The collection includes papers, volumes, photographic materials, keys, and blueprints. The focus of the collection is Michigan ferries and the Ann Arbor Railroad Company ferries, but other ferries and boats are also documented, as well as railroads, towns, related topics, and people.
The papers are divided into two main series: Captain Bacon’s personal materials (approximately .5 cubic foot), and Ferries, Ferry-Related Materials (the rest of the collection).
Captain Bacon’s personal materials include mostly correspondence about ferries, shipping, shipping history, his dismissal, Benzie Area Historical Museum, his membership cards, photographs, and legal documents.
The Ferries and Ferry Related Materials include employment agreements and memorandum between company employees and the company, usually the Ann Arbor Railroad Company related to ferries; Ann Arbor Boat Company organizational records, 1916-1958; photographs, blueprints, correspondence, certificates of inspection and enrollment, sales records, reconstruction records, licenses, financial records, casualty records, log books, marine shop time books, keys, specifications for parts, mostly propellers, oil and lubrication books, and other materials documenting numerous ferries including the Ann Arbor No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7, Arthur K. Atkinson (originally Ann Arbor No. 6), Badger, City of Midland 41, City of Green Bay, City of Milwaukee, Viking (originally Ann Arbor No. 7), Wabash (originally City of Green Bay), and the Grand Haven; Ann Arbor Railroad Company organizational records re: trains and ferries, 1895-1992, undated; Benzie Area Historical Museum and Historical Society materials; Correspondence from Superintendents of Steamships; information on various railroads, ship building companies; information on Benzie, Elberta, and Frankfort, Michigan; Information Bacon was going to include or not include in his book; various I.C.C. (Interstate Commerce Commission) dockets, decisions, and applications concerning railroads and car ferries; Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Company materials; related court cases, particularly about abandonment of the ferries or parts of railways; materials documenting Michigan and other railroad reorganization or rationalization plans; various annual reports; newspaper clippings (copies) of many ferries, railroads, and related topics; numerous reports; job information, lists of positions and duties. Other materials document (somewhat) unions, such as BRAC (Brotherhood of Railway and Airline Clerks); administration units, and officers, such as the Association of Maritime Officers.
Besides I.C.C. and railroad plans railroads are also documented in stock certificates, passes, calendars, tariffs, and other materials. Specific railroads well documented in the collection include the Ann Arbor Railroad Company, Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company/ Chessie System, and the Detroit, Toledo, and Ironton Railroad Company. Other railroad companies for which at least one item is found in the collection include: Escanaba and Lake Superior, Grand Truck Western, Green Bay and Minnesota, Manistee and North-East, Manistique and Lake Superior, and Pere Marquette, and Conrail.
Photographic materials includes photographs, negatives, postcards, and slides, and is comprised of three main subgroups, railroads, ships (ferries and other boats, ships), and lumbering. The Ships section is by far the largest portion of photographs focusing mainly on car ferries. Car Ferries across Michigan are featured, notably the: Ann Arbor Car Ferry 1-7, Arthur K. Atkinson, the Badger, Viking, Ludington Car Ferry, Sparta, and several from Wisconsin. The collection is extensive and covers the time period between 1880s to the early 2000s. Many of these images were in acidic photograph albums or scrapbooks from which they were removed. There are also some oversized photographic materials. Slides are found in Box #25. Lumbering is documented solely through photographs, 1899-1915, undated.
Oversized materials include various car ferry records, photographs, some maps showing railroad property and lines, and blueprints (9 Oversized folders), as well as other materials. The blueprints are mainly ferry propellers, shafts, valves, deck arrangements, and other parts. The blueprints are housed in a map cabinet due to their size.
Ferry keys are found in two small boxes (Boxes #23-24).
In Box 15, item 1, the license for Art Frederickson is really unusual. Art was an Ann Arbor captain who was well known on the lakes. He and his wife, Lucy, wrote several books on the car ferries and sold shipwreck maps in the 1960s-1970s. Their collection was sold to the Institute for Great Lakes Research (now the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes) at BGSU. Seven books about ferries, trains, ships, and shipwrecks by Arthur C. Frederickson are separately cataloged and in the Clarke’s book collection.
In Box 15 the last item, Development and Design of Lake MI Car Ferries, Paper Presented, 1948, by Art Zuehlke, who was the man at Manitowoc Shipbuilding. There is a memorial to him at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. The Manitowoc Shipbuilding Collection is at the museum.
Spelling Note: There were inconsistencies in the collection as to how car ferries or carferries are spelled, as well as Michigan, Mich., or MI, and the way company names are abbreviated. These inconsistencies were continued in the Box and Folder listing. If Bacon titled a folder with an acronym, such as BRAC, that is how it is presented here, with a note to explain what BRAC is. Sometimes vessels were listed as M/V or M.V. (motor vessel) or S.S. or S/S (steam ship) and sometimes not.
Processing Note: Approximately 18 cubic ft. of duplicates, materials that were fragile, acidic, or moldy, and had to be photocopied, materials that included social security numbers, any materials of investigations and grievances of ferry employees, Bacon’s personal bills, medication directions, and any reading, blank, or peripheral materials were withdrawn from the collection. In addition, a large number of publications 121 items were separately cataloged as books, manuals, or serials, and added to the Clarke publications collection.
Allergy Note: Please note that some of the materials have a musty smell to them, especially most of the oversized volumes. Researchers with allergies should use these materials with care.