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1961-1962 Michigan Constitutional Convention Collection, 1929, 1961-1964, and undated

3 cubic feet (in 7 boxes)

1961-1962 Michigan Constitutional Convention Collection includes: correspondence, meeting minutes and Action Journals, public hearing summaries, phone messages, notes, television and radio transcripts, testimony, calendars, agendas, press releases, pamphlets, election results, newspaper clippings, public statements and remarks, and photographs.

The collection contains meeting minutes and Action Journals, correspondence, public hearing summaries, phone messages, notes, calendars, agendas, television and radio transcripts, testimony, calendars, agendas, pamphlets, press releases, election results, newspaper clippings, public statements and remarks, and photographs about the 1961-1962 Michigan Constitutional Convention, or Con-Con. There is also a Saginaw County Circuit Court jury summons card. Besides the jury summons card, the collection materials focus on Charles Anspach running as a delegate and his contributions to Con-Con.


Abel Bingham Family Papers, 1765-1964, and undated

Approximately 14 cubic ft. (in 29 boxes)

The papers include correspondence, diaries, journals, accounts books, tintypes, prayerbooks, sermons, hymns in Ojibwa, a New Testament in English and Seneca, and photographic images.

Family papers, 1765-1964, and undated, include: correspondence relating to Rev. Bingham's associations with the Baptist Missionary Society, Boston, his ministry at the Tonawanda Indian Mission in New York State, the Baptist Indian Mission at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and his social activities in Grand Rapids, Michigan; diaries of Bingham and his wife, journals, account books, and tintypes. Also included are prayer books and hymns in Ojibwa, Bingham's sermons, in English, and a New Testament in both English and Seneca. Among his correspondents is John Claude Buchanan, his son-in-law, whose letters relate to Buchanan's service with the 8th Michigan Infantry during the Civil War, 1861-1864. Three boxes of photographic images complete the collection.

The collection includes correspondence relating to Bingham’s associations with the Baptist Missionary Society, Boston, his ministry at the Tonawanda Indian Mission in New York State, the Baptist Indian Mission at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and his social activities in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Correspondents include John Claude Buchanan, Bingham’s son-in-law, relating to his service with the 8th Michigan Infantry during the Civil War.

The collection is also available on 19 reels of positive microfilm Acc# 359 (Section 4, 1 reel) and 444 (18 reels). Some letters are available on 2 reels of positive microfilm Acc# 614 of the American Baptists Foreign Mission Society, 1800-1900, American Indians and 1814-1900, France.


Ada T. H. (Ada Tower Heath) Owsley Collection, 1856-1960, and undated

Approximately 9 cubic ft. (in 7 boxes)

The collection includes the Owsley family papers, both personal and business, of Ada, her siblings and their families, her parents, grandparents, and other relatives.

The collection includes the family papers of all of Ada’s relatives who are named above and her papers, 1856-1945. She also collected children’s art and display materials, 1950-1960 and undated (Boxes 3-7). Most of the materials document Ionia, Michigan, business records, including accounts of Angelo E. Tower when he was postmaster of Ionia, 1886-1890; Tower and Thompson Lumber Company, ledger and legal papers, 1868-1882; Webber Block (housing) papers, 1929-1936; Webber and Wilson (George W. Webber and H. J. Wilson’s mercantile business) ledger, 1866-1867; and Webber Road Construction Company, 1921-1937. There are also some legal records regarding the Topinabee Hotel, 1931, which was on Mullet Lake, near Cheboygan, Michigan. Unidentified land records are filed at the end of Box 2, and children’s art is housed in flat boxes 3-7.


Adelaide Thompson Collection, 1860-1927

.5 cubic feet (in 1 box)

Papers include correspondence, photographs, including a diary and photographs of Foochow, China, 1899-1901, a biography of Michigan poet Will Carleton, and other materials.

The collection includes personal correspondence between Thompson and William R. Longstreet, a bookkeeper and religious leader in Saginaw, Michigan, 1891-1895, concerning the nursing of patients, social and religious affairs, a trip to New York, in 1892, and welfare work of the Jefferson Avenue Epwarth League. There is also a diary of Isabelle Longstreet, describing her missionary work in China, June 1899-October, 1901 and a brief biography of Will Carleton (1845-1912), a notable Michigan poet.


Aladdin Company Records Collection, 1907-1989 (majority within 1940-1982)

approximately 350 cubic feet in 259 containers

The collection documents the activities of the Aladdin Company and its founding family, the Sovereigns, from 1907 until 1989. The Aladdin Company was a manufacturer of catalog "kit homes" in Bay City, MI second in sales volume only to Sears Roebuck & Company. The collection includes company records, sales records (including building projects as part of WWI and WWII war efforts), Aladdin Company advertising materials, order and construction information, and personal records of various members of the Sovereign family - including the court records of the William Sovereign v. Mary Sovereign divorce case.

Mold Alert: Virtually the entire collection suffered from mold and mildew infestations, and in some cases water and mold had damaged items beyond repair. Most, but not all, of the collection has also been fumigated. Researchers should use the collection with care.

The Aladdin Company records, approximately 350 cubic feet, were discovered in a very disorganized state in 1994 in an abandoned Bay City warehouse. V Only the films, architectural drawings and plans had remained largely intact and in their original filing order. Most of the company’s other records had become disorganized. A few records were found in file cabinets while others were in rolling vaults, the combinations for which had been lost. Boxes of material lay scattered in various locations, and much paper simply had come to rest on the floor.

Because of the condition the records were found in, most of the collection’s order has been imposed upon the records. The collection is generally organized according to record type or major functions within the company. In addition, some miscellaneous groups of material have been placed at the end of the collection.

The collection is organized into eleven series: Corporate, Financial, Advertising, Order Department, Construction, Shipping Bills, Suppliers Transit & Mill Sites, Sovereign Family, Photographs and Films, Books and Magazines, and Miscellaneous. Detailed description of each series is found below.

The collection includes incorporation papers, directors’ meeting minutes, contracts, stock records and other basic corporate information, office manuals and procedures, studies, financial statements, appraisals, inventories, payroll, catalogs, advertising material, publications, art work, floor and construction plans, orders, billing lists, invoices, mailing lists, price bills, real estate records, personal records of the Sovereign family (including court records), photographs, films, magazines, and books.

Researchers may also be interested in the Addition to the Aladdin Collection and separately cataloged publications by and about Aladdin kit homes in the Clarke Historical Library.

How to prove that your house is an Aladdin kit home:

Researchers trying to prove that they own an Aladdin kit home, should begin their research in the Aladdin Small Order Log Books, 1914-1981. If you know which year your house was built, begin with the volume/s for that year and search for the last name of the first owner. If you cannot find the owner’s name, that means a carpenter or a man who owned a construction company ordered the house for the owner. You will need to review each entry in that volume searching for any entries ordered in the same style and in the same town or city as your house. To determine the style, look at an Aladdin catalog for the year when your house was purchased. Many styles remained the same in the catalogs over decades. Once you locate your home in the Order Log Book, note the Customer Order Number. This important number will take you to a specific Customer Order Form somewhere in another subseries, Customer Order Forms, 1914-1918, Boxes 93-154. Each Customer Order Form provides detailed information about the home ordered including style, cost, options selected and any custom changes, name of person who ordered it, to whom it will be shipped, and date.

If you are uncertain as to which year your house was built, there are two possible ways to proceed. One is to take an estimated guess, based on style and family lore, and review some Aladdin catalogs from that period and hope you find a house that looks like yours. Then search in the Log Books within that time period for homes in the style and location that matches yours. Another approach is to check the chain of title from when you bought or inherited your house. That should list the earliest owner, verifying the date of construction, unless your house was not the first built on the property

Aladdin Small Order Log Books, 1914-1981, 3 cubic feet (in 3 boxes, #90-92):

Aladdin Small Order Log Books, 1914-1981, function as indexes of those who ordered Aladdin buildings, mostly houses, and direct researchers to specific Customer Order Forms, pages which describe each building in detail as ordered. The Small Order Books is a subseries of records in Series #4 Order Department. Immediately after the Log Books in Series 4 are the Customer Order Forms, 1914-1981, 62 cubic feet (in 62 boxes, #93-154).

Aladdin Small Order Log Books: Description:

The Log Books are both volumes and loose pages. The majority are volumes with information written by hand, in penmanship. Typed information is only found in loose pages which could be fed through a typewriter.

Log Books may have information for one or more years in them. Some Log Books overlap with other Log Books. From the 1950s forward there are always more than one volume/year.

Most log books simply have dates on the cover, others have titles written on, taped on, or printed on the covers such as Order Book, Orders, Record, Order Number Book, etc. Sometimes other forms of volumes were used by Aladdin agents, for example phone number and address books. In order to distinguish one volume from another when the Log Books have no title and there is more than one volume for the year, information such as color of cover or size is noted in the folder label, or Volume I or II was added to the folder label and on the log book’s first page in pencil by Archivist Marian Matyn in 2022 prior to their being digitized.

Aladdin Small Order Log Books: Organization:

Log Books are organized chronologically by year in the boxes. Information within each Log Book is organized chronologically by year ordered and then alphabetically only by first letter of the surname of the person who ordered an Aladdin building. The list of names is in the chronological order in which people purchased homes, so the order numbers are in numerical, although not consecutive, order within each alphabetical run.

Aladdin Small Order Log Books: Information Within them:

Each Log Book contains the following information for each order: date of order, name of a person who ordered the building or house, and Order Number. Additional information often includes house style, for example Pilgrim #2, and address of purchaser at the time of purchase. The address is usually the address to which the house kit was shipped by rail, which might be closer to the carpenter or construction company than the house site. Sometimes the mailing address of the owner is included. Miscellaneous notes may be included for such things order changes or cancellations. These notes were added after the order was recorded and are always handwritten, even on typed pages.

Aladdin Small Order Log Books: Physical Condition:

Like the rest of the collection, the series pages all suffer from some degree of mold and were fumigated. Researchers should use the original materials with care. The log books are in overall fair physical condition. Many volumes have damaged or loose spines, pages, and covers. The pages also suffer from acidification and dirtiness. Some pages have edge damage.

Series Description:

The first series of records has been labeled Corporate and Administrative (boxes 1-12). The Corporate records form the core legal records of the company. They include incorporation papers, directors’ meeting minutes, contracts, stock records and other basic corporate information.

Within the Administrative records are found material relating to the firm drawn together from various locations in the warehouse. It is almost certain that the material placed in this series was originally located in several distinct files. Office manuals and procedures found in this series do much to reveal how Aladdin’s records may have originally looked and various aspects concerning the structure of the company. Detailed folders exist for a number of government and industrial projects (see related plans in Construction series). Various self-studies, particularly the 1961 problem report, are helpful in giving an idea of how the firm viewed its challenges during its final years. Also of interest are the “Co-operator” files of 1913-1922. Sovereign family lore claims that the firm’s founders placed great emphasis on the comments of this Massachusetts customer and often gave much credit to her for helping them “think through” the business.

The information contained in the Financial series (boxes 13-34) provides a fairly complete picture, both in summary and detail, of the financial condition of the company. The Financial series records cover the year 1910-1984, thus they present a very complete chronological picture of the firm’s finances. The annual financial statements summarize the detailed information contained in the much more specific general journal and other financial books. These are followed by appraisals and inventories. Also included in this series is payroll and other employee-related information, although non-financial employee information is found in the Corporate and Administrative series.

For many researchers, the Advertising series (boxes 35-63) will prove particularly important. It has been divided into three sub series: Material re. Advertising and Its Effectiveness, Direct Mail, and Art Work and Floor Plans. Material re. Advertising and Its Effectiveness represented ads placed in magazines across the country that invariably invited readers to send in their name and address to receive a catalog. Aladdin was very proud of the fact that it relied exclusively on this device to develop its catalog mailing list. Much of the series is composed of “source reports,” which analyze the effectiveness of advertisements placed in various publications.

The heart of the company’s advertising was its annual catalog, which is found in the Direct Mail sub-series. Follow-up advertising material, which has been filed with the catalogs, was sent out according to a pre-determined schedule. Although the amount of the follow-up, and in some cases pre-catalog mailings, varied year by year, Aladdin was generally very aggressive in both announcing that the annual catalog was coming and in following up with notes telling customers about the “lost opportunities” and higher prices they would face unless they ordered their new home “immediately.”

Early in the company’s history, Aladdin published several periodicals extolling their products and relating stories about the “Aladdin family” (composed of anyone who purchased an Aladdin home). Incomplete runs of these publications, including the Wedge (1913-1916), the Aladdin Magazine (1916-1918), and Aladdin’s Weekly (1919-1920), are placed at the end of the Direct Mail sub-series.

Also found under the Direct Mail sub-series are the Industrial Catalogs published by Aladdin the 1920s and aimed at corporations interested in group purchases. Housed with these catalogs are also some additional sales material aimed at corporate purchases, price lists, and a few floor plans and other miscellaneous related material.

The Art Work and Floor Plans contains the art work, a few photographic images, and catalog floor plans that were prepared primarily for the annual sales catalog, although some art prepared for other advertising is also found here. Many additional photographs used in the annual catalog are found in the Photographic series.

The Order Department series (boxes 64-153) consists largely of three sub-series: Mailing Lists, Price Bills, and Orders.

Mailing Lists is an extensive group of three by five cards giving the addresses of catalog recipients. Found only for the final few years of the company’s existence, they nevertheless give some idea of the scope of the firm’s mailings.

Price Bills were assembled to calculate the actual cost of each product to the company. Pricing was obviously critical to the company’s success. To monitor costs, each house model received a price bill, which detailed the cost of all materials therein. These records were arranged in alphabetical order by model name. Several alphabets were created, some covering one year while others covered a more extended period of time. Also in this sub-series is pricing information about “specifications” and “options and allowances.” “Specifications” were colored sheets that listed the standard features in a particular house model. “Options,” better or additional items on an order, added to the price of the house. “Allowances” were omissions of standard features which lowered the price of the house.

Most price bills, specifications, options and allowances date from 1940 or later. Price lists are fairly complete beginning in 1934, with a few earlier ones. Unit price lists are generic lists of materials, apparently for use in pricing the various house models.

Orders are a voluminous sub-series that records information regarding each home purchased from the firm. Orders are accessible in two ways. Alphabetical indexes arranged by customer name give access to order forms taken from 1914 until the company’s closing. Beginning in 1949, there are also some indexes by order number.

The order forms themselves are arranged numerically by order number. For practical purposes, however, this represents a chronological arrangement, since orders were given the next available number as they were received. Order forms are the heart of the company’s sales records. They contain information regarding the name and mailing address of the purchases, the model purchases, specifications such as color of interior paint, stain, or roofing shingles, options or allowances the customer requested, and any special instructions or orders.

Researchers seeking information about specific houses should be aware that order forms do not usually include information about where the house was erected. For most of its history, Aladdin shipped houses to a railroad station specified by the purchaser. The purchaser was responsible for moving the material from the railroad station to the construction site. Thus the order form usually includes only the railroad station to which the house was shipped. The mailing address given is that of the purchaser at the time of purchase. Obviously, most individuals would not erect a new house at the same mailing address as where they were living prior to buying a new house. Thus the order forms, by themselves, cannot be used to confirm that a specific structure is, in fact, an Aladdin home.

Sample order forms and instructional notes are contained in the folders in the first order form box. Most order forms received with the collection were in bound, water damaged volumes, necessitating copying order forms and disposing of the originals. A few forms (probably no more than six) could not be separated from the covers and were lost. Even in these cases, it is likely that a record of each order survives in the order indexes.

The Construction series (boxes 154-235) is, like the Administrative series, an artificial gathering of architectural drawings and other construction-related items that likely once made up several files. Although it is composed of many sub-series, the three most significant components of Construction are the Plans for Catalog Models, Plans for Special Orders and Plans for Government and Industrial Projects.

Plans for Catalog Models were organized alphabetically by house model name. Most date from 1947 or later and the series is nearly comprehensive for the post-World War II period of the company. The sub-series consists largely of pencil and ink drawing on mylar (which could be copied onto diazo prints or blueprints and a few sepia prints). All print types are housed together. A full set of plans might include ten sheets or more. Often, numerous plans were done for a house model. Sometimes these changes represented updating of the model to meet changing consumer tastes while in other cases the alternates reflected modifications needed to accommodate various options such as brick veneer, “reverse” plan, or panelized construction. “Filing plans” were usually three plan sheets submitted to the local building inspector for approval. Filing plans are often included with other plans but sometimes are not well identified.

Plans for Special Orders represent orders from individuals sufficiently different from the company’s basic existing house models to require a unique set of drawings rather than an “options” list. Special plans seem to have begun ca. 1940, but most of those which survive date form the 1960s to 1982. The content of the Special Plans sub-series is essentially identical to that found in the Plans.

The Government and Industrial Projects sub-series includes projects for the U.S. government or its allies in World Wars I, II, and the Korean War, or for companies doing essential war work. Most of the projects date from the Second World War but plans exist for three large World War I projects: Fort Snelling, Minnesota; Fort Myer, Virginia; and the Austin Motor Company; Birmingham, England (housing). The Government and Industrial Projects sub-series includes drawings for many, but not all, of the projects listed in the Administrative series. The discrepancy between this sub-series and the Administrative series was created because, according to a former draftsman for Aladdin (1947-1954), the firm disposed of many drawings from the World War II era. Bunk houses and huts sold to industrial concerns are listed in the order logbooks as well as in the Government and Industrial sub-series.

Also housed in the Construction series is the Local Developments, Real Estates and Rentals sub-series. This sub-series primarily documents the real estate speculation of Otto Sovereign in the Bay City area. It includes records of the Bay City Homebuilders Company (ca. 1916-1937, scattered), and the Bay City Commercial Reality Company (ca. 1923-1942), the Lenox Park subdivision (1916-1942), and other real estate firms.

Also found in the Construction series are Suppliers’ Invoices sub-series. These were sampled and include records from 1957-1958 (incomplete), 1965, 1974-1975 (1974 incomplete), and 1980-1981. Discarded were the invoices from 1966-1974, 1976-1979. No invoices dated before 1957-1958 were received.

The Shipping Bills series contains shipping bills, which were standard lists of materials in each house model. A copy was sent to the customer with the house shipment. These were continuously updated to reflect modifications in construction and are usually dated. Shipping Bills series covers the years 1939-1982. They are arranged in alphabetical order by house model name. A random sample of special order shipping bills was retained with the remainder discarded.

The Suppliers, Transit and Mill Sites series is largely concerned with sources of materials and shipping houses to customers. There is also some correspondence concerning potential mill sites and suppliers.

The Sovereign Family series consists primarily of non-Aladdin business records, correspondence, litigation and information regarding the Saginaw Bay Yacht Club. Business records found in this series primarily document the real estate speculation of Otto Sovereign in the Bay City area. It includes records of the Bay City Homebuilders Company (ca. 1916-1937, scattered), the Bay City Commercial Realty Company (ca. 1923-1942), the Lenox Park subdivision (1916-2942) and other real estate firms.

The correspondence is predominately to and from William J. Sovereign, covering the period 1944-1963. It includes personal material, business correspondence other than Aladdin, and information regarding charitable activities. Also found in the series is the court record of Sovereign family litigation in the case of William F. Sovereign vs. Mary K. Sovereign. Finally there is documentation regarding the Bay City Yacht Club (now the Saginaw Bay Yacht Club). Both William J. and Otto E. Sovereign were prominent members of the club.

The Photographs and Films series primarily includes photographs of Aladdin house models, government and industrial buildings, the Aladdin mill and related activities, as well as photographs of completed houses (and some construction series) sent in by owners. Likewise, the films document the Aladdin building method and the 1949 Wonder House. There are also photographs of Aladdin Company functions and Sovereign family members. Much of this material compliments information found in the Advertising series.

Books and Magazines series includes competitors’ catalogs: Hodgson Houses, 1918 and 1933; Bennett Homes, 1928; Sears Roebuck Millwork [c.1922]; and Gunnison [U.S. Steel] Homes, 1954. This series also includes a book and several articles about readi-cut and prefabricated housing.

There are an approximately 80 linear feet of additional Aladdin materials that are unprocessed and awaiting fumigation as of July 8, 2010.


Aladdin Company Records Collection Addition, 1906-1989, and undated

29 boxes, 6 Oversized volumes, 11 film containers, 7 Oversized folders (approximately 18 cubic ft.)

The collection consists mostly of personal Sovereign family materials rather than Aladdin company records. Formats include paper, photographs, negatives, slides, films, oversized scrapbooks, blueprints, homework, some business records, and court and legal documents. MOLD/ALLERGY ALERT: Please note that the collection was treated in spring 2012 for mildew and mold and then deacidified. Some of the materials retain an unpleasant odor. Researchers with allergies should be careful when using the collection.

MOLD/ALLERGY ALERT: Please note that the collection was treated in spring 2012 for mildew and mold and then deacidified. Some of the materials retain an unpleasant odor. Researchers with allergies should be careful when using the collection.

Aladdin Company is organized by size and then into the following sub-series, which are organized alphabetically and chronologically:

Aladdin Advertising, 1920-1969, and undated, in 1 box, 1 Oversized folder (.25 cubic ft.). This is advertising about Aladdin products. Oversized items include a Dog and house drawing with text,“I, too own an Aladdin…”, undated, and “Good houses never grow old”, undated.

Aladdin Business Dealing, which includes business agreements, correspondence, reports, employee records and photographs, 1918-1980, and undated, in 2 boxes, 1 Oversized folder (1 cubic ft.).

Aladdin-Founders of Aladdin, 1911-1975, undated, which consists mostly of Will J. Sovereign’s journals, 1927-1963, a few of these are Will F. Sovereign’s diaries. The series also includes photographs, legal correspondence, accounts, death information, stock certificates, and other certificates and information about the founders, in 4 boxes (3.25 cubic ft.). There is correspondence from “Nig” (Nigel) a friend in Box 6. Of special interest is “Transcript to Lewis, Edmond, and Watkins vs. United States, Filed February 1923,” a transcript to a court case regarding the theft of founder of the Aladdin Company, Will J. Sovereign’s yacht, the “Aladdin,” by rum runners from Canada during Prohibition.

Aladdin Housing, 1911-1983, undated, which documents some of the houses Aladdin sold, customer communications, and 1826 McKinley House, in a variety of formats including memorabilia (a tool belt and Aladdin lamp), various photographic materials, articles in 2 boxes (.75 cubic ft.).

Aladdin Miscellaneous, 1921-1989, undated, with manuals, articles, and reports from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Bay City, Michigan, Portland, Oregon, and Wilmington, North Carolina in 2 boxes (.75).

Aladdin Oil [business interests], 1927-1972, and undated in 2 boxes (.75 cubic ft.) including photographic materials, advertising, legal records, information on the Roscommon Well and Pere Marquette Railway Company.

The Divorce Case, 1951-1970, and undated in 3 boxes (2.25 cubic ft.). The series, documenting the very long, acrimonious divorce case between Mary and Will F. Sovereign which resulted in Michigan’s No Fault Divorce Law, is notable for the amount and types of information. This series contains a vast amount of spy and detective information in regards to the two parties involved in the case, transcripts from the detectives’ notes and from recorded phone calls, photographs, lawyer correspondence and memoirs, and court documents.

Family papers are organized by size and subdivided by names of the creator, and include:

Billy Sovereign Papers, consists of Awards and Certificates and photographic materials, 1955-1958, and undated, in 1 box (.5 cubic ft.). Of interest here is “Billy’s College Career, 1966, 1971,” which includes notes and homework from Central Michigan University. See Sovereign Youth/Academic and Divorce Case series for more information on Billy.

Jeanette Lempke Sovereign Papers, 1916-1980, and undated, in 2 boxes (.75 cubic ft.). Her papers include photographs, articles, awards and various certificates about her career, material documenting her marriage, crash, death [not from the crash], and estate.

Sally Sovereign Papers, 1928-1970, and undated, in 2 boxes (.75 cubic ft.). Her papers include correspondence to/from Sally, photographs, and miscellaneous.

Will F. Sovereign Papers, 1922-1981, and undated, in 1 box (.5 cubic ft.) include business and personal correspondence, including personal correspondence from someone named “Tiny”, 1972-1976, accounts, awards and certificates, and photographs.

Will F. Sovereign War/Military Papers, 1941-1947, and 1957, and undated, in 2 boxes (.75 cubic ft.) include a diary, correspondence, photographic material, government and military documents, propaganda, and a diary, 1942-1943. Will tried several times to enlist and eventually served in 553rd Army Air Force Base unit from July 15, 1944 to January 24, 1946.

Sovereign Youth/ Academic, 1906-1971 (scattered), and undated, in 2 boxes (.75 cubic ft.) includes homework, certificates, degrees, birthday information, childhood letters and memorabilia, awards, and information on the academic careers of Billy, Sally, and Will F.

There are seven Oversized folders, the contents of Advertising, Business Dealing, and Family papers are described in the series description above.

The last three Oversized folders include various types of architectural records. See the Box and Folder Listing for more detail. Folder #5 is Miscellaneous, 1909-1952 (scattered) and undated, and includes company charts, plans for furniture and Aladdin home parts, and various properties. Folders 6 and 7 consist mostly of blue-line prints of houses, notably Residence for Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Sovereign, Bay City, the yacht “Aladdin”, and land plots in Bay City, Midland, and Saginaw, Michigan.

Oversized volumes. Four of these oversized volumes are acidic scrapbooks about the company and family, three are dated 1929, and one is dated 1929-1932. The two others oversized volumes include a lovely, published, undated volume entitled Industrial Housing in a velvet cover (in box), and a business volume entitled Cars Forwarded which documents the shipping of Aladdin products in railroad cars, 1937-1941.

Other formats include films and slides. There are eleven films, #1 is of Aladdin ranch homes being built, undated; #2 is of a St. Patrick's day parade in Bay City, 1959; and #3-11 are of an air show at James Clements Airport, Bay City, 1972. Also, there is a slide box of slides on Aladdin finished products, a mill building, church construction, and family, mostly Billy Sovereign (See Box Listing for more detail.)


Albert Hyma Papers, 1954-1972

.25 cubic feet (in 1 box)

Collection includes essays, research notes, biographical information, correspondence to Hyma and legal documents.

The collection includes Hyma's essays, research notes, biographical information, correspondence and legal documents.


Albert J. Dann Papers, 1909-1919

1 cubic foot (in 2 boxes)

Business correspondence, political advertising, and letters of Albert J. Dann.

The collection consists mainly of Dann’s business correspondence concerning advertisements for his newspaper, printing jobs, bills, receipts for his equipment, and supplies purchased. There is one official ballot for a Lake Odessa election in 1918 and political advertising, 1918-1919. Of special note are 32 letters from various Michigan soldiers of the American Expeditionary Forces in France, during World War I, describing the countryside and conditions after the armistice. These letters were published in the Lake Odessa Wave.


Alert Fire Engine Company No. 1 (Adrian, Mich.) Organizational records, 1840-1866, and undated

.25 cubic feet (in 1 box)

The records consists of the company's historical files, library records, and bookplates.

The records are organized into Alert Fire Engine Company records (financial records, meeting minutes, lists of members) and the Adrian Fireman’s Library Association records (constitution, by-laws, donor lists, financial records, and book plates), on which are printed the rules and fines of the Library.


Alexander B. Weeks Diaries, 1851,1870, and undated

.25 cubic feet (in 1 box)

Diaries of Alexander B. Weeks, photograph of Weeks and wife, Sarah, and biographical materials.

The collection consists of three of Weeks’ diaries, volume 1) January 1, 1851- September 20, 1851, volume 2) September 21, 1851- February 29, 1852, and volume 3) October 2, 1853- December 15, 1857. The collection is organized alphabetically In the first diary, Weeks noted social and family news, visitors, the weather, major newspaper stories, and patrons or “sitters” who sat for “their likenesses.” He also commented several times about his daughters, particularly little Manty who was teething, learning to talk, walk, and was inoculated.

In the end of volume 1 and all of volume 2, Weeks vividly described his voyage to Brazil with Charles Deforest Fredricks, his fellow passengers, weather, other ships seen, seasickness, etc. Once in Brazil, Weeks noted his busy business, social activities, his friends Charles Saturnino Masoni and George Penabert, the natives, landscape, religious and other customs, slavery, and the local political struggles between Rosas, the Provincial Governor of Buenos Aires, and Gen. Urquiza. Similarly, he describes the beginning of his return voyage home and Montevideo, Uruguay, as well as correspondence with his family, and how much he misses them.

The first two diaries have some of Week’s poetry in the rear of the volumes and a few notes and doodles on the inside covers. The name of the printers who created the book in Pernambuco, Brazil, is pasted on the inside front cover of volume 2.

In his third diary Weeks documented his domestic life and business transactions in Toledo, Ohio, and Detroit, covering the same topics as in the first diary, before his voyage. The third diary is missing its front cover. The first page is divided into columns to serve as an account book. The headings of the columns are: Date, Names, Residence, Size, Price, Case, D/P (D/P probably means: Daguerreotype/Photograph).

Biographical Materials include: Week’s business cards from Poughkeepsie, undated (circa 1841?), a bill to an estate for money owed to Sarah Ann Weeks, August 5, 1870, and a photograph (copy) of Sarah and Alexander Weeks.


Alger (Mich.) Glass-plate Negatives, 1906, 2017, and undated

1.25 cubic ft. (in 3 Boxes)

The collection The collection, 1906, 2017, and undated, 1.25 cubic ft. (in 3 boxes) consists mostly of 284 glass-plate negatives mostly documenting building, people, and events in Alger, Michigan, 1906, 1911-1916, 1919 and undated.

The collection, 1906, 2017, and undated, 1.25 cubic ft. (in 3 boxes) includes 284 glass-plate negatives, one of which has two different images on it (#819-820) and two film negatives, mostly documenting building, people, and events in Alger, Michigan, 1906, 1911-1916, 1919 and undated. Most of the images are dated, or if undated date from, 1911 through 1916. There are a few 1906 images of California oil fields and derricks (3), and a man washing a buggy dated 1906, and an undated image of a southwestern Indian village, taken on a train, probably dates from the 1906 California trip. There is only one 1919 image, that of two seated women by a front window/ awning of a store with a dog, another store in background, July 1919.

In Box 3 (.25 cubic foot) there is one folder of notes October 1911-February 1917 by the photographer in various detail of which images were taken when, sometimes specified to days, sometimes not within the month, with names of subjects and some other details, such as Mrs. Allen’s birthday party (copies, 2017). There are images with dates for which there are no notes, for example 1906 and August 1912. There are original notes from the photographer for which there are no specifically identified images, such as September, November-December 1912, June 1914, Feb. 1915, Aug 1916, Feb. 1917. There are dated images for which there are no original notes, for example July 1915, Sept. and Nov. 1916, July 1919. Sometimes the notes and the images have slightly different dates, for example three baseball game images are dated May 6, 1916 but the notes say May 7, 1916. A number of the descriptions are to vague to match with specific images, such as all the names of men and MC [Michigan Central] Depot. There are six images of the depot, but not enough data to decipher which image was taken in which month and year. There are also a number of baby portraits, but again, not enough data to match the write baby image and name.

Another folder includes prints of a sample of the plates, undated. One of the images is of ships in a harbor and that glass-plate negative is not extant in the collection. Notation in pencil by the archivist links the image to the negative.

Also included in Box 3 (.25 cu. ft. box) is a Lewinstein Jewery Company (Midland, Mich.) Jewelry box, rectangular, crushed, purple velvet, cream satin lining, 6.5x4.25x1 inches, undated.

Most of the negatives have a date (written in various ways by the photographer), and/or number, or, more rarely, additional descriptive information, written onto the back of the plate. Some were grouped in paper or sleeves with numbers, dates, or additional information. Descriptive information which was written onto the back of the plate are noted in the Box and Folder Listing in “quotation marks,” while descriptive information that was that was on the original sleeve, papers surrounding a pile of negatives, or on the original paper Notes from the photographer are noted in the Box and Folder Listing in ‘commentary marks’. Some glass-plate negatives have no number, no information, and in a few cases the numbers or dates are obliterated by time or emulsion damage. The span of plate numbers ranges from #1 to 920, and there are many large gaps in the number sequence. The number sequence does not always follow chronological order. If undated images resemble closely other dated images, the same date has been added to the undated image in brackets [].

Sometimes the photographer gave different images the same number, in which case the archivist has given one an A and the other a B in the description to tell them apart.

#258A May 1914 large group dressed up seated at laden picnic table, may be ‘Picnic Dunn’s Grove May 1914’ or ‘May 3, 1914 Mrs. Allen’s birthday party’ (see #247-248, 255, 258B)- minor emulsion issues on edges, May 1914 and #258B in May 1914 pile, group or men, women, boys standing, sitting on porch with pillars, mostly wearing hats, sign reads ‘our high grade Indian remedies for sale here,” may be ‘Picnic Dunn’s Grove May 1914’ or ‘May 3, 1914 Mrs. Allen’s birthday party’(see #247-248, 255, 258A), May 1914.

If there is no number, but the image clearly relates to an/other numbered image/s, the archivist has noted the relationship by…. #253 “5/10/14” little girl seated in a child’s wagon, barn and large wagon in background (see no#after253), May 10, 1914 and #253 “5/10/14” little girl seated in a child’s wagon, barn and large wagon in background (see no#after253), May 10, 1914 and No#after#253 “5/10/14” little children, boy holding handle of child’s wagon, little girl seated in wagon, wagon and houses in background, same girl in #253 (see #253), May 10, 1914.

If there is no number, but the image clearly relates to an/other unnumbered image/s, the archivist has noted the relationship by……. No#oil1 ‘California 1906 oil derricks’ – some emulsion damage, 1906 and No#oil2 ‘California oil fields, 1906’ – emulsion damage around edge, 1906 and No#oil3 ‘California oil fields, 1906’ – emulsion loose at top edge, 1906.

If the image has no# and does not directly to another image the archivist has given it a number noting something distinctive, when possible, in the image, like this: No#bicycles man, two boys wearing hats by large, leafy tree, one with scooter, four bicycles – emulsion flaking off on side, bottom edges, undated.

At the time the photographer relied upon good outdoor light and did not use any type of flash bulbs. Therefore most of the images are taken outside on a sunny day in the summer, although there are some images taken on snowy days, and some images taken when the trees are bare, either early spring or late fall. A few outside hunting images were probably taken in early fall.

Only a few inside images exist, two inside a church, one inside a store, and a few of women or children inside a house or studio.

Most of the images involve people, buildings and events, mostly in Alger, Michigan. Individual and group portraits, a picnic, birthday party, a skating party, a baseball game, hunting, and family and neighbor gatherings predominate. Men, women, children, and babies and a railroad section crew of six men are documented. Buildings in Alger include the school, Kern’s store, a drug store, Post Office, Methodist Episcopal Church, now Alger United Methodist Church, land store, and other downtown buildings, houses, and barns. The Michigan Central Railroad tunnel and a bridge are included. Vehicles include horse drawn buggies, wagons, a child’s wagon, a truck, and a REO car, circa 1905-1906. Horses, a dog and a dead dear are documented.

Images probably or definitely not taken in Alger include Southern Pacific train and engine, the oil fields and derricks of California and an image of southwestern Indian village.

Physical condition notes: All the negatives measure 4x5 inches. Most of the glass-plate negatives are in overall good condition, although a number (as noted in their individual description) have some emulsion damage, usually along the edges, and a few have stains. Two have an edge broken off, one edge is missing, the other is in the negative sleeve. One glass plate (#828) is bright yellow in color. The jewelry box has been crushed to close further than designed. It is rectangular, 6.5x4.25x1 inches, covered in purple velvet with a cream satin lining, undated.


Alice Littlefield Collection, 1969-2010 (Scattered), and undated

.5 cubic feet (in 1 box)

This collection, 1969-2010 (Scattered), and undated, includes one folder each of multiple topics related to Central Michigan University and Michigan indigenous history.

This collection, 1969-2010 (Scattered), and undated, includes one folder each of the following topics: Central Michigan University (CMU) Anti-war Movement, 1970, 1972; CMU Campus Diversity, 1971, 1992; CMU Chippewa Education Committee, Materials, 1989-1993; CMU Faculty Association, Historical Materials, 1977, 1984, 2000, undated; CMU Indian Education Project Ad Hoc Committee meeting minutes and proposals, 1970-1972; CMU. Multicultural Center, Meeting Minutes, Background Materials, 1985-1990; CMU Native American Programs, 1986-2003, including clippings (copies) list of members and correspondence of the Native American Studies Council, materials re: indigenous conferences at CMU; CMU Vietnam Moratorium materials, 1969-1971, including: a brochure that accompanied the film documentary of the Moratorium, 1969; original photographs, some of which were used in the brochure and are partially identified by Prof. Littlefield's notes, 1969; and copies of memorandums sent between CMU Pres. William B. Boyd, CMU Vice Pres. for Student Affairs Al Miles, and the CMU Faculty Advisory Council about CMU student protest actions of April 19-21, 1971, such as starting fires on CMU land, sleeping on the lawn, and other general protest actions; Gaming Expansion Study, 1991-1998 for the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe with memos, correspondence, data results, Final Report to the Stakeholders of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe Gaming Expansion Evaluation Project, 1996, Casino Impact Study Committee minutes. group questions and comments; Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver, 1995, 2007, which is copies of federal information explaining the waiver and related clippings; Michigan Native American Materials, 1994, 2010, which includes copies of clippings on Indian casinos and federal tribal recognition; Native American Fishing Rights in Michigan, 1971, 2009, includes Report of the Governor's Special Task Force on Indian Fishing Rights, 1971, clippings (copies), bibliographies and lists of sources, 1980, 2007. The collection is organized alphabetically by topic and is in good physical condition.


Alice Turner Miller Collection, 1951-1974 (Scattered), and undated

.5 cubic foot (in 1 box)

Lists of dead Civil War soldiers buried in various Michigan counties, genealogies, and other related materials.

The collection includes lists of dead Civil War soldiers buried in various Michigan counties, genealogies, and other related materials re: Michigan Soldiers of the War of 1812.


Allen Field Papers, 1928-1959, and undated

1.25 cubic foot (in 2 boxes)

Papers include: drafts, transcripts, and carbon copies of Field's stories, and a scrapbook of his column, the Far Parade.

The collection includes Smith’s correspondence with several magazines and publishers relating to his short stories and his only published novel, The Muskamming Red Head (1932), a signed copy of which is separately cataloged in the Clarke Historical Library; papers concerning several writing courses which he took through correspondence; drafts, typescripts, and carbon copies of typescripts of his writings; and one scrapbook of clippings of his newspaper column, “The Far Parade.”


Alma (Mich.) Miscellaneous Collection, 1918, 1935, and undated

.25 cubic foot (in 1 box, 1 Oversized folder)

This artificial collection consists of Alma (Mich.) miscellaneous.

The collection, 1918, 1935, and undated, includes internal business correspondence and purchase receipt documents for Gamble-Skogmo in the Great Lakes area. Additionally, there are documents pertaining to Alma Masonic Lodge Membership, which includes the application and acceptance certificate of Alma College’s President Harry Crooks. One oversized folder of photographic portraits of men (3), undated, unidentified completes the collection. This is an artificial collection of material found in an Alma (Mich.) building while it was being renovated.

Processing Note: .25 cubic foot of duplicates, including copies of materials from the Clarke, reading materials, and blank cards were removed from the collection during processing. Also, some documents were photocopied, the copies were retained and the originals were removed.


Amasa B. (Amasa Brown) Watson Family Papers, 1854-1932

2 cubic feet (in 4 boxes, 1 Oversized folder)

Family papers of Amasa B. Watson are divided into the following series: Amasa B. Watson Papers, Amasa B. Watson Family and Associates Papers, Mrs. Martha A. (Brooks) Watson Papers, and Miscellaneous Papers The papers include: biographical materials; family correspondence; business correspondence, mostly related to lumber and timber, but also the Republic National Convention, 1888; education of his nephews at the Michigan Military Academy (Orchard Lake, Mich.); General Orders, 1861; and after his death, his wife's correspondence related to the building of his mausoleum and the Amasa B. Watson Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Post No. 395.

Family Papers, 1854-1932 and undated. The collection is divided into the following series: Amasa B. Watson Papers, Amasa B. Watson Family and Associates Papers, Mrs. Martha A. (Brooks) Watson Papers, and Miscellaneous Papers. Most of the collection documents Watson's business interests in pine lands and lumber sales.There are five folders of lumber correspondence with Hull and Watson; later M. B. Hull and Company, and finally Hull, Ulrich, and Company, 1879-1888, and four folders of related receipts and land taxes, 1860-1888. Eventually, Hull became executor of Watson's estate.

Family correspondence often relates to pine and land interests inherited from Watson. Family correspondence from his siblings concerns lumber and shingle sales. Correspondence from Watson's adopted sons, James and John Mead, is more personal in nature, and quite warm. In the correspondence, the boys describe their lives and experiences at school.

In the family and associates papers, there is correspondence with the family lawyer (and son-in-law) Thomas F. Carroll, and Watson's Mississippi agent, D. D. Carter, concerning land and estate concerns, 1903-1923. Correspondence to James and John Mead also concerns these issues, 1892-1894. The papers of Philander J. Mead (d. 1853), paternal grandfather of the Mead children and father of William J. Mead, are of little interest except where they concern pine and land interests. The papers of William W. Mead, 1888-1932, cover mostly his and his aunt/ mother's business concerns, estates, and the building of Amasa Watson's mausoleum. William was his aunt/ mother's right hand man. Mrs. Watson's papers cover her husband's estate, mausoleum, and land and timber business concerns. The Amasa B. Watson Grand Army of the Republic (G. A. R.) Post 395 correspondence documents Mrs. Watson's donations, both to Post 395 and to individual Civil War veterans. The G. A. R. letterhead has an illustration of Watson as an older man. Also included is a 1912 meeting booklet listing the Post's officers and regular meetings, held on the first and third Friday of each month at 325 Central Avenue. The booklet has an oval portrait of Amasa B. Watson on the title page.

Additional family and miscellaneous papers relate to land patents, mostly copies, 1884-1919, and abstracts of titles of Amasa B. Watson's land, created for his heirs and for legal purposes. Biographical information and a carte-de-visite of Amasa B. Watson in his Civil War uniform complete the collection.


American Fur Company Records, 1810-1848

.25 cubic feet (in 1 box)

Photocopies made from 2 reels of microfilm of company related materials including correspondence (copies), index card, and finding aids (copies) of other, related collections.

This is an artificial collection of related materials, pulled together by topic. Included in the records are correspondence to/from Samuel Abbott, who served as the Collector at Michilimackinac (1812-?) and as manager for the Company, 1812-1848 (and longer?). Some of the correspondence is from James Abbott, Samuel’s brother, who was also a manager for the Company in the Detroit, Michigan, area. (There is no further information available on the Abbotts.) Other records include expense accounts for transportation to the Council in the summer of 1825. The Shipping / Receiving book provides good information of prices paid per pelt, for everything from mink to rat skins. There is an Indenture of Mortgage signed by John Jacob Astor, 1827, in the Mortgage Records, and a Capital Stock certificate of the Mackinac, Lake Superior Copper Company, 1845, in the Correspondence. These materials are all photocopies made from 2 reels of microfilm.

Additionally, there are index cards to assist researchers using the records. The related American Fur Company business records of Mackinac Island, Michigan, to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1817-1834, are available on microfilm at the Clarke, as are books about the Company.

See also numerous related reels of microfilm on the American Fur Company, the Mackinac Island Collection, and the Abraham Wendell Collection.

On April 13, 2001, the paper collection, which had been on deposit at the Clarke, was returned to Mackinac State Historic Parks as part of the Sault Sainte Marie Collection. The microfilm of this American Fur Company Collection is at the Clarke, Reels 1-2, Microfilm MSS F-52.


American National Red Cross. Isabella County Chapter (Mich.) Collection, 1917, 2014, and undated

.75 cubic foot (in 1 box, 1 Legal-sized folder)

This collection includes images, newspaper clippings and articles, financial records, reports, pamphlets, recognition materials, letters, and newsletters.

This is an addition to the American National Red Cross Isabella County Chapter (Mich.) Organizational Records collection. This collection includes images, newspaper clippings and articles, financial records, reports, pamphlets, recognition materials, letters, and newsletters. Of particular interest are: materials related to the Mount Pleasant Indian School, a poem about soldiers who fought in the Iraq War, and Hurricane Hugo relief efforts. Except for one legal-size folder, everything else in the collection is letter-size.

Processing Note: Approximately .25 cubic foot of materials was withdrawn from the collection during processing, including national publications, general Michigan materials, duplicates, and originals which were acidic or damaged. Photocopies of acidic or damaged materials were added to the collection. Some objects were transferred to the CMU Museum, including: a framed display of Red Cross pins, three miniature Red Cross vehicles, a nursing uniform with top, pants, and hat, two metal first aid boxes with supplies within them, and a few national publications.


American National Red Cross. Isabella County Chapter (Mich.) Organizational records, 1917-1979

1.25 cubic feet (in 1 box, 3 Oversized volumes, 1 Oversized folder)

The collection includes charter, meeting minutes, financial records, annual reports, correspondence, scrapbooks, and other organizational records.

The Isabella County chapter records include meeting minutes, annual reports, correspondence, financial records, fund-raising campaign materials, scrapbooks, and miscellaneous relating to the chapter’s operations and activities, 1917-1979. Four Red Cross uniforms that were donated with this collection were transferred to the Central Michigan University Museum in October 1976.


Amos Gould Family Papers, 1828, 1936, and undated

65 cubic feet (in 117 boxes, 3 oversized volumes)

The collection includes records of Amos, Ebenezer (Civil War correspondence), and Fred H. Gould of New York (State) and Owosso (Michigan).

The collection includes a variety of family records.

Amos Gould’s records include: personal correspondence, 1828-1872, family correspondence, 1875-1912, Civil War correspondence mostly from Ebenezer to Amos or Ebenezer’s wife and children, 1862-1864, railroad business records, 1852-1881, lumber business correspondence and papers, 1867-1882, business correspondence, 1849-1915, receipts of business transactions, 1830-1883, legal papers, including briefs, trail records, contracts land contracts, mortgages, agreements, indentures, and deeds, 1832-1885 from New York and Michigan, and more legal records and tax receipts, 1848-1932, book receipts, 1870-1879, trial records of cases Amos and his associates tried, 1842-1877, railroad receipts, 1857-1864, and letter books, day books, and account books, 1839-1935. Also included are five eagle buttons. Additional Amos Gould buttons are in the Display Items collection.

Papers relating to Ebenezer include: Civil War correspondence mostly from Ebenezer to Amos or Ebenezer’s wife and children, 1862-1864, courtship and marriage correspondence from Ebenezer to his wife Irene Beach, 1845-1866, and business correspondence and miscellaneous, including a scrapbook of obituaries and family news, 1868-1936.

Papers relating to Fred H. Gould include his diaries, 1892-1931, and personal correspondence to/from Fred, 1870-1872, and undated.

Overall the collection provides a good look at life in a small Michigan town (Owosso), multiple business interests, especially land and lumber, and personal life before, during, and after the Civil War. There are also letters from Gould’s brother-in-law, Dr. J. N. Graham, on early medical practices, such as the use of chloroform in Michigan.

Processing Notes: Due to size differences among the boxes, some boxes are shelved out of numerical orders. Boxes # 74-75, 108-120 are cubic foot boxes, the rest are .5 cubic foot boxes. Folder level processing was completed, but the inventory is at box level. Some materials are still tri-folded in their original wrappings, not in folders, or in unlabeled folders.