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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.


Bernice M. Watson Papers, 1946-1965, and undated

.5 cubic foot (in 1 box)

The collection documents the activities and interests of Bernice Watson before, during, and after serving in the 64th Michigan Legislature, 1947-1948.

The collection documents the activities and interests of Mrs. Watson before, during, and after serving in the 64th Michigan Legislature, 1947-1948.


Charles A. Sink Papers, 1900-1996

21 linear feet — 1 oversize folder — 2.22 GB

Republican member of the state house and the state senate; president of the University Musical Society. Legislative and campaign files, 1919-1935, detailing his election campaigns, his activities within the legislature, and his various responsibilities as a member of the Republican State Central Committee; general correspondence files, 1922-1960, largely pertaining to his work with the University Musical Society and other civic activities; topical files; family history and memoirs; diaries and appointment books; papers of wife Alva Gordon Sink; and visual materials.

Chris Kolb papers, 1997-2006

1 linear foot

Chris Kolb was a Democratic State Representative for the Michigan House of Representatives representing the 53rd district (Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township) from January 2001 to January 2007. Kolb's papers include legislative files mainly relating to gay issues, including gay marriage and hate crime legislation.

Kolb's papers include legislative files mainly relating to gay issues, including gay marriage and hate crime legislation. The Kolb papers have been divided into two series: Career Files and Legislative Files.


Dan L. DeGrow Papers, 1981-2002

4 linear feet

The Daniel L. DeGrow collection documents his activities as Republican member of the Michigan legislature from 1981 to 2002. The collection includes hardbound volumes of press releases issued by DeGrow and colleagues, columns written by DeGrow for various publications, and press clips from publications across the state.

Records in this collection document Dan DeGrow's tenure in the Michigan legislature, spanning from 1981 to 2002. The collection consists of four series of hardbound volumes: Press Releases, Columns, Press Clips, and Miscellaneous.


Elizabeth S. Brater papers, 1989-2010 (majority within 1996-2010)

19.75 linear feet (in 20 boxes) — 1 oversize folder

Member of the Michigan State Senate, House of Representatives, Ann Arbor City Council, and Mayor of Ann Arbor; records include handwritten notes on policy issues, collected research materials, and news clippings related to Brater’s service as a member of the Michigan State Senate and House of Representatives.

The Brater collection consists of eight series: Environment and Natural Resources, Mental Health, Judiciary, Other Policy Files, Legislative Files, Subject Files, News Clippings, and Other Office Files. The collection's strength lies in its documentation of Brater's activities in the areas of environmental issues and mental illness treatment programs as a member of the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives.


Ferry Family (Dexter Ferry) papers, 1758-1989 (majority within 1855-1959)

23.5 linear feet (in 25 boxes) — 7 oversize volumes

A pioneer Detroit, Michigan family, established the Ferry Seed Company and other business enterprises, active in civic and cultural affairs. Papers document the family and its business, cultural, political and philanthropic activities.

The Ferry family papers document the rise to prominence of this family who first gained their fortune as seed merchants. The papers also reveal the workings of other Detroit businesses, the development of the Detroit Institute of Arts, turn-of-the-century Michigan politics, and the suburban development of Grosse Pointe. The papers span the years 1758 to 1989 with the bulk of the materials covering 1855 to 1959. The collection consists of: account books, ledgers, journals, and business reports; blue prints, deeds, titles, abstracts, and mortgages; correspondence (business and personal); appointment books, diaries, scrapbooks, and clippings; receipts and tax returns, photographs, and printed miscellanea. It is important to note that the Michigan Historical Collections does not house all extant Ferry materials. The donor, Dexter M. Ferry, III, retains possession of several early account books, ledgers, and journals related to D.M. Ferry & Co.; he also kept some family correspondence and virtually all photographs.

The Ferry family papers arrived at the Michigan Historical Collections in an order based on when the donor reviewed the materials. In the course of reprocessing, this order was altered, and an arrangement assigning primacy to the generation of Ferry who created the document was followed. This reprocessing has resulted in three series: Historical and Background, materials predating Dexter M. Ferry; Dexter M. Ferry; and Dexter M. Ferry, Jr. The few problems presented by overlap between generations are duly noted in the contents list. Within these generational series the materials are arrayed in business, personal, philanthropic, and political subseries. Given the natures of the family and the family business, the researcher should note that murkiness exists between subseries divisions. In general these dividing principles work well. They preserve Dexter M. Ferry, III's original order at the folder level while facilitating access by independent researchers.

The strengths of the Ferry collection are myriad. The family correspondence provide unique insight into a family which grew wealthy but remained close-knit. Especially interesting are the long runs of correspondence between Dexter M. Ferry and his mother, Lucy Ferry Crippen, and Dexter M. Ferry, Jr. and his mother, Addie Miller Ferry. The former run reveals much about the fluid society of late nineteenth-century Detroit, and the latter reflects the pressures of more rigidly defined social strictures. The correspondence between Ferry, Jr. and his sisters, Blanche Ferry Hooker and Queene Ferry Coonley, are illuminating on the handling of the family business in the changing economic climates of the twentieth century.

Some facets of the development of the Detroit business community are well documented as the family invested heavily in local real estate and business. The strengths of the present collection revolve around the Dexter M. Ferry, Jr. materials relating to business and finance in Detroit from 1920 to 1950, particularly the banking community's reaction to the crisis of the Depression. The links between automobile touring, the good roads movement, and the development of ancillary industries to support the burgeoning automotive industry are fairly well documented by Dexter M. Ferry, Jr.'s papers. Young Ferry's close association with the development of the Detroit Institute of Arts is extremely well documented and these papers provide a case study of twentieth century patronage.

A somewhat refracted view of Michigan politics at the turn of the twentieth century is provided through the scrapbooks and clippings on Dexter Ferry's failed campaign in 1900 for governor of the state. The papers are stronger in their documentation of Dexter Ferry, Jr.'s political involvement with the local governance of Grosse Pointe. Here the details of community control are thoroughly covered by correspondence, reports, and minutes.


George C. Steeh Papers, 1946-2009 (majority within 1960-1990)

1.75 linear feet

Democratic state legislator from Macomb County, a member both of the House and the Senate, later appointed Macomb County District Court Judge. The collection includes biographical information, legislative files and reference materials, campaign files, constituent correspondence, and miscellaneous court opinions and orders.

The George C. Steeh papers are divided into five series: Biographical / Personal; Legislative / Political Files; Constituent Correspondence; Other Activities and Macomb County Circuit Court.


George Wahr Sallade papers, 1952-1993

5 linear feet

Ann Arbor, Michigan, attorney and local Democratic Party activist. Political files relating to his various campaigns for office (Ann Arbor city council, Michigan House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, and Michigan State Senate among others); papers relating to his service in the state House, 1955-1958; his activities with Washtenaw County, Michigan, and Second Congressional District Democratic affairs; also letters received from Lt. Lee M. Cecil, 1952-1954, describing his experiences as a soldier during the Korean War; and photographs.

The George Wahr Sallade papers, although limited in quantity (five linear feet), are of interest to the researcher of Michigan politics in the post-World War II era. They can be used to gather information on the "Young Turks," a group that in the 1950s foreshadowed the more moderate nature of the Michigan Republican party of the 1960s and 1970s. They provide insight into issues that were of concern to the Washtenaw County and Second Congressional District Democratic parties - including Vietnam, race, party reform, and the economy - in the troubled years of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The ideological positions of the two local parties, relative to the state party as a whole, can be determined by comparing the resolutions they passed with those of the state party and its platform. Finally Sallade's campaign files can be used to determine the issues of concern to the local electorate in the years in which he ran for public office. His 1968-1972 campaigns are fairly well documented from an issue standpoint (particularly his 1972 race for county prosecutor), and, therefore, can be used to determine whether and to what extent national events affected the conduct of state and county races. Sallade's papers should be supplemented by use of the Detroit News - Lansing Bureau index; the papers of Governor G. Mennen Williams; and those of the state central committees of the Michigan Democratic and Republican parties. All of these are at the Michigan Historical Collections. The Collections also has a complete run of both Good Morning Michigan and "Michigan Around and About."

The Sallade papers have been arranged in three series: Personal; Political: and Photographs.


George W. Pray Papers, 1844-1890

1.5 linear feet — 1 oversize volume — 1 microfilm — 6,307 digital images

Physician; member of the first graduating class of the University of Michigan in 1845; papers include journals, correspondence, physician's records.

The Pray collection includes journals, 1844-1849, covering his years as a student at the University of Michigan and in the Medical Department of Western Reserve College, Cleveland, Ohio. In addition, there is correspondence exchanged with his wife, Adele, primarily during the year 1879 when they were separated due to his service in the Michigan House. Other materials of interest include various personal and business account books and record books from his medical practice.