Thursday, May 24, 2012

Senator William Alden Smith and the Sinking of the Titanic

by Bryan Whitledge

In a previous posting, we highlighted how the local media in Mid-Michigan reported the sinking of the RMS Titanic to reflect on the 100th anniversary of the ill-fated voyage. Six weeks after the sinking, on May 28, 1912, U.S. Senator William Alden Smith of Michigan spoke in front of Senate regarding his subcommittee’s findings regarding the Titanic disaster. In his speech, Senator Smith, pulling from testimony that was given before his subcommittee, recounted the events as they unfolded from the time passengers boarded the ship to the rescue by the Carpathia. The focus of his speech was the lessons to be learned from the tragedy. At the Clarke Historical Library, we maintain a presentation copy of this speech printed by Government Printing Office.

We also hold other materials related to Senator Smith, including the guest book from his time as a U. S. Senator. Signatories in his guest book include constituents, friends and associates from Grand Rapids, and notable individuals in higher education, politics, and business. Some famous names in Senator Smith’s guest book are Woodbridge N. Ferris, founder of Ferris State University and 28th Governor of Michigan; J. L. Snyder, President of Michigan Agricultural College; Frank B. Kellogg, Minnesota Senator and Nobel Peace Prize laureate; Arthur Vandenberg, a Grand Rapids newspaperman who would later be elected to the U. S. Senate; Thomas R. Mitchell, Vice President of the United States; Senator Warren G. Harding, who would later be the 29th President of the United States; and Henry Ford (pictured above - click to enlarge).

These documents are just two of the items dealing with American politics held in the Clarke Historical Library, which include a large U. S. presidential campaign biography collection, the multi-volume Messages of the governors of Michigan, and the papers of Senator Robert P. Griffin. The role played by Michigan politicians in the events that have shaped the world can be found at the Clarke Historical Library.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Paper Doll Collection at the Clarke

by Tanya Fox

Paper dolls are inexpensive toys that have been around for quite some time. The Clarke Historical Library has a variety of paper doll books as part of our children’s collection. Our paper doll books include fashion dolls, storybook and character dolls, dolls from around the world, and animal dolls, as well as a variety of other cut-out toys. Do you remember Trixie Belden, Dolly Dingle, Curious George, and Peter Rabbit? Would you like to see Japanese kimonos or fashion by the designer Erté? The Clarke has paper doll books for your viewing pleasure.

Paper dolls can be windows into the culture of a people, nostalgic trips down memory lane, or glimpses into a certain historical period. Some paper dolls can simply be whimsical moments of fun and play. There are over one hundred paper doll books to be found at the Clarke. Whether you are interested in old advertising via paper dolls or just want to have fun, come see our paper doll book collection. If you are interested in reading more about the history of paper dolls, you may find the following website of interest: