Showing posts from June, 2011

Kalamazoo circus parade stereograph

We recently received a collection of miscellaneous MI photographs, stereographs and postcards at the Clarke. One of the stereographs is of a circus parade. It is an image that was part of a group of images entitled Kalamazoo Views. Stereographs were actually two images taken from almost the same angle so when viewed through lenses the image achieved a near 3-d effect. The photographer of the circus parade was Schuyler C. (Colfaxc) Baldwin of Kalamazoo. The floats lead the parade and 7 elephants are at the rear. There may have been more who didn't make it into the photograph, I don't know, nor do I know which street the parade was on or the date. Large crowds are in evidence, some looking out from nearby windows or balconies. Baldwin lived 1823-1900 and photography began in 1843 so it is was taken sometime between 1843 and 1900.  My guess is that this is late 19th century. Enjoy the view.   For those of you who have Friday off Happy 4th of July. More in July.

Update March 21, …

In honor of the 4th Abe Lincoln documents found by intern

Aren't my interns jealous? A lucky intern discovered previously unknown Lincoln documents at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL. Written in 1844, the 2 documents have been confirmed as authentic and are now cataloged. They are referred to in the announcement as memorandum and letters. For more about it, check the June 17, 2011 YahooNews article at  Thanks to  my intern, Andrea Martin, who pointed this article out to me.

Canning Lid Shortage of 1975 oh what horrible days!

Did you know there was a crisis in 1975 when America ran out of canning lids? The crisis is documented in Congressman Cederberg's papers. Vegetables rotted in people's homes and on the fields waiting to be canned. A letter dated Aug. 15, 1975 from MSU's Cooperative Extension Service communicated with Congressman Cederberg notes that lid distributors were supposed to send lids to the south and later to Michigan. Standish, Mich., was apparently hit hard and the public was very upset there. A voter from Hope, MI, wrote to Cederberg to complain as well in Aug. 1975 that 2 companies had jars and rings but no lids. What was going on? The lid producers (Bernardin, Inc. and Kerr Glass) had stated in spring 1975 that there was a surge in the number of new canners. The public had apparently been asked to conserve food so more people tried to can food. Apparently all the "new canners" were buying up were lids, not jars nor rings. One of the canning companies noted that raw …

Billy the Kid photograph goes for $2.3 million

CNN had an article on June 26th about an auction in New Mexico where the only authenticated Billy the Kid photo from about1870sold for $2.3 million. Initially, Billy bought it for a quarter and gave it to a family friend. The photograph remained with the family until William Koch, a conservative activist, bid on it. Isn't it amazing what some historical items are worth to collectors?  Also sold at the auction was a gun collection of Roy Rogers. For more information see the article at

British Library contents to 18th c. going onto Google soon

Check out this article and brief video from BBCNews. How exciting.

Disaster Preparedness workshop at CMU Aug 4 10-3pm

MAA at Beaver Island

Although my phone did not work well or often, the MAA conference on Beaver Island was good, interesting, and had many more archivists, 65, than I expected. My presentations went well. One was on my encoding the Clarke finding aids and the other on the collections we have in the Clarke documenting Beaver Island: Helen Collar's papers, Strangite Mormons, and the CMU Biological Station papers and slides of Matthew Hohn. I visited the CMU Biological Station and the historic sites and lighthouses. I found out that some of Helen Collar's papers, and copies of ones we have are in the old Mormon Print Shop. She was quite the artist and sketched faces from old island families' photographs and paintings of their founders and donated them to the historical society there. They are quite good. It is a different, quieter, slower paced world there. The boat trip home was a bit rocky, but all in all a very good experience. And, as always, I enjoyed the interaction with colleagues and meet…

Shakespeare in Boyce business records

Yes, I know it sounds unbelievable. One of my new student interns, Veronica Rohr found an awning company (Nevius & Haviland's Shade Rollers) advertising pamphlet in the Boyce business records that used images of Shakespearian characters and quotes from The Bard. It is quite amusing. Here are some images. Sorry some are sidewise. Stretch your neck. It's good exercise!

Genealogy Seminar July 16th announcement

The Archives of Michigan and the Michigan Genealogical Council will host the Abrams Genealogical Seminar on Saturday, July 16.  The program features David Rencher of  The Archives of Michigan will be open for research from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on that day. 
For more information – and to order tickets – click here:

Bob Garrett Archives of Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment Phone: (517) 241-1382 E-mail:

1919 Hitler letter

On Weds CNN had this article describing a 1919 letter signed by Hitler. He noted that Jews had to be removed completely and legally, according to German law. The letter, which was authenticated by experts, was taken (stolen) by a U.S. soldier in 1945 from the then German Archives. After being in private hands all this time it was finally purchased by the Wiesenthal Center. It is very important historically because when Hitler later began his "legal" annihilation of Jews, he did not sign anything, rather he articulated his actions through his henchmen. This letter articulates his awful plan and the thoughts behind it and demonstrates how early he had developed his general genocide ideas. For more information read the article and see the document at

Off to Beaver Island for a MAA conf. next week. More next Fri.

June 9th is also International Archives Day

The goals of International Archives Day are as follows:
Raise awareness among the public of the importance of records and archives, in order to make it understood that records and archives provide the foundation for their rights and identity; Raise the awareness of senior decision makers of the benefits of records management for good governance and development;  Raise the public, private and public sectors' awareness of the necessity of preserving archives for the long-term, and of providing access to them;  Promote and bring to the attention of the larger public unique, extraordinary and rare documents preserved in archival institutions;Improve the image of records and archives and enhance their visibility globally.
For more information see this link

This is from the International Council on Archives, a lovely group of international archivists I have had the pleasure to meet …

More Questions for the Archivist

#2 If I want to research my family, how do I start?

 Begin with your self and work backwards, constructing as much family tree info as you can. A number of libraries and people have online access to, which I like to use. It will allow you to search for people in a specific state or nation, with/out dates of birth and death. It will show various records including census, draft, and death dates. Also, you can search online into systems like michgenweb, or other state genealogy websites, which allows you to search in various counties, into books, cemetery records, etc. These vary in how much info is online. You can also check indexes of books and country records, of which we have many at the Clarke.

#3 What is the coolest thing I've found? Well, I've found many. Here are some. When I worked at Hagley in Del., land of DuPonts, and Revolutionary War gunpowder manufacturing, they had a large collection of patent models, including the original paperclip. When I w…

Ask An Archivist Day

Questions I have already been asked by those too excited to wait until Thursday:

#1 So, what is an Archivist? An Archivist is a person who may have a library or information or history degree. Some more senior archivists do not have a degree at all. The current standard is an American Library Association accredited degree from a library or information school. No we do not construct bridges, except of the friendly variety, and no we are not anarchists, at least not most of us. I can't speak for everyone on that point.

An Archivist "works" with primary source, original materials of permanent historic value in any format-paper, photos, negatives, films, scrapbooks, metal, wood, skin, beads, art, etc., and a wide variety of electronic records. The collections may document people, organizations, governments, colleges, churches, wars, businesses, etc. The are unique and unpublished.  An Archivist may do most or all of the following at some point in their career: accessions his…

June 9 is Ask an Archivist Day on Twitter!

I'm not on Twitter, but you can ask me anyway. Email me, or call me 989-774-3990. If you have a question about our collections, archives, becoming an archivist, working as an archivist, archival theory, etc. All good historical researchers know to ask the archivist, because the archivist knows the inside history to all the collections s/he has ever processed. So don't be shy, ask an archivist.  I've heard over 100 archives worldwide are participating.

Satellite images find unknown Egyptian pyramids

I don't know about other archivists, but I am fascinated by archaeology. I just read in the BBC News May 31, that an American Egyptologist, Dr. Sarah Parcakis,is using infra-red satellite images to survey what was Egypt. Because the ancients used dense clay building materials, the remains of burial complexes, towns, pyramids, and streets of ancient cities show up in these images. So far more than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 settlements have been found that were previously undetected. These are sites that are not deeply buried by sand or silt, which makes buried building remains harder to see. Old-fashioned digging until you find something may become obsolete. There is a BBC documentary about her images in an area of Saqqara (Sakkara) entitled Egypt's Lost Cities, which will be shown at some point on Discovery. . Egyptian authorities dug where the images where and found exactly what Dr. Parcakis thought was there. Officials have now embraced use of satellite images. How cool is that?

The delicate act of balancing with China/ tornados

Today's BBCNews notes that US Defense Secretary Gates noted the US is not trying to keep China down and recognized it as a past and current world power after China in connection with US arms sales to Taiwan and talks between the US and China. How do we balance that with Google noting cyberattacks came from China? The Chinese gov't has rejected this statement. Apparently Chinese activists were also targeted. No surprise there. So here we are discussing military sales and cyberattacks both with China. I almost pity the officials and staff involved. How do you stop cyberattacks and not undermine decent relationships in trade and peace? I am curious as to how this will play out. Someone in China is after our secrets to compete with us. Isn't that spying and thievery?

On another note, I hope the New England archivists I met in RI came through the tornado damage alright. What a mess! I have not heard of damage to archives from any of the tornados that hit the south or NE. If any…

China cyberattacks on US government and industry

I saw an interview on tv recently in which the person interviewed stated that China had been using cyberattacks on U.S. government offices, the armed forces, and major businesses to get secrets, patented information, and espionage information. He said that virtually every unit of importance had been hit. He stated that the Chinese governments and individuals were behind the attacks. Unfortunately, I caught this in passing and cannot tell you who he was or what station I was watching. Today there are a number of articles that support this in CNN news. CNN reports that the Pentagon is developing a cyberattack strategy response using anything including military force. The White House released a cyberattack response plan in May 2011 which also is willing to use all means, including military, as needed, to defend our Nation and interests. In another CNN article today, Lockheed Martin admitted they detected a "significant" attack on its information system on May 21. They said a qu…