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Collection

Charles Conn Michigan Railroad Collection, 1913, 2005, and undated

9 cubic feet (in 13 boxes)

The collection includes 20,000 images, in various formats, of mostly Michigan railroad-related topics, as well as people, scenic views, bays, towns, fires, inside and exterior views, Camp Custer, World War I and II military, and lumber camps.

This is a collection of 41,1056images in various photographic formats, booklets, CDs, and databases of digital images and information. Most of the images were taken or collected by Mr. Conn although some small groupings of images were given to him by other senior railroad enthusiasts over time. The collection is physically organized by format and intellectually by topic. Most of the topics are railroad-related, engines, companies, lines, stations, and others are of people, scenic views, bays, towns, fires, inside and exterior views, Camp Custer, World War I and II military, lumber camps, notably, Day Lumber Company, Emmet Lumber Company, Yuill Brothers Lumber, and some unidentified lumber camps, the Cadillac Handle Company and the Antrim Iron Company.

The first part of the collection includes original images or scans (either positive or negative) that have been made into slides or negatives. This includes 13 boxes of slides (1 slide box), slide negatives and negatives (approximately 5.5 cubic feet in 6 boxes), a few photographs, glass-plate negatives of various sizes (2 cubic feet in 4 boxes), and booklets of reproduced images (approximately .5 cubic foot in 1 box). These materials are organized by format and then by alphabetically by topic. Most of the items are undated. Dates noted by the photographers are 1913-1914, 1916, and 1918. A few miscellaneous items, possibly related to the photographers have been retained in the collection (see Box 12, Photograph, 1918, and Letter, 1916.)

While most of the collection is in very good condition, a number of the slides suffer from peeling emulsions and cracks, as well as other damage, which are noted on each individual negative’s sleeve. Also, because of the damage the glass-plate negatives sustained, not all of them were scanned.

The second part of the collection includes databases of the digitized images and identifying information about the images. A copy of the database called Michigan Railroad.accdb is divided into Conn and Conn Neg, and a copy of the TIFF files, called MichiganRailroad, which is organized by subject, are both available in the Clarke reading room (as of October 2012) as well as on the archivist’s office computer. The TIFF files are organized by general subjects so the link between the two databases is not always obvious to a non-railroad enthusiast. Mr. Conn reused identifying numbers, so everything related to one location has the same number, which may mean multiple railroads in one city. There is also a hard drive for preservation purposes.

Processing Note: Only a few extremely badly damaged glass-plate negatives were withdrawn with Mr. Conn’s permission from the collection.

Collection

Charles Conn Slide collection, 2002, and undated

1 cubic foot (in 1 box)

The collection includes 3,100 black and white and colored slides of Michigan railroad companies, vehicles, tracks, wrecks, depots, workers, and Michigan towns.

The slide collection includes approximately 3,100 mostly black and white, but with some colored 35 mm slides of Michigan railroad companies, their cars, engines, tracks, wrecks, depots, workers; Michigan towns on railroad lines, and the people, organizations, events, and buildings in them; logging camps, their crews, trains, kitchens, big wheels, and river jams; ships and boats; special trains and train cars; and miscellaneous. Towns well documented in the collection include: Charlevoix, Deward, Ellsworth, Flint, Gaylord, Honor, Midland, Petoskey, and Traverse City, Michigan. Lumber companies well documented in the collection include: Stephan’s Lumber Company, Waters, Michigan, and Yuill Bros. Lumber Company, Vanderbilt (Mich.). Two negatives of an unidentified railroad depot and an inventory to the slides completes the collection.

Michigan is abbreviated “Mich.” in the box and folder listing.