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LaVerne Jones Collection, 1878-1966 (majority within 1900-1944)

1.4 linear feet (in 2 boxes)

LaVerne Jones was an employee of the Michigan Bell Telephone Company. The materials include board of directors minutes, correspondence, publications, reports, maps, and photographs.

The LaVerne Jones Collection contains records documenting the Michigan Bell Telephone Company's history, primarily in the first half of the twentieth century. The records contain correspondence, publications, reports, maps, photographic materials, and several miscellaneous documents.

Correspondence includes topics such as audits, stock, legal issues, rate controversies, organizational changes, and government nationalization of the telephone system in 1918-1919. Much of the correspondence is addressed to or signed by Mr. A. von Schlegell, general manager.

Prominent publications include telephone directories at the state, county, and local levels; a history of the telephone in Michigan; several issues of "The Michigan Bell" magazine; an engineering bulletin; and a manual of telephone services.

Reports consist of annual company reports, topical reports such as one on inventory and appraisal, and a large work entitled "Histories of Michigan Bell Telephone Company Exchanges."

Miscellaneous records include research documents relating to the company's formation, early history, and organizational structure as well as board of directors minutes from the Valley Home Telephone Company at the time it was acquired by Michigan Bell in 1922.

The maps consist primarily of base maps which are marked with telephone lines and proposed extensions of lines, as well as boundaries of areas serviced by Michigan Bell. Mapped areas include Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor, and the Bay City-Saginaw area, as well as the state of Michigan as a whole

Photographic materials include both prints and negatives and feature mostly company facilities and equipment such as transformers and switchboards. There is also a photo celebrating the consolidation of the Michigan State Telephone Company and the Valley Home Telephone Company in 1922. Also contained in this collection are photos of telephone poles being transported by train and a Michigan central train wreck.


Michigan Bell Telephone Company Photographs, 1949-1983

63 linear feet (in 93 boxes)

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

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

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

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

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

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


Osceola Rural Telephone Company Organizational records, 1906- 1963, and undated

1.25 cubic ft. (in 2 boxes)

The collection contains financial ledgers, accounts books, minutes, reports, legal materials, founding documents, and related materials.

The collection consists mostly of financial ledgers and account books, 1906-1961, undated (scattered), and also includes: meeting minutes, 1906-1957; reports, 1936-1961 (scattered); hearing transcripts and legal materials, 1938-1963 (scattered); founding documents, 1939 and undated; and related materials.

The collection is organized alphabetically and chronologically


Thomas G. Long papers, 1916-1962

6 linear feet

Detroit, Michigan attorney, member of the board of directors of the Michigan Bell Telephone Company. Testimony taken in telephone company rate cases, decisions of the utilities commissioners, and miscellaneous court cases.

The Thomas G. Long papers consist only of materials from his activities as a member of the board of directors of the Michigan Bell Telephone Company. These files pertain to telephone rate cases and to other court cases and decisions of the state's utilities commission.