Showing posts from May, 2011

Speaking of veterans and their papers

We just received a small collection, .25 cubic ft., mostly of images of WWII. I did not know that Wilbur E. Moore (1904-1988), formerly a professor of speech and speech correction, dean, and eventually Vice President of Academic Affairs at Central MI U was also a member of the ICSATC, the U.S. Air Force's India-China wing Air Transport Command, 1942-1945. His obituary fails to mention any wartime service at all. Moore and his unit  trained at Scott's Field, now Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Ill. Moore was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and the unit then left for India in 1942. ICSATC's mission was to supply U.S. Army units based in China and Chiang Kai-Shek's war efforts. Planes of various types flew over  the Himalayas and back. The mountains were referred to as "The Hump". It was extremely hazardous flying The Hump and many crews were lost in the process. Everything those U.S. Army units needed was airlifted. 100% of supplies, food, equipment of …

new Marquette Regional History Center facility and exhibit gallery

The Marquette Regional History Center has a new facility and exhibit gallery. It looks lovely. They helped me during my sabbatical with my research, so I sent them a thank you check. In return they invited me to an open house. Unfortunately, I cannot attend the open house, but I hope that if you visit Marquette, MI, you will make an effort to visit their wonderful new facility. I will certainly do so. For more about the MRHC and to see the new facility, visit their website at   Congratulations MRHC on your new facility!  There is nothing like a new building! Moving the collections into a new building without anything breaking about kills the staff (believe me, I know!), but having a new building is still an affirming experience. It is an asset to the organization and its location, as well as to the larger historical community in which we all live and work.

I wish you all a happy, safe holiday weekend. Remember our veterans!

SAA Encoded Archival Description workshop in Michigan’s beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula

I promised my friend Eric Nordberg I'd spread the word so here it is.

Sorry all. I've been out with back pain and a sick child. All's well now.

I just received the latest edition of the UM College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Spring 2011, in which  there is an article  entitled "The Evolution of Cybercrime" by Mary Jean Babic.  It discusses how LSA faculty and alumni are working to safeguard information, bank accounts, and other financial and identification information. The big push now is accessing social networking sites and downloading malware into your computer.  Where before most of us wondered about an email from an unknown address, we do not all wonder about a friend sending us notice we are in a video. We've all read in the news how major companies including Google, Adobe, and Dow Chemical and others, have been attacked, slowed, and data taken.  Hackers can make money by getting through safeguards, so they do. Governments have also been attacked, such as the nuclear power plant in Iran I blogged about twice before …

"....the bodies have been taken..."

We archivists have always jokingly referred to the bodies buried in the archives. There is a lot buried in the archives in only you know an archivist who can help you find it. One of my new students, Andrea Martin, found this in a box of Boyce records she was processing. It is a personal thank you letter from H.A. Bauman, the cashier for Crawford Co. Exchange Bank in Grayling, MI, to his friend, George J. Boyce, son of Jonathan Boyce, for hosting Bauman's mother at George's home. On the bottom of the first page Bauman notes "Mother says that the bodies have been taken from your father's lot in cemetery at Muskegon, perhaps you had best not mention the matter to your father."  Whose bodies, why moved, which cemetery, and why not tell father (Jonathan Boyce)? Did he kick some dead relatives out of their graves, or was someone buried there by accident, or temporarily before winter hit?  This letter was written on Crawford Co. Exchange Bank letterhead, April 14, 1898…

New student interns

With the beginning of the summer I term, I have 3 new students working for me as interns. How wonderful! They are all processing a portion of the Boyce Lumber Co. records. The more the merrier. It is so much fun to have students who think archives are great and are passionate about learning about archives, and some want to become archivists. What will these students discover this summer? That remains to be read in another blog entry. I don't know about other archivists out there, but 5 students is the max I can supervise and train and feel good about, especially if they are all working on different collections and topics. Having several work on one large collection is easier. Any opinions?

online archives of websites

The Internet Archive has captured websites of institutions since 1996, not just the home page, but other domain contents as well. This helps scholars, and others, return to the older websites both for citation, which is an ongoing problem I've discussed previously in my blog, and for research purposes.  For fun I went back to Feb. 5, 1997, the first CMU homepage captured. You can see it here I compared it to the current CMU homepage here  The changes are dramatic in size, color, and complexity, not to mention links versus the old, ugly gray buttons. I was hired in July 1997, so I remember that website. Interestingly, since Feb. 5, 1997, CMU website has been crawled and captured by Internet Archive 660 times. As we all know,  websites changes occur often, both in minor and major ways. In fact we are awaiting a whole new CMU webpage look to be released soon. Archiving websites provides in…

Online database of cultural items stolen by Nazis now available to the public

On May 5th, 2011 the National Archives  made available to the public a database listing items of cultural value stolen by the Nazis in WWII. More than 2.3 million pages of documents created or  collected by the U.S. Government during and after WWII records its investigations into stolen art and artifacts. German records are included. After the war a number of US units worked to identify stolen assets and return them to their owners.  Many of the remaining art pieces were later sent to museums and have recently been returned to owners' descendants after long court cases.  Initially only an index to these stolen and looted items was available. Now all the records are digitized  and available online. Most of the records are in English, although some are in German and other languages. The database began with U.S. investigations into looted gold and bank accounts in 1996. Art works, insurance, the role of the Vatican, slave labor, looted archives and libraries, and Jewish communal and …

The power of archives confirms the truth about the Warsaw Ghetto

I recently saw a film on PBS entitled "A Film Unfinished." This 2010 film has won numerous prestigeous international awards. It is about a reel of film, discovered in a German archives, which clearly shows that Nazis filming in the Warsaw Ghetto took multiple takes of and staged all the scenes of ghetto life and death for anti-Semitic propaganda films. The films they created were thought by some, all this time, to represent reality, when this was never the case. 5 survivors of the Ghetto and 1 surviving Nazi film assistant were interviewed about various scenes. Some of the film found, which was deleted from the final draft of the film, clearly shows Nazis filming on streets, inside stores, and in burial pits, directing the flow of the film. There are also surviving manuscripts documenting various film sequences shot and how the Nazis had police beat people and fired into the air to create "natural" running reactions. The lone Nazi film assistant interviewed noted t…

Electronic records sessions at MAC

One of the things that struck me about MAC is that there were so many questions in all of the electronic records and EAD sessions that I attended. Archivists had  diverse questions and offered interesting examples from their own experiences. People seemed like they were on a mission to deal with ERs. I hope this is true. Clearly all of us are facing many ER issues, we all want to learn more, and we all have staff, financial or electronic limitations to deal with as well. There is also a steep learning curve for this media which is almost constantly changing. I recently mentioned that a hard drive arrived in my office from the U. Theatre dept. Well, we tried to copy it and found out it was corrupted. These files were from probably the 1990s forward. Now we are waiting to see what the donor wants. Turns out they used a MAC. We don't have a MAC in the Clarke. I don't know if there is one in the entire library. All of this will affect what happens. ERs are certainly more complicat…

Peanuts in St. Paul and in flight

I forgot to mention that St. Paul is the hometown of the great Charles Shultz. Everyone loves Snoopy. In the hotel basement there were 3 Peanuts characters, Charlie Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, and a Snoopy painted all over with outside scenes. I took photos, but they didn't turn out well. There are Peanuts characters at various locations in town. I went past Linus and Sally in bronze downtown. Also on the way to the science center, by an energy office, there was Snoopy lying on his house with Woodstock on top, in green. Think green energy.  None of the sessions covered Peanuts, although I ate some flying home, 1 tiny bag. After charging $26 for checking a piece of luggage it seems to me that I could have received 2 bags of peanuts. For nice images of the bronzes check out St. Paul's official website coverage of the Peanuts gang at

returned from MAC conference

I am just back from the MAC (Midwest Archives Conference) meeting in St. Paul, MN. I was delayed traveling due to a monstrous migraine. Good thing because on the way out I had to run through Detroit-metro airport vaulting luggage and small children both on up and down escalators.  The hotel was plush and the city very clean and friendly. I did not see garbage anywhere. How do they do it?  Didn't get a chance to do much sight seeing, but did visit the King Tut Nat Geo exhibit at the wonderful science center. The exhibit was phenomenal.  I highly recommend it. I thought the ancient Egyptian toilet seat was fascinating. Who knew? MAC sessions were all very good. I attended most of the ones focusing on electronic records, meta data, ER workflows, etc., and one on collaborating with faculty. The session I chaired, Bringing History to Life: Teaching with Primary Sources, was hailed by the 100 or so in attendance as the best session. Thanks to Portia Vescio, Catherine Rod, and Cynthia Gh…