Friday, December 13, 2013

100th Anniversary of the Calumet Italian Hall Disaster

[editor's note: The Clarke Historical Library will be on winter recess from Friday, December 20 at 5:00 pm until Monday, January 6 at 8:00 am. See you in 2014!]

by Christa Clare

December 24, 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the Italian Hall Disaster in Calumet, Michigan (sometimes referred to as the 1913 Massacre). Seventy-three men, women, and children, mostly striking mine workers and their families, were crushed to death in a stampede when someone falsely yelled “Fire” at a crowded Christmas party.

The Calumet and Hecla Mining Company (“C&H”) was the largest copper mining companies in the copper country in the Keweenaw Peninsula of northwest Michigan. One of the longest strikes in copper country took place in 1913 and included all the C & H Mines. The Western Federation of Miners was first established in 1908. In July 1913, with as many as 9000 members, the Federation decided to strike in an effort to adjust wages, hours, and working conditions in the copper district of Michigan.

On Christmas Eve, many of the striking miners and their families gathered for a Christmas party sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Western Federation of Miners. It was held on the second floor of the Calumet Italian Hall and as many as 400 people attended. The tragedy began when someone in the room yelled “Fire” and there was none. People panicked and ran for the stairs and seventy-three people, including fifty-nine children, were trampled and killed.

The Clarke Historical Library recently acquired two books on the copper country tragedy to add to those already in our collections. The first is Community in Conflict: A Working-Class History of the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike and the Italian Hall Disaster by Gary Kaunonen and Aaron Goings. The second book, written by Lyndon Comstock, is Annie Clemenc & the Great Keweenaw Copper Strike. Stop in and take a look at these interesting books and learn about this Michigan tragedy to mark the century that has passed since it occurred.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lt. Kelso and Sadie

by Bryan Whitledge

Recently, the Clarke was contacted by a researcher asking about Lieutenant Maxwell R. Kelso. Lt. Kelso was head of Central Michigan’s V-12 U. S. Navy College Training Program installation from 1943-45. As a result of this inquiry, the staff at the Clarke unearthed some interesting information about campus life for those charged with educating young men who were training for combat in World War II.

1945 CMCE Yearbook, p. 16
Central was one of approximately 130 colleges and universities that hosted a V-12 training program between 1943 and 1946. The goal of the V-12 program was to prepare Naval Officers through an accelerated college education program. Nationally, over 100,000 cadets went through the V-12 program. At CMU, 2,632 men were educated under the command of Lt. Kelso between July 1943, when the program started, and November 1945, when it was decommissioned. Among the records on file in the Clarke is a copy of a termination report documenting the cost of everything associated with the V-12 program, including housing and mess for all of the students – for instance, in July 1945, over 21,000 meals were supplied to students and employees of the program at an average cost $1.35 per ration.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Warriner Chimes

by Casey Gamble and Bryan Whitledge

There is nothing quite like strolling down a snow covered sidewalk on your way to the Library and being serenaded with music coming from the tower of Warriner Hall. You might hear the CMU Fight Song or musical numbers from The Sound of Music and the King and I. These bells have become a cherished part of the atmosphere that students, faculty, and staff love, giving a cheerful beginning to each new hour of the day.

Warriner Hall at Night
1939 CMU yearbook, page 2
Some of you may be aware that the music emanating from Warriner Hall is not created by a set of bells, but by amplifiers and speakers that play a selection of digital audio recordings. This system has come a long way in the nearly 75 years since the original installation, back in 1939 (see link, CS Life 5/17/1939, p. 1). At that time, a set of 21 chimes was given to Central as a gift from the student council and faculty. These chimes were housed in the organ chamber of the Warriner Auditorium and connected to an amplifier located in the Warriner tower. They could be played by hand on a keyboard or automatically with timed clocks. At first, they were set to play every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day until a nearby resident complained that she couldn’t sleep. From then on, the chimes were played from 7 am to 11 pm.

In 1968, there was concern because the chimes were not working due to a clock malfunction. The original system had simply become too old to function properly. For four years, the chimes did not sound. But thanks to the “homemade gadget” of Jim Webb, a CMU Audio Visual technician, a new tape recording system began ringing on the quarter hour in January of 1972. In 1986, the old tape system was replaced with a new electronic system, although many students didn’t favor the gloomy, mourning tone of the new “chimes.” (see link, CM Life 3/19/1986, p. 10)

Again in 2010, CMU updated the system, this time including a larger selection of songs to play for everyone walking on campus, which were more uplifting and cheerful. So even though there isn’t a romantic scene of a chimesmaster tugging on ropes and moving oversized wooden levers in the tower of Warriner Hall, remember that there is quite a lot of history behind the chimes that sing to Central students, faculty, and staff every day.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pity the Poor Turkey

Editor's note: The Clarke will be closed Thursday, November 28 through Sunday, December 1 in observance of Thanksgiving (maybe we'll be trying out Glady's turkey casserole recipe). We will open Monday, December 2 with our regular business hours -- Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm) 

Pity the Poor Turkey...OR...A Turkey of a Blog Post

by Frank Boles

A roasted turkey will be the centerpiece of tables across the state on Thanksgiving. Despite being a day most living turkeys dread (if living turkeys think about this sort of thing, or actually think much at all), an examination of the Clarke Historical Library’s Maureen Hathaway Culinary Archives suggests that the turkey which makes it through Thanksgiving is a turkey destined for a happy life.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dean Tom Moore's 25th Anniversary

This year, Central Michigan University and the CMU Libraries are celebrating Tom Moore's 25 years of service as the Dean of Libraries. This milestone gave the CMU Libraries, particularly the Clarke Historical Library, the opportunity to reflect on what this milestone means in the history of Central Michigan University. Here are a few statistics that put Dean Moore's tenure in perspective.

  • Dean Moore's 25 years make him the longest serving leader of the Libraries. The next closest, Charles V. Park (for whom the Library building is named), served 24 years (1931-55). Other leaders of the Libraries include Jesse Thorpe (1956-58), Orville Eaton (1958-68), Caroline Baker (1969-70), and John Weatherford (1971-86). 
  • Dean Moore is the longest serving Academic Dean, surpassing William Theunissen by two years (Dean of Health and Physical Education from 1962-85).
  • In terms of current Senior Officers at Central, Dean Moore is the longest serving. However, he is not the Senior Officer who has been at the University the longest because former Provost Gary Shapiro was a professor from 1978-89. 
  • Regarding senior leadership of the past, Dean Moore appears to have more years in a leadership position than any other individual. Some of the longest serving people in leadership positions include William Theunissen (23 years); Charles Anspach, who was President for 20 years; Judson Foust, who served as Assistant to the President, then Vice President for General and Academic Affairs, and then President for a total of 22 years; and Norval Bovee, who held senior administrative positions for 24 years.
Congratulations to Dean Moore!

Friday, November 15, 2013

100th Anniversary of Football Being Replaced by Soccer at Central

by Bryan Whitledge and Casey Gamble

One of Central’s most anticipated football games of every season will take place this weekend. On Saturday, at 12:00 noon, we will take to the field against our notorious rivals from Western Michigan University. The first time Central and Western matched up against each other was 108 years ago, in 1905. But less than ten years later, in 1913, Western was no longer a part of Central’s schedule. Neither was Alma, nor Ferris, nor Michigan State Normal in Ypsilanti (today Eastern Michigan), nor any other opponent for that matter. 100 years ago, football at Central had been eliminated altogether.

Central State Normal Football Team, 1912.
From 1913 yearbook.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fall 2013 Speaker Series Wrap Up

by Frank Boles

During the fall semester, the Library sponsored four programs, including a discussion of WCMU Radio’s popular show, “Our Front Porch,” a presentation by noted children’s illustrator Peter Sís, a remembrance of famed musicologist Alan Lomax's 1938 tour of Michigan, and a presentation by Deborah Thomas regarding the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website, which features fully searchable newspapers from across the United States.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How a Library Knows the Holidays are Soon Upon Us

by Frank Boles

Everyone has their own way of remembering that the holidays are quickly approaching. For some, it’s the urge to bake a pumpkin pie. Others are anxiously awaiting the “Black Friday” sales papers, and planning which store to line up at for the 4:30 a.m. opening. At a library, its “catalog season.”

In the last two days, four dealer catalogs arrived. Dealers in Woodbridge, Connecticut, Providence, Rhode Island, San Francisco, California, and Yonkers, New York all have pages and pages of offerings, perfect for year-end-giving. Most dealers can be discrete about this, but one catalog includes the category, “Holiday Gifts,” because even someone who has everything probably doesn’t have a group of autographed napkins from Air Force 1 (then again do you really want the autograph of Senator Harrison Williams from New Jersey, even if he did sign an Air Force 1 napkin?) or a “biblical coin” described in Mark 12:41.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Processing the Great Lakes Cruiser Photographic Collection at the Clarke

by Marian Matyn

The collection:

Richard L. “Dick” Moehl’s Great Lakes Cruiser Photographic Collection, (1972-2001, undated), totaling 1.75 cubic ft. (in 4 boxes) was recently acquired by the Clarke and processed by me and my student staff at the Clarke. This collection includes the work of Jack Edwards on St. Helena Island history, genealogy of Archie and Wilson Newton, copy negatives of Great Lakes Cruiser (GLC) articles related to St. Helena, photographic negatives taken by Jack Edwards (personal and GLC), photographs taken for GLC, papers related to scholarly work on St. Helena, and an index of most of the photographs in this collection.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Clarke's Digital Newspaper Program

Today, Deborah Thomas, the Library of Congress coordinator for the National Digital Newspaper Project, is visiting Central's campus as part of the Clarke Historical Library’s involvement with the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). This evening at 7:00 pm, Ms. Thomas will present "Digitizing Newspapers in Michigan and Across America" at 7:00 pm in the Baber Room of the Park Library. This presentation, made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is free and open to the public.

The Clarke has been working on the Michigan Digital Newspaper Program as part of the NDNP since August 2012. The MichDNP team is charged with choosing material to digitize from historically important Michigan titles. These digital copies will then be permanently maintained by the Library of Congress in the Chronicling America database. Chronicling America is targeted to any user that could possibly find access to historical newspapers useful -- teachers, genealogists, and historians among others.

Some titles from Michigan already available in Chronicling America are the Cass County Republican, Constantine Republican, the Grand Haven News, Grand River Times, Northern Tribune (Cheboygan), Weekly Expositor (Brockway Centre - now known as Yale, Michigan), and Ypsilanti Sentinel. The current digital runs of these newspapers range from 2 to 22 years and the dates of publication fall between 1836 and 1892. More issues are being processed and uploaded on a regular basis and the date ranges for each individual title will continue to expand.

The Clarke currently works with a vendor who processes the raw electronic images created by the Clarke to create derivative files and metadata. This information is then returned to the Clarke, where it is verified. It is then sent to the Library of Congress, where it is again processed and verified. Finally, the fully searchable digital newspapers are ingested into the Chronicling America repository and website.

The current project will be complete in August of 2014. The newspapers expected to be available by then are the Copper Country Evening News, the Calumet News, Dearborn Independent, Charlevoix County Herald, East Saginaw Courier, the Owosso Times, the True Northerner (Paw Paw), and the Yale Expositor.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

by Casey "Ghostly" Gamble

It’s nearing the end of October, and Halloween is just around the corner. The leaves on the trees have peaked in their bright reds, oranges, and yellows, the nights are growing bitterly cold, and creepy Jack O’ Lanterns are appearing on porches, reminding us of one of our favorite Halloween tales: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Washington Irving wrote the first edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in 1820. The tale first appeared in a collection of short stories and essays called The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, the entirety of which can be found in the eerie Clarke Historical Library. We also hold several copies of other editions of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow from the 1800s through 1987, including the whimsical if not slightly sinister illustrations of Arthur Rackham from the 1928 edition.

The nightmare, with her whole ninefold
by Arthur Raskham
The chilling tale follows Ichabod Crane, one of the more famous underdogs from the nineteenth century. Ichabod is a schoolmaster in a town called Sleepy Hollow, renowned for its legends of hauntings, witchcraft, and of course, the Headless Horseman. Ichabod and his rival, Brom Bones, vie for the affections of Katrina Von Tassel, ending in a somewhat sad and surprising finale. It certainly is not a tale to be summarized – Irving tells it with superb attention to detail and haunting imagery, letting the characters’ distinct personalities show through in every scene.

However, if you don’t quite have the time to venture through the entire original version, we also have a shorter, more child-appropriate read called The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, retold by Cherney Berg and illustrated by Norman Nordel. This version features spooky illustrations that might be just as eerie as the imagery from the original legend.

So, on a frightful autumn day, if you find yourself in the mood to read what has become a classic Halloween tale, be sure to pay a visit to the Clarke, where you can spend some time with Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow. Be weary after reading this tale, for if you hear the dreaded clip-clop of a horse’s hooves, you just may be the next victim of the merciless Headless Horseman.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Peter Sís Presentation

Thursday, October 17, acclaimed author, illustrator, and filmmaker Peter Sís will visit the Central Michigan University campus. Mr. Sís will deliver a talk as part of the Clarke Historical Library Speaker Series at 7:00 pm in the Park Library Auditorium. A reception will follow in the Clarke.

This event, made possible by the David M. and Eunice Sutherland Burgess Endowment, is free and open to the public.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Homecoming Queen Race of 1950

by Bryan Whitledge

This week is Homecoming week at Central. Alumni will be returning and reminiscing about times past, the CMU football team will face off in a big game against Northern Illinois this Saturday, and there are numerous events sponsored by the Office of Student Activities and Involvement taking place, such as the Homecoming parade and the selection of the “Gold Ambassadors.” Prior to 1997, “Gold Ambassadors” were referred to as Homecoming Queen and King and the Ambassadors were called the Homecoming Court. Before 1982, there was no King, only a Homecoming Queen and her court -- a tradition stretching back to 1946.

Sometimes the competition for Homecoming Court is so memorable that it lives on in infamy for decades. Such is the case for the Homecoming Queen race of 1950.

Friday, October 4, 2013

French Canadian Heritage Day in Michigan

by Therese Cleary and Bryan Whitledge

The Michigan House of Representatives has declared today, October 4th, French Canadian Heritage Day (H. R. 0173 (2013)). From Detroit to Marquette, there will be educational and fun activities celebrating the traditions and contributions of French-Canadians in Michigan's history.

The history of French-Canadians and French-speaking peoples in the Great Lakes region are documented in the primary and secondary sources kept in the holdings of the Clarke Historical Library. These resources include various scholarly books and journals, maps, and original documents relating explorers, voyageurs, and others involved in the fur trade. There are also materials documenting the history of French-speaking peoples in southeastern Michigan including the Campeau family and Father Gabriel Richard.

Monday, September 23, 2013

75th Anniversary of the First Night Game at Central

by Casey Gamble and Bryan Whitledge

Central State Life Sept. 21, 1938 p. 3
Today marks the 75th anniversary of the first night football game played at Central. On Friday, September 23, 1938, both football fans and players alike were thrilled for this exciting event. Back in 1938, some things were different at Central – the Institution was Central State Teachers College, tuition was $15 per term ($30 for non-residents of Michigan), athletic teams (which were only for male students) were known as the Bearcats, and home football games were played at Alumni Field, which was located in the grassy area between where Finch Fieldhouse and the Health Professions Building stand today.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Opening event of Our Front Porch Exhibit

For over thirty years, CMU Public Radio's Our Front Porch has featured the best of Michigan music, recorded live and in concert. Join host John Sheffler, as well as his colleagues Dan Bracken, Peggy Brisbane, and Robert Barclay as they open the Clarke Historical Library exhibit Our Front Porch by reminiscing about the show's storied history.

The event will take place on Tuesday, September 24 at 7:00 pm in the Park Library Auditorium. A reception will follow in the Clarke. This event is free and open to the public.

And don't forget about the Our Front Porch Concert featuring Billy Strings and Don Julin on Saturday, September 28. At 7:00 pm, Billy Strings and Don Julin will warm up in the Clarke Historical Library in a free and open to the public event. Then, at 8:00 pm, the main event will take place in the Moore Hall Kiva. Tickets for the main event, which can be purchased through Ticket Central, are $15.00 for General Admission and $5.00 for students.

The Our Front Porch exhibit is underwritten, in part, by the Cindi J. and Kathryn R. Graham Endowment, with additional support from the Croll Family Endowment and the Friends of the CMU Libraries.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

National Digital Newspaper Conference

by Frank Boles

Annually, the awardees responsible for the National Digital Newspaper Program meet at the Library of Congress to discuss projects and possibilities in this nationwide effort to bring millions of newspapers online and make them freely available to the public. The Clarke Historical Library is the focus of the project in Michigan, and thus Kim Hagerty and Frank Boles spent several days in Washington last week, discussing online newspapers with their colleagues from more than thirty states.

Monday, September 9, 2013

200th Anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie

by Ryan Rooney

Tuesday, September 10th, marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie. Yes, the same Lake Erie that many view as a tranquil body of water nestled along the shores of the Canadian Province Ontario and the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan. However, on the morning of September 10, 1813, tensions were high as Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry led his fleet of ships to battle in what would be the most historical naval engagement fought on the Great Lakes.

For several weeks, rival British and American naval squadrons had been preparing for battle. On the morning of September 10th, Americans anchored at Put-In-Bay, Ohio saw the British fleet under the command of Robert Heriot Barclay moving toward Detroit. The nine boats under the leadership of U.S. Master Commandant Perry left from Put-In-Bay at 7:00 a.m. on the morning of the battle. Nearing 10:00 a.m., they confronted the fleet of Commander Barclay.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Clarke Historical Library Saturday Hours this Fall

Now that class is back in session at Central Michigan University, the Clarke Historical Library will be open Saturdays during the Fall semester. Beginning this Saturday, September 7 and extending through Saturday, December 7 (with the exception of November 30 in observance of Thanksgiving), the Clarke will be open from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Stop in to browse our current exhibit, use the Clarke resources to further your research, or learn a little something about CMU history, Michigan history, and children's literature.

On days of home football games, the Clarke will be available for alumni to browse our historical yearbooks, student newspapers, football programs, and photographs documenting the history of Central Michigan University.

Friday, August 30, 2013

How did that get there? The case of the John Greenleaf Whittier Papers at the Clarke

by Bryan Whitledge

At the Clarke Historical Library, we work diligently to preserve information of the past for future generations of researchers. A major aspect of the preservation of manuscripts and archives is keeping track of documents’ provenance or their “origins, custody, and ownership” as the Society of American Archivists defines it. For instance, the Clarke knows all of the information about how the Senator Robert P. Griffin Papers were transferred to us or that the 1810 edition of La Fontaine’s fables in our holdings is from the library of Father Gabriel Richard, a priest at Saint Anne’s in Detroit who brought the first printing press to Detroit and helped to found the University of Michigan.

But sometimes, the provenance of documents, especially documents that were acquired nearly 60 years ago, before the time of electronic databases and searchable e-mail correspondence, is not as robust as one would hope. Such is the case for the provenance of the John Greenleaf Whittier Papers.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Marian Matyn on WCMU

Over the summer, Marian Matyn, Archivist at the Clarke Historical Library, was interviewed by Sarah Adams of WCMU, the Public Radio affiliate from Central Michigan University about the history of the Skerbeck Carnival. Matyn provided some interesting information about the history of the Skerbeck Carnival, which was one of the many attractions featured during the 4th of July Bay City Fireworks festival, and provided great entertainment during the holiday weekend.

Matyn told of the history of the largest family-owned-and-operated carnival in Michigan and the part they played at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, where they really discovered what would “wow” the crowds. To read the WCMU news release about Matyn’s interview and the Skerbeck Carnival, please follow this link. And if you are interested in the history of Great Lakes circuses and carnivals, contact the Clarke Historical Library with any questions.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Passing of Elmore Leonard

Today, we learned of the death of one of Michigan's most notable authors, Elmore Leonard, who passed away earlier this morning at the age of 87. Remembrances for the author of notable crime novels such as Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Rum Punch - which was adapted for the film Jackie Brown - have appeared throughout media, including obituaries the Detroit Free Press and the New York Times.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Clarke Featured in HSM Chronicle

The Clarke Historical Library was featured in the Member Spotlight section of the Summer 2013 Chronicle - a quarterly publication of the Historical Society of Michigan (HSM). The write-up includes information about the history of the Clarke, our collections, our exhibits and lecture series, and the services we provide.

We appreciate the support of the Historical Society of Michigan and the opportunity to be featured in their publication. In addition to information about the Clarke, the Summer 2013 Chronicle includes news from the Historical Society, details about upcoming events, and articles concerning the history of taxing churches in Michigan, southwest Michigan's role in the Underground Railroad, the Battle of Lake Erie, Minoru Yamasaki - a pioneering architect in Michigan, and Michigan's telegraphy pioneers.

Chronicle is a benefit of membership in the HSM. You can find more information about subscribing to this magazine, the other publications of the HSM and becoming a member of the Historical Society of Michigan via this link.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Michigan in Letters featured on Michigan Radio

Image from Stateside website
John Fierst, Librarian at the Clarke Historical Library, was recently interviewed by Michigan Radio's Stateside program about the blog, Michigan in Letters. The Michigan in Letters blog, created by Fierst and CMU Libraries Documents on Demand Coordinator Susan Powers, is a means of highlighting the manuscript collections at the Clarke through the in-depth investigation of documents, one or two pages at a time.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Michael Artman and “Hemingway’s Paris”

by Frank Boles

On July 31, Michael Artman charmed an attentive audience with his presentation about “Hemingway’s Paris.” In 1997 Artman and his wife, Anita, made possible a vacation in France by exchanging their home in Port Huron with a French family, who in turn gave to the Artmans the keys to an apartment on Paris’ Left Bank. The Artmans soon realized that their new Paris “home” was only a few blocks away from the apartment Ernest and Hadley Hemingway had occupied when they lived in Paris during the 1920s.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Road to Andersonville on WCMU this Sunday

The Road to Andersonville: Michigan Native American Sharpshooters in the Civil War, a documentary produced by David Schock and premiered at a Clarke Historical Library event in April, will be shown on WCMU - the PBS affiliate from Central Michigan University - this Sunday, August 4 at 4:00 pm. If you were unable to attend the premier of the documentary or would like to watch the film again, make plans (or set your DVR) to see this story of the service of the 139 Native Americans in Company K, First Michigan Sharpshooters.

This documentary was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Michael Artman Presents "Hemingway’s Paris”

The Clarke Historical Library will welcome Michael Artman on Wednesday, July 31 for a presentation about the Parisian quartiers that Ernest Hemingway called home during the 1920s.

Mr. Artman and his wife exchanged homes with a Parisian family and found themselves living in the Latin Quarter of Paris, only a few blocks from where Ernest and Hadley Hemingway lived when they moved to Paris in 1922. Long interested in the Hemingways, Mr. Artman’s vacation became a research trip into “Hemingway’s Paris,” walking the pathways traveled by Ernest and Hadley and visiting the haunts they found intriguing so many years ago.

Join us, as Mr. Artman takes us along for the journey. Retired educators from Port Huron, MI, Mr. Artman and his wife, Anita Shagena are both two-time CMU Alumni.

The presentation begins at 7:00 pm in the Park Library Baber Room and will be followed by a reception. Both are open to the public without charge.

For more information about this event please contact the Clarke Historical Library, 989.774.3352 or Individuals interested in attending either event and in need of an accommodation should phone 989.774.1100.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Historical Detroit Free Press Available at CMU

by Bryan Whitledge

The Clarke Historical Library and the Central Michigan University Libraries are pleased to announce that we now carry the historic Detroit Free Press. This database, provided by ProQuest, contains digitized copies of every issue of the Free Press published between May of 1831 and December of 1922 -- 90 years of Michigan history!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Where the Wild Things Are: From Turning a Page to a Motion Picture

by Ryan Rooney

Read to children across the world, turned into movies, and regarded as one of the best children’s books ever written, here at the Clarke we are very fortunate to have a signed first edition, second issue copy of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are (1963). With the Caldecott Medal seal on the front and Sendak's signature on the title page, the book is a part of our children's literature collection that truly stands out as unique.

Friday, July 12, 2013

New Acquisition: The Ruins of Detroit

by Frank Boles

One of the strengths of the Clarke is its local history publications. Through these books, a researcher can trace the history of communities throughout the state. Perhaps understandably, many of these volumes have a certain celebratory tone to them, in essence saying welcome to our town, it was (and is) a great place.

Michigan’s local history is not, however, always happy. Detroit is the obvious example of this. In the first half of the twentieth century, the city was a case study for successful industrialization, with its future lionized as “dynamic Detroit,” the city moved forward to ever greater success. In the last half of the century, Detroit increasingly became a much sadder case study regarding the American post-industrial landscape. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, the city’s infrastructure, built to support a community of approximately two million, was no longer sustainable through the diminishing local taxes paid by the approximately 700,000 souls who still lived within the city limits.

Detroit’s local history publications reflected this change. But unlike most local history, the rise and fall of Detroit is an international story. A striking example of the genre was recently added to the Clarke’s collection: Frenchmen Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre’s coffee table sized, The Ruins of Detroit (Gottingen, Germany: Steidl, 2010). In beautifully created photographic images, the authors capture the decaying architectural grandeur of what was once one of America’s most successful cities. It is a sad irony that in discussing the abandoned, yet still monumental, Michigan Central Railroad Station the authors note it was inspired by the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla, which were built in Rome in the third century.

As historian Thomas J. Sugrue writes in the book’s introduction, “No place epitomizes the creative and destructive forces of modernity more than Detroit, past and present.” It is a stark history, but an important one to preserve.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

1777 Map of American Revolution

by Bryan Whitledge

Every year, we celebrate the American Revolution with a parade, or maybe a barbecue, or potentially some fireworks. The Clarke Historical Library has numerous resources documenting how the people of Michigan have celebrated Independence Day throughout the years. We have historic photographs showing Fourth of July events in various Michigan cities. We have publications commemorating the American Revolution. And we have a great deal of material from the Bicentennial celebrations in 1976, including microfilm of over 90 Bicentennial editions of newspapers throughout Michigan – from the Allegan County News & Gazette to the Ypsilanti Press.

Click on the maps to see larger images
or download the images to enlarge them
Because of our focus on materials that document Michigan history and the history of the Old Northwest, children’s literature, and the history of Central Michigan University, we do not have many materials directly related to the Revolution. Despite the fact that we do not have a large collection about the fight for American Independence, we do have a few very interesting items. In honor of the 237th birthday of the United States this year, we are sharing one of these items - a map of the U. S. from the time of the Revolution.

This map, printed in France in 1777, is entitled Theatre de la Guerre en Amérique, or the "Theater of War in America." It shows the 13 colonies (some are tricky to find – “Conecticut” is an example) and southeastern Canada. There are also insets showing the American Southeast, an engraving of Niagara Falls, and the Louisiana Territory (the Mississippi River system), which was French territory at the time of the printing of this map.

The map was engraved in Paris by Monsieur Le Rouge, the King’s Engineer of Geography, and printed under the authority of the King of France. The slight coloration used to denote the borders of some of the colonies and territories was done by hand. Lands that were deemed by the European settlers and the engraver of the map to be the territory of specific Native American groups is identified by the overarching names of the tribe or tribal groups, such as Miamis or Iroquois.

For the size of the map and the time in which it was printed, there is a substantial amount of detail. Larger towns and cities are noted, as are forts. Some of the words on the map differ from what we are accustomed to today, such as “Nouvelle Yorck” for New York or “Pekepsil” rather than Poughkeepsie, but even with the different language and the 236 years since its creation, one can easily discern what this map shows. From a Michigan perspective, there are some locations of note. “Fort du Detroit,” “Sault Ste. Marie,” and “Baye de Saguinum” are just three examples.

While Theatre de la Guerre en Amérique is not a battle map as we might think of one today, it would have given the Frenchman reading it an idea of what the British were up against across the Atlantic 237 years ago.

The Clarke wishes you and yours a happy and safe Independence Day. We will be closed Thursday, July 4 and reopen with regular business hours – 8 am to 5 pm – on Friday, July 5.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Jack Dempsey Presents Ink Trails to Clarke Audience

by Frank Boles

On June 25, an appreciative audience listened to a Jack Dempsey as he spoke about his book, Ink Trails. A lifelong Michigan resident, Jack set out to disprove the popular notion that most authors live in New York or California, with a few obstinately residing in Chicago. He and his brother, Dave, set out to write vignettes about the famous, once popular, or simply unrecognized authors for whom Michigan mattered.

The story of Carl Sandburg, biographer of Lincoln and famed poet, perhaps sums up the failure of Michigan to get literary notice. Sandburg is usually associated either with Illinois where he was born or North Carolina where he died. Usually forgotten is a fifteen period from 1930 to 1945 when he lived in Harbert, Michigan.

It is not as if Sandburg wasn’t busy writing in Harbert. In a house with a view of Lake Michigan, Sandburg wrote Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, a work that won him his first Pulitzer Prize. The Sandburg’s eventually moved to North Carolina not for literary inspiration but rather because Lilian, his wife (who was born in Hancock, Michigan), wanted to move to North Carolina to better raise goats, something she had begun doing in 1935 and for which she became nationally recognized.

Sandburg’s boyhood home is preserved as an Illinois State Historic Site. Sandburg’s North Carolina home is preserved by the National Park Service (although one has to hunt about their website to find any mention of the goats – but it’s there, see Harbert? There is hope that Michigan might put up a historical marker noting Sandburg’s long residence in the town, someday.

The Sandburg story was one of those shared by Mr. Dempsey in his presentation, which we hope to soon make available on the web (stay tune to the Clarke Historical Library News and Notes Blog for updates), and in his book, Ink Trails. We are pleased to join him in recalling the rich literary history of our state.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Jack Dempsey speaking about Ink Trails

On Tuesday June 25th, the Clarke Historical Library will be honored to be host to 2013 Michigan Notable Book award winner, John "Jack" Dempsey. Dempsey will be joining us as a part of the 2013 Michigan Notable Books Author Tour to discuss his latest book Ink Trails (Michigan State University Press) to explore the stories behind some of Michigan's famous authors.

What some call the first of its kind, Ink Trails tells of the many secrets, legends and myths that surround some of Michigan's most acclaimed literary heroes. Highlighting the diversity of the many notable authors, Mr. Dempsey's stop at the Clarke will discuss the rich history of these Michigan writers. As one of the 20 authors selected to take part in the 2013 tour, Ink Trails highlights the distinct diverse literary history that is ingrained in the Michigan experience.

We are fortunate to have Mr. Dempsey for an evening to share his image and discoveries of the stories that surround Michigan literature. The presentation will begin promptly at 7:00 pm on June 25th and will be followed with a reception shortly after both which are free to the public. Please join us for this enjoyable evening.

The 2013 Michigan Notable Books program and tour are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Library of Michigan, the Library of Michigan Foundation, Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan Humanities Council, Meijer, and the Michigan Center for the Book.  Media Sponsors are, City Pulse, WKAR, Dome, Queue Advertising and Tom Gennara Photography.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Michigan Cherry Season

by Ryan Rooney

Heading into its 87th celebration, the Traverse City Cherry Festival has much to look back on with pride. For the better part of a century the Cherry Festival has attracted admired athletes and celebrities such as hockey legend Gordie Howe and U. S. President Gerald R. Ford. Now, nearly 90 years later, the Cherry Festival is not only a Michigan summer tradition, but a national tradition as well.

Beginning as the Blessing of the Blossoms Festival, what is now known as the National Cherry Festival ignored humble beginnings and grabbed attention of a national audience. In 1926, the festival began with the presentation of a pie made of 5,000 cherries from Hawkins Bakery being presented to President Calvin Coolidge. Just four years later, the festival expanded from a one-day event to cover three consecutive days. With the growing popularity of the three-day celebration, the Michigan Legislature deemed that the year 1931 would be the first celebration of the National Cherry Festival. To mark the landmark year of the cherry, seven U. S. Navy ships of the Great Lakes training fleet anchored along the shore of Traverse City while three companies added in celebration alongside the floats in the parade.

As the host of the National Cherry Festival, Traverse City became a destination for over 100,000 people during the three day celebration. The popularity and attendance continued to grow until the festival organizers suspended the celebration from 1942-1945 in support of the U. S. effort in WWII. After the War, in 1946, the festival committee felt it was too soon after the crisis to celebrate and then in 1947, the Traverse City Centennial celebration took precedence over the Cherry Festival. Therefore, it was not until 1948 that the festival returned. It returned to Traverse City as a two-day celebration and for the first time the festival committee decided that the Cherry Queen must be a local girl. Soon, the popularity of the festival was a much as before the War and the event was expanded to a three-day celebration again in 1950. Nearly fifteen years later, in 1964, the committee passed a vote making the festival a five-day celebration and deeming the week of July 6 "National Cherry Festival Week." Only four years later, the festival became a week-long cherry induced celebration.

With such a great history, there is no reason not to celebrate the cherries of Traverse City. And while not all of us can make it to the Cherry Festival, we can all sit back with a nice slice of cherry pie and a tall glass of cherry lemonade on a beautiful summer day in Michigan.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Motion Picture Film Preservation at the Clarke

 [editor's note: Due to an event, the Clarke Historical Library will be closing at 4:00 pm on Friday, June 7. We will resume normal business hours - Monday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm - on Monday, June 10.]

Motion Picture Film Preservation at the Clarke

by Tressa Graves

In the fall of 2012, The Clarke Historical Library started a film preservation project to properly preserve all of the 8 mm and 16 mm films in our collections for eventual digitization. The intention of the project is to can (rehouse) and core (place onto a new spool) films using archival supplies, identify film scenes, and to get proper temperature storage for the films.

The project is unique because film preservation is usually put on the back burner for its complexity and time-consuming nature. Currently, we have transferred two films to more modern formats (DVD or other digital media) for researcher use. The rest of the films have not been accessible to view by employees or patrons since they were donated to the Clarke. Until recently, we have not had the supplies to view any of the films.

The Clarke holds approximately 70 cubic feet, or 3,000 reels of film, from the 1920s to the 1980s, covering everything from CMU events like marching band performances, graduations, and homecomings to CMU educational materials and from 1920s and 1930s northern Michigan home movies to citizen military training camps at Camp Custer (now Fort Custer, a National Guard training facility). We also hold news footage from the Channel 9 and 10 News. The majority of the films the Clarke holds are Channel 9 and 10 footage from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Currently, materials that are not related to the Channel 9 and 10 News footage are nearly all identified and re-canned. As films and their scenes are being identified, the additional metadata (information) about the films is being added to our finding aids. The project will continue through at least the spring of 2014 and beyond for digitization.

The top image, from the Senator Robert Griffin collection, shows a film core that now holds 16 short black and white interviews with Senator Griffin. Each interview is separated by a piece of blank white film leader.

Some of the films came with some very basic additional information attached to either the reels or their film cans. For example, the bottom images shows a reel from the Michigan Films collection that simply states “winter sports” and contains footage of cross-country skiers, people skiing downhill, and people snow shoeing.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The First Special Olympics Michigan State Summer Games

by Bryan Whitledge

This year marks forty years since the first Special Olympics Michigan State Summer Games. Since 1973, thousands of athletes, spectators, and volunteers have met on the CMU campus each year for the competition. During Disability Awareness Month, in October, the Clarke posted a blog about the four-decades-long relationship between Special Olympics and Central Michigan University. With the Summer State Games coming to town May 30 - June 1 of this year, we thought it would be apt to reflect on the first State Games held June 1-2, 1973.

After CMU was chosen as the headquarters for Special Olympics Michigan in October of 1972, work began on planning for the State Games to be held just eight months later. An advisory committee was established in November 1972 to "counsel on all matters pertaining to Special Olympics." The committee consisted of members of the CMU and Mount Pleasant communities as well as individuals from across the State.

Because there was no Special Olympics organization at the state-level in Michigan prior to this, one of the first orders of business was figuring out how the games would be administered. It was decided that the State would be broken down into 21 regions and athletes would need to qualify for the State Games via regional competitions.

Another step in the organization of the State Games was recruiting volunteers. In order to accommodate the thousands of athletes and spectators that were expected for the June events, calls for volunteers were frequent in the spring of 1973. The largest pool of volunteers were CMU students. Several volunteer drives were held on campus and the Central Michigan Life student newspaper featured advertisements and stories about the need for participation from the students. In the end, over 200 volunteers helped out.

Thanks to all of the organizers, volunteers, athletes, and supporters, the first State Summer Games in 1973 were a success. The Games featured events in track and field, archery, bowling, dancing, and gymnastics.  Over 1,600 athletes participated. The following years would see an increase in the number of participants, spectators, and volunteers. Forty years on, Special Olympics is a true CMU tradition. Fire Up! to all the athletes, volunteers, organizers, and supporters who will be coming to Mount Pleasant this weekend.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Opening Reception of Dow Chemical Portrayed Art Exhbition

Looking down the Tittabawasee River toward
the Dow Chemical Plant, 1920
The Clarke Historical Library is pleased to welcome you to the opening reception of Dow Chemical Portrayed, an exhibition of paintings by famed English artist Arthur Henry Knighton-Hammond. In 1920, Knighton-Hammond was commissioned to create renderings of the Dow Chemical Company plant in Midland, Michigan. The commission was fueled partially by company founder H.H. Dow's desire to enhance the company's public profile and thereby sales. The result is an invaluable artistic record of the company's early plant.

This exhibit will be available for public viewing through June 26, 2013. The Clarke appreciates the generosity of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation in making this exhibit possible.

This reception is being held in conjunction with a reception of the American Chemical Society's Regional Meeting on the campus of Central Michigan University. The reception will take place in the Clarke and in the Baber Room of the Park Library from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm on Thursday, May 16. In light of this event, the Clarke Historical Library will close one hour early, at 4:00 pm, on May 16 and reopen at 5:30 to host the reception. Please see the following link for further information:

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Clare Sentinel and CM Life digital newspaper conversion projects now complete on CONDOR

by Amber Wright

The Preservation Microfilming Department here at the Clarke has recently completed two important local projects – preserving and digitizing over 100 years of The Clare Sentinel (1896-1999) and almost 80 years of CM Life, stretching all the way back to 1919, when the newspaper was titled Central Normal Life.

These projects provided the preservation team with many interesting finds. You can view the original newspaper issue where these items were found by clicking on the link that is embedded in the date and you can enlarge the images by clicking on them:

  • Some finds were important, such as the articles about small pox vaccination on the front pages of the February 8th (p. 1, col. 5) and 22nd (p. 6, col. 3), 1939 issues of Central State Life (another title by which CM Life was called (1927-41)).

  • Some were quirky, like this issue from December 30th, 1965 in The Clare Sentinel, which contained a depiction of a baby in astronaut gear on page 9, allegorically symbolizing the turning of the New Year and commemorating the first spacewalk completed by a U.S. Citizen on June 3, 1965. Central State Life had its own quirky stories of the professor who spoke about the “universal language” known as Esperanto in 1930, as the August 6th article describes on page 2, column 4.

  • Then there were the articles that gave us some historical perspective, such as the Central State Life front page discovery and re-concealment of the “cornerstone box” during construction in 1939, in the February 22nd (p.1, col. 2-4) issue. The box was a time capsule from decades before. Following tradition, it was replaced with contemporary objects, meant to be found again in the future. Even greater perspective was found in 1930. This January 15th (p. 2, col. 1-2) article exalts state support for student tuition with the claim that an education at Central was “[i]nexpensive, but not cheap.” The article explained that while the school charged a mere $279 per year for student tuition, the state was absorbing $270 worth. Because the state was “glad to bear such a high proportion of the cost” the bottom line for students was $9. Taking inflation into consideration, that’s $125 per year in 2013.

  • Finally, there are fun cultural artifacts that can often be found in advertisements in the newspapers. For instance, in the September 19th, 1963 issue of The Clare Sentinel, (p.9, col. 1), there was a Cheez WhizTM ad suggesting how to use it with a baked potato. Today, there are several brands and styles of processed cheese sauces, but the narrow, tapered Cheez WhizTM jar seen in this 50-year-old ad was the original.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Clarke Seniors Graduating

Commencement exercises at Central Michigan University will take place on Saturday, May 4. This marks the end of the Clarke careers for three of our students employees. Adam Gilbert (preservation microfilming), Ben Gulick (reference), and Taylor Packard (reference) will all be turning to a new chapter in their lives and we wish them the best of luck with their next adventures.

Congratulations to the Clarke graduates and the entire Central Class of 2013!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Central Michigan University Recognizes the Clarke Staff for their Generosity

by Frank Boles

The Clarke Historical Library staff was recognized for its contributions to CMU’s Annual University Campaign (AUC) at a University-wide ceremony on April 2. The AUC is an opportunity for the faculty and staff of the University to "invest in the continued success of CMU." Faculty and staff are asked to volunteer monetary donations to the campus unit of their choice. To sweeten the deal, the University contributes $1 for every $2 donated to the AUC. Last year, we posted a similar Clarke Historical Library News and Notes blog entry about the same recognition bestowed upon the Clarke staff.

Just like last year, we were recognized for having the highest percentage of donors for a CMU unit with less than twenty-five employees. This marks the fourth year in a row that this award has been won by the Clarke staff. Insofar as we can determine, this also represents the longest continuous period that a unit has won this award.  

So hat's off to the Clarke staff for their goodwill and generosity, whether as part of the Annual University Campaign or in their daily approach to everything they pursue!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Hemingway Family Scrapbook Obtained for the Library

With the Spring Semester wrapping up at Central Michigan University, the Clarke will be changing our Saturday business hours for the summer. This Saturday, April 20, will be the last Saturday until September that the Clarke will be open. We will keep the same 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday hours. If you have any questions about our hours of operation, please call 989-774-3352.

Hemingway Family Scrapbook Obtained for the Library

by Frank Boles

Left to right you’re looking at Ernest Hemingway, sister “Sunny” rowing the boat, family friend Paul Haase, and in the water Ursula. The picture was taken September 1915 at Walloon Lake

Sometimes you plan for months or even years to make possible a major, new acquisition. Sometimes a major, new acquisition is a mad scramble.

Three weeks ago the library staff scrambled, successfully, to acquire a treasure; a scrapbook created by Grace Hall Hemingway for her daughter, Ursula covering the years 1913-1916. As many of you know, over the last several years the library has built a strong collection relating to the years Ernest Hemingway spent in northern Michigan. Ernest was the second child born to Grace Hall Hemingway and her husband Clarence Hemingway. Ernest's sister Ursula was the third child born into the family.

Mother Grace dutifully kept scrapbooks for each of her children. Each book was rich in documentation regarding the family’s annual stay at their summer cottage along Walloon Lake, full of personal notes and family photographs. The scrapbooks are a picture of early twentieth century cottage life “up north,” a cottage life one of America’s great authors drew upon extensively in writing the Nick Adams stories.

Problem was, the scrapbook showed up out of nowhere. Bryan Whitledge, a Clarke staff member who had been asked to look through an online auction catalog for some children’s books, reported that while the children’s books offered for sale were not very interesting, there was, “ bunch of Hemingway stuff, maybe a Michigan connection around lot 60.” Lot 64 was described this way:

Photo album, approximately 7½x10¾”, consists of 100 pages of family memorabilia including approximately 121 original family sepia-silverprint photographs ranging in size from 2x4” to 7x8”, most are 3x5½" or period postcard size. Nearly every photograph in the album is identified in Ursula Hemingway’s very fine and readable hand, often to the length of a short paragraph.

Hemingway family photograph and memorabilia album put together by Ernest Hemingway's younger sister, Ursula. Noted on the flyleaf in her hand as “Ursula Hemingway, Book IV from July 1st 1913 to July 1st 1916, Eleven years 2 months to Fourteen years and 2 months old”. The photographs well document the Hemingway family during the early 1910s, with images of children partying, family dinners, group images before the city house, and the Walloon Lake summer house in Northern Michigan that the family loved and that was so much a part of the Hemingway life. There are photographs of the Hemingway grandparents, the father, Dr. Clarence Hemingway, (including a 1914 photograph of him with his famed “Tin Lizzie,” from which he made his legendary house calls), and a wonderful image of the family Thanksgiving dinner at the Grandparents. There are approximately 21 images showing the young Ernest, many in group family shots, some individual pictures with him as the young fisherman holding trout, playing on the waterfront in and around boats and canoes. One small portrait photo is a terrific image of the smiling young Ernest. During this period the last and youngest Hemingway child, Leicester, was born, and there are a number of photos of him in his infant years, as well as his printed birth announcement. Scattered throughout the album are numerous programs of recital, school, and church events in which the Hemingway children participated, approximately 25 letters in envelopes and postcards mailed to young Ursula, approximately 30 pieces of original art by Ursula, who would become an accomplished artist in her later years. A 12 page holograph diary of a trip Ursula took with her mother, Grace, to Nantucket in 1914, along with photographs and an original miniature watercolor presented to Ursula by the Nantucket artist Marianna Van Pelt. One wonderful photograph is labeled as “the 6 children taken together for the first time”, complete with a smiling Ernest and everyone in their Sunday best. Ursula learns the typewriter, and makes a list of all the family at a Walloon Lake birthday party, including Ernest. Another photograph shows Grace and Dr. Hemingway’s 19th wedding anniversary with all 6 children together, 3 letters laid in, are written from Ursula to her mother at Walloon Lake, along with a separate note to “Ernie”, and much more.

Ursula Hemingway, (1902-1966), graduated from Carleton College in Minnesota where she met her future husband Jasper Jepson. After marriage in 1925 the Jepsons settled in Honolulu where Mr. Jepson was a Vice President of the Bishop Trust. Ursula became a recognized painter and the Jepsons had one daughter. It was through this daughter's family that this Hemingway family material descended until the present. A remarkable survivor and truly unique archive of items that document the early life of Ernest Hemingway and his family in the Oak Park, Illinois and Walloon Lake years.

Actually the auction house had it slightly wrong – the handwriting was that of Grace Hall Hemingway, not Ursula, but the overall description was accurate, and tremendously exciting. As the saying goes, “they aren’t making any more of these,” and Hemingway family scrapbooks are a fascinating window into the experiences that directly shaped the writings of one of the ten Americans who have won the Nobel Prize in literature.

Bryan had been looking through the catalog on March 13. The sale was on the next day. That left us a little less than twenty-four hours to find the $10,000 to $15,000 which the auction house estimated the item would “fetch” in the language of the business.

Fortunately over the years the Library has developed a network of Friends very interested in the Hemingway collection. A long day’s worth of phone calls and emails found support from eight donors, which, when joined to money “in the bank” and made available from the Friends of the Libraries annual giving fund and also spendable income from the Clarke’s own endowment, made the purchase possible.

We are thrilled to have acquired Ursula Hemingway’s “up north” scrapbook, and extremely grateful to all of those who helped make the acquisition possible. Drop by and see it one day – you’d never guess, just thumbing through the volume, that the good looking young teenage boy in the pictures was destined for greatness, but in retrospect carefully inspecting those pictures, and the rest of the book, offers important insights into the experiences that shaped the writings of Ernest Hemingway.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Road to Andersonville

 by Frank Boles

On the evening of April 10, approximately 100 people attended the premiere of The Road to Andersonville, a documentary regarding the service of the 139 Native Americans during the Civil War in Company K, First Michigan Sharpshooters.

In 2010, members of the Anishinabe Ogitchedaw Veteran and Warrior Society traveled to Andersonville, Georgia in order to perform traditional burial ceremonies for the seven men from the Company who died and were buried at the Confederate Prisoner of War camp located there. The documentary tells the story of Co. K from two perspectives – the story of those who traveled to Andersonville in 2010 and the remembrances of descendants of the men who served in the company as well as a narrative by two historians who have studied the company.

For the men of Company K, simply serving was a challenge. Native Americans were originally excluded by state law from being recruited into Michigan military units. Eventually, wartime necessity led the State to lift the ban on Native American recruits, and Co. K, largely made up of men from the Little Traverse Bay area, became one of the few Native American units to serve the Union cause.

Company K, like all of the First Michigan Sharpshooters, saw hard service. The men of Company K fought bravely and well. One example of the bravery shown by the men of the Company was Pentwater Chippewa Antoine Scott, who was nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism at the Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864.

Fifteen of the men who served with the Company became prisoners of war at the infamous Confederate prison at Andersonville. Eight died. Seven were buried at Andersonville, while the eighth died in transit to another POW camp, and lies in an unknown grave. The trip in 2010 was both a recognition of these men’s valor and sacrifice as well as a spiritual quest to perform the traditional rituals believed to assist them in their passage through the western gate.

We are especially grateful to David Schock, the film’s producer, for the effort he has invested in telling this story. Thanks also to Dave Herek and Chris Czopek, who served as historical consultants, and the members of the Anishinabe Ogitchedaw Veteran and Warrior Society, who traveled to Andersonville to perform traditional ceremonies over the graves of their fallen brothers, and who honored us with their presence and opening ceremony at the film’s premiere.

The documentary telling the story of Company K was made possible, in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council. For more information about the film, please contact the documentary’s producer, David Schock, at