Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas in the Archives

by Marian Matyn

In the Clarke Historical Library there are 32 archival paper-based collections that document Christmas in some way. Here the list is enhanced by some of our historic Christmas cards. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Writing about a WWII soldier's Christmas packages in France 1944

or Christmas at a Korean orphanage 1953

or charitable Christmas activities

or Christmas gatherings and celebrations, various collections

or Christmas bird count by the local Audubon club.

There are numerous and various types of Christmas images, general, familial, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and CMU.

There are Christmas addresses from Saginaw Daily Courier Newsboys, 1873-1874.

There are Christmas inscriptions in books given as Christmas book.

There are circus Christmas tree ornaments.

Many collections have assorted holiday cards or Christmas wishes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Central Michigan College of Education and Pearl Harbor

by Bryan Whitledge

Today marks the 75th anniversary of, as then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "a date which will live in infamy." The attack on Pearl Harbor sent shock waves across the whole of the United States including at Central Michigan College of Education in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

The most direct connections between Central and the Pearl Harbor attack were two former students who were stationed at the Hawaiian naval base on December 7, 1941. Harry Schmidt (pictured at left, from the 1940 yearbook) was aboard the USS Tennessee. He survived the attacks and continued to serve in the Navy through at least the fall of 1943. In 1939-40, he was a freshman and played saxophone with Howdy Max's Band.

Another former student, William Kyes (pictured below, from the 1940 yearbook), was an officer in the Army Air Corps and also survived the attacks. When the bombing started, he ran into a nearby hangar, which was then hit. John Cumming's The First Hundred Years: A Portrait of Central Michigan University included then-Lt. Kyes account from a letter:

"I looked over by a wall and there was a man holding his guts in and another with his face shot off. I began to wonder if I was hit and when I looked myself over, there was a piece of my chest gone and blood running out of my ankle but I felt no pain."

Lt. Kyes also noted in a letter that if he ever made it through the War, he would get a job at a country school by Elwell and settle down for the rest of his life. Those plans didn't come to pass. Instead, Lt. Kyes served for the duration of the War and flew over 50 bombing missions in the Pacific Theater. He was a career military officer and retired in 1969 with the rank of Brigadier General in the Air Force.

Back in Mount Pleasant, 4,400 miles from the two Centralites stationed at Pearl Harbor, the students at the College wanted to join in the war effort. Some students expressed a desire to enlist with the military as soon as possible, but President Anspach, a member of the local draft board, urged young men to stay in school and gain knowledge and experience for the time when Uncle Sam would call on them. By June 1942, just six months after the attack, it was reported that 150 former Central students had joined the armed forces.

In the days immediately following the attack, students also mobilized to help with a Red Cross emergency fund drive. All students and faculty were expected to contribute and women members of the Appleblossom Club, a club that advocated for improved rural education, dressed as Red Cross nurses to solicit donations from across campus. The Women's League at Central organized a knitting bee on January 5, where the young women knitted various items to be sent to U.S. servicemen.

As the War continued, Central's involvement evolved and grew. More and more former students joined the war effort. Central even became one of 130 sites across the country for the Naval V-12 Training program. From 1943-45, over 2,600 students passed through Mount Pleasant under the direction of Lt. Maxwell R. Kelso.

The attacks on December 7, 1941 shaped the college experience for thousands of Central alums. 75 years later, the Clarke pays respect to all those impacted by highlighting the connections between a small Midwestern teachers college and the events of one of the most infamous days in history

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Postcards

by Marian Matyn

In the Clarke, we have a section of the Display Items Collection that are holiday related cards and postcards. The turkeys are clearly the main focus of Thanksgiving postcard art. Here is a sample of historic holiday postcards celebrating Thanksgiving mostly circa 1910. Enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving.

Turkey- a truly patriotic American bird

Patriotic turkey over America

turkey pulling a pumpkin with a fairy in it. Why?

turkey with fall harvest scene

cutie and a turkey on gorgeous lush red background

cutie sans turkey with poem.
She could grace a postcard for any season

Freehold of Thanksgiving poem with turkey

Grapes and veg poem

harvest prayer poem

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Give to the Clarke Microfilm Project on Giving Tuesday


2017 marks the golden anniversary of Clarke Historical Library Microfilm Program. And there is no better time than Tuesday, November 29, 2016, also known as Giving Tuesday, for you to help keep this program going strong for years to come. We hope you will help us reach our goal of establishing a $50,000 endowment to be used for preserving and making accessible the history of our state as told by our local newspapers.

Frank Boles, Director of the Clarke, recently explained in a blog post the history and significance of the Microfilm Project - click here to read it. He also mentioned the difficulties faced because of increasing costs of modern microfilming and digitizing technologies. 

How to donate

If you would like to be part of preserving and making Michigan’s history accessible, we ask that you click on the link at the top or bottom of this post in order to donate.After you click on the link, you will be taken to the Central Michigan University Giving Form. In step one, simply type Clarke Historical Library in the “search for funds” box and select “Clarke Historical Library Associates Program.” Then enter the amount you would like to give. In steps two and three, you can fill in information about yourself, your gift, and your contact information. In step four, type “Please use this gift for the Microfilm Project Endowment” in the “Additional Comments” box. From here, you can submit your donation and arrange for payment via credit card.

If you prefer to make you gift in the form of a check, please send a check made out to Central Michigan University to Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, 250 E. Preston Street, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859. Please be sure to note the Microfilm Project Endowment on your gift.

Again, we hope you will support the Clarke in our goal to preserve Michigan’s history in the form of newspapers and make that history available to anyone who is interested.


The Clarke Historical Library Microfilm Project Endowment

by Frank Boles

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Clarke Historical Library Microfilm Program in 2017 the library is hoping to raise $50,000 to create an endowment supporting the ongoing work of preserving and making available to researchers Michigan’s newspaper heritage. We hope you will help us reach that goal. Much of our state’s local history hangs in the balance.

The Clarke Historical Library started the Microfilm Project in October 1967 after the staff raised the funds to purchase a microfilm camera. Director John Cumming had begun discussing a project to film Michigan newspapers in 1964. He recognized that Michigan’s newspapers represented the most complete documentation regarding the state’s history. Newspaper reporters often talk about writing “the first draft of history.” They’re right. If local newspapers are not preserved, the majority of the state’s local history would be lost.

The money to undertake the project did not come easily. With great determination, Cumming chased after every funding source he, or anyone else, could think of to support the project. At one point Cumming admitted he was disheartened. Nevertheless he continued and eventually the money was found.

When the money was finally assembled, one of the members of the Clarke Board asked Cumming when the project would be done. Cumming answered that as far as he could tell the need was endless, but the funding would last about five years. Cumming was right on both points. Many millions of newspaper pages were quietly rotting away and the money ran out long before the need was met.

To keep the project alive, the library staff made a unique, and sometimes challenging, decision to make the microfilm project self-funded. Unlike other library activities, the microfilm project would have to pay its own way, becoming for practical purposes a not-for-profit business. And perhaps to everyone’s surprise, the plan worked and it continues to do so to the very day.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, change in the Microfilm Project seemed inevitable. Many said that electronic media would replace microfilm. Microfilm was old fashioned, hard to use, and generally inconvenient. Online resources were available round-the-clock, allowing for use at a time that met the researchers’ schedule. But a funny thing happened in the digital world. Scanned material proved to be a wonderful mechanism for distributing information to researchers, but a not very good means of preserving that information. Frequent data migration, new software, and the lack of standardized digital preservation formats led to a world where online sources became the preferred way to share historical newspapers, but a preservation nightmare. Microfilm continued to be the preferred solution for the long haul.

A Clarke employee inspects microfilm for scanning

The Clarke’s microfilm program embraced the world of digital content distribution. Beginning in 2008, the Library began to convert newspapers on microfilm into digital formats. Some of these appeared on our own website - Others, with the help of the National Endowment for the Humanities, were made available on the Library of Congress website, Chronicling America - Still other projects were undertaken with the assistance of other libraries or historical societies, which purchased digitizing services from the Clarke and then made the digital images available either in-house at their library or through their own website. While we have embraced the digital world, we also continue to crank out good, old-fashioned, long-lived microfilm. In the last fiscal year (2015-2016) the Library produced over 460,000 digital scans. The Library staff also produced 123 reels of microfilm, approximately 120,000 images.

You would think at this rate we would soon run out of things to film and scan. But today John Cumming’s words about an “endless” number of newspapers still rings true. Although there may be an end someday, the end of newspaper preservation on microfilm and digitization of Michigan’s newspaper heritage is nowhere in sight.

Our ability to do carry out this enormous endeavor on a cost-recovery basis has become seriously challenged by the ever-increasing costs of both microfilm and digitization hardware and software. When the project began a good, reliable Kodak microfilm camera cost about $20,000 and could be relied on to work for what seemed forever -- the Clarke’s two Kodak cameras lasted about 40 years. Contemporary microfilm cameras cost nearly four times as much and have a life expectancy of about eight to ten years. Digital equipment is equally expensive and short lived. A microfilm scanner costs approximately $50,000 and has a life expectancy tied to ever-changing software.

Microfilm cabinets in the Clarke
In addition to the initial purchase price, these complex machines require ongoing service, paid for by annual service contracts. Service contracts for hardware and software today cost the library over $20,000 a year. But to go without the contracts is even more expensive because “a la carte” service is only available from a limited number of sources. For example, our current microfilm camera’s certified maintenance is only available from two places – Maryland and Utah. Without a service contract, we would begin a “service call” by paying the air fare for the technician to fly to Michigan, if one can be spared from clients with service contracts.

To be able to continue to offer relatively low priced microfilm and digitization services that primarily preserve and make accessible Michigan’s rich newspaper heritage we are asking that you join us in creating and operating endowment to celebrate the Microfilm Project’s golden anniversary. Hardware, software, and service contracts don’t grab much attention in the world of grants and giving. But like roads, the electric grid, water pipes and other infrastructure projects, they are ignored at our peril. The infrastructure that preserves Michigan’s newspaper heritage needs constant care and regular improvement. Please help make it possible by making a gift to the Clarke Historical Library Microfilm Project Endowment. Tax deductible gifts can be sent to the Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859 or they can be given on-line. Click here for more information about on-line gifts.

Monday, November 21, 2016

DigMichNews Grant Finalists Announced

The Clarke is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2017 DigMichNews Grant. In alphabetical order, the five communities vying for the opportunity to have 10,000 pages of newspapers on microfilm digitized and placed on-line (or 2,500 pages of un-microfilmed newspapers) are:

  • L'Anse (Baraga County)
  • Leelanau (Leelanau County)
  • New Baltimore (Macomb County)
  • Shelby (Oceana County)
  • Sterling Heights / Utica (Macomb County)

Read the proposals of all five communities on the Clarke's site and get ready for January 16, when postcard voting opens (Twitter voting opens January 23)!

Follow the Clarke Microfilming on Twitter (@DigMichNews) and Facebook (DigMichNews) for more information.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Clarke Joins National Film Inventory Site

by Marian Matyn

As part of our ongoing film project in the Clarke, processing student Jen Bentley and I are entering some of our films into the AVCC, an open source web application for rapid inventory of film, video, and audio materials. AVCC was developed with funding from the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, the Metro NY Library Resource Council, and the NY State Documentary Heritage Program. The plan is to inventory film, video, and audio materials in production-based, archival, and other collections of unpublished media which are hard to access, uncataloged or not even inventoried. Also, it registers films which are suffering preservation issues, as so many are.

We have films in numerous collections. Tressa (a former student assistant in the Clarke) and I completed processing, identifying, rehousing and cataloging of non-Channel 9 & 10 films. SK and Jen (current student assistants) and I are still working on all those verbs for Channel 9 & 10 films. I think it is an excellent idea to register the films in AVCC for wider discoverability. I opened a free account for the Clarke and for each film we will fill in a template for each film we register. This is an important step in getting the Clarke acknowledged as holding films of interest at the state and national level and providing accessibility to a broader audience.

First, we added the 8mm and 16mm films in the Joe De Bolt collection documenting CMU Vietnam Moratorium student protests. The films are part of the Joe De Bolt Central Michigan University Vietnam Moratorium Committee Records, 1967,1983. The films are described in the Centra catalog record here: De Bolt catalog record

The films now appear under the heading of the Clarke: (Must be signed in to a free account in order to view the record)

Here is how the films actually look:

De Bolt 8mm

and cover off



beautifully cored

We've also added two CMU. Films collection films documenting 1944 Homecoming and 1960s Homecoming and football events. The link to the catalog record is here: catalog record CMU Films

Jen and I both have to work together to add each film as we need to add additional information beyond what Tressa and I documented. We prioritized non-Channel 9 &10 films that we believe are of value to CMU, MI and nationally. As we finish processing, identifying, and rehousing Channel 9 &10 films we note which films are of particular interest to CMU, MI and nationally. These will be our next top priority to add to the national inventory.

We will not add all the films to the inventory. In most cases an example is part of a larger collection and the inventory information will lead interested researchers to those collections and additional films.

You can learn more about AVCC here at their blog

There is also a review of the AVCC site in the American Archivists reviews portal here

Lastly thanks to Matthew Wilcox at Michigan State University Archives who has collaborated with us about film and informed me about the inventory site.

Monday, October 17, 2016

New Hemingway-Related Collection in Clarke

by Frank Boles

Portrait of Marjorie Bump, ca. 1916
On October 16, at the annual meeting of the Michigan Hemingway Society in Petoskey, the organization permanently loaned to the Clarke approximately one linear foot of material documenting Marjorie Bump’s relationship with Ernest Hemingway. Ms. Bump was a local Petoskey girl who met Ernest Hemingway in 1915. Her first name is given to the female protagonist in the Nick Adams short story, “The End of Something,” published in 1925.

After Hemingway’s death in 1961, Don St. John undertook a project to interview individuals who had known Hemingway to obtain first-hand accounts about the author. One of the people he contacted was Marjorie, by then known as Marjorie Main. Between 1965 and 1974, the two corresponded extensively. That correspondence now joins a bevy of resources related to Hemingway in Michigan found in the Clarke.

Georgianna Main, the daughter of Marjorie, wrote of her mother’s recollections about Hemingway in Pip-Pip For Hemingway (Bloomington, Ill.: iUniverse, 2010). The accounts found in Pip-Pip and in these papers are not consistent. For example, In Pip-Pip Georgianna reports her mother was taught to fish by Hemingway. In her recollection to St. John, Marjorie says she never went fishing with Ernest.

For a quick summary of the scholarly literature regarding Marjorie visit Project Muse, which reproduces a 2014 book review of Pip-Pip written by Matthew Nickel and first published in The Hemingway Review.

Before her death, Marjorie Main destroyed the correspondence with Hemingway she possessed. Thus, it is likely scholars will have a difficult time deciding if Marjorie chose to tell her daughter stories she thought Georgianna wished to hear or, if recounting events to St. John more than a half-century after they occurred, the inevitable tricks of memory led Marjorie to recall things in a way that differed from what had actually happened so long ago.

The Michigan Hemingway Society and the Clarke Library have worked together for more than a decade to document Ernest Hemingway’s life in Michigan. The relationship has been one that has benefited both organizations and we in the Clarke are extremely grateful to have the opportunity to work continually with the Society to find new information (with a Michigan twist) about one of the 20th century's most important authors.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Historic Soo Locks Construction Photos Now On-Line

by Bryan Whitledge

Historians, students, hobbyist researchers and general fans of the Soo Locks and Great Lakes shipping now have access to some of the best primary source images known to exist. Today, the Clarke Historical Library is pleased to announce the availability of over 1,700 images of the construction of the Soo Locks dating from circa 1885 to 1941. Through a freely accessible, keyword-searchable database, anyone in the world can now view digital copies of images that document over 50 years of construction, testing, and operation of a great engineering feat that has been a boon to the economy of the Great Lakes states and America. To access this database, visit

The images, which were digitized from the original glass photographic plates, show various stages of the construction of the now-closed Third (Davis) and Fourth (Sabin) Locks. These stages include surveying the St. Marys River above, at, and below the Locks, excavation of earth to form the Locks, construction of the walls that form the lock chambers, installation of mechanical devices and the lock gates, ships passing through operational Locks, and much more...even the extent of damage of the occasional accident!

Before being scanned and digitally preserved, the images were housed at the US Army Corps of Engineers Soo Area Office in Sault Ste. Marie. Since being digitized, the original glass plates have been transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Unit in College Park, Maryland. For more information about the digital images or to request high-resolution copies of any particular image(s), please contact Clarke ( or 989-774-3864)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fall Processing

by Marian Matyn

It is the beginning of fall term and my students have been helping me to process multiple collections in numerous formats. There is more to process in the stacks, but this gives you an idea of the variety we are processing.

On the desk is an addition to CMU. Student Government Association materials-minutes, scrapbooks, posters, and position outlines which on student is processing. Behind it are printoffs from CDs in another collection documenting the debate and fight over Enbridge oil line which passes under the Straits of Mackinac. Two students have worked on this collection so far. Now that we have all the printoffs we will be comparing it to the rest of the collection looking for duplicates

These are a few boxes which are being sampled by a student who will be on an internship here this term processing one of the more difficult and complex of MI Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver's papers. There are several hundred cubic feet of her collection in the stacks.
This is my table of about 10 different collections that I'm processing including archaic media videotapes, scrapbooks, papers, pins, and digital materials.

This is an addition to the CMU. Park Library collections, of the Dean's office materials. Another student is working on this prior to beginning his internship. He'll be processing a larger mixed format collection of early Clare History.

The top two images also show the blue film containers two students are rehousing Channel 9 & 10 film into following, rewinding, identifying, splicing, and reorganizing of the film. More on that later. Yes, we have a lot happening in my unit.

Friday, September 16, 2016

IBBY Addition 2016

by Marian Matyn

We got a foot plus addition this year, but also decided to go to the prior boxes and print out anything that came in a digital format due to some of the current formats being difficult to access. This resulted in a doubling of material. Going from box 9 forward we now have 18 boxes. The finding aid, catalog records and EAD finding aid is updated. The amended EAD finding aid will be available next month. More will be coming as part of this addition is on exhibit elsewhere.

A big thanks to Jen who helped me double check everything. All those foreign names with foreign punctuation marks requires a lot of extra checking.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Brewer Family Ambrotypes

by Marian Matyn
A recent addition to the Dwight J. Brewer Collection, 1862, 2012 includes 3 ambrotypes from the 1850s and 1860s and a CD of the 3 images.

Dwight J. Brewer and two of his wives, sisters Carrie and Ellen Stearns as children.

From left: Carrie (Stearns) Brewer (1850-1935) from the early 1850s;
Ellen (Stearns) Brewer (1839-1918) and her brother Edwin (1844-1921) probably taken in the early 1850s;
Dwight J. Brewer (1844-1881) probably taken around 1860.

Carrie and Ellen were born in NY and both died in Clare, MI.
Dwight J. Brewer (1842-1881) was the son of Jairus and Lucy Brewer. After Lucy died, Jairus married Mary Langdon and, later, Ellen Stearns (1839-1918) sister of Edwin Stearns (1839-1918). Dwight had two siblings: Augusta and Julius. By 1850 Jairus moved his family to Mich. Dwight enlisted in Company F, 20th Mich. Infantry on Aug. 9, 1862 at Brooklyn, Mich., for three years, at age 20. He was mustered on Aug. 18, 1862. Dwight was discharged at Knoxville, Tenn., May 24, 1865. He contracted small pox at the end of war and spent time in two hospitals in Knoxsville recovering (as documented in his last three letters). After the war, Dwight married Edwin and Ellen's younger sister, Carrie (1850-1935) with whom he had three children. Dwight died in 1881 and was buried in Cherry Grove Cemetery, Clare, Mich. Edwin Stearns enlisted at Norvell for three years, on Aug. 11, 1862 in the same company as Dwight and was also mustered on Aug. 18, 1862. Edwin was wounded in action on June 17, 1864. He was promoted to corporal on May 1, 1865. On May 30, 1865 at DeLaney House, D.C., Edwin was mustered out. (This information is from the collection.)

You can read the Brewer family collection catalog record at

Friday, September 2, 2016

Detroit Tigers scrapbook, 1940-1941

by Marian Matyn

I processed a Detroit Tigers scrapbook, 1940-1941.

The scrapbook has a blue and gold decorative cover and measures 11.5x14.5x1.5 inches. Billy Caldwell created it beginning in 1940 (documented on first page). The pages are acidic. The scrapbook consists almost entirely of Detroit Free Press clippings of the Detroit Tigers, 1940-1941. About two-thirds of the pages have clippings pasted on them, the rest are loose, some with dates and the title of newspaper. Also included is a Gem Theater advertising flier for Ithaca (Mich.) mail route residents for June 1941. The flier, along with genealogical information added from, is in one folder inside the front cover of the scrapbook.

Billy Caldwell was William O Caldwell, Jr. (1928-2012). He was the son of William Sr. and Thelma G. Caldwell and had a sister, Betty Ann. He lived, worked at Total Petroleum for 28 years, died and was buried in Ithaca (Mich.). (This information is from, accessed in Aug. 2016.) The Gem Theater was in Saint Louis (Mich.) located near Ithaca.

The Gem Theater flier was critical to me to place Billy Caldwell in a specific Michigan location and discover his history.

In 1940, the Detroit Tigers were American League Champs. They lost the world series 4-3 to the Cincinnati Reds. In 1941, they finished 4th in the American League. (This info from

Sad Tiger Cartoon
Creator's name and date on first page

Triumphant Tigers

Fun portraits

leaving the dugout. Dig those traditional uniform pants

Gem theater flier

Home game; cool imagery

American League Champs


Tigers leaving on a train (this doesn't happen today) for the World Series

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Historical Alpena Newspapers Now Available

Back in January, the Clarke hosted the Michigan Digital Newspaper Grant Contest. Over 100,000 Tweets and 8,000 postcards were cast as votes by supporters of the five finalist communities. And the winner, at the end of the flurry of votes, was Alpena.

Today, we are pleased to announce that the Alpena Evening News (1899-1905, 1909-10) and the Labor Journal (1885-1890) are now available via the Digital Michigan Newspapers website. These two titles are the first titles that we added to our digitized newspapers after the switch to our new digital document interface.

Congrats again to Alpena. Welcome to the Digital Michigan Newspapers Database!

Monday, August 29, 2016

New CMU Libraries Digital Collections Website Now Available

We are excited to announce that our new digital document interface is up and running. For the past eight months, staff members from the Clarke Historical Library, the CMU Libraries, and DL Consulting in New Zealand have been working to convert all of the digitized documents found in the CMU Online Digital Object Repository (CONDOR) to a new interface. This new interface, powered by Veridian collection management software, separates the digital collections found in CONDOR into four broad groups:

The CMU Libraries Digital Collection ( gives you access to over 30,000 documents - that's nearly 450,000 digitized pages! If you were used to getting to digital documents by typing "" into your web browser, you can continue to do so and you will be automatically redirected to the new site. While "" will still work, other links will be affected. If you have saved links to specific documents or titles in CONDOR, you will have until the end of December to update them to the new Veridian interface. After December, the links to documents in CONDOR will no longer be available.

We are pleased to bring you this exciting new website. We invite you to jump in and explore. For users and for staff at the CMU Libraries, there may be some stumbling blocks with our new setup. Please let us know if you are having any trouble, any technical issues, or you have any comments. We will address them as soon as we can.

Highlights of the New Interface 


Click on the image for a larger view

Some of the highlights of the new Veridian interface include the opportunity to customize your experience with several options available at the top of the page (see number 1 in the image above). You can also register your own account, which will allow to save your searches for future reference (number 2). Also, because computers are not perfect when it comes to interpreting typed words on a digital page (called text recognition or optical character recognition), you can correct the errors made by computers when you are registered. Statistics about the number of text corrections made by individual users are logged and displayed on the front page of the Veridian interface via a Text Corrector Leaderboard (number 6).

The Veridian interface also uses a standard library search bar that many users are familiar with in order to do keyword searches of the full text (number 3) or you can select the Advanced Search function to limit by date or title as well. And now, searches for phrases can be wrapped in "quotation marks" to search for that exact phrase. If you are interested in seeing a random document in the holdings, take a look at the random item for the collection (number 4). For the Digital Michigan Newspapers, this random document is actually a newspaper from this day in history. Finally, if you have an idea of a title or date range of interest to you, but you don't want to search for keywords, you can browse the entirety of the collections by date or title (number 5).

When viewing a document, the Veridian interface lays out the pages in order horizontally, allowing you to view the document by scrolling to the right, or virtually turning to the next page. You can also search for a specific keyword within a document and you can view the transcript of the recognized text to the left of the reading pane (which allows you to correct the text if you are registered and logged in).

Friday, August 12, 2016

Mount Pleasant Indian School In National Archives Newsletter

The National Archives at Chicago distributed their August newsletter recently with a feature article about Native American boarding schools. Among the more prominently mentioned boarding schools is the Mount Pleasant Indian School, which was in operation in Mount Pleasant from 1893-1933.

The Clarke maintains a great deal of information about the boarding school in Mount Pleasant including photographs, reprints of annual reports from the National Archives, and remembrances of those who attended the school. But the series of materials at the Clarke is by no means complete and the information highlighted by the National Archives at Chicago shows that any serious researcher of the history of the Mount Pleasant Indian School, the students who attended, or the people who worked there certainly must consult more records than those available at the Clarke.

You can read the most recent newsletter via this link. If you would like to view past issues of the National Archives at Chicago newsletter or sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox, head over to the National Archives page for more information.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What's That Little Green Hat All About?

by Colton Hengesbach and Bryan Whitledge

The Clarke recently received a donation of an interesting little green beanie that holds more CMU history than one might think. The hat, which belonged to Central State Teachers College alum, Myron Georgia (BS 1935), was a freshman cap from 1932. Back in the day (1920s-40s), freshmen at Central were required by upperclassmen to wear green caps while on campus as a way to distinguish freshmen from the rest of the student body. To the freshmen, it was hazing. But to others, it was tradition and a fun way to create class rivalry and distinction.

At some point during the academic year, the upperclassmen would designate one day "Cap Day," a day in which freshmen could shed their badge of dishonor and publicly burn the hats. Or, in the case of this cap and luckily for the Clarke, a student might keep it as a fun memento of his or her freshman year. To prolong the amusement of the upperclassmen, you can bet that "Cap Day" was delayed until the last week of classes each year forcing the freshmen to walk around with their ridiculous hats for as long as possible. Girls who didn’t want to wear the hats were allowed to wear green ribbons to signify their freshman status at Central.

Freshman with their caps being hazed, CM Life, 9/28/1938, p. 4

The green cap was not exclusive to Central during the 1920s-40s. Other college campuses such as Penn State, University of Kansas, and Purdue University had similar traditions. Some consequences of being caught without your green cap could include an involuntary dip in a nearby body of water or a minor beating, all at the hands of upperclassmen who enforced the tradition

Since receiving it, the Clarke has transferred the cap to CMU's Museum of Cultural and Natural History where it will be stored with a multitude of other objects related to Central's history. For a variety of very good reasons, the green cap tradition is no longer with us -- and we are sure that the thousands of incoming freshman this fall appreciate that. But the memory of past injustices committed against young and naive freshman can be remembered forever thanks to a small amount of green felt and some digging in the archives.