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Arthur J. Lacy Papers, 1891-1975

10 linear feet — 2 oversize folders — 1 oversize volume

Detroit, Michigan, attorney and judge, Democratic candidate for governor in 1934. Correspondence, legal case files, family materials, speeches, essays, diary notes, financial materials, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, photographs, and transcript of oral interview.

The Arthur J. Lacy collection consists of correspondence and other papers documenting his political activities within the Democratic party and career as a Detroit attorney. The collection has been divided into the following series: Biographical information; Personal letters; Professional correspondence and related papers; Lacy Family papers; Speeches; Early personal materials; Writings, essays, etc.; Financial files; Miscellaneous; Newspapers clippings; Photographs; and Legal files.

The Lacy Collection documents particularly well Lacy's major legal cases (Wilson vs. White, the Ford Stock Tax Case, Mary A. Rackham Estate) and his transition from conservative Democrat to conservative Republican. His letters home from Valparaiso, Indiana and Ann Arbor and his letters to his future wife Beth Garwick give a detailed picture of college life in the 1890's. Major subjects covered in the public papers are the Detroit Domestic Relations Court, problems of taxation and banking in the depression, Lacy's friendship with James Couzens, and the campaigns of 1932 and 1934. A series of notes Lacy wrote to himself from 1915-1928 and 1946-1956 reveal his political ideals, personal morality, and his relationship to his family.

Within the Professional Correspondence and related papers series, the researcher will find correspondence with many notable political and business figures. These include John W. Anderson, William R. Angell, Art Baker, Arthur A. Ballantine, C.C. Bradner, John V. Brennan, Thomas E. Brennan, Prentiss M. Brown, Wilber M. Brucker, George E. Bushnell, Daniel T. Campau, Harvey J. Campbell, John J. Carson, E.R. Chapin, John S. Coleman, William A. Comstock, Calvin Coolidge, Grace G. Coolidge, Frank Couzens, James J. Couzens, John D. Dingell, Patrick J. Doyle, William J. Durant, Henry T. Ewald, Mordecai J.B. Ezechiel, James A. Farley, Homer Ferguson, Woodbridge N. Ferris, Clara J.B. Ford, Edsel B. Ford, Joseph Foss, Fred W. Green, Alexander J. Groesbeck, Edgar A. Guest, James M. Hare, Herbert C. Hoover, J. Edgar Hoover, Kaufman T. Keller, Stanley S. Kresge, David Lawrence, Arthur F. Lederle, John C. Lehr, Fulton Lewis, Percy Loud, William G. McAdoo, William McKinley, George A. Marston, Eliza M. Mosher, Frank Murphy, George Murphy, William J. Norton, George D. O'Brien, Elmer B. O'Hara, Hazen S. Pingree, Mary A. H. Rackham, Horace H. Rackham, Clarence A. Reid, George W. Romney, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Alexander G. Ruthven, W.M. Skillman, Albert E. Sleeper, Edward D. Stair, Arthur E. Summerfield, William H. Taft, Joseph P. Tumulty, Arthur H. Vandenberg, A. VanderZee, Murray D. Van Wagoner, Henry F. Vaughan, Carl Vinson, Matilda R.D. Wilson, Clarence E. Wilcox, and R.A.C. Wollenberg.

The Lacy Family papers are rich in detail about life in Michigan in the nineteenth and early twentieth century; the surviving letters document family crises and Lacy's role in them as the oldest and most successful child and later, as family leader. Lacy was the family genealogist and he collected and preserved the family correspondence of his uncles and aunt, some of which date back to the 1850's.


Charles Fey papers, 1914-1970

9 linear feet

Birmingham, Michigan, businessman and Masonic historian; correspondence, research materials, and writings on freemasonry; also materials on other research interests, notably the history of Royal Oak and Royal Oak Township.

The Charles Fey collection is comprised of correspondence conducted in the course of his research into the history of freemasonry in Michigan and in Oakland County in particular. The collection also includes extensive materials about individual masons. The collection is arranged into the following series: Scottish Rite Masonry in Michigan; Knight Templars in Michigan; Masonry in Oakland County, Michigan; Royal Arch and Grand Arch Masons in Michigan; Early Masonry and Leading Masons in Michigan; Masonic History; and Other research and personal interests.


Charles William Ungermann papers, 1915-1967

1 linear foot — 2 oversize folders

Detroit, Michigan, police officer. Scrapbooks containing material concerning the Detroit Police Department and Ungermann's career; also photographs.

The collection consists of scrapbooks relating to his career, to the activities of the police department, and to civil defense activities. The photographs in the collection are of Detroit, Michigan buildings, streets, people, and activities, especially as they relate to the work of the Detroit Police Department; group and individual portraits and photographs of Detroit Police, and photos of police training; photos of war bond drives and other war work during World War II; and photos of WJR radio broadcasting during the 1930s.


Geneseo, Illinois family photograph album, ca.1870-ca.1890

1 volume

The Geneseo, Illinois family photograph album (28 x 21 cm) contains 32 formal studio portraits of men, women, and children taken in Geneseo, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa from the 1870s to 1890s.

The Geneseo, Illinois family photograph album is a 34 page card album (28 x 21 cm) containing 32 formal studio portraits of men, women, and children taken in Geneseo, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa from the 1870s to 1890s. There are 27 cabinet cards, 3 cartes de visite and 2 tin types. An envelope in the front contains two loose photographs. There are three graduation portraits of young women, indicated by the presence of their diplomas. Of note is a photograph of a man wearing a Knights Templar uniform.


James J. Hurley papers, 1885-1945 (majority within 1885-1910)

0.5 linear feet

The Hurley collection is primarily made up of the letters of James J. Hurley, an Irish Catholic working class man from Troy, New York. He and his family moved to Oneonta, New York after the Delaware & Hudson railroad shops were transferred there. Several photographs are also included in this collection.

The Hurley papers document the life of a blue collar worker, an underrepresented figure in historical manuscript collections. James Hurley proudly defined himself as a father, husband, an Irish Catholic, and a member of the working class. In reply to a letter from a relative which he regarded as insulting, Hurley asserts that "a workingman has as much pride and spirit about him as any rich man." Referring to an Oneonta landlady who discovered that he was Catholic, he writes "I found she was liberal in her yankee views as such people are and you should have heard me trim those bigots. She found out after I got through that the Catholics are not people that have horns on them, she thinks I am a perfect gentleman, the mighty dollar catches those people out here."

Hurley wrote home frequently while away at work during 1904-1906, and the letters make it clear that he placed family above all else in his life, taking an active part in child-raising, worrying about Jennie's health, recognizing the stress and overwork she had to endure in caring for the children while he lived apart from them. He understood why she had no time to write, "as you are just about worked off your feet" having to be "both father and mother to them until this thing is settled..." In a February, 1904, letter he asks Leo to wait up for him on Saturday, to do as Mamma says, and to be "a perfect little gentleman," addressing the letter to him "to make him feel big and proud." In September, as Leo starts school, his father writes that "a great many things" are now expected of him, for he is not a baby anymore. He asks his son to keep this letter so that he will have it "to look at in after years and see if you have fulfilled the expectations of a loving Father and Mother."

The Delaware & Hudson workers hoped that the Oneonta move would be temporary, that the company would eventually decide not to build new shops in this "dismal hole," so different from urban, ethnic, and religiously diverse Troy. Hurley hated to bring his family to a place with such bad winter weather, questionable attitudes toward Catholics, and lack of school and work opportunities for the children. But the company stuck by its decision, and the Hurleys finally moved to Oneonta in the fall of 1906. The decision was probably prompted by the strain of the separation on Jennie Hurley, for her husband makes frequent references to his concern about her "nervousness" and ill health.

We learn little of Jennie's life except through her husband's letters. Her stressful life as a single parent evidently caused such depression and anxiety that her health deteriorated. Even after the family was reunited in Oneonta, Jennie seemingly did not do well, and James wrote to a cousin in May 1908 that his wife "does not enjoy good health at all I think that she is lonesome out here because it is not like good ol Troy." The one letter in the collection written by her seems to indicate that she was less well-educated and articulate than her husband, but the fact that it was written in a condition of extreme emotional distress should be taken into account. In 1906 a boarder renting part of their Troy house evidently made advances toward her, accused her of drinking and said the two of them would drink whiskey together. She ordered him out, he returned, she screamed, then threatened to break a bottle of whiskey in his face. "Jim I am not able too do my work I am all broke up and jest as nervis as I can be," she writes, signing her letter "from a hart broken wife." Hurley fumed at the "yellow cur of a loafer and scoundrel of a liar" who had abused her, telling her he is sure "the poor mean miserable God forsaken wretch" will end up in a poor house. The situation ended when the boarder and his family moved out -- Hurley expressing his hopes that they were relocating to the "wrong side of the tracks." This incident probably contributed to the final decision to move his family to Oneonta.

The papers document Hurley's work life to some extent, specifying piece-work rates for the jobs within the upholstery department, giving some sense of the kinds of materials which were routinely used, the range of tasks performed. They also reveal that Hurley took his responsibility as foreman seriously, while disliking the stress involved with that responsibility. Even though it was evidently not his nature to speak up to authority, in March 1905 he went to bat for his men concerning wage rates when he felt they were being unfairly treated. He argued against cutting piece-work rates, defending the workers as diligent and skilled tradesmen who had to work in "filth dirt and all kinds of diseases that is in this branch of business," and asking to see comparison with other companies' wages for the same sort of work.

The collection contains 16 letters to Hurley from men who formerly worked with him, thanking him for help in finding jobs elsewhere or telling him about their new circumstances. Included are 10 from John Carlon, dating from 1907-1910, which tell an interesting tale -- although in frustratingly little detail -- of a man who deserted his supposedly unfaithful wife and unsupportive family, moved to Boston to begin a new life, and managed to keep his location secret from them. Carlon repeatedly, in barely literate language, expresses his anger and resentment toward his wife, whom he insists he would not have back, "not if all the Priests in whole world and the Pope came with." A lengthy July 28, 1908, letter from W. J. Blake describes travel from New York City through Panama to the mines of Ecuador, and includes extensive commentary on construction of the Panama Canal and the startling amount of valuable machinery abandoned by the French.

The letters in the Hurley Papers hint at blue collar/white collar distinctions which are effectively portrayed in 9 fine photographs made of Delaware & Hudson employees ca. 1900-1905. Differences in setting, attire, and body language are striking, and these images, although not individually identified, bring the men and workplace depicted in letters to life. This small collection is not rich in detail on either home or shop, but it presents a rough sketch of working class life at the turn of the century, focusing on a segment of society which all too often remains historically anonymous.


James W. Piatt scrapbook, 1892-1896

1 volume

James W. Piatt compiled this one-volume scrapbook of newspaper clippings, letters, admission tickets, and ephemera documenting cases he tried as an attorney, his interest in the Freemasons and local politics, and other judicial, legal, and miscellaneous local affairs in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania. Prominent among the newspaper clippings is extensive coverage of the 1892 trial and execution of Charles Wall for the murder of his wife, Julia Wall; and the 1893 trial and execution of Isaac Rosenweig and Harris Blank for the murder of Jacob (Jakey) Marks, all three Jewish peddlers.

James W. Piatt compiled a one-volume scrapbook of newspaper clippings, letters, admission tickets, and ephemera documenting cases he tried as an attorney, his interest in the Freemasons and local politics, and other judicial, legal, and miscellaneous local affairs in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania.

The scrapbook features clippings related to local criminal trials. Prominent among them is extensive newspaper coverage of the 1892 trial and execution of Charles Wall for the murder of his wife, Julia Wall. Piatt served as the prosecuting attorney for the case, reported to be the "First Legal Execution in Wyoming County." Several articles relate to Wall's contention that Piatt acted dishonestly during the trial.

Newspaper coverage of the 1893 trial and execution of Isaac Rosenweig and Harris Blank for the murder of Jacob (Jakey) Marks, all three Jewish peddlers, is also prominently featured. Piatt served as a defense attorney during the trial. Piatt pasted in four letters addressed to him by Rabbi Adolph M. Radin, Visiting Chaplain of the New York Board of Jewish Ministers, who attended Blank and Rosenweig prior to their execution. Two letters addressed to Piatt from Harris Blank, one annotated as being written in the hand of Isaac Rosenweig, are also featured.

Piatt included clippings related to two other murder trials for which he served as an attorney: the trial of Adelbert Harford for the murder of George Kelley with an axe, and the trial of Fred Wall and Bert Pratt for the murder of C. Washington Werman.

Two of James Piatt's Sheriff's Office admission tickets for executions are also pasted into the volume, one for the execution of Charles Wall on March 8, 1892, and the other for the execution of Isaac Rosenweig and Harris Blank on May 18, 1893.

Later clippings and ephemera relate to local politics, judicial affairs, contested judicial elections, Freemasonry and the Knights Templar, and miscellaneous local affairs.


Norris Family Papers, 1815-1960

3 linear feet — 1 oversize folder

Norris family of Ypsilanti and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Papers of Mark Norris, Ypsilanti businessman and postmaster; papers of his wife, Roccena Vaill Norris, local teacher and woman's rights advocate; papers of their son, Lyman, attorney and regent of the University of Michigan, 1883-1884; papers of Lyman's son, Mark Norris, Grand Rapids attorney and Grand Master of the Knights Templar in the United States; papers of Lyman's daughter Maria Norris, Grand Rapids physician; papers of Mark's son, Abbott Norris; and related papers of other family members, notably the Whittelsey family of Connecticut.

The Norris family papers consists of three linear feet of correspondence, business papers, and scrapbooks. The bulk of the papers are letters among various family members which contain a wealth of information about 19th century daily life, social conditions, business affairs, and local and state politics. This collection is especially useful in researching: women's history; Norris family and kinship interrelationships; early area settlement and local history; university student life at the University of Michigan and elsewhere; 19th century economic conditions and political issues; and 20th century Freemasonry.


Walter H. Sawyer papers, 1900-1931

5 linear feet — 1 oversize folder

Hillsdale, Michigan physician, regent of the University of Michigan. Correspondence, notes, reports, addresses, and other papers relating to board of regents activities and state medical issues.

The Sawyer papers contain a mixture of papers relating to his political and regental activities, and to his medical practice and association with professional medical groups. The collection has been arranged into three series: Correspondence and other papers (arranged chronologically); University of Michigan Board of Regents; and Addresses and Miscellaneous. Sawyer's regent's papers are significant for information on those individuals who were considered for the presidency of the University of Michigan in 1909, 1920, 1925, and 1930. As a heavily involved regent, Sawyer maintained communications with his fellow regents, with university presidents and other administrators. These letters and other documents will be found throughout the Correspondence series. These individuals include James B. Angell, Harry B. Hutchins, Marion L. Burton, Clarence C. Little, and Alexander Ruthven.


Wilber M. Brucker Papers, 1877-1968

54 linear feet — 2 oversize folders — 22 GB (online)

Prosecuting attorney of Saginaw County, Michigan, attorney general of Michigan, 1929-1931, governor, 1931-1932, general counsel to the Department of Defense during the Army-McCarthy Hearing, 1954-1955, and Secretary of the Army, 1955-1961. Correspondence, speeches, tapes, appointment books, scrapbooks, photograph albums, newspaper clippings, and other materials concerning his political career.

The Wilber M. Brucker Collection consists of correspondence, subject files, scrapbooks, tape recordings, visual materials, political ephemera, and other materials from a lifelong career in public service. The collection provides significant, though not always extensive, material on his activities as state attorney general, governor, and secretary of the army. In addition, the papers include documentation from Brucker's private career: his law practice, his involvement in the preparation of a plan for the reapportionment of the Michigan Legislature, his devotion to Republican Party causes, his activities with the Knights Templar of Michigan, and as a member of the World War I Rainbow Division. With some exceptions, the early phases of Brucker's life are not as well represented as one might hope. There is really no body of Brucker gubernatorial materials extant. What remains are scattered items, largely concerning the election campaigns of 1930 and 1932.

The collection has been arranged into twelve series: Biographical; Correspondence; Family Papers; Subject Files; Knights Templar; Rainbow Division; Appointment Books; Speeches; Secretary of the Army; Newspaper Clippings; Personal: Albums, Scrapbooks, etc.; and Visual Materials.