Tag Archives: NMU

Collection Spotlight: History of the U.P. Radio Talks

This upcoming week, the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives spotlight collection is the History of the U.P. Radio Talks, which is a collection of radio discussions from Russell M. Magnaghi from 2004. This collection consists of 44 different discussions that cover a wide range of U.P. history topics, ranging from the roaring 20’s and the effects of the Great Depression on the U.P., to the Upper Peninsula National Parks, and even an examination of the history of weird U.P. weather facts!


Russell M. Magnaghi, the author of a Sense of Time: The Encyclopedia of Northern Michigan University and director of the Center for U.P. Studies (1999), provides a detailed and fascinating insight into various aspect of U.P. and NMU history. We have several copies of this book at the Archives, and it definitely can be a big help for researching many things. It’s organized alphabetically by subject and covers topics at NMU from 1899-1999.


This collection is being digitized now and will soon be ready for the public to access. As a reminder, our summer hours are Monday through Friday, 10am-5pm. We look forward to seeing you soon!

(This blog post was written by Libby Serra)

Location Spotlight: The Archives

Hello everybody! Our apologies for not posting anything new in some time. Work this summer at the archives has been busy as usual, which is compounded because half of our student assistants who work here during the schoolyear are pursuing other summer employment. Anyways, this blogpost acts as both a reminder (to our regulars), and new information (to our newcomers) where the archives is, and where to park when visiting us.

For visitors not familiar with NMU’s campus, it can be hard finding the Central UP and NMU Archives. If you are wondering how to get to the Central UP and NMU Archives, be on the lookout for some new updates on our website. In the meantime, you can look at this blog post consisting of helpful links from NMU. Enjoy your scholarly research and investigations!


Interactive Google Map of NMU:  http://www.nmu.edu/campusmap

Directions to NMU:  http://www.nmu.edu/admissions/node/122

Map of Campus: http://www.nmu.edu/sites/default/files/UserFiles/Pictures/Maps/NEWMAP_webquality.pdf

Parking Map: http://www.nmu.edu/publicsafety/node/229

Visitors to the archives can park in Lot 11, the Commuter/Faculty & Staff lot between Magers Hall dorms and the LRC. From there, you can walk up the hill and into the first level of our LRC. The archives is down the wide hall, and then to the left. You may also park in Lot 28, the smaller parking lot in back of Jamrich (where one can use parking meters). If parking in Lot 28, you may enter the LRC through the Jamrich tunnel and take the elevator or the stairs downstairs to the first level of the LRC, where the archives is.

(This post was written by Lydia Henning)



This semester the Archives will be seeing three of our dedicated student assistants graduate and venture forth into the world of Get-A-Real-Job-Already-You-Have-A-Degree Land and we will miss them more than even they can imagine.  In honor and recognition of all they have accomplished and all they will accomplish we have designed a three-part blog series in order to share their greatness with all of you.  I have the pleasure of leading off with our Web Design Specialist, Kelley Kanon.


kelley1Kelley came to NMU after graduating from the Grand Blanc Community High School; here she is receiving her high school diploma in 2012.  Kelley shares a story behind her decision to attend NMU and says it is a hilarious one that she loves to tell.  Tell us that story Kelley!  “I was a senior in high school before I started seriously looking into where I’d like to attend college. Living downstate, I knew about Central Michigan University, Western, and Eastern among other schools. Loving snow as much as I do, I wondered one day so do we even have a Northern Michigan University? One Google search later, I was so excited. Not only was this school in the UP, but Art and Design was a very popular major! Immediately we booked a campus visit. My parents and I loved the town and the school, and Northern ended up being the only school I even applied to.”

Memories are a part of who we all are and go with us throughout our lives.  Kelley shares one of those special memories and a picture from the 2015 Alpha Gamma Delta International Reunion Day with sisters Jonie and Morgan.  kelley2“I have millions of great memories here. I love this school and this town, yet without a doubt, the greatest part about being here has been all the people I’ve met. I’m so thankful for the friendships I’ve made. I’m also very thankful that I got myself involved in Greek life when I was a freshman. I could go on at length about how much growth I have seen myself go through after joining Alpha Gamma Delta, and additionally, I could not be more grateful to have had these sisters through these years as the greatest source of comfort and support. The family I have had here has been what made every experience at Northern a great one.”

kelley3The Archives has benefited immensely from having Kelley as part of our family and her contributions will live long after she leaves us; hopefully we contributed something to her as well.  “Working at the Archives has been crucial in helping me decide where I wanted to go with my career. My first two years of studying graphic design were phenomenal in that our projects were varied: I created magazine spreads, posters, websites, packaging, and books; however, with so many options, I was having trouble narrowing down what exactly it was that I was most interested in, and what I would be the most satisfied doing for a living. When I applied for this job at the Archives my junior year, I thought web design was my biggest interest. Having the opportunity to explore web design in a very real way confirmed it. While working here, I’ve been able to create websites from budding idea to completion, with always interesting subject matter!”

So, what is ahead for our fabulous web designer, you ask.  Well, she does have a plan!  “To be honest, I am embracing the impending identity crisis. I have been a student for my entire life, so taking this final step is equally exciting and completely terrifying. My short and long term goal both is to always be satisfied with what I am doing. I am looking into job opportunities that will make me feel like I am doing something important: that I will be happy to create for. I would love to work for a graphic design firm, for a car company, a video game company, or even to freelance and work for myself. My options are very open-ended at this time, but most immediately, I will be moving back home to the Flint, MI area to be with my very wonderful and supportive family while I search for jobs with a reasonable commute.”kelley4

Kelley Kanon
BFA Art & Design: Graphic Communication
April 2016

Northern Michigan University Archives Update

untitled-17A lot of things are going to be happening at the Archives this semester. Here’s an update about what’s going on:

New Online Exhibit

You may remember us announcing several months ago an upcoming online exhibit about student protests at Northern in the late 1960s. Well, a few complications pushed back the release date, but it should be going up within a week!

The site has multiple layers to explore. You can read a summary of the events or dive deeper into the sources themselves. We have digitized many sources including newspaper articles, photos, other documents, oral histories, and even some audio recorded at the protests themselves!

The idea first developed last March and research started in May. As one of the people involved with the project as a researcher and writer, I can tell you that we’re very excited to finally be able to share this project with you! Many thanks to the amazing Kelley Kanon an Anne Krohn who have been working very hard to digitize the sources and code and design the website and who have dealt with many delays and revisions!

Digitization and Transcription Project

The state of our oral history collections is currently widely varied. Some were donated with notes or transcripts, some were not. Sometimes those notes are mere topics, sometimes they are descriptions or summaries. In general, those interviews which were donated without transcripts or notes still don’t have them. This limits their accessibility for patrons, and makes it difficult for researchers to find potentially very helpful interviews.

However, even creating notes for a single interview, let alone transcribing it, is a very time-consuming process. The sheer number of oral histories and other audio and video records that we have makes digitization difficult as well. Hence, making these records more accessible has been put on the back burner for a very long time.

James Shefchik and Emily Winnell from the Center for Upper Peninsula Studies are helping us to change that. They are going to go through about five hundred oral history interviews and create a basic summary of what is on the tape. They are also going to develop a ranking for the importance of getting the interviews transcribed and digitized. The long-term goal is to make all of our oral history interviews and other audio records available online with basic notes or transcriptions.

NMU Video Collection

Our video records have been in similar disarray, but in the next few months they are finally going to be properly accessioned by Anne Krohn and Jessica Ulrich, which will make them much more accessible!

Comprehensive Records Survey

The Comprehensive Records Survey of all university records has finally begun and is running smoothly, although it’s keeping our records center team of Morgan Paavola, Prince Parker, and Stefan Nelson very busy. The offices that we have worked with so far are responding well and have been very helpful.

New Collection, Books, and Shelves

Dr. Magnaghi has kindly donated more of his papers to us along with many boxes of books about Michigan and the Upper Peninsula and six bookshelves. The many carts of boxes arrived today and accessioning will begin in the near future.

Upcoming Events at the Archives

Look for announcements about two Evening at the Archives events this semester! As details about time and date are confirmed, we will be releasing that information here and on social media.

On April 10, the Marquette County Genealogical Society will be hosting a genealogy lock-in at Peter White Public Library. We will be there with a display about genealogical resources at the Archives, so come and say hi to us! Space is limited at the lock-in, so be sure to register quickly after registration open if you want to go!

Written by Annika Peterson

Oral Histories

The Archives does not just contain paper documents. It also has many audio and video records which cover a wide range of topics related to both Northern Michigan University, the Marquette County area, and beyond. A website summarizing the oral history interviews and other audio recordings located at the Archives and in other local archives and libraries can be found here.

The Red Dust Project Oral History Collection contains 800 interviews conducted by students of the National Mine School and Aspen Ridge Middle School from 1983 to 2000. The interviews cover topics such as the Depression, immigration, job histories, mining, logging, World War II and military service, education, the polio epidemic in the UP, and social life.

Another oral history project here at the Archives is the Italian-American Immigrant Oral History Collection. It contains interviews with Italian Americans in the UP and beyond and discusses their lives in Italy, the trip to America, and life here, including mining, other work, religious activities, and social life. Recorded in Stone: Voices on the Marquette Iron Range is another oral history project which discusses immigrant populations. Groups for which oral histories were recorded include Finnish, Cornish, and Italian immigrants. Besides oral histories, the website has articles about various ethnic populations in Marquette County. It also contains digital copies of some issues of Clover-Land, a magazine promoting farming settlement in the Upper Peninsula.

Some audio collections relate directly to Northern Michigan University. The Archives contains copies of many commencement speeches given at Northern over the years. It also has tapes of lecture series and debates at Northern from the 1950s to the 1980s. There are also many interviews with Presidents of the University, faculty members, and students. Some of these interviews are listed by name. Others have some indication of the content discussed in the title.

Oral histories relating to the larger area include such topics as underground mining, fishing, and lumber, and the Ishpeming Ski Hall of Fame. Persons of Croatian, Finnish, German, French-Canadian, Slovenian, and Chippewa descent were interviewed about their heritage. Events which occurred in the area, such as the visit of Buckminster Fuller, are also recorded. Meetings and conferences of local groups, including Lutheran synods and Catholic pastoral conferences from the 1980s, the Coalition to Save Longyear Hall, ELF hearings, and meetings about radioactive waste being brought to Marquette. See this page for an incomplete listing of audio relating to Northern Michigan University and the surrounding area.

This fall, Dr. Magnaghi will be training Archives staff to conduct oral history interviews, and the collections will again be expanding. The Archives will also convert remaining analog interviews into a more accessible and lasting digital format.

Prepared by Annika Peterson

This Season in NMU History

Recently, we have been updating the board outside the Archives for spring. It displays pictures of two events which occurred at NMU during April and May. Here is more information about those two events:
Glenn T Seaborg Visits Northern: Glenn T. Seaborg was a Nobel Prize winning chemist who helped discover ten elements and advised ten US Presidents. He also served as Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. He was born in Ishpeming. To honor him, Northern named the Seaborg Mathematics and Science Center after him. The Center focuses on training prospective teachers and offering workshops for current teachers.
He visited Northern several times, but in April 1998 he came to tour the new Center. His visit included meetings with area teachers and students.

The Mud Festival: In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Mud Festival was put on by the Residence Halls in the spring. It included a variety of events such as an egg throw, sled races, obstacle courses, wheelbarrow races, tug of war, fieldball, and softball. The events occurred in the “mud area”, the space between Payne and Spalding Halls. A Queen of the Mud Festival was also crowned.
The Mud Festival was compared to an older Northern tradition, Rush Day. Originally taking place in December, Rush Day was later transferred to June in the 1920s. It was intended to replace the hazing of first-year students. NMU’s encyclopedia, A Sense of Time, has quite a long entry about Rush Day:

On the appointed day (usually in June) the faculty and students went to Presque Isle Park for a lunch and then a series of games and contests. One event, called the bag tussle, included pushing the large medicine ball filled with hay from one territory to another with opponents seized and tied. The Rush was physically violent and involved kidnapping class officers, but was encouraged by the editors of the Northern Normal News as an important campus tradition. The Rush Day ended with a parade and dance in the evening…

World War II put a halt to Rush Day. In 1946, Northern attempted to revive the tradition. However, A Sense of Time notes that “It was found that most of the juniors were battle-hardened veterans who would destroy the regular seniors.” It was discontinued and never revived.
Come visit the Archives to see the pictures and learn more about these and other events in Northern’s history!

Student Protests at NMU

Like most of the country, NMU experienced some student protests during the 1960s. However, the largest of the protests was not about Vietnam or other typical protest topics of the time but about the firing of a professor.

Dr. Robert McClellan was hired as a history professor at Northern in 1966. Just prior to the 1967-1968 school year, he was informed that it was his last year at NMU. No specific reasons were given to the public. McClellan protested, and Harden eventually stated that McClellan was fired for four reasons:

1) He had openly criticized the Four Course Plan, a program where each student’s coursework would be entirely standardized.

2) He had advised students that they had a right to sue the university for lower dormitory fees when they arrived in the fall and there was no furniture, water, or electricity in their dorm rooms.

3) He had sent students to interview Marquette residents on their feelings towards the university.

4) He had informed home owners whose homes were going to be appropriated for the expansion of the university of their rights to resist the low prices that the university was giving them.

McClellan was a very popular teacher and many felt that his firing had been unfair. Students reacted to his firing by protesting. Faculty also protested in large numbers and many threatened to resign at the end of the school year if McClellan wasn’t rehired. A Committee for the Defense of Academic Freedom was established. It was essentially a coalition of faculty and students who sought to reinstate McClellan and ensure that faculty would be able to express their opinions on the university and would have a say in its policies. The ACLU also became involved with the case as legal advisors.

“McClellan Week” was an entire week of protesting which included a parade and demonstration through the streets of Marquette, a burning in effigy of Johnson, Harden, and the Board of Control, a fundraising dance, a “Trick-or-Treat for Academic Freedom” on Halloween as a fundraiser for the trial, a sky diver to attract attention, a sound truck to circulate around Marquette and spread messages about the cause, a boycott of classes (many professors had already cancelled classes for the week), a boycott of the Bookstore and the Wildcat Den, a library/read-in day to reestablish academic freedom, a motorcade with signs, information centers to distribute literature about the cause, sending transcripts to other schools suggesting that students would leave en masse if McClellan wasn’t allowed to return, an “eat-in, eat-out” where all students would go to the cafeteria at once and then none would go the next day, a “love-out” on Sugarloaf Mountain, a mock funeral for academic freedom, and a “teach-out” on topics related to academic freedom.

At a night of speeches, professors sarcastically created the Harden Award for Academic Freedom and gave it to the entire student body for its commitment to McClellan’s rights to academic freedom. The newspaper article about the event continues, “Following a speech by Vernon Pierce, speech department instructor, the capacity crowd of 2,200 students moved en masse to Kaye Auditorium where folk singers and popular bands were waiting. Somewhere in between they picked up about 300 more students, as security police estimated 2,500 students were packed into the auditorium, and at one time, according to Duane Staumbaugh, administrative assistant in security, there were as many as 3,000 students roaming the halls of Kaye. Songs of freedom opened the ‘concert’, followed by a variety of selections, speeches and general noise. Rolls of toilet paper and hand towels and stacks of IBM cards were tossed about the auditorium as students chanted, ‘Hey Hey! Ogden J. How many profs did we lose today?’” They then moved from Kaye Hall to the Fieldhouse, where the protest/party continued until 6 AM.

Some of the protests were aimed at trying to get Governor George Romney to respond to the situation. He eventually replied that the university had autonomy and that he would not intervene. The state of Michigan’s legislature also threatened to close Northern if students refused to return to classes. When Jamrich became President, he reinstated McClellan to calm the student body and the faculty. McClellan would later be involved with future protests and controversies on campus.

Currently, the Archives is creating a website about Student Protests at NMU. Look for it in the coming months!


Prepared by Annika Peterson