Tag Archives: history

Politics in the Archives: Parties, Politicians, and Campaigns

Part IV:  Geraldine Defant and Women in Politics

Part IV of our series looks at the collections of Geraldine Defant and the Women’s Campaign File.  The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan Archives seeks to acquire the records of political parties and organizations and the papers of politicians and political activists that document the history of public participation in politics and government in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. If you are aware of the existence of such records and papers, or you are interested in donating such collections to the Archives, please contact Marcus C. Robyns, University Archivist, at 906-227-1225 or mrobyns@nmu.edu.

The 2018 Michigan Mid-Term General Election is November 6.  On this year’s ballot are all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, thirty-five of the one hundred seats in the Senate, thirty-nine state and territorial governorships, and a number of other state and local elections.  The Secretary of State Webpage, Michigan Voter Information Center, provides information on voter registration, absentee ballots, primaries, polling locations, sample ballots, and more.  The 2018 Michigan Election Dates Booklet, published by the Secretary of State, is a great source for following the State’s electoral process.  The document provides a detailed calendar for the elections including a timeline for the stages in the 2018 election process, filing requirements for nominating petitions, a listing of offices to be elected, and recount filing information.

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MSS-007:  Women’s Campaign File collection

            This is an artificial collection compiled for use in a series of exhibits sponsored by the NMU Commission for Women during March 1995 Women’s History Month.  The collection contains campaign material for various female candidates seeking local, regional, and state political office between 1972 and 1995.  The material consists of campaign fliers, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and informational flyers; some files also include contact information and donor information.

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MSS-0027:  Geraldine Defant papers

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A longtime Marquette labor leader and politician, Geraldine Defant (1917-1996) came to the Upper Peninsula in 1948 as an organizer for the International Ladies’ Garment Workers (ILGW) union of the American Federation of Labor (AFL).  Upon arriving from Chicago, Defant assumed the role of union organizer, business agent, and leader during the workers’ strike against the Gossard Corset Company.  The ILGW attempted to unionize the Gossard three times prior to the 1949 strike and failed due to management intervention.  By 1949 however, management had restructured how the workers were paid, changing from a penny piecework payment system to a point system, resulting in pay decreases leading to strikes at the Ishpeming and Gwinn plants.   Defant contributed to the success of the 1949 strike, after three-months of picketing and negotiations workers and management settled on a contract, and unionized the Gossard.

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Defant’s relocation to Marquette brought more to her than a successful strike.  During the strike, Defant hired local lawyer Michael Defant to represent the union during discussions with the Labor Relations Board.  Michael Defant was the labor lawyer for the Steelworkers’ Union at the time and they married in 1950.  Her work with the union ended a year later when Michael became a Marquette County Probate Judge, a non-partisan position that prevented the judge and his family from active involvement in politics.  Geraldine redirected her focus toward community projects during Michael’s 20-year term.  She organized the Marquette County’s first co-op nursery school, promoted school bond issues, organized a social service charity venture designed to serve clients of the court with getting jobs, housing, necessary services, etc., and in 1964 received a B.S. in Sociology from NMU.

Upon Michael’s retirement from the bench, Geraldine returned to the world of politics.  An active member of the Democratic Party, she served as the Democratic chair of the 11th Congressional District and was involved in fund-raising, political education, and organizing national and state campaigns for the district.  Defant served as an aide to Senators Gary Hart and Donald Riegle.  Taking the advice of Senator Carl Levine, she ran for and was elected to the Marquette County Board of Commissioners (1983-1990) and served as Chair of the Executive Committee from 1983-1988.   One of the founders of the Marquette Women’s Center she served on its Board of Directors, as well as, serving six years as an appointee to the Michigan Women’s Commission.  Defant received recognition for the inception and passage of legislation overhauling Michigan’s Friend of the Court system in 1982, shifting focus from punishment to payment, substituting automatic wage deductions for jail sentences, for child support payments.

The material in the Geraldine Defant papers cover the years between 1948 and 1990 and consists of a recording and transcript of an oral interview conducted by Jennifer Grondin in 1990. The collection also includes copies of a scrapbook, photographs, and newspaper articles relating to her life and career.

Additional material relating to Defant is also available in other collections maintained in the Archives: MSS-007 – Women’s Campaign File records, MSS-039 – John D. Voelker papers, MSS-078 Dominic J. Jacobetti papers, and MSS-385 Women’s Center records.

 

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“…there are two main things in life, and they’re both taught in kindergarten.  Don’t hit anybody, and clean up your own mess.”

—Geraldine Defant

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Part V:  Raymond F. Clevenger

Series developed and written by Glenda Ward

Digitization performed by Libby Serra

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Politics in the Archives: Parties, Politicians, and Campaigns

Part III:  Connie Binsfeld and the League of Women Voters

Part III of our series looks at the Connie Binsfeld papers and the League of Women Voters.  The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan Archives seeks to acquire the records of political parties and organizations and the papers of politicians and political activists that document the history of public participation in politics and government in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. If you are aware of the existence of such records and papers, or you are interested in donating such collections to the Archives, please contact Marcus C. Robyns, University Archivist, at 906-227-1225 or mrobyns@nmu.edu.

The 2018 Michigan Primary Election is August 7 and the Mid-Term Election is November 6.  On this year’s ballot are all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, thirty-five of the one hundred seats in the Senate, thirty-nine state and territorial governorships, and a number of other state and local elections.  The Secretary of State Webpage, Michigan Voter Information Center, provides information on voter registration, absentee ballots, primaries, polling locations, sample ballots, and more.  The 2018 Michigan Election Dates Booklet, published by the Secretary of State, is a great source for following the State’s electoral process.  The document provides a detailed calendar for the elections including a timeline for the stages in the 2018 election process, filing requirements for nominating petitions, a listing of offices to be elected, and recount filing information.

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MSS-081:   Connie Binsfeld papers

The late Connie Binsfeld was a native of Munising, Michigan, and the Republican Lieutenant Governor of Michigan from 1990-1998.  Lt. Gov. Binsfeld is the only women in Michigan history to hold elective office in the Michigan House of Representatives, Senate, and Executive Office.

Lt. Gov. Binsfeld was an advocate for children and families and her record includes Michigan’s first legislation addressing domestic violence in 1978.  She helped reform the state’s adoption system and was later involved in the creation of the Chance at Childhood Foundation that supports programs that serve and protect children.  Lt. Gov. Binsfeld chaired the Binsfeld Commission on Adoption (1991-1992) and the Children’s Commission (1995-1996).  Her accolades include the Child and Human Services of Northwestern Michigan Humanitarian of the Year Award (1993), United Nations International Year of the Family Patron Testimonial Award (1995), Child Health Advocate Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics (1998), and the Children’s Trust Fund Champion for Children Award (1998).  Lt. Gov. Binsfeld other awards include the Eva McCall-Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award (1998), Michigan Chamber of Commerce Annual Award for Outstanding Service in the Public Sector (1998), Michigan Capital Area Chapter of the American Society of Public Administrators (ASPA) Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Service Award (1999), Women Executives in State Government Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award (1999), and many more.

This collection partially documents the political career of former Lieutenant Governor Connie Binsfeld and contains material from Lt. Gov. Binsfeld’s tenure as Grand Traverse County Commissioner, State Representative, State Senator, and Lieutenant Governor. The bulk of the collection covers the period from 1991 to 1998.  Subjects of particular note include Lt. Gov. Binsfeld’s work on “culture war” issues, child welfare and adoption, domestic violence, and environmental legislation.  The collection includes, but is not limited to, personal correspondence, memoranda, published pamphlets and reference material, speeches, newspaper clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, legislative material, Family Independence Agency material, awards, honorary degrees, calendars, journals, meeting agendas, and meeting minutes.  The materials also document much of Lt. Gov. Binsfeld’s family life through photographs and memorabilia.

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ARCHIV-001-Organizations-League of Women Voters of Marquette County

The two folders of material relating to the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Marquette County are part of the Archivist File for the Central Upper Peninsula and maintained in our browsable vertical files staged in the Archives Conference Room.

The first file consists of copies of The VOTER, a newsletter published by the LWV monthly. The Archives’ collection runs from February 2003 through April-June 2005; however, it is not all-inclusive.  One interesting article in the newsletters is an interview with Representative Stephen Adamini (2003), discussing Michigan voting practices/laws, shortfalls in school aid funding, budget deficit, and the need to protect the purity of Michigan’s air and water. The article also summarizes Adamini’s position on insurance coverage for mental illnesses, and his priorities and areas he hoped to influence while in office.  Another trend throughout the newsletters is the involvement of the LWV with the Marquette/Alger Regional Educational Service Agency (MARESA) and discussions of issues pertaining to educating homeless youth, homeschooling, and support services for local school systems.  Other interesting topics are mental health services for the elderly, second hand smoke regulation, political action committees (PACs), clean money, and Human Rights for Children, world hunger, the Patriot Act, capital punishment, and much, much, more.

The second file contains issues of the LWV brochure They Represent You.  These brochures list the elected and appointed public officials of Marquette County in April 1971, February 1981-1983, August 1995, and February 2005.  Included in the brochure is a page titled “How to Write to Your Representatives” providing addressing and salutation information from the President through to local county and city officials.

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Part IV:  Geraldine Defant and the Women’s Campaign file

Series developed and written by Glenda Ward

Digitization performed by Libby Serra

Politics in the Archives: Parties, Politicians, and Campaigns

Part II:  Political Party Records

 This week we continue our series with a look at collections from the Democratic Party and the Socialist Party.  The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan Archives seeks to acquire the records of political parties and organizations and the papers of politicians and political activists that document the history of public participation in politics and government in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. If you are aware of the existence of such records and papers, or you are interested in donating such collections to the Archives, please contact Marcus C. Robyns, University Archivist, at 906-227-1225 or mrobyns@nmu.edu.

A reminder that the 2018 Michigan Primary Election is August 7 and the General Election is November 6.  On the ballot for this year are all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, thirty-five of the one hundred seats in the Senate, thirty-nine state and territorial governorships, and a number of other state and local elections.  The 2018 Michigan Election Dates Booklet, published by the Secretary of State, is a great source for following the State’s electoral process.  The document provides a detailed calendar for the elections including a timeline for the stages in the 2018 election process, filing requirements for nominating petitions, a listing of offices to be elected, and recount filing information.  The Secretary of State Webpage, Michigan Voter Information Center, provides information on voter registration, absentee ballots, primaries, polling locations, sample ballots, and more.


MSS-248:  Marquette County Democratic Party records

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This collection of records from the Marquette County Democratic Party (MCDP), donated in 2013, includes correspondence, financial information, membership listings, meeting minutes, and event materials, covering the years 1990-2004.  A few items of interest in the collection are the documents pertaining to the Federal Election Commission Official Complaint filed against the MCDP in 2002, materials from the 2004 Presidential Caucus, and information on the establishment of an internship between the MCDP and NMU.

 

 


MSS-012:  Rock Maple Ridge Workers Association records

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[Association Emblem]

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[Socialist Party Membership Cards]

The Rock Maple Ridge Workers Association records contain financial records, correspondence, meeting minutes, by-laws, constitution, collected publications (including books, pamphlets, plays, and periodicals), socialist party propaganda and information, and miscellaneous materials of the Rock Maple Ridge Workers Association, a radical Finnish Socialist labor hall established in Rock, Michigan, in 1912. The materials cover years 1873-1983 and are mostly in Finnish.

The Maple Ridge Workers Association, a branch of the Socialist Party may have originated as early as 1908 in Princeton and in Squaw Creek in 1911. These groups formed the nucleus of the Maple Ridge Workers Association of Maple Ridge Township, which became active in 1912.  State Socialist Secretary, James Hoogerhyde dropped the local charter from the State Socialist Party in 1914; however, the Maple Ridge Finnish Socialist Association was reinstated in May of 1915.  At the end of 1916, the Delta County Socialist split into two groups, the more leftist thinking Maple Ridge Workers Association and the Finnish Socialist Association.

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[25-year History of Maple Ridge Workers Association] [Advertisement promoting Women’s Sporting Event (1945)]

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[Certificate from Finnish President thanking the American people for support during the war (undated)]

 

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[A few photographs from the collection]

The Association was active in many aspects of their community.  In 1918, the group built and managed a power station, ceasing operation after selling the machines in 1929.  Purchasing a movie projector in 1924, they ran silent movies in the Finn Hall until the release of talkies in 1933.  The Association was also active in sports, orchestra, chorus, and drama with a special emphasis on producing and acting in plays, and established a local defense committee.  Other groups that were associated with or sprang from the Maple Ridge Workers Association were the Rock Cooperative store, the Rock Cooperative Youth League, a farmers group, the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.), and a recreation board.

University Archivist, Marcus Robyns, explains the first two decades of the twentieth century experienced a surge in popular support for the Socialist Party of America. Nationally, the Party was a significant factor in three presidential elections (1912, 1916, and 1920) and enjoyed electoral success in hundreds of cities and counties. On the Marquette Iron Range, the Finnish Socialist Association, a branch of the state and national party, built and operated a large and impressive “Labor Temple” in Negaunee that boasted a dance hall, theatre, library, and game room. In 1913, the Association split in a fratricidal conflict over control of the Temple that ended up as a civil dispute in the Marquette County circuit court. Court records maintained by the Archives and available to the public for research and review documents the conflict that mirrored the larger national split in the Socialist Party of America:  County of Marquette, Office of the County Clerk, Complaint – Finnish Branch of the Socialist Party, Court Papers, #8693.

To read more about Finnish immigrants and the Socialist Party on the Marquette Iron Range in the early twentieth century, see Marcus C. Robyns, “Reluctant Revolutionaries: Finnish Iron Miners and the Failure of Radical Labor and Socialism on the Marquette Iron Range, 1900 – 1914.” In Robert Archibald, ed., Northern Border: History and Lore of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Beyond. (Marquette, Michigan: Northern Michigan University Press, 2014), pp. 212-243.

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[Co-operative Youth and IWW Song Books]

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[Memorabilia, Stamps, and Stickers]

 

 

Part III:  Connie Binsfeld and the League of Women Voters

Series developed and written by Glenda Ward

Digitization performed by Libby Serra