Dorothy Hodell Brooks Family Research Collection, 1882-2016

Here;s a blog by Cassie about her work spring term 2017 on a fascinating Michigan collection.

Dorothy Brooks’s collection about the double homicide of Romie and David Hodell in her father’s family, was incredibly detailed and meticulously organized. She delved deep into the genealogy of both sides of her family, the history of the area, the lore of the Dudgeon Swamp, and the tangled mess of court cases and pardons in order to provide a full background of the tragic events that took place in the 1920s. The book that she has written based on her research - A Certain Sadness - also includes poems, songs, and anecdotes which she has personally written or  collected from other family members. 

Oversized Hodell Family history board showing the two murder victims, Grandpa David and Uncle Romie
Almost everything in the collection made logical sense in its original order, so it was left that way. I returned duplicates, peripheral materials, and items that the Clarke already had in its collections to the donor. Everything else - mostly copies of primary sources - was re-foldered in acid-free folders.  A few ephemera were primary sources and were especially interesting: a paybook of her grandfather, David, and a “Book of Life” that belonged to her grandmother, Nina Hodell (the wife of David Hodell). 
The Lynch mob, neighbors and local leaders, who got confessions which led to arrests
A collection like this, which documents the true story of Michigan murders and scandals for future researchers, is very significant. It supplements the history of Newaygo County, in addition to the history of the Hodell family. 

Here's the finished collection. It's been cataloged and the finding aid is completed and will be available online and Google-searchable next month.

on shelf

Oversized materials in map cabinet drawer
Thanks Cassie! You did a wonderful job with this collection.


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