do scholarly research using archives collections or library special collections that will aid in the production of a thesis, dissertation, journal article, research paper, or other publication related to the history of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Previous recipients have researched topics such as Julia Tibbett’s battle to save Presque Isle from development, the history of Coalwood (a Cleveland Cliffs Iron Mining Company-owned lumber camp), Frederic Baraga, and an Episcopal bishop found guilty of embezzlement in the 1930s. An overview of our collections can be found here, and a list of general topics that the archives collects can be found here. Please note that only fully processed collections appear on the search page. If you are interested in what unprocessed collections we might have that would be relevant to your research interests, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Applicants must submit an application form, a resume or CV, and two letters of recommendation. If accepted for the grant, the recipient will write a one page report of their activity in the archives/library plus their receipt for expenses and will give a copy of the result of their research to the archives. In addition, they will return to the archives at some later date to give a presentation on their research. We welcome applications from non-history fields. Previous recipients have included anthropologists and environmental scientists.


This year, applications for the program are due on March 10. You can find application forms and instructions here. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at archives@nmu.edu.

Written by Annika Peterson

Collection Spotlight: Yearbooks


One of the most used–and arguably, most entertaining–resources at the archives is our yearbook collection. They are a remarkable record of events, student organizations, faculty, and students at Northern. They are also a treasure trove of images from throughout Northern’s history.

The first extant yearbook is from 1910. We are missing several years between 1910 and 1950, in some cases because we simply do not have a copy, in others because a yearbook was not published that year. However, in the years without a yearbook, the student newspaper or magazine would frequently publish a yearbook-esque edition at the end of the year. The yearbooks continued until 1980, when the size of Northern made it impractical to continue a yearbook.

The yearbooks can be very helpful for genealogists. Together with our commencement records, the yearbooks can help a researcher to confirm that their relative attended Northern at a certain time. They will list what organizations a student was involved in, which might lead to records from that organization or newspaper articles about the student. In addition, the yearbooks will contain photos and anecdotes of their relative.

All of our yearbooks are on the shelves in our reading room and can be browsed at any time! We also have a few yearbooks from Marquette and Negaunee that are available to the public. Come in and check out the yearbook! We are open Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10 AM-5 PM and Tuesday/Thursday 10 AM-7 PM.

Written by Annika Peterson

Collection Spotlight: Cleveland Cliffs Iron Mining Company Photographs

If you are at all familiar with our archives, you are probably aware that one of our largest collections is from the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Mining Company (CCI), the largest employer in Marquette County for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. This collection contains correspondence, annual reports, payrolls, maps, photographs, and more. Today we are highlighting the photographic collection, all of which can be viewed online. Most of the photos are from the 1950s, but a few are from as early as 1910.


Storage Battery Locomotives in the Republic Mine, 1920.


CCI also had a lumber division producing wood to fuel their mines and other operations. This is a hauling team transporting logs down a trail from the Limestone Softwood Job in Alger County, 1910.


The Minnesota Summer Exploration Staff, July 1952. Exploration staffs looked for possible mine sites. See this page for a full list of names.


The Geological Department, Summer 1952. See this page for a full list of names.


An employee at the Halliburton Reel in Operation for Testing Diamond Drill Hole Deviation, 1951.


A wood pipe in construction at the McClure Plant near Dead River in Marquette County, 1918.


Albert Pin, a shift boss, at a control dispatcher station on the 8th level, 1955.


Cleveland-Cliff employees in front of the Cliffs Shaft Mine in Ishpeming, MI, 1952.

Please see this page for a complete list of names.


Shallow Hole Trailer Drill with a mounted diamond core drill and pump with tripod mast erected at the Ishpeming Centennial Parade. From left to right, Victor Nelson, Alvin Nelson and Swante Merrila, 1954.


Ohio Mine, 1954.


Drilling holes for installation of rock bolts in the 9th Level drift heading, 1954.


Cleveland Cliff employees at Central Basin field camp, Summer 1952. Note how young they look!

For more CCI photographs, please see our online album. Interested in the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Mining Company? Be sure to stop by and check it out!


Written by Annika Peterson

Collection Spotlight: Barbeau and Scranton Shipping Records

Today we thought that we would highlight one of our recently processed collections: the Barbeau and Scranton shipping records. The Barbeau and Scranton company moved goods from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula from the 1820s to about 1910. The collection spans this entire range, although the bulk of the documents date from the 1850s and 1860s.

The collection contains correspondence, financial documents, legal documents, newletters, deeds, insurance documents, ship manifests, shippers, and boat inspections. Of particular interest to researchers are the individual orders and requests from traders, Native Americans, and early white settlers of the Upper Peninsula. The collection serves as an (incomplete) documentation of the goods imported into the Upper Peninsula during the 19th century.

Those interested in the company might also want to explore the Barbeau and Scranton letters possessed by the Marquette County Historical Society, the Barbeau papers at the Bayliss Public Library,  and the Peter Barbeau papers at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan.

Interested in the Barbeau and Scranton collection? Come and check it out at the archives! We are open Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10 AM-5 PM and Tuesday/Thursday 10 AM-7 PM.

Written by Annika Peterson

Collection Spotlight: Postcard Collection

This week we would like to highlight our collection of postcards from Northern, Marquette, and the UP. The postcards date from as early as the turn of the century and contain some fascinating scenes. Many also have messages written on them. Below are some of our favorites:


An image from Calumet, MI of a tunnel leading to a store, year unknown.


A sculpture of snow and ice made in Marquette, MI in the 1940s.



The view up Front Street in 1909 with a message from travellers in the UP on the back.



An image of Washington Street from around 1909 with a message from a Northern student to a friend or relative in Ontonagon.


A postcard depicting Northern State Normal, ca. 1900-1930.



A postcard advertisement for Northern’s summer session, ca. 1923.



A postcard from 1907 depicting Northern.


A postcard from the early 1920s depicting Northern’s bizarre Elementary Swedish Exercises class.


Northern’s bowling alley, year unknown. The bowling alley was where the bookstore is now.



An image advertising the Upper Peninsula, year unknown.

Come in and check out the rest of the postcard collection! Our schedule for the winter semester is Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10 AM-5 PM and Tuesday/Thursday 10 AM-7 PM.

Written by Annika Peterson

Evening at the Archives: Italian American Immigration in the Upper Peninsula


This past Tuesday, we held our bi-annual Evening at the Archives event. Senior history major Austin Bannister gave a fascinating presentation about Italian American immigration in the Upper Peninsula in the early twentieth century. His research was part of his HS 390 project, a class required of all history majors in which they must do a research project at the archives.

He discussed general trends of immigration to the United States in the early twentieth century. Many Italians, he said, came here only temporarily to work in the mines and later returned home. Others frequently went back and forth between the US and Italy. Some remained here and even arranged marriages. Mining conditions and fraternal organizations created by the miners were also discussed.

Interested in this topic? Want to do some research yourself? Here are useful resources at the archives:

  • Italian American Oral History Collection: This incredibly helpful resource consists of hundreds of oral history interviews conducted by Dr. Russell Magnaghi and others.
  • Marquette County Articles of Incorporation: As mentioned above, Italian immigrants created fraternal organizations to help support each other in times of need. Many of these organization registered their bylaws and other materials with the county.
  • Marquette County Naturalization Records: The naturalization records document how many Italians (and other nationalities) were becoming citizens, where they were from, what their job was, if they were married or had children, etc. They can be quite important for researchers.
  • Russell Magnaghi papers: Besides creating the Italian American oral history collection, Dr. Magnaghi has done much research into Italian Americans (and many other topics!). His papers document his research and can be extremely helpful to researchers seeking sources.
  • Il Minatore: A few issues of an Italian language newspaper from the UP
  • Many other regional newspapers: While time-consuming, looking through newspapers can yield fantastic results!

Come into the Archives and check out these and other collections today! Please note that we will be closed Wednesday-Friday of next week for Thanksgiving.

Written by Annika Peterson