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Ben East papers, 1935-1980

13 linear feet

Ben East was a prominent Michigan outdoorsman and outdoor writer. The bulk of his career was spent as a writer and editor for Outdoor Life, a nationally distributed outdoors magazine. Additionally, he wrote for a number of Michigan-based newspapers and publications, and was a prominent Michigan conservationist.

The Ben East papers contain material dating from as early as 1935 and spanning the next 45 years of his career as an outdoorsman, writer, and conservationist with the bulk of the materials focusing on his career as an outdoor writer and editor. The collection is divided into five series: Editorial Copy, Personal Papers, Photographs, Publications, and Topical Files.


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.


Corydon E. Fuller journals, 1856-1859

416 pages (2 volumes)

Corydon Fuller's journals document the travels of a young bookseller (from the Northern Midwest) in Arkansas, bordering areas in Louisiana, and in Mississippi in the years preceding the Civil War.

Corydon Fuller's intriguing journals (marked "Vol. 6th" and "Vol. 7") follow the path of the young itinerant bookseller in a fascinating series of situations and places. A college graduate, Fuller wrote both well and copiously, recording the events and his impressions with impressive clarity and depth.

As a man prone to some reflection on the political and social issues of his day, Fuller's journals are a valuable resource for study of the hardening sectional lines in the Trans-Mississippi South. By 1857, Fuller believed that an impasse had been reached, reflected both in his reporting of adamant Southern views on slavery and states' rights, and in his own hot-tempered opinions on moral right versus wrong.


Gerald T. and Charlotte B. Maxson Printed Ephemera Collection, ca. 1750s-1999 (majority within 1850s-1900)

approximately 5,000+ items in 23 volumes

The Gerald T. and Charlotte B. Maxson printed ephemera collection contains over 5,000 pieces of assorted ephemera, the majority of which were commercially printed in the United States during the mid to late 19th-century.

The Gerald T. and Charlotte B. Maxson printed ephemera collection contains over 5,000 pieces of assorted ephemera, the majority of which were commercially printed in the United States during the mid to late 19th-century.

The Maxson collection provides a valuable resource for the study of 19th-century visual culture, commercial advertising, and humor in addition to the role of gender, ethnicity, and race in advertising. American businesses are the predominant focus of the collection, though many international businesses are also represented. While trade cards are by far the most prevalent type of ephemera found in this collection, an extensive array of genres are present including die cut scrapbook pieces, photographs, engravings, maps, serials, and manuscript materials.

The 23 binders that house the Maxson collection were arranged by the collectors themselves. Items are organized somewhat randomly in terms of topical arrangement. While pockets of related materials can be found here and there (for instance, the entirety of Volume 16 contains circus-related items while Volume 11 contains an extensive number of Shaker-related materials), for the most part any given subject may appear in any given volume. In some cases, items are clustered as a result of having been acquired together or due to a documented common provenance. Occasional typed annotations written by the Maxsons help provide additional context for certain items.

The Maxson Collection Subject Index serves as a volume-level subject index for materials found throughout the binders. The subjects indexed here are generally representative of both visual and commercial content. In addition to more general subjects, many names of specific people, places, buildings, events, and organizations that appear in the materials have also been listed. Researchers engaging with this collection should be aware that they will encounter numerous examples of racist caricatures, especially ones depicting African American, Native American, Irish, and Chinese people.


Harry A. Towsley papers, 1876-1990

9.0 linear feet — 1 oversize folder — 73 film reels — 26.25 GB

Pediatrician, professor and philanthropist, joined University of Michigan Dept. of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases in 1934, and served with the 298th General Hospital Unit during World War II. Papers include medical school lecture notes, class of 1931 files, medical research files; correspondence, histories, photographs and motion pictures relating to the 298th General Hospital Unit, family history materials including Frank A. Towsley's diary, 1876, and family correspondence, 1878-1926 and photographs.

The papers of Harry A. Towsley provide a broad overview of the many facets of his career, including his medical education at the University of Michigan, his service with the 298th General Hospital during World War II, and his professional career as a pediatrician and educator. The collection is arranged in eleven series as follows: Biographical Material; Correspondence; Family History; Foundation Relations Committee Files; General Files; Iodine and Goiter Research; Pediatric Files; Student Notes; Reunion Files; 298th General Hospital Records; and Films.


Hiram B. Crosby journal, 1872

1 volume

This journal reflects the experiences of Hiram B. Crosby, a New York City lawyer, during his trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the fall of 1872. As part of a prospecting party, Crosby analyzed the potential for iron mines near Iron Mountain, Michigan. He recorded his impressions of local scenery, commented on his daily activities, and described the area's Native American settlements and peoples. The volume contains 24 pen and ink drawings.

This 127-page journal reflects the experiences of Hiram B. Crosby, a New York City lawyer, during his trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the fall of 1872. As part of a prospecting party, Crosby analyzed the potential for iron mines near Iron Mountain, Michigan. Crosby began the journal on September 26, 1872, as he left New York City, traveling by railroad to Menominee, Michigan, via Sandusky, Ohio, and Chicago, Illinois. While in Ohio, he visited Jay Cooke on Lake Erie's Gibraltar Island (September 30, 1872), and pasted a pressed flower from the island onto the journal's first page.

After his arrival in Menominee, Crosby joined the members of his party and together they started out for Iron Mountain, where they planned to inspect specific areas for iron mining potential. In daily journal entries, Crosby recorded details of the group's travels along the Sturgeon and Menominee Rivers, particularly regarding local scenery and people. A few days into the trip, he fell from his horse while attempting to shoot a partridge, and suffered a fractured wrist (October 4, 1872); despite his injury, the trip proceeded smoothly, aided by the expertise of local Native Americans the group hired to make camp and guide the mining party. Crosby and the others frequently traveled by canoe, and he often described the guides and local Native American settlements, particularly at "Bad Water," near Iron Mountain.

On October 10, 1872, the explorers reached Iron Mountain and proceeded to examine the area. They set out again for Menominee shortly thereafter, and reached the town on October 15. There, Crosby inquired about the prices of shipping iron ore to Cleveland by boat (October 16). From Menominee, Crosby traveled to Escanaba, Marquette, and Houghton, Michigan, before heading to Detroit, which he described in several entries in late October. Crosby wrote the final entry in Detroit on October 26, 1872.

Three items are inserted into a flap in the front cover of the journal: 2 assurance tickets for Hiram B. Crosby from the Railway Passengers Assurance Company (November 14, 1872) and an advertising card for the Douglass House in Houghton, Michigan. A printed view of Marquette, Michigan, is pasted onto page 108 of the journal.

The journal also includes 24 pencil and ink drawings depicting scenes from Crosby's travels in the Upper Peninsula. See the Additional Descriptive Data section of this finding aid for an index of the illustrations.


James Oliver Curwood papers, 1897-1927

14 microfilms — 9 boxes — 1 oversize volume — 1 oversize folder (UAm)

Michigan based author of adventure stories set in Alaska and Canada, screen writer and motion picture executive, and conservationist, a founding member of Izaak Walton League and member of Michigan Conservation Commission. Papers documenting his literary, film and conservation activities include manuscripts of books, screenplays and other writing and correspondence and photographs.

The James Oliver Curwood papers include correspondence, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, manuscripts of publications, copies of books, and miscellanea; include material concerning his literary activities, the writing and production of motion pictures, his promotion of conservation causes, especially forest fire prevention, deer herd management, and the campaign against water pollution, and his work with the Conservation Commission, particularly his disputes with the Michigan Department of Conservation, Governor Alexander J. Groesbeck, and state director of conservation, John Baird; also copies of correspondence collected by Ivan Conger.

Photographs include pictures taken on hunting and fishing trips to British Columbia, the Canadian Northwest, and other areas of Canada; portraits; and photos of the Saginaw River (Michigan), and of pollution caused by the Michigan Sugar Company; also one film (two videotape copies), including scenes from God's Country and the Law.


John D. Bagley photograph albums, 1903-ca. 1920

3 volumes containing approximately 1280 photographs

The John D. Bagley photograph albums consist of three photograph albums created by John DuCharme Bagley IV of the Bagley family of Detroit, Michigan.

The John D. Bagley photograph albums consist of three photograph albums belonging to John DuCharme Bagley IV of the Bagley family of Detroit, Michigan.

The photograph albums document the life of John DuCharme Bagley IV over a period of twenty years or so. Bagley IV was clearly an enthusiastic amateur photographer who enjoyed documenting his family and friends. The photos in all three albums are snapshot-sized and mostly taken outdoors. While the earliest album (Volume I) is extensively captioned, the other two are not.

Volume 1:

The first volume (14 x 30 cm) includes images taken between 1903 and 1905, including numerous photographs taken during a Bagley family trip to Europe. Bagley IV was a teenager at the time. Identified family members documented in this album include his older sister Frances, younger brother Phil, parents John N. and Esther, and an “Aunt Frankie” who was likely Esther’s sister. This trip appears to have lasted several months, perhaps the better part of an entire year. Locations visited included the German Alps, Naples, Rome, Pompeii, Lake Lucerne, Amsterdam, and London. The family’s return to New York by steamship is also represented. The remainder of this album documents experiences on Woodcote Farm in Ionia, Michigan, as well as family life in Detroit and outdoor summer activities at Long Lake in Grand Traverse County, Michigan.

Volume 2:

The second volume (20.5 x 30.5 cm) contains material compiled during World War I and afterwards. Views of the U.S. Naval Academy and of Washington D.C. are included, and Bagley IV is shown in many images wearing a naval uniform. Several warships (including what appears to be the USS Pennsylvania, commissioned in 1916) are pictured from afar throughout the album. One series of snapshots shows an Armistice celebration taking place at an unidentified location. Several pages showcase scenic views taken during a train journey through an unidentified mountainous region. The bulk of the remaining pictures in this album consist of portraits of family and friends posing informally in urban, domestic, and rural settings. Bagley IV appears regularly, usually in a business suit, and in a couple of cases he can be seen standing next to a Bagley & Co. company vehicle. Also present is a large loose photo that shows John J. Bagley’s birthplace in Medina, New York, which was photographed in 1895.

Volume 3:

The third volume (20.5 x 30.5 cm) contains numerous photographs taken during visits to New Mexico and Colorado in 1908 as well as Oregon in 1909. Images in the New Mexico section highlight operations and personnel of the Maxwell Irrigated Land Company. Bagley IV’s younger brother Phil may have been involved with this company. While it is not entirely clear which photos were taken in Colorado, numerous images of logging operations and logging camps were most likely taken in Oregon. Also present are personal photos showing Bagley IV and his wife Mary visiting forests and beaches. The final section of the album includes photos of Bagley IV in a navy uniform and views of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.


John Love papers, 1840-1853

28 items (0.25 linear feet)

The Love papers contain 27 letters and one journal relating to John Love or his wife, Mary, which relate information on two areas of interest: the study of the military presence in the West during the 1840s and of courtship, marriage, and male-female relationships.

The Love papers contain 27 letters and one journal relating to John Love or his wife, Mary, all written between 1840 and 1853. This very incomplete collection contains information on two areas of interest, the study of the military presence in the west during the 1840s and of courtship, marriage, and male-female relationships.

One of the highlights of the collection is Love's journal of an 1843 expedition of the 1st Dragoons from Fort Leavenworth along the Santa Fe Trail. Written as a running, daily narrative of events, the journal provides excellent insight into the mentality of a well-educated eastern soldier along the frontier of the 1840s, and how his preconceptions for what he would see on the prairies of Kansas were met with "reality." On this trip, his first in the west, Love describes encounters with crowds of emigrants bound for Oregon, with traders, wild animals, and mountain men, and he paid close attention to the landscape throughout. Always in the back of his mind were Indians. The journal ends with a description of the long-awaited sighting of a herd of buffalo, only to find that the herd was being hunted by Indians. Love was cautious, fearing that he had run into a band of Comanches, but discovered they were Kansas and not hostile. It appears that the journal is incomplete and either because Love was unable to continue writing it, or because the remainder has been lost. It ceases while the Dragoons are still in central Kansas, moving southward to Santa Fe.

Among the correspondence is a letter from fellow West Pointer, Edgar Gaither (1840 May 6), that includes a fine account of the hardships of an expedition to the newly established Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, "the object of which was to produce that peace so much need as apparently so little desired by the nation." Gaither surprised himself by the degree of "culture" among the Cherokee: "There is a great deal of polished society in the Cherokee natives as different from all conception I had ever formed of the Indian character as black from white, and the baleful spirit of party intrigue & unfriend brings I hope will by soon banished from the nation."

Two letters from fellow West Pointer William T.H. Brooks, a Lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Infantry and future Maj.Gen. in the Civil War, include information on military activities in southern Texas during the Mexican War. In the first of these (1845 September 12-15), Brooks describes the aftermath of a steamboat boiler explosion caused by the negligence of captain and crew, in which several soldiers were killed, including West Point friends of Brooks and Love. Although Brooks had said that southern Texas had nothing to recommend it but the climate, and although he complained about the unlikelihood of seeing Mexican soldiers, his second letter (1846 May 15) includes a stirring first-hand account of the Battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma.

Finally, one letter from Mary Love to her mother, Mary Smith (1850 August 21) includes an interesting account of the arrival of Chippewa and Sioux Indians for a conference at Fort Snelling. Love was fascinated with the psychological gamesmanship of both tribes, for instance the boisterous arrival of the Chippewa with guns blazing in the air to frighten the Sioux and their rowdy talk upon dismounting.

The letters on courtship, love and marriage were written by several friends of Mary Love during the early stages of her relationship with John. Mary appears to have been considered quite a belle, and was courted seriously by both John and a rival, Joe, as well as by a young Lew Wallace (later Major General and author of Ben Hur). All of these letters suggest the intensity of interest surrounding courtship, but also helps to flesh out ideas of propriety and impropriety in courtship. Most interesting of all, however, are the two letters of Mary Linton, who represents a less-well known side of male-female relationships during this period, female refusal. Linton claims that she cannot feel love: "were you in my place you would go right to work to winning his affections instead of concealing those points of character which would make a gentleman apt to fall in love with a fairy. But I am a strange creature Mary, I am not at all susceptible" (1849 c. August 29). She continued, "As yet I cannot discover the faintest trace of love, & more, I am proof to the shafts of Cupid. My heart has become solid & insensible" (1849 September 24). Yet at the same time, Mary writes on and on through closely-written, cross-hatched pages about love, a failed engagement, and marriage.


Litchfield-Stryker family photograph album, 1878-1886

1 volume

The Litchfield-Stryker family photograph album contains pictures of Edwin C. Litchfield's "Grace Hill" residence in Brooklyn, New York; pictures of buildings and scenes in New York State, Florida, the Caribbean, and Bermuda; portraits and views of the property of members of the Litchfield, Stryker, and Hubbard families; and pictures taken camping and hunting. This album belonged to Thomas H. Stryker of Rome, New York, a nephew of Edwin C. Litchfield.

The Litchfield-Stryker family photograph album (34cm x 27cm) contains 52 carefully composed photographs, including 1 cyanotype and 51 albumen prints. The album belonged to Thomas H. Stryker of Rome, New York. Stryker was a nephew of Edwin C. Litchfield whose home, designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, is featured in the album. Primarily dated 1878, the album also includes photographs dated 1879; April 11, 1884; and February 1886.

The first page displays portraits posed outdoors at "Grace Hill" of Edward H. and Grace D. Litchfield; Thomas H. Stryker with two women; and an unidentified woman alone. Grace Litchfield appears wearing a fez and holding a small stringed musical instrument, possibly a machete; Edward Litchfield is shown twice, once posed in a military uniform, once seated in civilian dress. The album features "Grace Hill" and other homes with six exterior views of the large, Gothic Revival residence in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York (4 items), a view across "Grace Court" from a second home owned by Litchfield in Brooklyn Heights (1 item), and a stable that Litchfield owned in Brooklyn (1 item). A group of 13 pictures relate to hunting trips by Tom Stryker and Ned Litchfield showing scenic forests, lakes, and pictures of their lean-to, possibly in the Adirondack region. One image shows the two men posed and equipped for winter hunting with snow shoes. Two of three pictures labeled "Virginia" appear to show a drilling or mining operation.

The album contains 15 pictures of scenery, people, and buildings in Saint Croix, Bermuda, and in Florida, including "Hubbard's orange grove, Crescent City." Also shown are photographs of John Stryker's residence in Rome, New York (2 items), "Cooper House" in Cooperstown, New York (1 item), "Hubbard Hall" in Utica, New York, (one exterior view and one interior view showing a grandfather clock), and unidentified scenes and buildings (2 items). "Dash No. 1," a pet dog, is posed in two photographs with hunting gear including pistols, rifles, and snowshoes. An image of a brass plate honoring Reverend Bella Hubbard (1739-1812), first rector of Trinity Church in New Haven, Connecticut, is pasted onto the volume's final page.

Of particular note are the exterior views of the impressive "Grace Hill" property, the early camping and hunting photographs, the view of the "Cooper House" hotel and grounds with well-dressed figures in the foreground; street scenes in Santa Cruz; a fine print of the waterfront in Bermuda; and the pictures of Florida orange production. The Virginia drilling/mining photos may be of importance if identified.