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Charles Adam Weissert papers, 1893-1947

3.3 linear feet (in 4 boxes) — 1 oversize folder

Journalist, historical researcher from Kalamazoo, Michigan; Correspondence, research articles and notes, and photographs.

The Weissert collection includes correspondence, 1893-1947, including letters from Joseph Bailly, Clarence M. Burton, Gurdon S. Hubbard, Chase S. Osborn, Albert E. Sleeper, and George Van Pelt. There are also speeches, and writings mostly on Michigan history topics, including Indian history and the history of Kalamazoo and Barry County. The series of research notes illustrates the variety of Weissert's interests: historical personalities, forts, Michigan cities, and early state history. The photographs and snapshots pertain to Weissert's interest in Michigan history, especially homes, churches, mills, hotels, businesses, and other sites primarily in western Michigan, but also including Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinac Island. There are also photographs of Michigan pioneers, particularly from the Hastings, Michigan area.


Charles M. Ziegler papers, 1928-1959

2 linear feet — 9 oversize volumes — 1 oversize folder

Republican State Highway Commissioner, 1943-1957. Correspondence, scrapbooks and other papers concerning the highway department, Republican politics, and his interest in the Michigan Republican League, the Michigan Indian Foundation, and the construction of the Mackinac Bridge; also photographs.

The collections includes the following series of papers: Correspondence; Campaign and Republican Party Activities; Michigan Highway Department; Topical files and miscellaneous; and Scrapbooks and clippings. Much of the correspondence relates to his first campaign in 1943 for Highway Commissioner.


Children's Fund of Michigan, records, 1929-1965 (majority within 1929-1961)

23 linear feet (in 24 boxes) — 4 oversize volumes — 1 oversize folder

Detroit based philanthropic foundation created by Senator James J. Couzens and administered by William J. Norton to fund organizations in Michigan involved in child health and child guidance; includes administrative records, correspondence, reports of field visits, and topical files.

In the period beginning from the start of the depression and continuing through the mid-1950s, the Children's Fund of Michigan (CFM) was the state's most important private source of funding for programs having to do with children's health and recreational needs. Established just as the depression was beginning, it is impossible to overestimate the contribution made by this organization in such areas as rudimentary child health and dental care, pediatric care, in the establishment of area children's clinics, in its grants to nursing associations and hospitals, in its sponsorship of research in areas pertaining to childhood diseases and ailments, and in the funding and support of such youth-related organizations as the Girls and Boys Scouts, the Green Pastures Camp for Detroit area African American youth, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The organization affected thousands of young lives at a time when help was most needed. The record of its contribution is fully documented through such records as minutes, correspondence, reports from the field, memoranda, and financial records. Topics documented within this collection include the condition of children and young people in mid-Twentieth Century America as the nation went through depression, world war, and the uncertainties of the post-war; the administration of a unique multi-million dollar charitable organization and how it allocated its resources; and, lastly, the activities during a twenty-five year period of the several statewide organizations begun or largely supported with CFM funding.

This record group consists of files from the CFM office in Detroit. The files are of CFM executive director and secretary, William J. Norton, and various other division directors, in particular Maud Watson and John M. Dorsey of the Child Guidance Division and Bernard W. Carey of the Child Health Division. They cover the period of 1929-1954, the twenty-five year life of the Fund, although there are included some papers dating up to the early 1960s. The presence of this later dated material is easily explained. As someone who was involved in social welfare organizations other than CFM, Norton continued to use the files (as he had in the past) for those papers relating to his other philanthropic and charitable organization activities. This filing practice, in addition to the fact that Norton (after 1954) continued to receive and file reports and memoranda from organizations and facilities that had received CFM funding, accounts for post-1954 materials in this record group. Norton was so closely identified with both CFM and the numerous local and state charitable organizations of the time that it is not feasible to divorce the two kinds of records - especially as Norton chose to file them as one. The researcher should note that the library has a separate William J. Norton collection that was received separately from the CFM records and which was most likely maintained in a different location. This Norton collection includes more personal materials not necessarily relating to the Children's Fund.


Claude Thomas Stoner Photographs and Papers, 1870s-1977

9 linear feet (in 13 boxes)

Dexter, Michigan, collector of materials relating to the history of railroading in Michigan. Correspondence, subject files, printed matter and photographs; contain material concerning the Ann Arbor Railroad, the Grand Trunk Western Railroad, the Manistee and Northeastern Railway Company, the Michigan Central Railroad, the Pere Marquette Railroad, and Ephraim Shay.

The Stoner collection contains about 3,600 photographs and negatives collected by Stoner, relating primarily to Michigan railroads. The collection also contains related manuscript materials.

Stoner's major collecting interests were in the Ann Arbor, Grand Trunk Western, and Pere Marquette Railroads and their predecessors, and in logging railroads, especially Ephraim Shay's railroad and others using Shay locomotives. Along with these lines, the collection contains photos of dozens of other railroads, not all in Michigan.

The photographs most commonly depict locomotives, often with their crews posed beside. Other common subjects are railroad stations (exteriors only), train wrecks, trains in motion, logging operations, carferries, railroad bridges, the Detroit-Windsor railroad tunnel, and street railroads.

Dozens of Michigan cities and towns and a number of places in other states are represented in the collection. Places depicted most often in the photos include Ann Arbor, Cadillac, Detroit, Durand, Frankfort, Harbor Springs, and Howell, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario.

The collection is organized into seven series: Classified photos, Unclassified photos, Albums, Unclassified negatives, Papers, Classified negatives, and Duplicate material.

Appended to this finding aid are two indexes, one for railroads and company names, the other for subjects. The indexes contain references to all items in the Classified photos, Unclassified photos, Albums, and Unclassified negatives series.

The index to railroads and company names indexes logging and industrial companies that operated railroads, as well as railroad lines themselves. It does not index locomotive manufacturers, nor does it index the names of railroad museums where some of the photos were taken.

The index to subjects indexes place names and topical subjects. It does not index the term "locomotives" since the majority of the photos in the collection would be indexed under that heading. Place names are indexed if the photo includes a view of some part of the place or of some event at the place. Close-up views of locomotives that do not show any background are not indexed by place, even if the description of the photo identifies where it was taken.


Cleland B. Wyllie papers, 1926-1979

2 linear feet

Director of media relations at the University of Michigan. Correspondence, articles, newsletters, annual reports, newspaper clippings, photographs, memorabilia, and miscellanea concerning trains and the railroad industry; also scrapbooks of Michigan sports.

The collection is arranged into five series: Correspondence; Writings; Railroads; Miscellaneous; and Scrapbooks. Much of the collection relates to Wyllie's great interest in railroad history.


Edward Dreier photographs, 1950s

0.3 linear feet

The Dreier collection consists of photographs and negatives largely of Upper Peninsula views, primarily of the Pictured Rocks near Munising, of Grand Island, Marquette, Tahquamenon Falls, and the Keweenaw Peninsula. Included are photographs of car ferries and ferry docks at Mackinaw City and Saint Ignace.


Emerson R. Smith papers, 1859-1964 (majority within 1956-1962)

3 linear feet

St. Ignace, Michigan local historian; correspondence, genealogical and historical materials concerning Native Americans and the French in and around the Straits of Mackinac, particularly in St. Ignace and on Mackinac Island.

The Emerson R. Smith papers mostly consist of correspondence and reference materials pertaining to the history of the Straits area of Michigan (St. Ignace, Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island).


Frank O. Johnson papers, 1913-1950

1 linear foot

Great Lakes ship captain; correspondence, logbooks, payroll books, and a scrapbook.

The collection includes correspondence, reminiscences, and scrapbook of clippings largely concerning Great Lakes shipping, particularly Johnson's work for the Morton Salt Company. Logbooks, cashbook, and time and payroll books detail the operation of the Steamer Covalt. There are also a few photographs.


G. Donald Kennedy Papers, 1928-1968

6 linear feet (in 7 boxes) — 14 oversize volumes

Civil engineer, served as Michigan state highway commissioner, chairman of the Mackinac Straits Bridge Authority and president of Portland Cement Company. Papers primarily document work with highway commission and Mackinac Straits Bridge Authority.

The papers, 1928-1968, of G. Donald Kennedy document his career in civil engineering, his participation in professional organizations, his activities as a state official, and as a supporter of the Michigan Democratic Party. The collection Includes correspondence, speeches, minutes, reports, articles, clippings, and photographs. The files relate to his work as municipal engineer in Pontiac, Michigan, with the Mackinac Straits Bridge Authority, the American Association of State Highway Officials, the Automotive Safety Foundation, and the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority. The collection also includes papers relating to highway and airport construction, to economic mobilization during World War II, the Willow Run Bomber Plant, state Democratic Party matters, particularly the campaign visits of President Roosevelt to Michigan in 1936.


Gilchrist Family Papers, 1867-1945

7 linear feet

Alpena, Michigan, family; correspondence, letterpress books, financial papers, and other material largely relating to the family's business enterprises in lumbering, sugar manufacturing, ferry and excursion lines, mining, and banking; contain record of business affairs in Alpena, Michigan, and other areas of northern Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, Oregon, and Mississippi; family members represented in the collection include Frank W. Gilchrist and two of his sons, Frank R. and Ralph Gilchrist, also members of a related Fletcher and Potter families.

The Gilchrist Family Papers, which date from 1867 to 1945, reflect the business life of four generations of a prominent Alpena, Michigan family. The lives of four generations of Gilchrists are documented by the collection, but the bulk pertains primarily to Frank W. Gilchrist and his son, Ralph. Included in the collection is an assortment of correspondence, financial statements, inventories, reports, and cost estimates, pertaining to the lumbering, sugar beet, shipping, and mining industries.

The collection contains a considerable amount of material pertaining to Michigan business history, especially in the areas of lumbering, shipping, cement, and mining industries. Among the papers are financial statements, profit and loss records, invoices, lists of timber prices, salary records, blueprints of milling operations, and correspondence. They provide a documentary record of a family-owned business, which, when faced with declining lumber sales in northern Michigan, attempted to diversify its holdings in the real estate, mining, shipping, and sugar beet industries. Some of these endeavors proved successful for the Gilchrists; others did not. The papers record both the family's successes and failures.

Particularly useful for this study are the correspondence and financial statements of Frank W. Gilchrist and the early papers of his son, Ralph. The collection includes records of the Huron Sugar Company, the Alpena Portland Cement Company, and the Gilchrist Transportation Company, all of which failed to produce sufficient profit for the Gilchrists. The lumber and land companies were more successful.

The collection also serves to document the manner in which Ralph Gilchrist, Frank's son, carried the family industries into the 1920s and 1930s, managing to survive the effects of the Great Depression. The collection contains year by year, and in some cases month by month, financial statements, showing Gilchrist assets before, during. and after the stock market crash of October, 1929. The records of Gilchrist & Company Limited, the Detroit Trust Company; and Commonwealth Securities Incorporated are especially valuable for this study.

The Gilchrist Papers are not particularly useful for social history or for information on the family's private life. The collection does contain a travel diary of William H. Potter, dated 1883, in which a journey from Alpena to Detroit is described, but the bulk of the material reflects only the Gilchrists' official business functions. Correspondence usually relates information on stock acquisition, land purchases, lumber sales, and estate liquidation. The Potter papers are perhaps more personal in nature, containing some correspondence between the elder Albert Gilchrist and his daughter Ella, but these letters are few.

The researcher interested in Michigan business history, however, will find the collection useful for the above-named industries. Moreover, the collection also provides evidence for changes that took place from the 19th to 20th centuries within the office itself and the manner in which business was conducted. To some extent the papers reflect how the family reacted to early forms of office automation, as for example complaints that secretaries make too many typographical errors and that it is often easier to write letters by hand.

The collection remains in excellent condition, for the most part, although the letterpress books from the 19th century are faded and nearly illegible.