Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Digmanns Talk About Life with MS

by Christa Clare

In October, I attended the Network for Women luncheon held on the campus of Central Michigan University. This is a group of women that meet periodically with a featured speaker while we eat lunch and network with each other.

At this particular luncheon, I had the privilege of listening to Dan and Jennifer Digmann, a married couple who are living and thriving with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, more than 400,000 Americans have MS. Knowing these numbers makes it much more amazing that these two people found each other in Michigan and continue to defy the odds they face together. Jennifer was diagnosed in 1997 and Dan was diagnosed in 2000.

Dan and Jennifer recently published a book together, Despite MS, to Spite MS: One couple facing the challenges of life and Multiple Sclerosis. Through their writing, public speaking and advocacy work, the Digmann’s have inspired countless people with their amazing love story and passion for life. The Clarke is pleased to offer this book to our patrons and wishes the Digmann’s the best of luck in the future.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Aladdin Home Featured in the Zonta Home Walk

The Zonta Club of Midland is hosting their Holiday Homewalk this weekend - December 3rd and 4th. Among the homes featured is an Aladdin Kit Home - the Cottage Tudor at 114 West Carpenter Street. This home has been extensively researched using the historic Aladdin Company Records, which can be found at the Clarke Historical Library. We were very happy to help research this historic home and we are delighted that this great piece of Michigan history can be shared with all thanks to the Zonta Club of Michigan. For further information about the homewalk, please click on this link for the Zonta Club of Midland's website or click on this link for a Midland Daily News article about the event.

Image taken from the Zonta Club of Midland Holiday Howewalk webpage.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Holiday Baking with Merry Cookie

by Christa Clare

We recently purchased a cookbook called Merry Cookie! The cookbook compiled and edited by Judith Bosley boasts that it has “one hundred, old, new, luscious, rich, plain, fancy, pretty, buttery Christmas cookies.” Mmmm.. . Just in time for holiday baking!

Did you know that the Clarke Historical Library has over 1300 cookbooks? We have an extensive collection and most of them are from Michigan authors. In 2004, we received a generous collection of cookbooks from a private collector, and we have been actively collecting them ever since.

Stop in the Clarke some time and take a look at some of these wonderful cookbooks.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Setting the Stage for the War of 1812

by Frank Boles

On November 1 the William L. Clements Library’s curator of maps Brian Dunnigan spoke about Michigan on the eve of the War of 1812. In a wonderfully illustrated presentation he shared with his audience the physical characteristics and lifestyle of Michigan’s non-Native American residents. The few settlers who lived in Michigan were primarily found in three settlements: Detroit, “Frenchtown,” (today’s Monroe) and on Mackinac Island. Detroit was the oldest and largest of the settlements. As the territorial capitol it also had the largest concentration of English-speaking “American” residents.

Curiously, Detroit also had the newest buildings and the most unusual of street plans; the result of a devastating fire in 1805 that virtually destroyed the entire village. The resulting void allowed government officials to impose a new street plan that, unlike virtually every other settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains, featured extraordinarily wide boulevards radiating from great circles. Dunnigan noted in a sly aside that although the plan looked wonderful on paper, after about twenty years of residents constantly complaining about oddly shaped lots and streets consuming vast amounts of space that could otherwise be put to good use, the plan was abandoned.

Frenchtown, located to the south of Detroit, retained the vernacular architecture and the largely French character that Detroit was beginning to lose. Indeed, one reason for the settlement was simply that some Francophones were not happy living in increasingly English-oriented Detroit.

Then as now Mackinac Island was a seasonal community. During the summer upwards of 2,000 individuals would come to the island, which was a center of the fur trading industry. But as winter approached the population rapidly dwindled and only a few hundred souls remained on the island. Among them was a small garrison of U.S. Army soldiers, serving in what was considered at the time one of the most remote and isolated outposts maintained by the military.

Dunnigan portrayed in images and words a world long lost and yet somehow strangely familiar. A remote country that nevertheless had a certain semblance of the home we know. It was a wonderful discussion of what was which hinted at what would emerge.

"Mitchell Map" image from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchell_Map)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund

by Frank Boles

On October 19, The Clarke Library sponsored two programs celebrating the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF)’s 35th anniversary. Perhaps one of the best kept secret in state government, over the past 35 years the Fund has pumped over $816 million to acquire and improve Michigan public recreation and environmentally sensitive properties across the state.

At 2:00 p.m., four panelists, Michigan Oil and Gas Association (MOGA) President Frank L. Mortl, Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board Chairman Bob Garner, Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) Executive Director Erin McDonough, and Michigan Chapter of the Nature Conservancy Director Helen Taylor, spoke about the Fund’s founding, history, and impact.

Their collective presentations drew a portrait of one of the most successful political compromises made in the last generation. The Trust was born out of political compromise. A major discovery of natural gas in the northeast corner of the Lower Peninsula made oil companies very anxious to begin widespread drilling, while environmentalists fought vigorously to keep development away from what was a largely wilderness area.

As the battle raged on, the senior representatives of the two communities, Frank Mortl of MOGA and Tom Washington of the MUCC cut a deal. MUCC would support drilling – MOGA would support creating a Trust Fund into which all revenue received by the state as a result of oil and gas production would be set aside to fund outdoor recreational activity and the purchase of environmentally-sensitive land. Both men took their share of grief for the compromise, but with the support of each organization the enabling legislation became law.

The results have proved a huge benefit to the people of the state. Vast tracts of land have either been protected or developed into or benefited from improvements made to outdoor recreational sites. Fishing piers and marinas have been built or rehabilitated. Environmentally fragile land has been protected.

The panelists gave a fascinating insight into both the process of political compromise and the benefits that can accrue to society when groups with seemingly unresolvable conflicts think creatively about how to find common ground. Then as now, compromise was not necessarily popular, but it worked, and worked very well to serve the long-term interests of the public.

An added, an unexpected feature of the program was an unplanned set of comments made by special guest Howard A Tanner. Tanner, now 87 years of age, as then director of the Department of Natural Resources, had played a key role in implementing the MNRTF. Tanner talked primarily about what he saw as the essential breakthrough represented by the Trust: that funds received by the state as a result of the depletion of a state-owned, non-renewable resource, should be used to acquire for the public’s benefit additional non-renewable resources – primarily prime recreation land and land of special environmental sensitivity. Like any compromise the MNRTF was a trade-off, but one that replaced a non-renewable asset underneath state-owned land with a new asset, prime recreation land and the protection of the environment, that would benefit the public for generations to come.

This wonderful panel that brought together some of the most influential people, past and present, in the state’s environmental history, was followed Thursday evening by author Jack Westbrook discussing his recently published book, Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, 1976-2011.While the panel dealt with the general good accomplished by the Trust Fund, Westbrook brought home the true impact of the Fund by looking at many of the projects it has funded. From funds spent to acquire the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula for public use to funds spent to improve recreational facilities on Detroit’s Belle Isle Park, residents throughout the state have personally benefitted from projects made possible by the Trust. As Westbrook noted, the Trust has become a model other states have attempted to emulate; a solution “made in Michigan” to resolve one of the most vexing problems of our time.

image from American Oil and Gas Historical Society

Thursday, November 17, 2011

John Fierst on John Tanner’s Narrative

Next Monday John Fierst will be talking about the editing of John Tanner’s Narrative, a project he and his co-editor John Nichols have undertaken to produce a scholarly edition of Tanner’s 1830 Anishinaabe account. The presentation is entitled: “The Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner: Editing an Anishinaabe Text.” It will take place on campus in the Terrace Rooms of the Bovee Center at noon, November 21st. Part of the Office for Institutional Diversity’s Soup and Substance series, it is being given in celebration of Native American Heritage Month.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Circus in Town

By Marian Matyn

A large circus collection recently donated by Rev. James Challancin is being processed this term. Published materials, such as books, programs, and serials have been cataloged. Posters and scrapbooks have been processed and now thousands of clippings (all of which have to be photocopied), tickets, advertisements, and other miscellaneous items remain to be processed.

Here is a digitized image of a damaged poster. This Adams Bros. and Seils Bros Circus poster was printed by Neal Walters Posters Corp. of Eureka Springs, Ark., and advertised the circus performance in Caspian, MI (Iron County) in 1960.

The collection has issues. A lot of it has a strong mildew smell, which is not good, and some of it has water or mold stains. Being around this smell is unpleasant even with an air filter and air freshners going full strength. Mold can spread throughout stored collections and cause health problems in people. Because we cannot expose staff or patrons to mold, we have to withdraw moldy materials from the collection. Fortunately, with modern equipment we have some options and can preserve a scanned copy of the poster so we could preserve a nice, colorful part of circus history without causing contamination throughout the collection or health issues to staff, students, or the public.

Thanks to everyone who is helping in some way with this collection: Bronwyn, Tressa, Tanya, Sandy, Pat, Hayleigh, and me. Once the processing, inventorying, and rehousing is completed, I will edit the final copy of the finding aid, create the catalog record, and encode the finding aid making it Google searchable and linking it to the catalog record. A collection of this size and various formats is a group effort, led by yours truly, Marian Matyn, Archivist and Assistant Professor, Clarke Historical Library, CMU. For more information check out my blog at http://archivistrising.blogspot.com

Friday, October 14, 2011

Autumn - The Perfect Season

By Tanya Fox

Those of us who are lucky enough to live in Michigan know that autumn is a beautiful season. Leaves turn so many vibrant colors. The air turns crisp. Harvests of small personal gardens to big farms begin in earnest. Life starts to slow down after the busy summer months and autumn sets the tone for the coming winter months. Autumn is a transition time. Autumn is the perfect season to take stock of our lives, too, and what better way to get started and set the mood than to read a good book.

The Clarke Historical Library has many items with an autumn theme. Some are by Michigan authors such as Three Sonnets of the Northland Autumn by Ethel E. Mann or Leaves of Life’s Autumn by Lillian Wright Melville. In her poem “Woodland Memories of the North”, Ms. Melville writes of the fall season with the words “Have you ever walked on woodland paths when autumn’s tinged with gold, And watched its wondrous beauty so magically unfold?” Some titles evoke the whole feeling of autumn with just a few words such as Autumn Hours and Fireside Reading by another Michigan author C.M. Kirkland. Other books in the Clarke include Autumn Leaves Gathered in an Indian Summer: Sermons, Addresses and Lectures by Howard A.M. Henderson and a book of poetry dedicated to the season called Autumn Leaves by Mildred M. North.

We have children’s books with the autumn theme, also. Take a photographic journey into the autumn woods with the book First Snow in the Woods: a Photographic Fantasy by Carl R. Sams. First Snow includes beautiful and engaging photographs of wild life preparing for winter. The Juvenile Naturalist: or, Walks in the Country by B.H. Draper is a children’s book from 1842. Seedtime and Harvest: Tales includes stories translated from the German language circa the late 1850’s.

The Fruits of the Harvest: a Collection of More Than Three Hundred and Seventy-five Tested Recipes is a cookbook from the women of the Grosse Pointe Memorial Church that will help utilize the garden and farm produce found in abundance in Michigan’s fall season. Leslie A. Loveless has a book called A Bountiful Harvest : the Midwestern Farm Photographs of Pete Wettach, 1925-1965 for anyone who has an interest in the pictorial history of farms and farm life. The Library even has a video called The Northern Fall which allows the viewer to tour the Great Lakes Region in the autumn.

Whether you want to read a few sonnets or other poems, peruse photographs, find a mouth-watering recipe, or spend some quiet, thoughtful time in the autumn - the Clarke Library has something for you. George Eliot said of the season “Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” Autumn is a time for reflection and appreciation of nature’s beauty and bounty. Let the Clarke be a part of your season.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

CMU History Minute: In 1958, This Joint Was Jumpin'

By Frank Boles

Preparing for an exhibit that opens this fall discussing student life and learning, I sometimes come across wonderful, unanticipated discoveries. A few weeks ago a copy of the publication “Louis Armstrong and His Concert Group,” autographed by Armstrong and the vocalist who accompanied the group, Velma Middleton, was lent to us for the exhibit.  Louis Armstrong at CMU?  No jive!

In May, 1958 the Panhellenic Inter-Fraternity Council was planning “a jammed packed week” to celebrate the first campus “Greek Week.”  The planned activities included many old standbys like a tug-of-war between fraternities and a push cart derby. Also included were a few more conservative events, such as a revised Greek Sing competition. 

The previous year’s sing had been something of a disappointment. In 1957 each of the ten contesting groups were required to sing the hymn, “Now on Land and Sea Descending,” written in 1859 to a tune first documented in 1818. The audience was apparently unenthusiastic about listening to ten renditions of the song despite the hymn’s heartfelt advice to “jubilate, jubilate, jubilate.” In 1958, each group was simply given ten minutes onstage, without a requirement that the performance include a “song of a religious nature.”  

Perhaps still worried that the Greek Sing might not be a musical high note, the organizing committee also booked Louis Armstrong “to blow,” as the headline read, on Friday May 16. Armstrong had two performances that evening, first at an “all-college” jam session from 7:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and then at a dance from 9:00 p.m. until midnight for Greek week participants.  Louis Armstrong came and blew. Velma Middleton came and sang. And it appears that the campus really was jumpin’ that night, at least when the Satchmo and Velma weren’t busy signing autographs for happy fans.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Clarke Partners with CMU Alumni Association

By Susan Powers

The Clarke Historical Library is currently preparing for our next exhibit, Student Life and Learning at CMU.  Opening in mid-September 2011, the exhibit will display artifacts and pictures that tell the story of student life at Central over the past nearly 120 years.

At the Central Michigan University Alumni page on Facebook, alumni can write about their reminiscences of life at Central. Questions are being posted every so often by Association staff, and alumni are sharing their memories. Some of the quotes posted at the Facebook page may be used in the exhibit. If you would like to participate, please sign in and join the conversation.

Friday, July 29, 2011

GrandparentsU Comes to the Clarke

By Christa Clare

The Clarke Historical Library recently participated in the 4th Annual GrandparentsU program which is offered by Central Michigan University’s Alumni Association. GrandparentsU is a summer camp that brings grandparents and their grandkids together for three days of fun on the campus of CMU. This experience includes hands-on educational sessions conducted by faculty members along with other fun activities for the grandparents and children ages 8 to 12. This year there were 132 participants including  64 adults and 68 children.

Participants eat and sleep in the residence halls, attend special classes throughout the campus and experience many highlights of the campus during GrandparentsU.

This year GrandparentsU took place June 22-24, 2011.  The Clarke Library hosted two separate events.  On Thursday June 23, the Clarke was one of the clues in a Scavenger Hunt called “Not Quite 39 Clues” and the children were asked to locate the Smallest Book in the World located in the Clarke Library.

On Friday June 24th the Clarke hosted “Reading, Riting, and Rithmatic in the 1850’s”. The children looked at  McGuffey Readers, (old school books) and made craft projects including Thaumatropes (also known as "turning wonders").

The Clarke Library staff was delighted to be able to participate in such a fun and educational event. We don’t know who was having more fun, the Grandparents, or the children!

The GrandparentsU website can be found at :

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fact and Fiction

By John Fierst

The Clarke Library has a rich collection of books and manuscripts related to the history of the Old Northwest, and you will find in that collection many rare first editions that were published before Michigan became a state in 1837, when it was still considered a northern territory. Michigan Territory at the time included all of Wisconsin and half of Minnesota. 

We make an effort to add to our collection in this area of history whenever we can, though it is hard to find published primary sources—i.e., published letters, journals, and firsthand accounts—that we don’t already own.  Besides primary sources, we also watch for and collect current secondary sources published on the Old Northwest, such as Alan Taylor’s recent The Civil War of 1812.  

This spring we ordered for the library a novel entitled Blacksnakes’s Path: The True Adventures of William Wells. Wells is familiar to anyone with an interest in the early history of the Old Northwest.  The Miami Indians, who took thirteen year old Wells captive in 1784 and raised him, named him Blacksnake.  Wells, or Blacksnake, married the daughter of Little Turtle and fought against the American armies sent into Ohio in the early 1790s.  He later switched sides, joining with the Americans and serving as a scout for General “Mad” Anthony Wayne. He was with Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, and he acted as an interpreter at the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, which brought the Indian wars in Ohio to a close. It is not our practice to purchase historical fiction, but this thoroughly researched book is different.  It is history written as fiction by a very capable historian, William Heath, and it brings together in a coherent narrative events of the period that are often treated disparately. The section “Afterword and Notes” provides an excellent starting point for readers with a burgeoning interest in this period of history.  The book should appeal to anyone who enjoys imaginative writing that is grounded in, and remains true to, the historical record.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Clarke Library Obtains Original Art from Little House on the Prairie

By Frank Boles

At a recent auction the Clarke Library was fortunate to obtain two original drawings created by Garth Williams for the 1953 reprinting of Little House on the Prairie. The Little House books are among America’s most recognized children’s volumes.  The series was first published between 1932 and 1943. In the late 1940s Harper, which published the books, decided to reissue the volumes with new illustrations.

To undertake the job Harper hired Garth Williams.  He was no stranger inside of Harper’s office. Ursula Nordstrom, Harper’s chief editor of children’s books, had recruited him in 1945 as an illustrator. A few days after recruiting Williams, Nordstrom received a note from E. B. White, attached to his latest project, Stuart Little, suggesting she hire Williams to illustrate the volume. In 1951 Williams illustrated White’s second children’s book, Charlotte’s Web. Nordstrom knew who she wanted to create the new illustrations for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s popular series, but Williams was concerned about his ability to do the job well.

Williams had never ventured west of New York’s Hudson River. The vast stretches of land described by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her books were as alien to him as the face of the moon. To resolve the problem, Williams made an extensive western trip, visiting the land on which the book’s characters played out their stories.  Much of the resulting art was drawn in Italy. Regardless of where the art was created or the background of the artist, the results justified Nordstrom’s choice of Williams. His simple pencil drawings captured the spirit of the book and have become an integral part of many children’s lives.

Williams died in 1996 and beginning in 2010 his estate began to auction the many drawings he had retained. The Library’s purchase of the two illustrations was made possible by the Francis and Mary Lois Molson Endowment, created by the Molson’s to help the Library obtain important original works drawn to illustrate children’s books, and the Friends of the Libraries.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Kalamazoo Circus Parade Stereograph

By Marian Matyn

Here's what a stereograph looks like.
We recently received a collection of miscellaneous Michigan photographs, stereographs and postcards at the Clarke. One of the stereographs is of a circus parade. It is an image that was part of a group of images entitled Kalamazoo Views. Stereographs were actually two images taken from almost the same angle so when viewed through lenses the image achieved a near 3-D effect. The Clarke has a collection of 7 boxes of stereographs documenting Michigan history.
Here is a closeup of one image.

The photographer of the circus parade was Schuyler C. (Colfax) Baldwin of Kalamazoo. The floats lead the parade and 7 elephants are at the rear. There may have been more who didn't make it into the photograph, I don't know, nor do I know which street the parade was on or the date. Large crowds are in evidence, some looking out from nearby windows or balconies. Baldwin lived 1823-1900 and photography began in 1843 so it was taken sometime between 1843 and 1900.  My guess is that this is late 19th century. Enjoy the view.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Audiovisual Materials at the Clarke

 By Tanya Fox

You may think the Clarke Historical Library has only books, manuscripts and serial publications.  But we have a collection of audiovisual materials, also.  This collection includes DVDs, VHS tapes, albums (yes, the old fashioned vinyl type), cassette tapes and CD-ROMs.  We provide a room with all the equipment to view and listen to the materials we have at the Clarke.

Perhaps you would enjoy viewing the DVD School Days Remembered: the Mt. Pleasant Indian School Reunion 1991 or Full Metal Corset: Secret Soldiers of the Civil War from The History Channel in 2007.  We have some DVDs and videos about local history such as The History & Pioneers of the Port Austin Area, 1937-1957 : 120 Years of Progress. Listen to the audiocassette of Folk Songs of the Great Lakes Region by Lee Murdock. These titles are just a small sampling of media available.

Harken back to the old days of Tiger baseball with the sound recordings Echoes of Tiger Stadium and Tiger Baseball Trivia. If you’re an Ernest Hemingway fan hear him read selections of his works on Ernest Hemingway Reads. Peruse the Ernest Hemingway Audio Collection.

Even though the audio visual materials may not be checked out of the Clarke, there are many items of interest dealing with a myriad of topics.  Spend an hour or a day at the library and be surprised at what we have available.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ask Archivists Day June 9, 2011

By Susan Powers

On Thursday, June 9, archivists from all over the world will be responding to questions on Twitter for “Ask Archivists Day”. Participating archives are listed here.

Ask your questions on Twitter by finding an archive that you are interested in contacting from the list of participating archives, then add the hashtag #AskArchivists to your question. Here is a slide show that tells you more about how to ask your questions via Twitter.

If you would like to ask the Clarke's very own archivist Marian Matyn a question, email her at marian.matyn@cmich.edu

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Out of Sight" by Pittau and Gervais

By Christa Clare
The Clarke Historical Library received a new children’s book that is really interesting. 

Did you know that you can tell a male and female giraffe by looking at the top of their horns? (The top of a male giraffe’s  horns are bald but the top of the females horns are fuzzy.) Or that a beaver’s front teeth never stop growing?  Or that pigs are very good swimmers? Or that a kangaroo cannot move backward? 

All of these interesting animal facts can be found in our newest children’s book titled Out of Sight by Bernadette Gervais and Francesco Pittau.  It is a gorgeous lift-the-flap book.  It is written for Kindergarten through grade 2, but you will find that children and adults alike find it very entertaining and educational!

Stop in and take a look at this fun book in the Clarke Library soon!

Monday, May 23, 2011

One Old Book and One Brief Moment

By Tanya Fox

I recently cataloged a book from 1701 which is the oldest book I’ve ever cataloged. As I perused the book for specific information needed for cataloging, I found myself thinking about this book that was over 300 years old. The pages were worn. The print was unusual. The cover was soft and smooth. This book allowed me to hold history in my hands and for a moment think about people and events from a much earlier period of time. 

The book’s title was Anglia Libera : or the Limitation and Succession of the Crown of England Explain’d and Asserted by Jo[hn] Toland. I did not have the luxury of reading the book to find out Toland’s ideas.  Instead, in the short time I had the book, I thought about the ephemeral nature of life.  I was reminded that some material items will outlive me but even this specific book would one day disintegrate. 

This small, antique volume gave me pause to wonder and reminded me that people and events come and go.  It reminded me that things fade away.  It reminded me that nothing lasts forever.  Marcus Aurelius once said “All is ephemeral, fame and the famous as well.”  One small book from 1701, that I didn’t completely read, was for a moment a reason for me to contemplate my own brief time in history. 

Come find one brief moment or lose yourself in longer periods of thought with the books you will find at the Clarke Historical Library.  One old book and one brief moment equals a walk with history.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Today's Electronic Records Issues for University Archivists

By Marian Matyn

I recently attended the SAA (Society of American Archivists) Electronic Records (ER) Records Workshop in Rhode Island. I thought the workshop was very informative and interesting. I learned all kinds of fun phrases like hash, checksums, password crackers, TRODS, CERP, and “endowing a terabyte.” Now I understand them. There are so many issues that have to be considered with electronic records: time, temporariness of the records and formats, and the impact of quickly changing technology. Archivists now have to deal with deleted files which aren't really deleted and could be illegal, and we need to run forensic analysis to discover these “hidden records.” All the different types of ERs at universities now have to be considered by archivists, including websites, metadata, intranets, emails, and videos, and postings on Blackboard, YouTube, and Facebook. Archivists must also consider involved access and security issues, including the ability to copy and change or prevent changes to records, and the staff time and costs involved.

A couple of important questions arise when making decisions about ERs.  Are all of these university electronic formats really records?  How do state laws and university description of a record says affects what we must define as a record? Our current, voluntary record retention schedule at CMU defines a university record as "all records, regardless of their form, prepared, owned, used, retained by, or in the possession of an individual in the performance of an official function of the university."   Obviously, records generated by students, staff, faculty or the public in an unofficial capacity do not meet CMU’s definition of record.  Let’s be clear: ERs are not permanent in any format, and they are a part of our lives now.  Archivists and their archives are going to have to begin to seriously deal with the plethora of ER issues and ERs themselves soon if they haven’t already.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Clarke Student Assistant Hannah Jenkins Wins Library Scholarship

By Susan Powers

The Clarke Historical Library is proud to announce that one of our Reading Room student assistants, Hannah Jenkins, is one of two recipients of the first annual Central Michigan University Library Student Employee Scholarship for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year. The scholarship was funded by the generous donations of library staff members during the 2010 Annual University Campaign.

Hannah is studying anthropology and history, and is in the museum studies program here at Central Michigan University. She has been working at the Clarke Historical Library for four years. This summer she is completing an internship at the Historical Society of Michigan. Congratulations Hannah!

John Cumming Isabella County Historical Preservation Award Winners Announced

By Frank Boles

Jack R. Westbrook of Mt. Pleasant and Mary Sue Sazima of Shepherd were recently recognized for their contributions to local history by being awarded the John Cumming Isabella County Historical Preservation Award.

Jack Westbrook was recognized for his many publications documenting both Mt. Pleasant and Isabella County. Mr. Westbrook, the retired editor of the Michigan Oil and Gas News, has published eight books about the county, including,

•    Anointed with Oil  by C. John Miller; as told to Jack R. Westbrook
•    The Big Picture Book of Mt. Pleasant Michigan: Yesteryears to 2010
•    Central Michigan University 
•    Isabella County, 1859 – 2009
•    Michigan Oil and Gas (2006)
•    Michigan Oil & Gas News 60th Anniversary Photo Review : A Pictorial Chronicle of Michigan Petroleum Exploration and Production History from Beginnings to 1993
•    Mount Pleasant: Then and Now
•    Mount Pleasant; Yesterday's School Kids of Isabella County: a Photographic History of Rural One-Room Schools in Isabella County, Michigan (co-authored with Sherry Sponseller.)

Mary Sue Sazima, better known as Sue Sazima, was recognized posthumously for her pioneering work with the Shepherd Area Historical Society. For many years the Coe Township librarian, Ms. Sazima helped organize and served as the first president of the Shepherd Area Historical Society.  Ms. Sazima tirelessly worked to promote, advance, and assist the Society.  Her death in 2009 was deeply felt within the historical society and the community it serves.

The John Cumming Isabella County Historical Preservation Award was first presented in 2009 as part of the Isabella County sesquicentennial celebration. It recognizes individuals who have made exemplary contributions to preserving, recording, or disseminating the history of Isabella County. The award is made possible by a coalition of local historical organizations. This year the selection committee included representatives from the Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society, and the Shepherd Area Historical Society.

The awards were presented On Tuesday April 19 at the regular meeting of the Isabella County Board of Commissioners.

Monday, May 9, 2011

History Major - Really?

By John Fierst

Cynthia Engerson, who is working in the archival processing room with Marian Matyn, is a third year history major and a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the History Honors Club. She began her career at CMU majoring in health fitness but switched majors in her sophomore year. I first had a chance to talk with Cynthia when she asked me to be on a panel that Phi Alpha Theta was putting together. When I asked the reason for switching majors, she said that the passion wasn’t there for her first major but that she had always had a strong interest in history, colonial American history in particular. 

The purpose of the panel she was helping to put together was to discuss graduate school requirements for history students. On April 7th at 8:00 p.m. in Powers Hall, members of Phi Alpha Theta and a panel consisting of myself and three other professors—Jay Martin, Eric Johnson, and Greg Smith—met and discussed the pleasures and the pitfalls of pursuing a graduate degree in history. The discussion lasted two hours. Each of the panelists had followed a very different path to graduate study. When I talked with Cynthia later, she reported the students had been pleased, even inspired, by the turns the discussion had taken. That was quite a compliment. Most helpful to her were the life stories the panelists told, which suggested there wasn’t one right path to graduate school and that you should not apply to graduate school before you are ready. 

I realized I had gotten a lot out of the discussion also. Today, when there is such emphasis on the practical side of education,  it is wonderful to listen to students’ talk about the love they have for the subjects they study. Switching her major, Cynthia related, was one of the most difficult choices she had ever confronted. It is the kind of decision that takes courage. But it’s also the kind of choice many of us later in life regret never having made.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

CMU History Minute: Flag Rush

By Susan Powers

Image from the 1924 Flag Rush, Central Normal Life
Back when CMU was Central Normal School, the student council organized events that set one class against another in fierce competition. The student council hoped these events would encourage school spirit and inter-class rivalry. One such competition was known as the Flag Rush.

In the early 1920s, the Flag Rush took place in the fall, with freshman and sophomore men battling for the possession of a small flag that had been secured to a pole. The student council each year would supply a telephone pole for the event, which would be set into the ground in a field. The “defenders,” usually the sophomores, would place their flag up on the pole at a height of no more than fifteen feet. The “defenders” would then arrange themselves around the pole, while the “attackers,” usually the freshmen, had fifteen minutes to do all that they could do to steal the flag from the pole. Bleachers were set up around the spectacle for the cheering fans.

During this time, freshman males at Central had to wear green caps called “pots” on their head all year. Freshman females had to wear green ribbons. According to early Flag Rush tradition, if the freshman men won the competition they would no longer have to wear their green “pots,” so winning the Flag Rush held a great reward for them. The Frosh would paint their faces green in preparation for the battle.

The student council published the rule for the contest in the October 8, 1924 edition of Central Normal Life. Some of the rules included:

1.    Flag rush to be held annually during the fall term.
   (a)    Sophomores to have the choice of defense or attack if they are outnumbered by ten men or more. In any other case the student council shall decide.
   (b)    Pole to be provided by the student council and to be a telephone pole not less than six inches in diameter.
   (c)    If either class interferes in any way with the pole before the rush they shall be declared losers.
   (d)    Defenders of the pole shall provide the flag.
      1.    It may be of any description but shall at least measure 18” by 24”.
      2.    The flag [is] to be fastened on the outside of the pole at a point not more than fifteen feet from the ground.
      3.    The flag shall be fastened to the pole in such a way that a pull of ten pounds shall remove it.

5.    Time –
   (a)    Rush to be continued for fifteen minutes
6.    Winner –
   (a)    The winner shall be declared as follows:
      1.    If the defenders are successful in the defense (protection) of the flag for fifteen minutes they shall be declared winners.
      2.    If the attackers succeed in taking the flag down during the fifteen minutes they shall be declared winners.

The first annual student council Flag Rush took place in 1923, with the sophomores winning.

In 1924, the freshman outnumbered the sophomores two to one, and won the competition. The picture shown here captured the frenzy of that year’s event.

Clarke Historical Library serves as the archives for Central Michigan University. Thousands of items are available for patrons to use for researching CMU’s history. To see what is available in the Clarke, search the Libraries’ online catalog Centra.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Trains: A Pop-Up Railroad Book

By Tanya Fox

Whether you are young or old, if you have a fondness for children’s books the Clarke Historical Library is the place to visit. A part of our children’s collection consists of toy and moveable books including pop-up books. One recent addition to the Clarke is a pop-up book called Trains: a Pop-Up Railroad Book written by Robert Crowther and published by Candlewick Press (2006). Learn about the fastest and longest train cars. Find out the difference between a Pullman train car and a double decker train car. Read about the challenges of building tracks through mountains and over rivers. Manipulate the pull tabs to move trains along the tracks. Open up the train windows and peek inside!

Once you finish with the pop-up book, use the Clarke to investigate other children’s books. If you are a train buff, we have many items dealing with the history of the railroads, specifically in Michigan. Start your journey with Trains: a Pop-Up Railroad Book and continue on the adventure with the marvels of the Clarke Historical Library in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Author D. E. Johnson Speaks at the Library

By Frank Boles

On April 11, 2011 D. E. Johnson spoke at the library.  Author of The Detroit Electric Scheme: A Mystery (New York Minotaur Books, 2010), Mr. Johnson was among those honored this year by the Library of Michigan as a recipient of the Michigan Notable Book Award.

Mr. Johnson’s presentation began with a short reading from his book in which he swiftly and surely dispatched the novel’s victim inside of the Detroit Electric Company, and framed the chief suspect. Having set the stage for his mystery, Mr. Johnson then shared with the audience the background to his book.

Although the murder and many of the characters are fiction, the book is rooted in extensive research done by Mr. Johnson about the auto industry and the city of Detroit around 1910.  As Mr. Johnson noted, in 1910 Detroit’s leading industry was not automobiles but the manufacture of cooking stoves. Somehow, though, publishers doubted that contemporary readers would be much interested by a murder set in the city’s then booming “oven industry.”  Automobiles had more cache.

The Detroit Electric was a real car made in Detroit. It began production in 1907. In 1910, the year in which Mr. Johnson sets his book, electric, steam, and gas powered automobiles were all still all being made and sold. The vehicle was the product of a successful Detroit carriage manufacturing firm which understood that the future lay in automobiles and which was seeking to diversify its products. The Detroit Electric reflected the refined tastes of firm’s top-of-the-line opera carriage. The car featured beautiful interior leather work and amenities such as a bud vase as standard equipment. 

Mr. Johnson’s book benefited not only from his research about the Detroit automotive industry and the Detroit Electric but also the city’s personalities and character. Johnson’s research revealed that one of the Detroit Electric’s most devoted customers was Mrs. Henry Ford.  She owned three Detroit Electrics, a fact that likely did not much please her husband as he worked to perfect his gasoline-powered Ford. Then again, Mr. Johnson suggested that Mrs. Ford’s choice of cars many may have been a bit of payback for her husband’s treatment of his family. Ford was a brutal competitor who knew few if any bounds. He went so far as to exploit his and Clara’s only son to obtain his business goals.

At the age of twenty-five, Edsel Ford became president of the car company his father had founded. Rather than a vote of confidence in his son, the promotion was part of Henry’s nefarious business plan to buy out minority stockholders in the firm. Henry Ford wanted sole control of the company. However, the stockholders, to whom he had sold stock in the early days when he desperately needed money and who were now profiting handsomely from Henry’s genius, were not willing to sell.

To change their opinion, Henry put the inexperienced Edsel in charge, knowing that rumors would circulate that the young man wasn’t up to the job and that profits would fall. Henry then added fuel to the fire by suggesting that he was so unhappy with the arrangement he planned to abandon the firm and start a new company.  Stockholders aware of this readily-leaked “inside information” were happy to sell what they “knew” would soon be worthless paper while they could still make a profit. 

Edsel would remain part of the firm for the rest of his relatively short life.  Henry, who outlived Edsel and personally held the firm’s real power regardless of what title his son might have had, would often ignore his son’s often very sound advice and occasionally publicly humiliate him.

Vito Adamo, Detroit’s early mob boss, also finds his way into Mr. Johnson’s  book. Adamo was an enterprising fellow who took Detroit’s turn-of-the-century protection racket to new heights. The “Black Hand” regularly circulated among small businessmen and offered, for a fee, to “protect” the business from “accidents” such as arson or some other calamity. Adamo and his “White Hand” also made the rounds, offering protection to the same businessmen for an additional fee, but including in their list of guarantees that they would prevent the Black Hand from causing trouble.  This, it turned out, was not the beginning of a mob war but a clever marketing scheme -- Adamo controlled both organizations and was twice shaking down the same businesses.

It was a fascinating evening that discussed a dynamic Detroit, where in 1910 only ten percent of its approximately 450,000 residents had been born in Michigan, in which entrepreneurs were on the verge of inventing a new national industry, and in which there were just enough low-lifes to populate an intriguing murder mystery novel. The presentation was made possible in part the Michigan Notable Books Author tour, sponsored by the Library of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Education, Cooley Law School, the Library of Michigan Foundation, Auto-Owners Insurance, the Michigan Center for the Book and the Michigan Humanities Council. Media sponsors include WKAR, City Pulse and Queue Advertising and Gennara Photography.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

CMU Vocal Ensemble Discovers Great Acoustics in the Clarke Exhibit Area

By Susan Powers

Pictured are Chelsea Sigler, Emily Gardner, Kristen Klenke, Director Alan Gumm, Charlie Williams, Jon Yuhasz-Pratt, and Becky Snell.
Yesterday, the Clarke was happily treated to an impromptu performance in the exhibit area by the CMU Vocal Ensemble. The group is directed by Alan Gumm of the CMU Music Department. The ensemble will be touring Europe from May 9th through the 24th.  While in Europe, the group will perform in historical churches and community halls in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands, and will take a sight-seeing side trip to Prague. Some members of the CMU Women’s Chorus will also be going on the tour.

We wish them a safe and fun-filled adventure, and hope they return to the Clarke to sing again soon!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Michigan Historical Review Spring, 2011 Issue Preview

By Mary Graham

The Michigan Historical Review’s spring issue will include the winning essay in our 2010 student essay prize contest, “‘They all sort of disappeared’: The Early Cohort of UAW Women Leaders,” by Amy Bromsen; “Michigan’s War With Mammals: Bounties, Hunters, and Trappers Against Unwanted Species,” by Le Roy Barnett; “State Citizenship as a Tool of Indian Persistence: A Case Study of the Anishinaabeg of Michigan,” by Theodore J. Karamanski;  and “From Fallen Timbers to the British Evacuation of Detroit: The Roman Catholic Priest Who Was a British Agent,” by Patrick M. Tucker. In addition, the Review will include numerous book reviews. Looking ahead to 2012, the spring issue will be a special issue about the War of 1812.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Charles Hyde Speaks at the Library

By Frank Boles

Charles Hyde spoke about his book, Storied Independent Automakers: Nash, Hudson, and American Motors (Detroit :Wayne State University Press, 2009) on March 29. A leading historian of Detroit’s automotive industry, Dr. Hyde focused his talk on the history of the Hudson Motor Car Company. Like so many auto firms, Hudson was a Detroit company. The firm’s name came from the founder of Detroit’s leading department store, J. L. Hudson.  J. L wasn’t much interested in the auto industry, but his niece had married one of the firm’s founders. With money running short, she pleaded with her very rich uncle to invest in the firm.  J. L. did, and the car was named in his honor.

Dr. Hyde used the firm to demonstrate how small, independent automobile manufacturers competed with the “Big Three” through creative engineering and imaginative marketing. Hudson was among the first companies to produce a low-cost automobile. In 1916 Hudson introduced the first “balanced” crankshaft, which allowed for a much smoother operation of the powertrain and made it possible to get better overall performance using smaller engines.  Hudson was an early adapter of the idea of an inexpensive, closed-cab car; the Essex.  In 1932 Hudson hired world-renowned aviator Amelia Earhart to introduce the Terraplane, its low-cost successor to the Essex.

Pluck, luck, and good engineering, however could only take a small automobile company so far. Hudson eventually faltered. It merged in 1954 with Nash-Kelvinator, another failing firm, to form American Motors. In 1954 the last Michigan-made Hudson was produced. In 1957 the last car bearing the Hudson nameplate rolled of a former Nash-Kelvinator assembly line in Wisconsin.  Dr. Hyde pointed to the company’s long years of engineering smarts, shoestring financing, and marketing savvy as examples of how the firm made automotive history.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Do You Catch On?

By Kim Hagerty
What do you think of when you hear the question: Do You Catch On? This is actually a title of a newspaper article from The Clare Sentinel, dated February 10, 1911. The article explains that "catching on" is a term used to refer to the practice of catching on a moving sleigh. The reason for the article was to warn against the dangers of this activity. There had been a "catch on" related fatality in Clare, Michigan, and they were urging parents and teachers to discourage children from this practice since they could be seriously or fatally injured.

Is that what you thought of when you heard that question? It sure makes you wonder how some terms we use today will have a completely different meaning in the future. Interesting how our language is forever changing. The Clare Sentinel is being digitized and put up online for everyone to use on CONDOR, CMU's online digital repository. To read articles from 1911, click the Clarke Historical Library Newspaper Collection.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Eating the Plates: A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners

By Tanya Fox

Sometimes a book’s title is so intriguing it draws the reader into the pages immediately. Such is the case with a recent donation to the children’s collection of the Clarke called Eating the Plates: A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners written by Lucille Recht Penner and published by Scholastic, Inc. (1991). Chapter titles reveal more of the delights found in the book and include “Bugs for Dinner,” “We All Scream for Pudding,”  and “Don’t Throw Your Bones on the Floor.” 

Eating the Plates describes what the passage across the ocean was like for the pilgrims. It relates historical information on the daily life of the pilgrims. The book explains the hardships the pilgrims faced on the trip and after their arrival.  Can you imagine a journey of many weeks with no means of bathing? How about eating moldy or bug infested food? Imagine the difficulties of building shelters from scratch as the cold weather arrived. Do you know what a betty lamp is? How about a burgoo? Or a lug pole? And of course, what does the title mean? Eating the Plates will answer these questions and many others.

A nice addition to the book is a small collection of recipes found at the end of the book. Try your culinary talents by preparing fresh corn soup, red pickled eggs, whole baked pumpkin stuffed with apples, or bearberry jelly. 

Though the book is written for children, adults will find it interesting, too. Visit the Clarke Historical Library and find Eating the Plates as well as other wonderful, fun, unusual, and intriguing books.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine

By Janet Danek, Coordinator of Exhibits and Special Projects, CMU Libraries

Park Library's new exhibit, Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine, explores Harry Potter’s world, its roots in Renaissance science and the ethical questions that affected not only the wizards and witches of Harry Potter, but also the historical thinkers featured in the series.

The exhibit is only a foundation for a month of events at the Park Library.  There will panel discussions and presentations with a variety of Harry Potter-inspired themes such as ethics and the soul, social justice and the cultural reach of the series. There is also an art exhibit – Imagining the Fantastic - by well-known artists who focus in mythic and magical themes. Two children’s programs, Tea & Fortune Telling with Professor Trelawney, and Potions and Tinctures will be held on Sundays. The on-stage Harry Potter Jeopardy Game will serve as a finale for the Month of Magic at the Park Library.

The grand opening for the exhibit is set for Sunday, April 10 from 2-5pm in the Baber Room, Park Library, Central Michigan University. Click here to see the event calendar for the entire month. 

If you have a CMU global id, you can participate in the Harry Potter Jeopardy Game and win prizes! Questions will be posted daily. Test your Harry Potter knowledge! Respondents with the highest number of correct answers win the chance to compete at the live Harry Potter Jeopardy Game in the Park Library Auditorium on April 28, 2011. Click here for the log in page, then submit your daily answer on the page that follows.

All events are free and open to the public.

We hope to see you here!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Website To Help With Genealogy

By: Andrea, student assistant at Clarke Historical Library

I found a good website a few months ago while researching my family history. I was particularly looking for birth and death information and wondered if there was a website out there that compiled a list of the people buried in various cemeteries in the United States. I came across the website FindAGrave.com and this proved to be a very helpful website. Currently, the website has over 57 million grave records. In addition to searching by a person’s name, you can also search for cemeteries in a particular county. Once you find the cemetery, you can search through just the records for that particular cemetery. Some of the records tell you exactly what is written on the grave stones. For example, my grandparents had their wedding date inscribed on their stone and that appears on the record on the website. Some of the newer records have a copy of the person’s obituary as well. Overall, I think that this website is very helpful and worth visiting. Here is the link to the website: http://www.findagrave.com

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Larry Massie's Presentation: The Allure of Association - The Appeal of Provenance: Stories Told by Old Michigan Books

By Frank Boles

(to see a podcast of this March 1, 2011 presentation at ITunes U, click here)

On March 1 Larry Massie spoke in the Park Library Auditorium. His  topic was The Allure of Association - The Appeal of Provenance: Stories Told by Old Michigan Books.  Although there are many book collectors in Michigan, Massie is uniquely qualified to speak on this subject.  With a private collection of more than 35,000 volumes, Massie has assembled the largest existing, personally owned collection of Michigan-related books.

Mr. Massie’s principal point, made through many examples, is that very often what makes a book interesting to a collector is not simply the book itself, but also the person who once owned the book.   The association of owner and volume, particularly in cases where the owner or others chose to inscribe the volume, can offer fascinating insights into history.

For example, one of the books Massie discussed was a relatively common book of music printed in the first years of the nineteenth century. This particular music book, however, was owned by Father Gabriel Richard. Richard was a Catholic priest who served in Detroit from 1798 until his death in 1832. He was an innovative, educated man who quickly became a community leader.  Michigan’s first printing press arrived at Richard’s instigation. Richard co-founded Michigan’s first University.  And Richard apparently enjoyed music.  Not only did he add a music book to his personal library, he likely placed the book on Michigan’s first piano, which he was responsible for having brought to Detroit. Through association with a fascinating man, a “common” music book took on interesting “associational” value.

In another example Massie produced two copies of Laura Havilland’s A Woman’s Life Work: Labors and Experiences of Laura S. Havilland.  The book is an interesting one in that Havilland, a devout Quaker, was a key conductor on the Underground Railroad, which led escaped slaves north to Canada. Supposedly she and her husband established the first Underground Railroad station in Michigan. Haviland herself traveled south several times to help slaves escape, in one case seeking the children of slaves who had already fled north. Her adventures were numerous, documented through endless legal actions filed against her by irate slave holders and more pointedly, by once being held at gunpoint by a slave owner who seems to have briefly considered shooting the Yankee troublemaker.

In one the copy of her book Haviland had written, “No word or tear of sympathy for the oppressed is in vain.” Haviland’s fierce commitment to abolitionism demonstrated in this passage was matched by her commitment in faith.   She inscribed a second book found by Massie, “No prayer presented in living faith is unanswered by Him who is the author and finisher of our faith.”

A third example from Massie’s talk was a Book of Mormon once owned by Wingfield Watson. In nineteenth century Michigan, Watson was a well-known follower of Mormon-leader James Jesse Strang. When Mormon founder Joseph Smith was murdered, Strang offered himself as Smith’s replacement. Strang profoundly disagreed with the church’s decision to appoint Brigham Young Smith’s successor. He refused to submit to Young’s leadership and founded his own branch of Mormonism.

Strang and his followers eventually settled on Beaver Island. Although Strang was murdered in 1856, until his own death in 1922, Watson continued to proslitzye on behalf of Strang’s interpretation of Mormonism.  Watson lent the copy of the Book of Mormon in Massie’s possession to individuals he hoped would join the faith. One of the most fascinating entries in the Book is signed by “A Blackbird.”  Andrew Blackbird was a well-known and well respected Indian leader who lived in Harbor Springs. Blackbird apparently read the volume, but was unmoved by it or by Watson’s words of persuasion.  As Blackbird wrote in the volume, “keep your books to home.”

In these and many other examples Massie demonstrated that the joy in collecting books is not just in finding a particular title, but in the story a particular volume  of a title may tell.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Michigan Author Barry Marsh Publishes Good Harbor Bay

By Christa Clare

As the person who orders new materials for the Clarke Library, I get to see a lot of interesting books coming into the Clarke Library.  Our library focuses on collecting Michigan history, children’s literature, and some Michigan authors.

Recently, we received a book called Good Harbor Bay by Michigan author Barry Marsh.  The book is about eleven-year-old Josh Ogden  who leads a comfortable life in a Detroit suburb. Most of what he knows about Good Harbor Bay, far to the north, is from looking at photographs in an old family photo album with his mother. It is where his father grew up, and where his parents first met.

When Josh’s mother is suddenly killed by a drunk driver, his father decides to quit his job and they move in with Grandpa Ogden who lives in a run-down secluded cabin in Good Harbor Bay.
Josh is very unhappy at first and he struggles to cope with his new home and new life as the old life of luxury fades. Friends grow distant; the world of e-mail, computer games, and text messaging dims. At first life seems to be  little more than doing chores in the barn, and home schooling.   

Gradually Josh begins to accept his new life and bonds with his grandfather who teaches him how to handle the massive draft horses he uses for logging, drive old pickup trucks, and  experience nature along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Packed with adventure, Good Harbor Bay is recommended for ages 9-12 and makes excellent reading for anyone who enjoys a good story in a northern Michigan setting.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Clarke Staff Wins University Award for Annual Giving

 by Frank Boles

Every year the faculty and staff of Central Michigan University are offered the opportunity to support the University through the “Campus Campaign.” The University’s employees are asked to make a financial contribution to CMU; to give back a bit of what they earn to help support the institution’s goals and aspirations.

The campaign is important at many levels. At one level, the University can use the money. One can debate the wisdom of public policies that have led to a continuing and deep decline in the amount of state funds made available for higher education, but the impact is not debatable.  Tuition has increased substantially and funding for higher education has become much more dependent on public generosity. At another level, if we are going to ask others to help us, we have to show that we ourselves believe so much in what we do that we are willing to lead by example. It is easy to ask someone else for money.  However, “the ask” is much more convincing if we as individuals have already donated to the cause we are asking others to support.

Thus, I am very pleased that the Clarke staff has been recognized for having obtained the highest percentage of donors among CMU units with fewer than twenty-five employees to the recently completed 2010 Campus Campaign. The accomplishment is even more notable in that the Clarke staff also received this award for the 2009 Campus Campaign.

My thanks go to the individual Clarke staff members who, despite hard times, supported the Campus Campaign. Like the University as a whole, the Library can use the money. More importantly, gifts from staff members demonstrate our commitment to what we do every day.

Monday, February 28, 2011

CMU Yearbooks Available Online

By Pat Thelen

Are you a CMU alumni?  Have you ever thought of looking for your yearbook photo?  Maybe you would like to find an old classmate's photo?  Clarke's digitizing department is currently working on a  project to put all CMU yearbooks online.  Yearbooks are being added from the most current in 2003 and working back in time.  Currently we have 1981 through 2003 available, and some yearbooks from the 1970s. Click here to link to our yearbook index found at our Clarke website.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Picturing Hemingway's Michigan

By Frank Boles

(to see a podcast of this February 16, 2011 presentation at ITunes U, click here)

Michael Federspiel, author of Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2010) spoke at the Library on February 16. Mike offered an interesting, nuanced, and informative presentation that looked at three questions:
  • What was Petoskey like at the beginning of the 20th Century?
  • How did the Hemingway family compare to the many other “summer people” who came to northern Michigan “for the season?”
  • How did northern Michigan influence Ernest Hemingway’s fiction?
Petoskey, in 1873, was little more than a point on a map. Two European families had settled in the area. There were no hotels, no railroad connections, and most importantly no tourists. By the beginning of the 20th Century, the community had radically changed. It was home to 6,000 permanent residents. Another 25,000 or so individuals spent the summer in or near the community. In addition a vast number of “day visitors” came to the town. By one estimate in 1908, 128,000 day visitors came to Petoskey.

A vast infra-structure of trains and ships brought these visitors to the community. In 1906 13,000 trains arrived in Petoskey between June 25 and September 30, averaging an amazing 124 trains per day, or put another way, one train every 5 minutes. To house these many visitors, fourteen hotels offered 2,000 rooms for rent each night.

Petoskey had become a major tourist destination. Among those who came regularly to partake in its attractions were the Hemingways. They had built a cottage on Walloon Lake in 1899. Each year the family traveled from their home in suburban Chicago to spend the summer on the lake. How they spent their time during the summer would resonate with anyone who goes “up north” today. They spent time outdoors.  They regularly swam in the lake. Hunting, and in particular fishing, were regular activities. On rainy days they read books. Every now and again they traveled “to town” for “supplies.”

What is most notable, Mike pointed out, is how typical the family was. Biographers of Ernest Hemingway sometimes strain to find that moment when the young Ernest Hemingway revealed himself to be the great writer he would become. The truth is there was no such moment. The Ernest Hemingway who spent his summers at a cottage on Walloon Lake was a typical child. He was not “Ernest Hemingway, writer of great promise.” He was simply, “the Hemingway’s boy” doing what boys do during the summer.

Yet something about those years “up north” never left Hemingway. Late in his life he wrote a reminiscence about the years he spent as a young writer in Paris, where his fame as a writer first emerged. Eventually published as A Moveable Feast, in it Hemingway wrote:

“I sat in a corner [of a Parisian café] with the afternoon light coming in over my shoulder and wrote in the notebook.  The waiter brought me a café crème and I drank half of it when it cooled and left it on the table when I wrote.  When I stopped writing I did not want to leave the river where I could see in the pool, its surface pushing and swelling against the resistance of the log driven piles of the bridge. The story was about coming back from the war but there was no mention of the war in it.  But in the morning the river would be there and I must make it and the country and all that would happen. ”

The bridge he recalled so vividly was almost certainly in Seney where he began a fishing trip with two friends in August 1919. In many ways the trip to Seney and beyond was an important one for the young Ernest. Hemingway had returned from World War I slowly recovering from physical injuries. After his arrival at his parent’s home in suburban Chicago, he suffered a perhaps even more devastating emotionally loss when the woman he thought would marry him ended their relationship. In the 1920s, while living in Paris, Hemingway would transform his fishing trip to Seney and beyond into the story, “The Big Two Hearted River,” a story of a young man suffering in ways not well defined and seeking solace in nature. Near the end of Hemingway’s life, when reflecting upon what he had done during those years in Paris, that trip to Seney, that bridge, the rivers he fished while in the Upper Peninsula, and the emotions that played across his heart and his mind during that difficult summer, were still vivid in his imagination.

As Mike Federspiel concluded, trying to explain how Hemingway used his Michigan experiences to create world-renowned fiction requires and explanation of genius. It is something those who lack that genius likely cannot do. But it is perhaps enough to recognize that somehow “the Hemingway’s boy” used his inexplicable gifts to reimagine in words of beauty and power much of what had happened and much of what he had felt during his many years in Michigan. The stories that resulted created memorable fiction as well indelible images of summer “up north.”

It was a wonderful evening that the audience greatly enjoyed and from which they greatly profited. The Library was very pleased to have been able to make the event possible.

Monday, February 14, 2011

CMU History Minute: The Central Michigan University Seal

By Susan Powers

Photograph by Hannah
Central Michigan University’s first official seal was designed by Pete Keszler, a Flint, Michigan sophomore. The seal was approved by the Michigan State Board of Education in the spring of 1954. At the time, Central was known as Central Michigan College of Education.

The same seal is used today, except for the name change to Central Michigan University. The meaning of the seal can be found in an article published on Friday, May 21, 1954, in Central Michigan Life:

“The center of the seal is the ‘lamp of wisdom’ silhouetted against an open book, with Central’s founding date, 1892, just below it. Above the center is the official seal of the State of Michigan. Below the center appear the latin words, ‘sapientia, virtus and amicitia’ – wisdom, character and friendship.”

Today a large version of the seal can be found on CMU’s campus, in front of Warriner Hall. 

To read more about Central Michigan University’s history, visit us at the Clarke, or see our website.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Architectural Records: Sometimes It Takes Two

By Marian Matyn

I recently received a large box of architectural records (211), 1961-1963 mostly,  of a Midland County architect, mostly of homes, churches, and local government buildings in Midland County but also in Roscommon County and of a Jewish temple in New York State. There was also a blueprint from Stockholm, Sweden. Did you know sorum means bedroom in Swedish? There is quite a variety including blueprints, tracings, notes, plans for planting greenery, presentation pieces for display, elevation views, and other architectural records. Architectural records are often difficult to handle as they are rolled and so large. It took two of us, me and my wonderful student, Cynthia, to unroll them all.   Then we piled boxes of folders on them to flatten them out. Hopefully, in a month they will prove easier to handle.  It will take two of us again to organize them, folder them, measure them, and finally put them into oversized drawers. Sometimes it takes two.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Preservation Microfilming Services at the Clarke

By Kim Hagerty

Photograph by Hannah
Microfilm creation is vital to the Clarke Historical Library’s Newspaper Collection. We are fortunate to have an in-house Preservation Microfilming Service that uses a Zeutschel microfilm camera. In 2010 over 100 reels of various Michigan newspaper titles with dates ranging from 1835 – 2010 were added to our collection. Many of these reels were created through our Continuing Program, which is a partnership with a publisher, library, historical society or other entity that wishes to preserve their local newspaper on microfilm. Each partner in the program receives a service copy of the microfilm created which makes the newspaper available in its community as well as here in the Clarke. We would like to thank all of our partners for a successful 2010 and we look forward to having a productive 2011. To see if your local newspaper is in our collection use our online catalog CENTRA. For further information about our services please click on Preservation Microfilming.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Michigan Historical Review Available at JSTOR

By Mary Graham

The Michigan Historical Review is in the process of migrating to JSTOR. The Review will also participate in JSTOR’s Current Scholarship Program. Starting in 2011 we will have both current and historical content from our published journals available on a redesigned JSTOR platform.

To read more about the Michigan Historical Review, please see our website here.

CMU Libraries subscribe to JSTOR and provide access for student and faculty use. The link to JSTOR is here (for on-campus computers and for patrons who have logged in with their CMU global ID and password).

Friday, January 21, 2011

Rainy River Lives: Stories Told by Maggie Wilson

By Tanya Fox

As a cataloger, I understand the seriousness of misplacing or losing an item in our archives.  Once something is mis-shelved it is often difficult, if not impossible, to find.  Sometimes serendipity steps in and while retrieving a different requested item the missing item appears.  So it is with a collection of stories between Maggie Wilson and Ruth Landes compiled into a book called Rainy River Lives: Stories Told by Maggie Wilson published by University of Nebraska Press and edited by Sally Cole.

Maggie Wilson sent letters and stories to anthropologist Ruth Landes over many years but over the course of time, the correspondence was lost.  Recently, the stories were found in the basement of the Smithsonian Institute in another anthropologist’s papers.  This “rich set of narratives takes us inside the intimate world of Ojibwe families at the turn of the twentieth century, a time of great upheaval when the Ojibwes were being relocated onto reserves and required by the government to abandon their seasonal migrations and subsistence activities.”

Rainy River Lives is a recent acquisition of the Clarke Historical Library.  We are delighted to add it to our Native American collection.  According to the author Lawrence Block, “One aspect of serendipity to bear in mind is that you have to be looking for something in order to find something else.”  Come to the Clarke and see what you can find.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Digital Microfilm Readers Popular with Clarke Patrons

By John Fierst

Photograph by Hannah
Is it any surprise that the digital reader printers we installed in the reading room two years ago are so popular with Clarke patrons?  These machines, ScanPro 1000s, have revolutionized the process of copying information stored on microfilm.  We have two of them, and when the university is in session they are in constant use.  Both are equipped with a 7-54X Zoom lens, so no switching of lenses is required as in olden days, and both employ auto-focusing and auto-exposure software.   Each has a 24” LCD monitor which can be turned in either portrait or landscape position, and the images on those screens can be easily rotated.  Images can also be downloaded to a thumb drive, and it is this feature that is most popular with users, saving them the trouble and the cost of making print copies.  Of course print copies can easily be made, however, and/or you can send images directly over the internet as email attachments.  You choose the format:  pdf, jpg, tiff, etc. 

These powerful microfilm viewer/scanner/printers take up very little carrel space compared to the old hand-cranked dinosaurs that once flourished in research libraries.  The ScanPro sits on a space that is about the size of two sheets of letter paper.  Yes, there is a learning curve before one feels comfortable using a digital microfilm reader, and patrons require careful assistance when first introduced to the ScanPro, but once they get the basics down they are off and running on their own.  To help our patrons, we put together a “Quick Start Guide” which we keep in a binder next to the ScanPros, and Andrea, one of our student assistants, created ScanPro templates  for some of the more popular items we have on microfilm, such as Mount Pleasant’s Morning Sun.  In the Reference Department we are all now confident users of ScanPro 1000, and none too soon.  I see they recently came out with ScanPro 2000.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Scouting Material Donated to the Clarke

By Frank Boles

Image from Den Mother's Denbook, 1945
New acquisitions are always a source of wonder and amazement.  Recently, through the generosity of Pat Wilmot, a long-time volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America, the Library received five boxes full of published scouting material. Founded in 1910, Scouting is both an ongoing, active youth organization and an iconic part of American culture. When someone is described as “a real Eagle Scout,” the phrase still carries a great deal of meaning.

The printed material the Clarke received is especially focused on Cub Scouting. Cub Scouting was created to solve what was known in the 1920s as “the younger boy problem.”  Originally, Scouting had no program for boys in grades 1 through 5. To involve these children, in 1930 the organization creating a “cubbing” program, renamed Cub Scouts in 1945. In 1936 the male-dominated world of Scouting bowed to reality and established the position of “den mothers,” recognizing the critical contributions women made to Cub Scouting.

The books received from Ms. Wilmot go back to the 1940s and document the values taught to these young children as well as the ways adults sought to capture their attention.  The Den Mother’s Denbook (1945) begins by reminding a den mother of the Cub Scout promise, “to do my best, to be square, and to obey the law of the cub pack,” but it quickly adds solid practical advice, such when a special occasion is planned, “feeds” are always a good idea .

Ceremonies, Stunts, and Skits (1957) contains many good ideas for how to keep youngsters interested.  However Group Meeting Sparklers: 120 Ideas to Brighten Any Meeting (1962) reminds us that sometimes there is nothing quite so entertaining to a young boy as a lame joke.  The volume describes the “Magic Pencil” this way: “Explain that you have a magic pencil that writes any color.  Ask what color they would like it to write.  When the victim names his color, write the name of that color: green, red, etc.”  Even in 1962, the Magic Pencil was undoubtedly a groaner, but one that surely made the rounds of many playgrounds.

We are delighted to add these, and the many other volumes donated by Ms. Wilmot, to our collection.