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Collection

Dr. Alpha "Doc" Clark PBB Collection, 1951, 2022, and undated

15 cubic ft. (in 30 boxes, 1 Oversized Folder)

This collection includes 15 cubic feet (in 30 boxes, 1 Oversized folder) of PBB-related material of Dr. Alpha “Doc” Clark.

This collection includes approximately 15 cubic feet (in 29 boxes and one oversized folder) of PBB-related material of Dr. Alpha “Doc” Clark. This significant collection is of critical national and international historical research importance of PBB related materials. The collection is in original order and includes: court documents, mostly depositions and exhibits for many court cases at various levels; correspondence and memorandum between Doc Clark and farmers, physicians, clinicians, lawyers, and state and other officials involved in the PBB crisis; human* and animal medical test results; publications, including magazine and academic journal articles, parts of books, reports, and numerous clippings (copies) from Michigan newspapers and magazines; and two VHS videotapes. There are also photographs in the collection, which are of particular importance as they document the results of the direct consumption of PBB on the bodies and internal organs of animals, mostly cows and calves, but also laboratory monkeys, fish, birds, pigs, beagles, family pet dogs, and other farm animals which either ate contaminated feed or were exposed to it through the manure of affected animals. (Note: *In 2021 Archivist Marian Matyn obtained permission from Hughston family members to retain and make available for public research the family’s medical test results, of living and deceased family members. Copies of the permission form are in the relevant Hughston family folders in Box 9.)

Of particular importance are the several documents detailing the aftermath and remediation procedures undertaken by the state, insurance agencies, and other involved parties to clean up PBB contaminated sites. This includes documentation of the logistical operations of moving and slaughtering contaminated livestock and products to a secure dump site located in Kalkaska, Michigan. For example, Exhibit #356 in Box 10 is the State of Michigan Environmental Impact Study for disposal of PBB cattle in Kalkaska, 1974. There is additional information about the waste dump site located near the former Velsicol Chemical factory in St. Louis, Michigan.

The numerous letters, correspondence, and memorandums between farmers of McBain and Falmouth, Michigan, and Doc Clark prove the close personal connections and friendships he had with them. Many of the various documents and other pieces of evidence within the collection were sent to Doc Clark through these friendships, or from others involved in investigating the contamination and resulting litigation. It is through these correspondence, and the rich variety of materials in the collection, that researchers will gain an impression of the overall character Doc Clark’s character, as someone trustworthy and knowledgeable. Memos, notes, and other documentation in the collection in Marlene's handwriting, demonstrate her significant support and contributions to this history.

The exhibits within the collection were used to support some of the numerous claims and cases that were filed after the resulting PBB contamination. One case of vital importance to note was that of the Tacoma farm. Many other class-action lawsuits (of which the materials within this collection document and support) were comprised of several farmers filing on the same suit, in the hopes of receiving compensation for their loss of livelihoods, resulting from the forced destruction of thousands of animals and animal food products. Also included are papers from the State of Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission hearing of Wm. Oeverman v. Gary P. Schenk, File No. 3044183 (in Box 20.) Gary Schenk was a Grand Rapids attorney who represented the farm families.

The collection also includes PBB herd test results, organized by farmer name. These test results come from numerous sources with varying degrees of information. Additionally, many different publications which Doc Clark accumulated and retained for PBB reference purposes are also in the collection, including: conference proceedings and presentations, journal and magazine articles, newspaper clippings and political cartoons, and books. The collection also includes material related to PBB poisoning or testing in Montana, China, England, France, Germany, India, Israel, the Netherlands, and Scotland. Box 30 includes Veterinary Examinations from Robert Benson’s herd. Notably that two cows were autopsied at Purdue University.

Note: In 2021 the surviving Hughston family members signed a permission form allowing their and their deceased family members’ PBB test results to remain in this collection and be available for public research. Copies were filed in the front of each relevant folder.

The majority of the collection is in good, readable condition sans a bit of dust. Many papers had to be pulled from the collection and photocopied due to rust, water, staining, or other damage. Strategic decisions were made to retain documents that were mildly stained, ripped or torn due to the large volume of photocopying that would be necessary. Good quality photocopies were retained in the collection. All of the photographs in the collection were archivally sleeved to ensure their integrity, and damaged photographs were copied and sleeved.

The collection is organized by series, exhibit numbers in numerical order with Doc Clark’s reference information in the folder label; PBB herd test reports by farmer name, and newspaper clippings (to be copied).

Abbreviations on the folder labels include the following: FB, FBu Services; MCC, ; MDA, Michigan Department of Agriculture; MDPH, Michigan Department of Public Health; MSU; MDNR, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; MDHEW, Michigan Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

The following court cases have at least some material in this collection: Box 1: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, FB Bankruptcy Case #84-01478-G; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Wexford County, Roy and Marilyn Tacoma v. MCC No. 2933; Box 9: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, William C. Hughston v. MCC No. 77-000745; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, Will C. Hughston and Bonnie M. Hughston, individually and doing business as Bill Hughston and Sons v. MCC et al. Civil Action No. 77-000 745; Supreme Court of Michigan, PBB Litigation Case No. 60519; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Kent County, Ronald Creighton and Janette Creighton v. Northwest Industries, INC. et al. No. 77-23552NP Complaint for Damages; Box 13: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Kent County, Dale R. Sprik v. Farm Bureau Services Case No. 75-18562-NZ; Box 15: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Kalkaska County, Kalkaska Board of Commissioners v. State of MI Dept. of Agriculture Case #74-619 (testimony on the White Water site); Box 16: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, Gary and Lois Zuiderveen v. MCC #75-000580-NZ; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, Kenneth Zuiderveen v. MCC #75-000579-NZ; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Wexford County, Roy and Marilyn Tacoma v. MCC #76-2933-NZ; State of Michigan District Court, Western Division, District of Michigan, Southern Division, Ingham County, Michigan Farm Bureau v. New Hampshire Insurance Company #G74-372-CA5; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, Roy and Marilyn Tacoma v. MCC #75-000585-NZ; Box 17: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Chippewa County, Hale v. MCC No. 75-2402-NZ and 76-2537-NP; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, Tacoma v. MCC #75-000-585-NZ; U.S. District Court for Western District of Michigan, FB v. Northwest Industries, Inc. No.G-75-225 CA 5; U.S. District Court for Western District of Michigan, Eddington v. Northwest Industries, Inc., Civil Action No. M-75-74 CA 3; U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Case NO. 82-0651-W, FB Debtor; Box 18: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Kent County, Kretzman v. FB File No. 74-16383-CE-NO; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, Tacoma v. MCC #75-000585-NZ; United States District Court, Western District of Michigan, Eddington v. Northwest Industries #M-75-74-CA 3; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Lenawee County, Knisel v. FBS #2684 NP; Court of Appeals Docket No. 43323; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Wexford County, No. 76-02933-NZ (Tacoma case); State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, No. 76-000585-NZ (Tacoma case); Michigan Eastern District North Division (Bay City), Bankruptcy Case #82-00651; Box 20: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, No. 77-000745 Hughston v. MCC; U.S. District Court for Western District of Michigan, Southern Division, FB v. New Hampshire Insurance Co., File No. G-74-372-C (counterclaim); Box 19: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Wexford County, Tacoma v. MCC #76-2933-NZ.

Processing Note: Approximately 1 cubic foot of duplicates were returned to Dr. Alpha Clark as per the donor form.

About 1.5 cubic feet of the collection consisted of newspaper clippings which were photocopied and are set to be returned to Dr. Alpha Clark as per his request in the donor form. These newspaper clippings were organized alphabetically, rather than by exhibit number, because not all of the provided newspapers had an associated exhibit number.