Tag Archives: CCI

Tsu Ming Han: Man of Two Different Worlds

Tsu Ming Han

Dr. Magnaghi and James Shefchik recently published a book that they had been working on for some time. Tsu Ming Han: Man of Two Different Worlds is the title, and it details the incredible life of Tsu-Ming Han. Here is the synopsis:

“Over the centuries the Upper Peninsula has grown and developed due to many immigrants who arrived. Some of their stories are known but most have been lost to time. One of these stories belongs to Tsu-Ming Han, a Chinese immigrant, a geologist and senior research laboratory scientist at Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company (now Cliffs Natural Resources). He came to the Upper Peninsula in the 1950s and was instrumental in the development of lower grade iron ore refinement processes and pelletization, which had a direct impact on the region and its people. In his spare time as a geologist, he identified an ancient fossil, Grypania Spiralis. Additionally important to the story was his family: Joy his wife and his children; Dennis, Timothy, and Lisa. This is another major effort of Northern Michigan University’s Center for Upper Peninsula Studies to shed new light and ideas on the history of the U.P.”

This little known U.P. star is finally getting his time to shine. For more information on Tsu-Ming Han, check out our former blog post about him. The finding aid for Tsu Ming Han’s papers is also online.

If you’re interested in reading the book, it is available on amazon, google books, and LuLu.com in an ebook format. The NMU archives also has the Tsu-Ming Han papers available. Come stop by to check them out!

Written by Grace Menter

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Collection Spotlight: The Tsu Ming Han Papers

1948. A young Chinese man braves the ridged and stormy December waves on a long 22-day voyage to America. He embarks with no knowledge of the language or culture, armed only with the belief that America is a beautiful country. As he watches the “Gio-Gee-Shan” (Old Gold Mountain) pass him by he looks forward to the future, not knowing what it will bring.

Recently, the Archives arrangement and description specialist, Glenda Ward finished processing the Tsu-Ming Han papers. Tsu-Ming was a geologist who worked for the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company starting in 1953. The collection includes an autobiography, awards and certificates, pictures, a photo album of his work in the United States from 1948 to 1951 and other materials about his research and life in Ishpeming.

Tsu-Ming Han was born on September 11, 1924, in a small village called Sha-Chu Zin in the Henan Province. His birth name was Shu-Pen and he lived with his large extended family on farms. Growing up in China during this time was difficult due to the increasing problem of bandits stealing food and ransoming family members. When he was a young boy, Shu-Pen was kidnapped by bandits for 55 days until his family was able to pay his ransom. Fearing for their lives, the family fled their ancestral home in an effort to escape the bandits.

Most of Shu-Pen’s family was uneducated; however, his father believed in the importance of education and eventually their family settled down and his father began a middle school. Bandits were still a problem but his father managed to keep them at bay by selling them drugs like heroin and opium.

When Shu-Pen was old enough he left his family to attend junior middle school where he changed his name to Tsu-Ming, a common practice at the time. He applied to a college hoping to study chemistry but was not accepted into the program. However, he was accepted to the Geology program. He didn’t even know what the word “geology” meant. In his autobiography, Tsu-Ming describes the difficulties of college life due to political turmoil and war.

Amid this strife, Tsu-Ming continued his education and eventually applied to schools in the United States. After a year of effort, he finally received his visa card and enrolled in the University of Cincinnati in 1948. There he met his life-long friend and colleague, Dr. John L. Rich, who helped him complete his master’s degree in science. On Dr. Rich’s advice, he spent the next three years at the University of Minnesota and finished his doctoral degree in 1952.

The following year, the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company hired Tsu-Ming as a Microscopist and he stayed there for the next 40 years. For the majority of his career, he researched pellet quality improvement with respect to compressive strength reducibility and low temperature breakdowns. Despite important contributions, Tsu-Ming concluded at his retirement party “My job during the last 40 years was a secure one. It was also a failed one. Secure because nobody knew what my job was, failure because I failed to communicate my findings to most of the people who were involved.” Ironically, Tsu-Ming’s accomplishments won great praise and admiration from his colleagues. He went on to write, publish, and present many of his findings at conferences around the country. Tsu-Ming’s most notable discovery was the world’s oldest megascopic fossil, which he estimated to be around 2 billion years old. By 1992, he published his findings worldwide in newspapers, magazine, and a CD-ROM for distribution to schools.

After retirement, Tsu-Ming continued attending and presenting at conferences. In 1999, he was awarded the Goldrich Medal for outstanding contributions to The Geology of the Lake Superior Region. Tsu-Ming died at the age of 80 on February 3rd, 2004. His wife still lives in Ishpeming. Dennis Han, Tsu-Ming’s son, donated the collection to the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives.Untitled-4

Blog written by Anne Krohn 

Collection Spotlight: Citizens to Save Superior Shorelines Records

the view of little presque isle

Photo Source: http://www.mymichigantrips.com/hiking-michigan/presque-isle-to-wetmore-hike.html

Did you know that Little Presque Isle almost became a power plant in the late 1960s? If it weren’t for concerned people banding together in the form of a group called Citizens to Save the Superior Shoreline (CSSS), Little Presque might not be the beautiful area that it is today.

Until 1969, a local Marquette family owned Little Presque and kept it open for public use. Then, they began looking to sell the property to anyone who would buy it.

The UP Power Company offered a lot of money for the property and the family agreed. Many people were outraged at the destruction of such a gorgeous area. They came together and formed the CSSS. In the face of a petition with thousands of signatures, the UP Power Company dropped their plan to buy the property. A few years later, the family again almost sold the land to residential developers.

CSSS worried that they would not be able to permanently save Little Presque. Then, in 1975, the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company announced that they were looking to purchase some land from the DNR to expand their mining enterprises. In order to acquire the interior land that they needed, they were going to trade land of equal worth to the DNR.

CSSS saw this upcoming land trade as an opportunity to preserve Little Presque forever. They approached CCI and the DNR and asked if CCI would be willing to buy the land surrounding Little Presque and give that to the DNR in trade for the interior land that they needed for mining. CCI agreed. This area included not just Little Presque Isle but also such popular recreational areas as Harlow Lake and Wetmore Landing.

CSSS did not just work to keep Little Presque Isle and the surrounding areas pristine. They also tackled many other environmental issues, such as local problems with air and water pollution and bottle recycling in Michigan.

Interested in learning more about the activities of CSSS? Come to the Archives and see their collection! It includes meeting minutes, correspondence, newsletters, financial records, copies of legislative bills about environmental issues, news clippings, and maps of Presque Isle.

Or, come and check out our next Chat with the Archivist session on Wednesday, February 25 from 10 AM – 12 PM! Marcus will be somewhere in the lobby areas of first floor Jamrich with some materials from the CSSS collection. He will be happy to answer your questions regarding local environmental history or any archival topic.

Written by Annika Peterson

The Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company’s Many Businesses

The Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company, or CCI, is well-known for its domination of the local iron mining industry and its involvement in related industries such as lumber, furnaces, and railroads. However, it also diversified into a variety of other areas.

 
Grand Island Forest Preserve was one company operated by CCI. Its annual reports include exact details as to how many of each species were added to the preserve. It described weather conditions and deaths in the populations, sometimes going into detailed stories about how a particular bird or deer died. CCI also owned a fish hatchery which went into similar detail about its fish populations, albeit without describing the deaths of individual fish. One report from the greenhouses describes their desire to raise more carnations and roses as these were the most popular types of flowers and describes which flowers and shrubs were more and less popular. In another report, it is briefly mentioned that CCI also owned a tannery, paper mills, and a hotel. From the Annual Reports, it would seem a very close watch was kept over every aspect of the companies affiliated with CCI.

Notable events were also recorded in the reports. For instance, the Forest Preserve notes that “One of the gamekeepers shot a very fine specimen of albino deer. It is practically a pure albino, large and of a very fine color, with a good set of antlers. The carcass has been sent to Chicago for mounting, and will be added to the collection of curios.

CCI played a large role in shaping the development of towns such as Munising and Gwinn. They tried to control every aspect of the towns, including what businesses were allowed there. For instance, in 1911 the author of the report wrote of Munising “The general welfare of the town appears to be slowly improving. It will take some time and constant effort to eradicate many of the evils of the past. The saloon element still has its influence and many of the business men are afraid to do their part in compelling law enforcement and a general bettering of conditions. The Village Council took matter into their own hands in 1911 and eliminated seven of the less desirable saloons and this work is still to be further pushed in 1912.”

They were also involved in less intrusive charity work. In 1908, they gave money to local fire departments, rented a YMCA building for Munising, and paid to create a playground in Munising. They were also involved in projects such as improving Munising’s streets.

CCI owned a great deal of land, and they were clearly skilled at getting profits from the land in any way that they could think of. Some land was rented as homes, lots, or farms. Other land produced everything from hay, berries, limestone, and timber to game animals and fish.

Perhaps CCI’s most intriguing company was Bellevue Farms. The farm raised sheep, pigs, goats, and sugar beets. However, the cows received the most attention in the Annual Reports, where each was listed by name. Most of the cows had fairly typical bovine names, such as Bessie and Buttercup, but some had names such as Tormentor, Smut, and Tutsie. The reports listed how much milk each cow produced, how much it was fed, its age, and its breed.

These are only a handful of the stories that can be found in the reports. The Archives has digitized many of the CCI records, including the Annual Reports. They can be found online here. More records from the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company can be perused at the Archives.

cows - Copy

Prepared by Annika Peterson