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Charles Conn Michigan Railroad Collection, 1913, 2005, and undated

9 cubic feet (in 13 boxes)

The collection includes 20,000 images, in various formats, of mostly Michigan railroad-related topics, as well as people, scenic views, bays, towns, fires, inside and exterior views, Camp Custer, World War I and II military, and lumber camps.

This is a collection of 41,1056images in various photographic formats, booklets, CDs, and databases of digital images and information. Most of the images were taken or collected by Mr. Conn although some small groupings of images were given to him by other senior railroad enthusiasts over time. The collection is physically organized by format and intellectually by topic. Most of the topics are railroad-related, engines, companies, lines, stations, and others are of people, scenic views, bays, towns, fires, inside and exterior views, Camp Custer, World War I and II military, lumber camps, notably, Day Lumber Company, Emmet Lumber Company, Yuill Brothers Lumber, and some unidentified lumber camps, the Cadillac Handle Company and the Antrim Iron Company.

The first part of the collection includes original images or scans (either positive or negative) that have been made into slides or negatives. This includes 13 boxes of slides (1 slide box), slide negatives and negatives (approximately 5.5 cubic feet in 6 boxes), a few photographs, glass-plate negatives of various sizes (2 cubic feet in 4 boxes), and booklets of reproduced images (approximately .5 cubic foot in 1 box). These materials are organized by format and then by alphabetically by topic. Most of the items are undated. Dates noted by the photographers are 1913-1914, 1916, and 1918. A few miscellaneous items, possibly related to the photographers have been retained in the collection (see Box 12, Photograph, 1918, and Letter, 1916.)

While most of the collection is in very good condition, a number of the slides suffer from peeling emulsions and cracks, as well as other damage, which are noted on each individual negative’s sleeve. Also, because of the damage the glass-plate negatives sustained, not all of them were scanned.

The second part of the collection includes databases of the digitized images and identifying information about the images. A copy of the database called Michigan Railroad.accdb is divided into Conn and Conn Neg, and a copy of the TIFF files, called MichiganRailroad, which is organized by subject, are both available in the Clarke reading room (as of October 2012) as well as on the archivist’s office computer. The TIFF files are organized by general subjects so the link between the two databases is not always obvious to a non-railroad enthusiast. Mr. Conn reused identifying numbers, so everything related to one location has the same number, which may mean multiple railroads in one city. There is also a hard drive for preservation purposes.

Processing Note: Only a few extremely badly damaged glass-plate negatives were withdrawn with Mr. Conn’s permission from the collection.


Charles Conn Michigan Railroad Collection Negatives, undated

3 cubic feet (in 3 boxes)

Charles Conn Michigan Railroad Collection Negatives includes negatives of Michigan railroads and other Michigan-related topics, as well as people, scenic views, and buildings in Michigan.

This collection, 3 cubic feet (in 3 boxes), undated, is the 2018 addition to Charles Conn’s Michigan Railroad Collection. As far as we know this material has not been digitized and therefore is not part of the Charles Conn Michigan Railroad Database. Box 1 of the collection includes negative pages with one page or more of a specific Michigan city or county with image subjects such as buildings, businesses, people, and scenic views. Box 2 is a continuation of city and county negatives, with multiple locations in each page of negatives. At the end of Box 2 begins negatives categorized by specific railways in Michigan. Lastly, Box 3 includes miscellaneous railroad negatives, logging negatives, and unidentified negatives of people and buildings. Two folders of interest are glass-plate negatives (2), undated, of a blacksmith and equipment on a flatbed car, and Railroad index, undated, which appears to index items in Conn’s other collection. The collection is organized alphabetically and by topic. It is housed mostly in the original negative sleeves provided by Conn.


Charles Conn Slide collection, 2002, and undated

1 cubic foot (in 1 box)

The collection includes 3,100 black and white and colored slides of Michigan railroad companies, vehicles, tracks, wrecks, depots, workers, and Michigan towns.

The slide collection includes approximately 3,100 mostly black and white, but with some colored 35 mm slides of Michigan railroad companies, their cars, engines, tracks, wrecks, depots, workers; Michigan towns on railroad lines, and the people, organizations, events, and buildings in them; logging camps, their crews, trains, kitchens, big wheels, and river jams; ships and boats; special trains and train cars; and miscellaneous. Towns well documented in the collection include: Charlevoix, Deward, Ellsworth, Flint, Gaylord, Honor, Midland, Petoskey, and Traverse City, Michigan. Lumber companies well documented in the collection include: Stephan’s Lumber Company, Waters, Michigan, and Yuill Bros. Lumber Company, Vanderbilt (Mich.). Two negatives of an unidentified railroad depot and an inventory to the slides completes the collection.

Michigan is abbreviated “Mich.” in the box and folder listing.


David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, ca. 1845-1980

Approximately 113,000 photographs and 96 volumes

The David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography consists of over 100,000 images in a variety of formats including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes de visite, cabinet photographs, real photo postcards, stereographs, and mounted and unmounted paper prints. The collection is primarily made up of vernacular photographs of everyday life in Michigan taken by both professional and amateur photographers from the 1840s into the mid-twentieth century. In addition to supporting local history research, the collection has resources for the study of specific events and subjects. Included are images related to lumbering, mining, suburbanization; the industrialization of cities; travel and transportation; the impact of the automobile; the rise of middle-class leisure society; fashion and dress; ethnicity and race; the role of fraternal organizations in society; and the participation of photographers in business, domestic, and social life. The collection is only partially open for research.

The subject contents of different photographic format series within the Tinder collection vary, depending in part upon how each format was historically used, and the date range of that format's popularity. For example, cartes de visite and cased images are most often formal studio portraits, while stereographs are likely to be outdoor views. Cabinet photographs are frequently portraits, but often composed with less formality than the cartes de visite and cased images. The postcards and the mounted prints contain very diverse subjects. The photographers' file contains many important and rare images of photographers, their galleries, promotional images, and the activities of photographers in the field. See individual series descriptions in the Contents List below for more specific details.

Included throughout are images by both professional and amateur photographers, although those by professionals are extant in far greater numbers.


Ionia County (Mich.) glass-plate negatives, 1907,1913, and undated

.5 cubic feet (in 1 box)

Collection includes 45 glass-plate negatives of people, log cabins, maple syrup gathering, bicycles, horses and buggies, saws, steam engines, and Pierce School, 1907,1913, and undated, of Ionia County, Michigan, and a positive glass slide of Gaylord, Michigan, undated.

The collection includes 45 glass-plate negatives measuring approximately 4.5 inches by 5 inches each of Ionia County, Michigan, people, log cabins, maple sugar gathering, bicycles, horses and buggies, saws, steam engines, and Pierce School, 1907, 1913, and undated. Also included is one positive glass slide, measuring 3 inches by 4 inches, manufactured by Moore, Bond and Co., Chicago, with the caption of "Henry Goslow and his mill, Gaylord, Mich.," undated. People documented in the negatives include: D. C. Minturn, Joe Bliss, Wm. C. Petrie, and H. S., George, and Irene Sargent. There is one folder of biographical information from census records of the people in the negatives. The identity of the creator of the collection is unknown.

Most of the people named in the collection lived in Orange or Sebewa townships of Ionia County, Michigan.Pierce School was located in Orange Township.


Michigan Miscellaneous Photographic Collection, 1904, 1972, and undated

2.75 cubic feet (in 6 boxes)

The collection consists of various photographic materials documenting a variety of Michigan locations, buildings, topics, and people.

The collection consists mostly of glass-plate and black and white film negatives of varying sizes, as well as some matching or related black and white photographs of varying size. There are also slides (4) and color photographs (9). The collection is organized into film negatives, glass-plate negatives, and negatives of Will B. Gregg. Each subseries is then organized alphabetically by topic. Most of the collection is undated, but some are dated 1904-1905, [1920s], 1927-1928, and 1972.

Major topics documented in the collection include the vacation resort communities on Sager’s Resort on Burt Lake; Bryant’s Hotel on Douglas Lake; Torch Lake Camp or Hayo-Went-Ha YMCA camp for boys, 1927-1928; and boat racing in Oden, Michigan [1920s]. Also included are the buildings, nature, people and animals of Boyne City, Charlevoix, Horton Bay, Pickerel Lake, Rosedale, Petoskey, Walloon Lake, as well as tourist sites on Mackinac Island. While a number of prominent people’s homes in Rosedale and Ellis Real Estate advertisements in Rosedale, and cottages at Pickerel Lake are identified, the majority of buildings and people in the collection are not.

People were photographed in both individual portraits and groups, doing a variety of functions including: enjoying picnics, social gatherings, fishing, hunting, driving horse-drawn buggies, sleds, and wagons, playing with pets, having fun, boating, racing boats, and posing with their families. They are also shown working on farms and in the logging business. Other topics documented include various boats, a town, possibly Onaway, a church, numerous houses, a boat livery station, vacation cottages, and some downtown stores, farms, fields, clouds, nature scenes of lakes, rivers, lakeshores, docks, forests, bridges, and piles of lumber. Horses appear in many of the images, as do dogs and cows, but dogs are also featured alone in two portraits.

The Logging, (7), People (7), and Walloon Lake, Michigan (6) Glass-plate Negatives which each measure 6.5x8.5 inches, undated, almost all have two images per plate. Otherwise each negative in the collections is of a single image.

There are also color photographs (9) and slides (4), 1972, generally related to Ernest Hemingway’s life in Horton Bay including images of buildings, a historic plaque, and some photographs of Ernest Hemingway’s family in 1915 photographed from books on Hemingway. For information on Ernest Hemingway see the finding aid for his collection.

The last box includes one folder of prints of images scanned from damaged glass-plate negatives, cellulose nitrate negatives, and a badly crinkled film. The best scan possible was made. The CD has been included with the prints.

Processing Note: Obvious duplicate images were withdrawn from the collection. A number of plates with what appeared to be dried muck and/or mold, plates with severe emulsion damage, and four neon yellow glass-plate negatives, as well as nitrate film negatives and positives on transparent film were scanned and the originals removed from the collection. The scans were added to the collection in order to protect the health of researchers and the chemical stability of the collection.


Stinchfield family papers, 1837-1999

6.25 linear feet

The Stinchfield family papers contain the correspondence, business records, financial and legal documents, photographs, and genealogical papers of the Stinchfield family, founders of a successful lumber business in Michigan in the mid-19th century. The collection also includes materials related to social and family events in Grosse Pointe and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, through the mid-20th century.

The Stinchfield family papers consist of the correspondence, business records, financial and legal documents, photographs, and genealogical papers of Jacob W. Stinchfield, his wife Maria Hammond Stinchfield, and their descendants. The collection's correspondence and documents are organized by generation, reflecting their original order. The earliest items in the collection (Generation I series) include real estate transactions involving Jacob Stinchfield of Lincoln, Maine, dating from 1837. Beginning in the 1860s, after the family’s move to Michigan, the records include correspondence, accounts, and other financial records relating to the lumber business, begun by Jacob and continued by his son Charles Stinchfield. The materials provide information respecting the management of men in lumber camps, logging in winter weather conditions, methods of transportation, the challenges of rafting logs downriver, and other lumber business operations in volatile market conditions. Jacob and Charles Stinchfield’s partner, and frequent correspondent, was David Whitney, Jr., a wealthy Detroit businessman.

The Stinchfields expanded their company to include railroads (to facilitate their logging operations) and mineral mines. Many documents in the Generation II series, including manuscript and printed maps, concern land development in Michigan, where the family owned a farm in Bloomfield Hills, and in the West, especially Wyoming. The family traveled extensively and corresponded about their experiences in Europe, Asia, and the western United States. The Civil War is represented with small but significant holdings -- among them, a September 21, 1864, note written and signed by President Abraham Lincoln, requesting a fair hearing for a furlough (probably for George Stinchfield), and a February 14, 1863, letter from Vice President Hannibal Hamlin to Jacob W. Stinchfield, assuring him that George McClellan would not be ordered back to the command of the army.

The collection's twentieth-century materials (Generation III and Generation IV series) consist largely of the personal correspondence of Jacob Stinchfield’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The life of Charles Stinchfield, Jr., is well documented, from his schooling at St. John’s Military Institute in Manlius, N.Y., and a brief time at Cornell University, through his roles in the family business, his marriage, and the raising of his three children. Interactions between Charles Stinchfield, Jr., and his father, Charles Stinchfield, a demanding and energetic businessman, are also well represented in the collection. The materials reveal relationships between family members and their servants, and spiritualists' attempts to contact Charles Stinchfield III, who died of appendicitis in 1933 at the age of 15. Later papers provide descriptions of the social life of a wealthy family in the early and mid-20th century, at their residence in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and at their country home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

The Genealogy series, compiled largely by Diane Stinchfield Klingenstein, contains extensive background research on family members, copies of Ira and George Stinchfield’s Civil War records, transcriptions of letters written by Charles Stinchfield on a journey west in 1871 (not otherwise represented in the collection), and a typewritten draft of Diane Klingenstein’s family history, "One bough from a branch of the tree: a Stinchfield variation."

In addition to materials organized by generation, the collection includes photographs, scrapbooks, pastels, realia, and books. Many of the photographs are individual and group portraits (both studio and candid) from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The images include many exterior views of the land and buildings of the family’s country home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Stonycroft Farm, ca. 1910), and of the Stinchfield residence in Grosse Pointe, Michigan (ca. 1940s). Early 20th-century lumber camps and railroads in Oregon and mining camps in Nevada are represented in photographs and photograph albums. The collection contains photos from trips to Japan (ca. 1907), the American West, and Europe. The collection's scrapbooks include newspaper clippings, invitations, and photographs, mainly concerning the life of Diane Klingenstein in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, during the 1930s and 1940s.

The Stinchfield family papers contain three pastel portraits of unknown subjects. The Realia series includes a bone ring likely made by George Stinchfield when he was a prisoner on Belle Isle, Virginia; a ring bearing Ira Stinchfield's name and regiment, in case he died during the Civil War; hospital identification and five baby pins for Diane W. Stinchfield (1925); a variety of additional Stinchfield family jewelry; and several wooden, crotched rafting pins, apparently from Saginaw, Michigan.

The Books series includes a copy of The Pictorial Bible, given to Charles and Mary from Father Fish, June 12, 1879, and a selection of 9 additional publications, which are cataloged individually. A comprehensive list of these books may be found by searching the University's online catalog for "Klingenstein."