Friday, October 9, 2015

Black Richmond cemetery reclaimed

A  black cemetery in Richmond, Va., East End Cemetery, is being reclaimed both physically and intellectually. It is now overgrown with trees, weeds, and vines. The person listed on the tax rolls can no longer care for it. It is not maintained with city or any other funds. It was listed originally as a segregated cemetery. People were buried there with the plan that the area would be maintained. It was not. Besides cleaning out the overgrowth,  hope to document each headstone and the lives of each person buried in the cemetery, to retell their story. There are an estimated 13,000 graves in over 16 acres in this cemetery. The local crew, consisting of people of all races, is working hard and determined to clear the entire cemetery and record all those buried there. This situation contrasts sharply with other local (white) cemeteries are well maintained. Read more about it here

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Processing Dick Moehl's miscellaneous papers

I'm still processing Richard L. "Dick" Moehl's miscellaneous papers from storage. I first blogged about them on July 1 when we received them and they filled our back hall. Yesterday I blogged about some of the wonderful thank you notes and art he received from children after he visited their classrooms and talked about lighthouses.

Much of the collection of his miscellaneous papers will not be retained including: duplicates, reading materials, miscellaneous correspondence, miscellaneous financials older than 7 years, drafts of documents, unidentified or out-of-state materials, personal materials, materials duplicated and retained in other collections. Family materials will be returned to his family. A number of relevant publications have been added to our catalog. I am focusing on retaining original documents, not copies, and especially documentation of St. Helena and other lighthouses that GLLKA, Moehl, local groups, and the Boy Scouts helped save and restore, as well as local government and historic organizations and their cooperative work to develop tourism, historic and nature sites in the Mackinaw region. Many Eagle Scout projects and several national awards for Troop 4 Ann Arbor came out of their restoration work with lighthouses. There are also later GLLKA organizational records that post-date materials in our first GLLKA deposit. Dick was an enthusiastic person, especially about photography. For example, he took lots of photos from various angles, and then had duplicates made, and then enlarged some, and had others made into slides.Then he sometimes switched from color film to black and white film and repeated the process. It's going to take some time before some students and I finish sorting and rehousing all the photographic materials that we decide to keep.

I've gotten through about two-thirds of his miscellaneous papers to some degree. Here's what the collection looks like now:

Here is what is mostly processed, about 10 boxes, 5 cubic ft.

Here's a cart full of slides waiting to be processed, about 5 cubic ft.

Here are his papers remaining to be processed, about 8-9 cubic ft.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

children's lighthouse art, poetry and thank you cards

I'm currently processing the miscellaneous papers of Richard L. "Dick" Moehl. Moehl founded and led the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Assn. and worked with related groups to help preserve and repair MI lighthouses and document their history. He actively engaged troops of Boy Scouts and some Girl Scouts from several counties to help cleanup and repair lighthouses and their grounds. He also worked in conjunction with other related groups to improve Michigan tourism and preservation of historic and natural sites including helping develop the Sweetwater Trail of MI and the Mackinaw area  to promote tourism, notably concerning the preservation of the Icebreaker Mackinaw.

Through Moehl the Clarke already has the Organizational Records of GLLKA, 1984, 2007, documenting the restoration of the St. Helena and Round Island lighthouses, and complete runs of GLLKA's two publications, the Beacon and the Great Lakes Cruiser, as well as their other historic and educational publications and lighthouse calendars, and the photographic files used to generate the images in Great Lakes Cruiser. These collections can be found in CENTRA and their Google-searchable finding aids are available at

In his miscellaneous collection there are lots of images of scouts working on lighthouses. Besides his work with scouts, lighthouses, and various organizations concerned with preserving lighthouses, nature, and promoting MI tourism, Dick traveled and talked with many groups of school children to promote interest in and education about lighthouses. He was apparently an inspiring speaker. The kids loved him. Here are some images of the thank yous and poems his presentations generated in the children.

thank you cards made by 5th graders, Sterling Heights, undated
Oversized lighthouse art of Kevin Van Allen

Lighthouse poetry and anthology by 4th grade students, Hugger Elementary (Rochester), undated

a scary poem from the booklets by Matt Glaser

Poem from Thank You Captain! a compilation of poetry, unidentified school, undated, this poem is from Kevin

Safe Harbor ruling important

EU Court of Justice Judges finally ruled that the Safe Harbor (SH) pact is illegal. SH allowed personal data transfers between the EU and the US since 2000. FB, one of the companies using SH,  was sued because of concern about inadequate steps being taken to protect EU citizens' data.

The ruling is interesting and will have interesting results. First, it recognizes that citizens of the European Union have more privacy rights with their data than they were receiving via US companies. Second, it will impact the international flow of data between the US and other countries which previously "self certified" that they were following the required steps to provide "adequate" privacy protection to the data.

The case highlights a major difference in priorities between the EU (where data privacy is very important) and the US (where data privacy may fall to other concerns-like security concerns). This will affect international companies with things like payroll, for example. Some of these companies think they have sufficient processes in place to deal with the data, but they may be informed in further rulings from the court that they are mistaken and have to create new processes to safeguard data protection. From the companies' perspective, these changes will slow data transfers and cause some paperwork nightmares and cost them money and time. Companies will need to find a way to implement so they are not functioning illegally, opening themselves up to further lawsuits.

All of this becomes more interesting when you think about the exchange of data for international security forces. Will this even affect them?

For more info see

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Clarke archives work

Happy Archives Month!

Life in the Clarke archives this week. Lots of students and I are all busy all the time.

Brian processed about 1 cubic foot (4 Ov. folders) of CMU. Communications, Art and Posters. This has been cataloged and the finding aid should be Google-searchable next month. He's new so this is his first collection!

Cassie and Kip processed about 1.5 cubic foot (4 boxes, 1 Ov. folder) of Arlene Bush, MI Republican Collection. This has been cataloged and the finding aid should be Google-searchable next month. They are new and processed this, their first collection, together!

Collections being processed:
Suli, Cassie, Kip and Kathie Mason who volunteered on a Sat. morning, are all processing Luedtke Construction Company No Low Bid series, jobs they unsuccessfully bid on. So far, since spring we've processed (mostly Suli and Andrea) and now the rest of us, 309 boxes=155 cubic ft. of the other series. We processed 18 boxes (9 cubic ft.) of NLB and have 20 cubic ft. yet to process.

I'm processing Dick Moehl's Miscellaneous Papers. I have about 11 cubic ft. somewhat done and another 15 cubic ft. to go. Much of this is photographs or slides which still need further sorting and then need to be sleeved.

Gwyn is surveying and sampling  court-related series of the records of deceased Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver.  We are working on processing directions and will create a glossary of terms and flow charts of how the various courts work and the processes within the Michigan Supreme Court to help researchers use the collection and understand what they are looking at in the future. We have nearly 400 cubic feet of material and more, maybe 125 cubic feet, is expected when her estate is settled.

In addition, we've finally been able to continue working on our historic film preservation project. Jen and SK are working on Channel 9 & 10 news films, reviewing them, checking for shrinkage and other deterioration issues, describing what is on each film, rehousing and rewinding them in good film storage containers on good cores. This will lead to better description which should allow better access. We found some interesting footage of the strike at Ferris 1969/70 and also what might be the first curator of the beginning of CMU's Museum of Cultural and Natural History.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Happy October and Archives Month.

Celebrating archives today I note that fragments of what tests show is one of the oldest Korans in existence. This Koran was written between 568 and 645 A.D. (or Common Era). The Koran was written between 610 and 632. That's cutting it close. It is being displayed at University of Birmingham's Edgbaston (yes seriously this is a town) campus until Oct. 25. Read more about it and see cool images here

Thursday, October 1, 2015

FB v. EU

Here's another continuation of one of my blog entries.
In the ongoing battle of privacy, the US government is backing FB against European concerns for privacy. The EU courts have suggested the Safe Harbor deal is no longer valid. The SH deal allows major companies, like FB, to transfer data on EU citizens to their US servers, and share the info with American and European security forces. The privacy advocate who brought the case to the EU court believes that the US does not respect the EU citizens' privacy and personal data, a topic of ongoing debate and possibly illegal. The US Advocate General in Brussels strongly disagrees and believes inaccurate statements were made about American intelligence sharing. The final ruling from the EU court is expected next week. Usually the court follows the AG's opinion, so it will be interesting to see if there is a departure from this practice. Read more about it here