Tag Archives: Marquette County

Collection Spotlight: Geraldine DeFant Papers

This week we thought that we would highlight the Geraldine DeFant papers, a small but fascinating and important collection. Geri DeFant grew up in Chicago, where poor conditions during the Depression caused her to become interested in politics and especially the labor movement. After graduating from high school in 1933, she spent several years volunteering and then working as a union organizer. She came to Marquette County in 1948 to organize the strike at the Gossard factory in Ishpeming. She stayed in Marquette after the strike and married attorney Michael DeFant (who had been the lawyer for the union) in 1950. After Michael DeFant became county probate judge, Geri had to stop working as a labor organizer.

She remained active in politics, however, serving as the Chairwoman of the Democratic Party for the 11th Congressional District and an aide to Senators Philip Hart and Donald Riegle. She also earned a bachelor’s in political science from Northern Michigan University, was a director of the Manpower Training Program in the Upper Peninsula, served as a Marquette County Commissioner from 1982 to 1991, and served on the Marquette Women’s Center Board of Directors, the Michigan Women’s Commission, the Michigan Civil Service Commission, the Friend of the Court and Childcare Taskforces, the Alger/Marquette Community Mental Health Board, and many more organizations and boards. Geri died in 1996 at the age of 79.

Our collection contains an oral history interview (which is online!), documents relating to the 1949 Gossard Strike, a scrapbook, photographs, newspaper articles, and her resume. The oral history interview documents her early life and the 1949 strike in great detail, but does not give much information on her later political activities. At the interview in 1990, contemplating the vast scope of her life’s work, Geri DeFant commented,

…My basic value system has not changed from…when I was 17, 18. It still is pretty much the same. It’s taken different routes. I was a feminist then I believe, and I am certainly feminist now, and have been active. I believed in participatory democracy and I do now, and I have been active in the political arena. I’ve been a county commissioner for ten years and I’ve looked for ways in which I could make a change in terms of benefits and the ease of living and support of those groups in our community that need support. So I feel I’ve been a fairly consistent woman in what I’ve tried to do.

Geri DeFant

While our materials from Geri DeFant are limited, many other collections at the archives shed light on the 1949 strike and other elements of her life’s work. We have an article on the Gossard strike, photographs from the strike, and a legal file about the strike in the John D. Voelker collection. Newspapers from the time would also provide much information. A copy of Bruce K. Cox’s book Gossard: The Great Bra Factory Strike of 1949 is also available at the archives. Our collection of County Commission minutes include both paper and audio records for the period in which DeFant was a commissioner, and the official minutes can be found online. We also have a collection of oral history interviews from the Marquette Women’s Center which are also available online. Many of the interviewees mention DeFant’s role in the Women’s Center and note that she was a mentor to many of the younger women involved in the Center’s founding.

Other Sources on Geri DeFant:

Tribute to Geraldine DeFant from the Congressional Record

geri defant 2

Interested in viewing any of these collections? You can look at them at any time at the archives! Our hours for this semester are Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10 AM-5 PM and Tuesday/Thursday 10 AM-7PM.

Written by Annika Peterson

Advertisements

Native American Student Association’s Annual Pow Wows

Last week, NMU hosted its 24th annual “Learning to Walk Together” traditional Pow Wow. The Pow wow starts off with the grand entry and flag song, followed by the veterans’ honor song. The Pow wows also consist of a variety of male and female traditional dances such as jingle dress and grass dance, as well as social dances such as the inter-tribal, round dance and two-step. Accompanied by songs and other performances. Crafts, reference materials, and food can all be found at the artisan and vendor booths as well.

The archives has many photographs and articles related to the pow wow over the years. Here are some photographs:

1

Photo of a tribe member dancing from the 1994 pow wow

2

Photo of a tribe member from the 1993 pow wow

3

Photo of a tribe member from the 1993 pow wow

 

Written by Libby Serra

Morgan Heights Tuberculosis Sanatorium

image 1

Listed as the most haunted place in Marquette by Travel Marquette, the Morgan Heights Tuberculosis Sanatorium off of County Road 492 has certainly seen its fair share of deaths. The sanatorium first opened its doors in 1911 to tuberculosis patients that needed a clean and quiet place to—hopefully—recover.

Recently, the NMU Archives began processing the Morgan Heights patient records. We have found death records, personal letters, medical charts, and even records of births. We have also seen an unfortunate amount of death in these files. Many checked into Morgan Heights, but not many checked out again, at least in the early years.

In the mid-twentieth century, the sanatorium was shut down for not having the equipment or expertise to be up to code for that time. Unfortunately, all of the original buildings but the nurses’ quarters were torn down, and those have been turned into residential housing. The people that live on the old grounds say that they often see ghosts wandering around.

Patient files are available for patron use if the person has been dead for more than fifty years. For more information on HIPAA and other privacy laws, see our former post on the topic. Beyond patient files, there is also a series of Morgan Heights photographs available.

Please stop in and take a look if you’re interested! The Archives is open Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10 AM-5 PM and Tuesday/Thursday 10 AM-7 PM.

Source: http://www.travelmarquettemichigan.com/the-most-haunted-places-in-marquette/

Written by Grace Menter

 

Collection Spotlight: Yearbooks

dscf0407

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.

5863478478_22a46bd05b_b

Storage Battery Locomotives in the Republic Mine, 1920.

5791296064_c7f587b06e_b

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.

5791301034_5735137809_b

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

5790743389_cbf1e73cd1_b

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

5791302354_1ffd942744_b

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

5790753605_b78cbce589_b

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

5680470401_6136d2e18e_b

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

5681054048_6b114b60b9_b

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

Please see this page for a complete list of names.

5681065576_4b4264a838_b

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.

5680504703_13ea62edd1_b

Ohio Mine, 1954.

5680506909_fddbf56e2b_b

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

5574339667_ac76401abb_b

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: 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:

0718

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

0713

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

0715

0716

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

0711

0712

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

0710

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

0706

0707

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

0704

0705

A postcard from 1907 depicting Northern.

0708

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

0703

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

0719-1

0720-2

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

workposter2

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