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Institute of Gerontology (University of Michigan) Records, 1948-1987

28 linear feet — 1.7 GB (online)

Interdisciplinary institute at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University for the study of aging. Records include administrative files relating to the activities, research, publications and conferences of the Institute's University of Michigan program; audio-visual material, and photographs.

The records of the Institute of Gerontology cover the period 1948 to 1987. They are composed of the office files of several staff members at the University of Michigan. (Not included are the records of that part of the IoG housed at Wayne State University.) Included are the scattered files of four of the institute's co-directors, the chairman of the Executive Board, the editor of the Occasional Papers series, the annual conference coordinators, and the directors of certain projects. Also included are correspondence and memos, financial information, grant proposals and reports, minutes, and printed matter. The programs for the Annual Conferences on Aging provide a "who's who" for many of the individuals represented in the collection.

The records provide an overview of the activities, policies, and personnel of the IoG from its inception. Some substantive and seminal memos and reports exist which throw light on the development of programs and on the value of certain projects. Most of the documents are routine, however, and serve primarily to introduce the researcher to the various units and activities of the institute. For details and insights into particular aspects of the IoG, the researcher should consult the separate collections of the various co-directors, directors of research, and project directors, as well as the institute's publications.


John G. Claybourn Papers, 1908-1966

5.5 linear feet (in 7 boxes) — 1 oversize folder

Civil engineer, consultant on marine development and dredging, and superintendent of the dredging division of the Panama canal. Topical files relating to the maintenance and development of the Panama Canal and dredging problems in Burma, Colombia, and other Latin American countries; scrapbook relating to the Spanish-American War; and photographs.

The collection documents the professional life of John G. Claybourn, superintendent of the Dredging Division of the Panama Canal from 1921 to 1948 and a consultant on matters of river and harbor improvement. In addition to the Panama Canal, the collection illustrates the role of the United States in infrastructure development in the Third World.

The papers include materials created and collected by Claybourn in his work on the Panama Canal, materials relating to personal business activities away from his primary work, materials relating to consulting jobs and to Claybourn's activities in professional engineering societies, and personal correspondence, much of it with some business connection.

The collection is not clearly divided by topic: papers relating to a particular topic may be divided among topical files, files arranged by correspondent or company, and the general personal correspondence file. Some of the topics of interest include the following:

Burma: The papers document Claybourn's consulting work in the early 1950s, on contract with the U.S. government, to rebuild commerce on the Irrawaddy River destroyed during World War II and to develop the Dalla Dockyards near Rangoon.

Claybourn, Elsie Greiser: A scrapbook documents her activities as a long-distance swimmer and canoeist. Her retirement years are described in detail in the personal correspondence file.

Claybourn, Leslie W.: Claybourn's correspondence with his brother, an inventor and printing industry executive, provides some documentation of the development of that industry.

Colombia: In the 1920s Claybourn was involved in the development of the Dique de Cartagena, a ship canal serving that city. The papers document his relations with the Colombian government.

Florida: Claybourn was a consultant in the early 1930s for a projected canal across Florida. The collection includes surveys and other papers relating to this project.

Panama Canal: The papers reflect both Claybourn's work on the Canal and his interest in the history of its construction. Most papers on this topic have been drawn together in processing, but many are found under the names of correspondents and in the general correspondence file. The topics documented in the greatest detail are maintenance of the canal, especially clearing of landslides, and planning for additional locks and later for a sea-level canal. Information about dredges used on the canal is also included. A collection of photographs, most of them from official sources, parallels these strengths.

The papers also document Claybourn's moonlighting on private dredging operations during the 1920s. This material is found under the names of companies and projects.

Retirement: Claybourn's retirement years were spent in Ann Arbor. The personal correspondence describes in great detail his and his wife's retirement activities.

Rumania: Correspondence with Bill Arthur includes a copy of Arthur's diary of events during a 1940 rebellion in that country.

World War II: In addition to the Rumanian material described above, the collection contains much relating to defensive activities on the Panama Canal. The Burma project described above includes information about war damage to transportation in that country.

Other consulting activities: Consulting projects in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Venezuela are documented less fully than those described above.


Louis Kuplan sound recordings, 1970-1978

142 audiotapes (in 4 boxes; reel-to-reel tapes)

Lecturer and consultant on aging, retirement planning, and related topics. Sound recordings of San Francisco television program, "A gift of time," that Kuplan produced and hosted.

The Kuplan collection consists of sound recordings of his television program "A Gift of Time." The collection has been arranged chronologically, dating from 1970 to 1978. The tapes are all 7 in. reel-to-reel and play at 7 1/2 ips. The topics of the programs relate to concerns of the elderly. Guests on the program included important experts in the field of gerontology.


Michigan Bell Telephone Company Photographs, 1949-1983

63 linear feet (in 93 boxes)

Photographs (positive and negative), slides, and transparencies taken by the company's photographers to document company activities, products, services, employees at work and at leisure, company exhibits and commemorations, and the response of the company to natural disasters and civil disturbances.

In 1993, Michigan Bell as a corporate entity was subsumed within the Ameritech Corporation. As a by-product of this reorganization and the downsizing resulting from it, the company agreed to deposit with the Bentley Historical Library its extensive archive of photographic images. Totalling approximately one million images, the Michigan Bell Telephone Company photo archive consists of negatives, copy prints, and color transparencies taken in the period since World War II (the bulk beginning in 1949). The collection does not include photos taken since 1983; interspersed throughout, however, are numerous images from before 1949.

The collection has been maintained in the order received with two principal series: Positives and Negatives.

The content of the photographs in the two series varies considerably. Naturally the collection documents the products of the company (phones and other communication devices) and the services provided (e.g. employees at work or the company reacting to a specific customer need). These photos were taken both to inform the general public as accompaniment to press notices and advertising copy and as a communications vehicle within the company, informing employees through the company news publication, Tielines, of activities going on in other divisions of the company or among the various regional Bell offices.

More importantly perhaps, the collection has value for its documentation of events and activities that are common to all large companies. These include images relating to: 1. The activities of employees within the corporation at their work (office workers, repairmen, operators, various support personnel, managers, etc.); 2. The activities of employees outside their work routine as members of corporate social groups (i.e., the company baseball or ice hockey team), at home engaged in leisure time activities, or involved in company-sponsored charitable or public service functions; and 3. Commemorations of specific milestones or events (company parade floats, area office open houses, corporate displays at public events such as fairs, etc.).

In addition, the collection documents the extraordinary and unforeseen as the phone company reacts to events and emergencies not within its control (floods, tornadoes, fires, the 1967 Detroit riot, strikes, and the like) or as a participant in history-making events (the announcement in Ann Arbor of the success of the Salk polio vaccine or the preparation involved in the 1980 Republican National Convention that convened in Detroit).


Woodrow W. Hunter Papers, 1947-1979

10 linear feet

Professor of education, and research associate and co-director of the Institute of Gerontology of the University of Michigan. Correspondence, subject files, photographs, audio-tapes, etc., relating to his professional activities, notably his interest in gerontology and pre-retirement training.

The papers of Woodrow W. Hunter consist of ten linear feet of material and cover Hunter's thirty-two years (1947-1979) as a professor of education and researcher at the University of Michigan. Correspondence, manuscripts, course notes, data sheets, and files relating to research and training programs are included. The collection is divided into seven series: Correspondence, Training Activities, Research and Project Files, Organizations, Institute of Gerontology, Manuscripts (Not Hunter), and Other Media. Training Activities and Research and Project Files are arranged chronologically, and all others are arranged alphabetically.