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Charles Adam Weissert papers, 1893-1947

3.3 linear feet (in 4 boxes) — 1 oversize folder

Journalist, historical researcher from Kalamazoo, Michigan; Correspondence, research articles and notes, and photographs.

The Weissert collection includes correspondence, 1893-1947, including letters from Joseph Bailly, Clarence M. Burton, Gurdon S. Hubbard, Chase S. Osborn, Albert E. Sleeper, and George Van Pelt. There are also speeches, and writings mostly on Michigan history topics, including Indian history and the history of Kalamazoo and Barry County. The series of research notes illustrates the variety of Weissert's interests: historical personalities, forts, Michigan cities, and early state history. The photographs and snapshots pertain to Weissert's interest in Michigan history, especially homes, churches, mills, hotels, businesses, and other sites primarily in western Michigan, but also including Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinac Island. There are also photographs of Michigan pioneers, particularly from the Hastings, Michigan area.


Emerson R. Smith papers, 1859-1964 (majority within 1956-1962)

3 linear feet

St. Ignace, Michigan local historian; correspondence, genealogical and historical materials concerning Native Americans and the French in and around the Straits of Mackinac, particularly in St. Ignace and on Mackinac Island.

The Emerson R. Smith papers mostly consist of correspondence and reference materials pertaining to the history of the Straits area of Michigan (St. Ignace, Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island).


Henry Burbeck papers, 1735, 1775-1866 (majority within 1802-1813)

3 linear feet

The Henry Burbeck papers consist of military and personal correspondence of Brigadier General Henry Burbeck, a career artillery officer in the United States Army (1775-1784, 1786-1815). The papers include Burbeck's incoming correspondence; drafts of outgoing letters; and returns, muster rolls, and other items submitted to Burbeck by officers under his command. The collection is particularly strong in its documentation of the administration and development of the artillery branch of the United States Army in the decade leading up to the War of 1812.

The Henry Burbeck papers (approximately 2,300 items) consist of military and personal correspondence of Brigadier General Henry Burbeck, a career artillery officer in the United States army (1775-1784, 1786-1815). The papers include Burbeck's incoming correspondence (approx. 1,350 items), drafts of outgoing letters (approx. 360 items), returns and muster rolls submitted to Burbeck by officers under his command (approx. 190 items), an orderly book, manuscript maps (10 items), and other financial and military papers. The collection is particularly strong in documenting the administration and development of the artillery branch of the United States Army in the decade leading up to the outbreak of the War of 1812.

The Correspondence and Documents series (approximately 2,220 items) contains Burbeck’s incoming and outgoing correspondence with military officers, army contractors, politicians, and other officials. Frequent correspondents represented in the collection include Secretary of War Henry Dearborn; as well as artillery officers Amos Stoddard, Moses Porter, Richard Whiley, George Armistead, James House, Nehemiah Freeman; and many others. Over seventy incoming letters are addressed to Secretary of War Henry Dearborn, which were then forwarded to Burbeck. The series includes returns, muster rolls, inventories, receipts, General Orders, instructions, memorandums, courts-martial documents, contracts, oaths of allegiance, and other miscellaneous items.

The bulk of the manuscripts in this series reveal practical day to day concerns of U.S. Army artillery officers, such as recruitment of men, desertions, provisions, payments, and exercises and drills. A frequent topic of concern was the recruitment and provisioning of musicians. Over 10 letters and documents, for example, relate to Francesco Masi, an Italian musician who served under Captain Nehemiah Freeman at Fort Independence in Boston harbor. Additional regular subjects include the planning and construction of artillery and shot, and the construction of coastal and internal fortifications. Henry Burbeck and other officers provided detailed reports on the forts occupied and constructed by American troops. Examples include: Fort Hale (October 24, 1811), Fort Trumbull (Oct 25, 1811), Fort Eustis (September 11, 1810), Castle Williams (October 1810), Fort Independence (October 5, 1811), Fort Niagara (September 29, 1808), Fort Detroit (November 5, 1808), Fort Mifflin (November 17, 1811), Newport, Rhode Island (October 25, 1811), Fort Norfolk and Fort Nelson (November 4, 1811), and Fort Powhatan (December 14, 1811).

Many letters are concerned with the design and testing of guns, shot, and gun-carriages. These subjects are especially prevalent in correspondence between Burbeck and contractors Jacob Eustis and Henry Foxall; and correspondence between Burbeck, Lieutenant Samuel Perkins, and Captain George Bomford, head of the United States Arsenal at New York. The collection's correspondence is focused almost exclusively on military affairs, with only a small number of letters related to Burbeck’s personal affairs. One example is twelve letters between Burbeck and Elisha Sigourney, an associate in Boston, concerning financial matters.

Selected items of note include:
  • Marriage certificate dated February 27, 1790, for Henry Burbeck and Abigail Webb for their wedding on February 25, 1790.
  • Magret Dowland ALS dated March 2, 1803. An enlisted man’s wife asked for back pay owed to her for working as Matron of the Hospital.
  • A copy of instructions given by Burbeck to Captain John Whistler dated July 13, 1803, in which he gave Whistler instructions to establish Fort Dearborn.
  • Simon Levy ALS dated April 12, 1805. Levy, the first Jewish and second ever graduate of West Point, asked to be transferred for health reasons.
  • Return J. Meigs, Sr. ALS dated January 1, 1807. Meigs wrote concerning settler and Native American relations in Tennessee.
  • Samuel Dyson ALS dated August 10, 1807. Dyson wrote that he had received news of an imminent Native American attack on Detroit.
  • Draft from Henry Burbeck dated November 1808. Burbeck wrote to John Walbach complaining of being sent to Detroit.
  • Satterlee Clark ALS dated November 2, 1811. Clark gave a detailed description (5 pages) of a fight between a sergeant and an artificer on the wharf in Annapolis.
  • Draft from Henry Burbeck dated February 8-9, 1812. On the back of this draft, Burbeck wrote to an unnamed correspondent giving his feelings on how women should sit for their portrait.

The Revolutionary War Reminiscences series (11 items) contains draft copies of letters written by Burbeck in the later years of his life, in which he described his service in the American Revolution. He focused particularly on his memories of the evacuation of New York in September 1776. Of particular note is one draft (December 24, 1847) in which Burbeck wrote in detail about the changes in uniform and appearance of American officers after the arrival of Baron Von Steuben. At least one of the drafts was intended for Charles Davies of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.

The Orderly Book series (1 item) contains a 114-page bound volume dating from January 2, 1784, to May 16, 1784. This volume respects day to day activities of the First American Regiment, a unit of the Continental Army organized at West Point in the months following the ratification of the Treaty of Paris (1783). Most of the entries regard daily duty assignments, courts-martial proceedings, and promotions. The orderly book concludes weeks before the disbandment of the regiment.

The Maps series (10 items) is made up primarily of manuscript maps of fortifications dating from 1790 to 1811. One item of note is the 1790 map of Fort St. Tammany given to Burbeck by Surgeon's Mate Nathan Hayward. Burbeck personally oversaw the construction of Fort St. Tammany, and this item contains a detailed depiction of the garrison, complete with an American flag. Please see the "Separated Items" section of the finding aid below for a complete list of the maps present in the Henry Burbeck papers.

The Printed Materials series (58 items) is comprised of printed circulars issued by the United States Government and Army, blank enlistment forms, and personal materials collected by and about Henry Burbeck (including newspaper articles and other published items). A copy of the Second Congress's 1791Act for Making Further and More Effectual Provision for the Protection of the Frontier of the United States is housed in the Oversize Printed Materials folder. A small number of bound items include a copy of Andre; a Tragedy in Five Acts (1798), and 19th century booklets on military and artillery tactics. Two copies of an engraved portrait of Henry Burbeck, by Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin are also present.

In addition to this finding aid, the Clements Library has created three other research aids:


Lake Superior Scenery, 1865

26 watercolors in 1 volume

Lake Superior Scenery consists of 26 watercolor sketches produced by artist Albert L. Rawson during a steamboat tour of the Great Lakes (primarily Lake Superior) in 1865. The sketches were compiled into a presentation album gifted to Louise C. Ely, a fellow traveler befriended by Rawson during the tour.

Lake Superior Scenery consists of 26 watercolor sketches produced by artist Albert L. Rawson during a steamboat tour of the Great Lakes (primarily Lake Superior) in 1865. The sketches were compiled into a presentation album gifted to Louise C. Ely, a fellow traveler befriended by Rawson during the tour.

The album (27 x 35.5 cm) has full pebbled burgundy Morocco leather covers replete with gilt decoration and blind-stamped ornamentations. The words “Presented to Mrs. Louise C. Ely By ***** ***** A Lake Superior friend,” “Album,” and “Lake Superior Scenery” are gold stamped on the front cover, spine, and back cover respectively. The binder’s ticket of “Dean Smeal & Hoffman Blank Book Manufacturers and Book Binders 148 Lake Street up stairs, Chicago” appears on the inside of the front cover, likely indicating that Rawson traveled through Chicago at some point during the 1865 steamboat tour. A calling card of “Mrs. C. Arthur Ely” is also tipped-in and includes an inscription reading “Elyria, Lake Superior Views in Water Colors.”

The album begins with an inscribed title reading “Lake Superior Scenery. Sketches by: A. L. Rawson. 1865.” Beneath the title inscription there is also a handwritten table of contents that reads:
  • No. 1 Grand Portal Pictured Rocks.
  • 2 Grand Portal, Interior.
  • 3 Miners Castle.
  • 4 Cascade.
  • 5 Cliff, where Steamer Superior was wrecked 1859.
  • 6 Sail Rock and Profile.
  • 7 Wrecker’s Hut.
  • 8 Stranded Fleet.
  • 9 Carp River. Near Marquette.
  • 10 Cascade near Miner’s Castle.
  • 11 [blank] (untitled scene showing railroad tracks, a train with smoke billowing, a river, and a colorful sky)
  • 12 Lake Michigumi. Round Islands.
  • 13 Chapel. From the Water.
  • 14 Chapel and Fall, East.
  • 15 Dead River, near White’s Burnt Mill.
  • 16 Grand Island Harbor.
  • 17 Superior Iron Mine.
  • 18 In the Woods near Chocolat.
  • 19 Fort Mackinac.
  • 20 Washington Harbor - Lake Michigan.
  • 21 Lake Michigami.
  • 22 Marquette from Chocolat.
  • 23 Marquette from the Water.
  • 24 Picnic Point, near Presque Isle.
  • 25 View near Marquette. Partridge Isle, Picnic Point Presque Isle and grand Island in the distance.
  • 26 Chapel, West.

The table of contents accurately lists the relative position of each watercolor within the album except for the first two items (“Grand Portal Pictured Rocks” appears to be located on pg. 2 while “Grand Portal, Interior” is located on pg. 1).

Items of particular interest include:
  • Eight views depicting various formations of The Pictured Rocks such as the Grand Portal, Miners Castle, Sail Rock, Stranded Fleet, and the Chapel.
  • The view titled “The Wrecker’s Hut” (No. 7) showing a man sat near a birch-bark hut erected on Chapel Beach close to the site where the steamer Superior was wrecked in 1856. The view titled “Cliff where Steamer Superior was wrecked 1859” (No. 5) appears to have gotten the year of the wreck wrong.
  • The view titled “Cascade Near Miner’s Castle” (No. 10) showing the steamboat Comet (built 1857 as a cargo vessel before being converted to hold passengers; she sank in 1875 while carrying seventy tons of Montana silver ore, making her the one and only treasure ship of Lake Superior)
  • Several views of scenes near Marquette, Grand Island, and Lake Michigamme.
  • The view titled “Superior Iron Mine” (No. 17) showing a group of miners at work with sledgehammers and horse-drawn carts.
  • The view titled “Washington Harbor, Lake Michigan” (No. 20) showing a docked steamer at Washington Island, Wisconsin.


S. Alicia Poole papers and photographs, 1860s-1950s

1 linear foot

Resident of Mackinac Island, Michigan; photoprints and negatives of Mackinac Island scenes.

The S. Alicia Poole collection is largely made up of photographic prints and negatives relating to Mackinac Island, its residents, buildings, and history. In addition, there is material relating to the Poole family and research notes and other accumulated information about Mackinac Island history.