Tag Archives: Evening at the Archives

Feature: Upcoming Events

With fall approaching, the Archives has two special events coming up; both of them are a part of our semi-annual showcasing tradition- Evening at the Archives! The first of these is on October 12, the second Thursday of the month, at 7:00 pm in Room 224 of the Harding Learning Resource Center. It is our Genealogy Workshop, back by popular demand. Come and learn about our resources available, and pick up some tips for your own journey of genealogy!


The second will be coming up on Thursday, November 9, also at 7pm, as always. This Evening at the Archives event will be showcasing the work of Dr. Russell M. Magnaghi, Professor and University Historian. He has a new book titled Prohibition in the Upper Peninsula: Booze & Bootleggers on the Border. The synopsis states,


This event will be held in the Atrium in the back of the library on the second floor of the LRC. After the presentation, Dr. Magnaghi will be doing book signings. Please come and check it out!

Additionally, two of our student assistants Lydia Henning and Libby Serra will be presenting on a web site they constructed concerning the UP Radio History Talk interviews, which includes numerous interviews between Dr. Magnaghi and others. These talks will be digitized and summarized for public viewing on the website.

Feel free to stop by the Archives for your research needs or to have a quiet place to study. Our hours are 10:00am-5:00pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and from 10:00am-7:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

(This post was written by student assistant Lydia Henning)


Upper Peninsula Newspapers and Upcoming Events!

If you have ancestors in the Escanaba vicinity, are interested in the history of the Upper Peninsula, or just really love browsing old newspapers, you’ll be excited to learn that the Escanaba Public Library recently released many old Escanaba newspapers online! The newspapers range from 1869-1926 and are searchable by keyword using a technology called OCR.

Screenshot (1)

OCR, or optical character recognition, is a technology that can read the characters in a printed, handwritten, or typed document and make them searchable.  The accuracy of OCR varies from system to system, but is typically around 80%–so if you don’t find what you’re looking for, try using other keywords! It has become increasingly common at archives and libraries (though we still do not have OCR at the Northern Michigan University Archives).

However, while we do not have access to OCR, we do have a whole host of regional newspapers on microfilm that can be quite useful for scholarly and genealogical research. Our newspaper collection includes not just Marquette County newspapers but also newspapers from Alger County, the Keweenaw Peninsula, Delta County, Dickinson County, Gogebic County, Schoolcraft County, and even some limited newspapers from Saint Ignace, Dearborn, and Detroit! A complete list of our newspapers with dates can be found here.


On October 15 at 7 PM, we will be holding another Evening at the Archives. Elizabeth Oliver, one of our Grace H. Magnaghi Visiting Research Fellowship Grant recipients will be presenting the fruits of her research here this summer. She researched a local Episcopalian bishop, Hayward Ablewhite, who embezzled a great deal of money from the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan during the 1930s. He ended up in jail but later became a director of Henry Ford’s Edison Institute Museum. To learn more about this interesting character, come to the presentation!

Written by Annika Peterson

Evening at the Archives: Genealogy

Evening at the Archives Poster

Are you interested in learning about your family history? Do you have roots in the Upper Peninsula area, or are you interested in local history? Are you curious about genealogy methods and resources?

If so, come to Evening at the Archives: Genealogy on November 6th at 7 PM! This  two-hour event is free to the public and there will be refreshments. The presentations will be at the Archives in room 126 of the LRC.

Featured topics will include how to research the history of your house, how to use our microfilm machines, what our new collection of materials from Bethany Lutheran church contains, and what collections might benefit your genealogy. (Spoiler Alert!: Any collection can potentially be useful for your genealogy. However, there are a few types of records that are traditionally quite helpful for genealogists, and we will focus on these records.)

Although the event will focus on Marquette County and Upper Peninsula genealogy, some of the material will be helpful to genealogists regardless of the location of their research. For instance, we will explain what can be found in city directories, naturalization records, church records, plat maps, and other types of resources. We will also talk about what genealogical resources can be accessed through NMU’s Olson Library and the Peter White Library in Marquette.

Common misconceptions about local Ishpeming records and mine locations will be discussed as well as frequently asked questions about naturalization.

If you are definitely coming to the event, please RSVP at archives@nmu.edu or (906) 227-1225. However, no RSVP is required. We look forward to seeing you!

Written by Annika Peterson

Evening at the Archives: Public Radio 90 WNMU-FM

Everyone has heard of the saying“Spring is in the air,” but here at the archives we seem to have radio instead—Public Radio 90, that is! This Thursday we will be hosting our semi-annual Evening at the Archives, featuring a celebration of Public Radio 90 WNMU-FM’s 50th Anniversary. It will be presented by WNMU-FM radio personality and jazz maven, Hans Ahlstrӧm. Past Evenings have include a genealogy workshop and a presentation about student research. This will be our fourth Evening at the Archives, and we have been preparing for weeks, so come and enjoy the product of our hard work!
As any good researcher knows, research is a timely endeavor that doesn’t always yield the results you’re hoping for. At the Archives we have been moderately successful in gathering lots of information about WNMU-FM. We have had the opportunity to interview John Major and Bruce Turner, tow men who played a vital role in the station’s creation 50 years ago in 1963. We have also had the pleasure of speaking with Tony Grudnoski and Jean Olson, both of whom contributed in the station’s early years. Steve Dupras, a past station manager, and Evelyn Massaro, current station manager, helped fill in a lot of gaps in information from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Steve Dupras and others

(left to right), Scott Seaman, Steve Dupras, John X. Jamrich, and Robert Biolo, with the check which funded a new WNMU-FM Translator in 1983.

Being able to conduct these oral history interviews has been a wonderful learning process for many of the Archival staff. Much of our collection involves oral history interviews, usually on cassette tapes and occasionally on old reel-to-reel audio, and is conducted by NMU professors and students. This project allowed us to experiment with digital recording methods and preservation techniques, and should prove valuable for future in-house research projects. Many of the interviews have been reduced to short clips, but that doesn’t mean that the full interview isn’t available! If you like what you hear, feel free to stop by and listen to the full interview. And keep your eyes on our Oral History Project website—perhaps you’ll be able to listen to the wonderful recollections of John Major or Evelyn Massaro from the comfort of your own home!
In conducting all these interviews we’ve had the opportunity to learn a vast amount about WNMU-FM, from budget cuts and PR disasters to station awards and changes in technology. This Evening is shaping up to be an entertaining presentation with sound clips, old photos, and an impressive array of information. We hope you’ll join us in this historical celebration!
This Evening at the Archives will be held on Thursday, March 14, at 7pm in the NMU Archives, room 126 of the LRC (down by Starbucks). This is a free event, open to the public, and refreshments will be provided! Please call (906)227-1225 or email smallo@nmu.edu in order to reserve a seat—sadly, space is limited!

Prepared by Alexandria Eisner and Olivia Ernst.

The “Friends” that Saved the Radio

Public Radio 90 Banner

Courtesy of Public Radio 90, WNMU-FM

Public Radio 90 WNMU-FM has had a long history on campus, starting in 1963. Though we’re celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, it could have been a different story. In 1980 their existence was threatened by budget cuts and today’s WNMU-FM exists thanks to the efforts of Friends to Save Public Radio 90.

When news of the budget cuts surfaced and the radio station faced the chopping block, John Weting, a local architect, spearheaded petition efforts.  In April of 1981, the community banded together and Friends to Save Public Radio 90 was formed. It was co-chaired by Robert Bordeau, a Marquette attorney, and Phyllis Reynolds, namesake of the Reynolds Recital Hall on campus. The President of National Public Radio (NPR), Frank Mankiewicz, agreed to be honorary chairman.

“Friends” organized many fundraising events, such as a wine and cheese tasting festival, benefit movies and concerts, and an auction that included a pair of Mohammed Ali’s shorts and an autographed copy of ‘Anatomy of a Murder.’ The biggest money maker was a direct mail campaign in which 13,000 letters were mailed throughout the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin. After extensive planning and effort, Friends to Save Public Radio 90 was a huge success, raising over $35,000!

Many prominent members of the community served on the executive board, including Sam Cohodas (namesake of Cohodas Hall), June Jamrich (wife of John Jamrich), John Kiltinen, and our favorite local celebrity, John Voelker.

Thanks to “Friends,” Public Radio 90 was able to stay up and running until federal grants and funding were available, which sustained them for another 30 years. Hopefully WNMU-FM can keep broadcasting for many years to come.

Don’t forget that we’ll be hosting another Evening at the Archives on March 14th, featuring a presentation by one of the current Public Radio 90 staff members. Come join us to learn more about the incredible history of WNMU-FM and how it fits into the context of National Public Radio!

Prepared by Alexandria Eisner and Olivia Ernst. 

A Glimpse at Theodore Roosevelt.

Correspondence from Roosevelt to Shiras, re: book

President Roosevelt urging Shiras to publish a book

If you remember from last week’s post, Evening at the Archives will be held later this week at 7pm on Thursday, October 18th. During the event, James McCommons will be talking about George Shiras III, a conservationist from the early 20thcentury who was in correspondence with President Theodore Roosevelt.

Well, have I got a story for you!

In the summer of 2011, not long after we received the Shiras collection, James McCommons requested photocopies of most of the collection’s correspondence files. While the collection is not as vast as some that we have copied for other patrons, many of the letters are old and somewhat irregular, thus requiring more time to scan without damaging the document. As I made my way through a folder, in the mindless rhythm of repetition, I came across a letter which had been improperly preserved.

Evidence of an Envelope on a letter from Theodore Roosevelt

The remaining evidence of that pesky envelope

The envelope was still folded around the opened letter, and after sitting in a file for 20 years or more, the glue from the envelope flap had sealed itself onto the front of the letter. Cursing whatever person had initially accessioned it, I carefully set about separating the envelope from the letter, trying not to damage either. Eventually I had the two separated, and as I glanced down at my handy-work I made a shocking discovery. All along, Theodore Roosevelt’s signature had been on the letter!

I quickly went back through the papers I had already copied and realize that all of the letters in that folder were either to or from the President. Some of the letters were of a professional nature, while other hinted at a sort of friendship between Shiras and Roosevelt. If you want to know more about their correspondence, come to Evening at the Archives, or visit the office to view the letters for yourself!  If you can make it this Thursday, email smallo@nmu.edu to reserve a spot.

Correspondence from Roosevelt to Shiras re: venison

President Roosevelt looks forward to receiving some venison, an Upper Peninsula staple, and invites Mr. and Mrs. Shiras to dinner.

Prepared by Olivia Ernst.

Evening at the Archives

Evening at the Archives FlyerThe Central Upper Michigan and Northern Michigan University Archives is hosting another Evening at the Archives! For those of you who aren’t familiar, Evening at the Archives is a semi-annual event showcasing research that has been done here at the NMU Archives.  These events are an opportunity to get students and the general public to come into the Archives and enjoy presentations and workshops on archival and historical topics.

In the past Evenings included a genealogical workshop as well as presentations by HS390-The Historian’s Laboratory students, who discussed the topics they researched at the NMU Archives. This semester, our Evening at the Archives will be a lead by NMU professor, James McCommons, who will be speaking about discovering the papers, letters, and unfinished biography of George Shiras III at the University of Pittsburgh. Shiras was a pioneer in wildlife photography and an important conservationist in the early 20th century.  His papers, including his correspondence with President Theodore Roosevelt (!), were donated by the University of Pittsburgh to the NMU Archives in 2011.

McCommons will conclude the evening with a presentation on George Shiras’ involvement in the creation of the Migratory Bird Act.  McCommons is currently writing a book on George Shiras’ conservation and photography work, which will be published by the University of New Mexico Press.

This special Evening at the Archives will be Thursday, October 18th at 7:00 in the Archives Reading Room in the Learning Resource Center, room 126 (by the tunnel and elevator), on NMU’s campus. Look for our flyers around Marquette and NMU. Space is limited, so call 227-1225 or email Savannah Mallo at smallo@nmu.edu to reserve a spot.  Cookies and coffee will be provided. We hope to see you there!

Prepared by Savannah Mallo and Olivia Ernst