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Dr. Alpha "Doc" Clark PBB Collection, 1951, 2022, and undated

15 cubic ft. (in 30 boxes, 1 Oversized Folder)

This collection includes 15 cubic feet (in 30 boxes, 1 Oversized folder) of PBB-related material of Dr. Alpha “Doc” Clark.

This collection includes approximately 15 cubic feet (in 29 boxes and one oversized folder) of PBB-related material of Dr. Alpha “Doc” Clark. This significant collection is of critical national and international historical research importance of PBB related materials. The collection is in original order and includes: court documents, mostly depositions and exhibits for many court cases at various levels; correspondence and memorandum between Doc Clark and farmers, physicians, clinicians, lawyers, and state and other officials involved in the PBB crisis; human* and animal medical test results; publications, including magazine and academic journal articles, parts of books, reports, and numerous clippings (copies) from Michigan newspapers and magazines; and two VHS videotapes. There are also photographs in the collection, which are of particular importance as they document the results of the direct consumption of PBB on the bodies and internal organs of animals, mostly cows and calves, but also laboratory monkeys, fish, birds, pigs, beagles, family pet dogs, and other farm animals which either ate contaminated feed or were exposed to it through the manure of affected animals. (Note: *In 2021 Archivist Marian Matyn obtained permission from Hughston family members to retain and make available for public research the family’s medical test results, of living and deceased family members. Copies of the permission form are in the relevant Hughston family folders in Box 9.)

Of particular importance are the several documents detailing the aftermath and remediation procedures undertaken by the state, insurance agencies, and other involved parties to clean up PBB contaminated sites. This includes documentation of the logistical operations of moving and slaughtering contaminated livestock and products to a secure dump site located in Kalkaska, Michigan. For example, Exhibit #356 in Box 10 is the State of Michigan Environmental Impact Study for disposal of PBB cattle in Kalkaska, 1974. There is additional information about the waste dump site located near the former Velsicol Chemical factory in St. Louis, Michigan.

The numerous letters, correspondence, and memorandums between farmers of McBain and Falmouth, Michigan, and Doc Clark prove the close personal connections and friendships he had with them. Many of the various documents and other pieces of evidence within the collection were sent to Doc Clark through these friendships, or from others involved in investigating the contamination and resulting litigation. It is through these correspondence, and the rich variety of materials in the collection, that researchers will gain an impression of the overall character Doc Clark’s character, as someone trustworthy and knowledgeable. Memos, notes, and other documentation in the collection in Marlene's handwriting, demonstrate her significant support and contributions to this history.

The exhibits within the collection were used to support some of the numerous claims and cases that were filed after the resulting PBB contamination. One case of vital importance to note was that of the Tacoma farm. Many other class-action lawsuits (of which the materials within this collection document and support) were comprised of several farmers filing on the same suit, in the hopes of receiving compensation for their loss of livelihoods, resulting from the forced destruction of thousands of animals and animal food products. Also included are papers from the State of Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission hearing of Wm. Oeverman v. Gary P. Schenk, File No. 3044183 (in Box 20.) Gary Schenk was a Grand Rapids attorney who represented the farm families.

The collection also includes PBB herd test results, organized by farmer name. These test results come from numerous sources with varying degrees of information. Additionally, many different publications which Doc Clark accumulated and retained for PBB reference purposes are also in the collection, including: conference proceedings and presentations, journal and magazine articles, newspaper clippings and political cartoons, and books. The collection also includes material related to PBB poisoning or testing in Montana, China, England, France, Germany, India, Israel, the Netherlands, and Scotland. Box 30 includes Veterinary Examinations from Robert Benson’s herd. Notably that two cows were autopsied at Purdue University.

Note: In 2021 the surviving Hughston family members signed a permission form allowing their and their deceased family members’ PBB test results to remain in this collection and be available for public research. Copies were filed in the front of each relevant folder.

The majority of the collection is in good, readable condition sans a bit of dust. Many papers had to be pulled from the collection and photocopied due to rust, water, staining, or other damage. Strategic decisions were made to retain documents that were mildly stained, ripped or torn due to the large volume of photocopying that would be necessary. Good quality photocopies were retained in the collection. All of the photographs in the collection were archivally sleeved to ensure their integrity, and damaged photographs were copied and sleeved.

The collection is organized by series, exhibit numbers in numerical order with Doc Clark’s reference information in the folder label; PBB herd test reports by farmer name, and newspaper clippings (to be copied).

Abbreviations on the folder labels include the following: FB, FBu Services; MCC, ; MDA, Michigan Department of Agriculture; MDPH, Michigan Department of Public Health; MSU; MDNR, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; MDHEW, Michigan Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

The following court cases have at least some material in this collection: Box 1: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, FB Bankruptcy Case #84-01478-G; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Wexford County, Roy and Marilyn Tacoma v. MCC No. 2933; Box 9: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, William C. Hughston v. MCC No. 77-000745; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, Will C. Hughston and Bonnie M. Hughston, individually and doing business as Bill Hughston and Sons v. MCC et al. Civil Action No. 77-000 745; Supreme Court of Michigan, PBB Litigation Case No. 60519; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Kent County, Ronald Creighton and Janette Creighton v. Northwest Industries, INC. et al. No. 77-23552NP Complaint for Damages; Box 13: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Kent County, Dale R. Sprik v. Farm Bureau Services Case No. 75-18562-NZ; Box 15: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Kalkaska County, Kalkaska Board of Commissioners v. State of MI Dept. of Agriculture Case #74-619 (testimony on the White Water site); Box 16: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, Gary and Lois Zuiderveen v. MCC #75-000580-NZ; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, Kenneth Zuiderveen v. MCC #75-000579-NZ; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Wexford County, Roy and Marilyn Tacoma v. MCC #76-2933-NZ; State of Michigan District Court, Western Division, District of Michigan, Southern Division, Ingham County, Michigan Farm Bureau v. New Hampshire Insurance Company #G74-372-CA5; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, Roy and Marilyn Tacoma v. MCC #75-000585-NZ; Box 17: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Chippewa County, Hale v. MCC No. 75-2402-NZ and 76-2537-NP; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, Tacoma v. MCC #75-000-585-NZ; U.S. District Court for Western District of Michigan, FB v. Northwest Industries, Inc. No.G-75-225 CA 5; U.S. District Court for Western District of Michigan, Eddington v. Northwest Industries, Inc., Civil Action No. M-75-74 CA 3; U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Case NO. 82-0651-W, FB Debtor; Box 18: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Kent County, Kretzman v. FB File No. 74-16383-CE-NO; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, Tacoma v. MCC #75-000585-NZ; United States District Court, Western District of Michigan, Eddington v. Northwest Industries #M-75-74-CA 3; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Lenawee County, Knisel v. FBS #2684 NP; Court of Appeals Docket No. 43323; State of Michigan Circuit Court, Wexford County, No. 76-02933-NZ (Tacoma case); State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, No. 76-000585-NZ (Tacoma case); Michigan Eastern District North Division (Bay City), Bankruptcy Case #82-00651; Box 20: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Missaukee County, No. 77-000745 Hughston v. MCC; U.S. District Court for Western District of Michigan, Southern Division, FB v. New Hampshire Insurance Co., File No. G-74-372-C (counterclaim); Box 19: State of Michigan Circuit Court, Wexford County, Tacoma v. MCC #76-2933-NZ.

Processing Note: Approximately 1 cubic foot of duplicates were returned to Dr. Alpha Clark as per the donor form.

About 1.5 cubic feet of the collection consisted of newspaper clippings which were photocopied and are set to be returned to Dr. Alpha Clark as per his request in the donor form. These newspaper clippings were organized alphabetically, rather than by exhibit number, because not all of the provided newspapers had an associated exhibit number.


Norm Lyon Papers, 1920, 1991, and undated

10 cubic feet (in 12 boxes, 3 Oversized folders)

The papers include photographic materials, and papers about Norm Lyon's personal and family life, his work as an oil field reporter and photographer for the MIchigan Oil and Gas News (MOGN), and his work as a photographer for the Mount Pleasant Daily Times News.

The collection consists of two main types of formats, photographic materials and papers. The photographic materials include: film negatives, strip negatives (multiple images on 35 mm film negatives), single image negatives, photographs, photograph and negative albums, transparencies, and paste-ups (for MOGN publications). The papers include: correspondence, reports, articles, newspaper clippings, obituaries, maps, and other materials.

The collection has materials from 1929-1930, 1933-1956, 1959-1977, 1979-1985, 1987-1989, 1991, and undated materials of this time period. Many undated negatives can be dated to the 1930s by the size and format of the negative material. Other papers in the collection that predate 1929 are in reality either later (ca.1960s) copies of pre-1929 materials or later (ca. 1950-1960s) notes about times prior to 1929.

The smallest part of the collection documents Norm Lyon’s family, mostly in negatives. Documented here are his wife, Phyllis, children, JoAnn and Dick, their pet dog, “Rip”, relatives, friends, and home life. The children are well documented as infants, at Christmas, 1937, 1940-1941, in Halloween costumes, on family vacations, particularly to Niagara Falls, 1941, and Leonidas (Mich.), while camping, playing with little friends and Rip, in the snow, or with their favorite toys. Phyllis is documented with the children, particularly when they were babies and toddlers, with lady friends working on craft projects, on vacation, and in general sitting and knitting. Norm is rarely photographed except for when he broke his leg and a few portrait shots, all undated The whole family is documented on vacations, camping or at Leonidas (Mich.), at Christmas, playing cards, and while visiting with friends and relatives. Most of the images are negatives and date from approximately 1935 to 1945. A few photographs, probably of the Lyon family or their friends and relatives also are included in the collection, notably in weddings, graduations, or anniversary photographs. None of these photographs are identified.

Civic and other organizations in which Norm was active, particularly the Mount Pleasant Kiwanis Club and the Pere Marquette Club, are documented in both negatives and photographs.

Norm’s work with the Mount Pleasant Daily Times recorded life in Mount Pleasant and the surrounding central Michigan area. Most of the images are negatives and include downtown Mount Pleasant parades, Christmas and Halloween decorations, downtown events and sales, politics, juries, veterans, meetings of various boards, the Indian Hall Dedication of July 7, 1940, Isabella County Fairs, 1947-1948 and 1956, the dedication of the new airport, the opening of Island Park swimming pool, paving streets, city offices, police (both state and local), accidents, fires, various clubs and civic groups particularly the Boy and Girl Scouts, American Legion, Archery Club, Elks Club, 4-H and FFA, Jaycees, Kiwanis, and Lions Club, as well as the local schools and sports teams, and the widening of US-127.

Other Michigan localities documented in negatives include the Pre-Edenville Dam, 1941, Reed City, 1940 (?), Ithaca, 1935, 1937, the Arenac Salt Plant, 1940, and Barrier Salt (Armada), 1966.

Central Michigan University (CMU) is documented as well. Negatives of the Cornerstone Ceremony at Rachel Tate Hall, 1956, the Construction of the Arts and Crafts Building, 1947, are included. Other images of note include the College Hop, 1936, Doc. Sweeney’s Gym[nastics] Troupe, 1942, the Football Team, 1934 and ca.1930s, Homecoming, including football players and a parade, 1935, as well as practice session negatives of both men’s baseball and women’s basketball, and the team image of the Men’s Basketball Team, 1942 are included. Photographs of CMU document most notably the Central State Training College Training School Fire of January. 8, 1933, general building images, and people, including the men’s baseball team, undated

Other unidentified negatives, probably documenting Mount Pleasant and the related area, include: suicides, squatters, farmers, agricultural scenes and products, and farm animals, hot air balloons, vehicles, trains, voting polls, buildings (interior and exterior shots), fires in general, and the Wolscheid Fire, 1948, in particular. Related photographs also mostly of the Mount Pleasant area, document children, buildings, the Kiwanis Club, street paving, snow storms, city vehicles, and the Chippewa Centennial Queen and Runner-up, 1967.

The largest group of negatives, as well as some of the photographs, documents oil exploration and production businesses in Michigan, 1930s-1980s.

Within the oil topics, a large number of negatives and photographs, 1930s-1970s, document men, most of whom are in groups wearing suits, usually holding drinks and cigarettes. While most of these men are unidentified, some are partially identified and other photographs or negatives are dated. It is highly likely that they all are attending Association meetings. One particular set of negatives shows men at the Mount Pleasant Country Club, watching a couple of go-go dancers, 1966.

Other negatives show groups of men who were probably connected with the oil industry relaxing, at meetings, playing cards, fishing, golfing, or hunting. A funny negative shows a group of men dressed up as women golfers. Numerous other images show men in groups either working in or visiting oil fields. The negatives of men in groups span 1935 through 1975, and undated. The photographs of men in groups span the 1960s.

There are also a smaller number of negatives of men who are working in fields unrelated to the oil business, such as in general stores.

Lastly, there are a number of negatives, 1930s-1970s, and some photographs, 1960s, of individual men in the Men-Portraits folders, some of which are identified either by surname or date. While a number of the men may be well known in the oil industry, the most famous central Michigan names associated with the Purple Gang are Isaiah Leebove, circa 1937, and Jack Livingston, undated, circa 1930s, both documented in photographs. Another famous Michigander is Spikehorn [John E.] Meyer (d. 1956) of Harrison, Michigan, 1940s, undated (photographed with his pet deer and bear, and people, including children). Spikehorn is documented in negatives and a few photographs.

A few Michigan politicians are also found in the collection, probably while campaigning, and include governors Soapy [G. Mennen] Williams and Kim Sigler (in negatives) and George Romney (in photographs).

The largest and arguably the most important part of the collection documents the oil exploration and production business throughout the state of Michigan, 1930s-1970s. A few images of the oil business in Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Illinois are also included.

The collection documents in detail the entirety of the oil business, from maps, drilling, core samples, construction of rigs, storage tanks, shipping oil, fires and other disaster, to seismology. Changes and developments in field equipment are recorded, from horse-drawn vehicles, wooden derricks, and using tractor-powered vehicles to sink well pipes to diesel-powered equipment and full-scale production refineries.

Major topics related to the oil exploration and production business in Michigan are well documented by negatives in the collection. These topics include the Association meetings, parties, and other outings, usually baseball or golf, 1940-1974, undated, and Buildings and Plants, most of which are identified, including non-Michigan locations. Plants with a large number of images include: Gaylord, 1967-1971; Gulf-Bateson, 1935, 1940-1942, undated, Gulf-Bay City, 1939-1941, undated and Gulf-General, 1941; Hilliard’s in Roscommon County and Vogel Centre, 1941, 1967; Kalkaska, including Shell Oil Co., 1969-1972, 1974; McClure (various locations), 1966, 1969-1971 and 1975; Porter fields, 1933, 1936, 1939-1940, undated; Pure Oil Co., 1930s, 1936, 1939-1940, undated; Reed City (MI), 1941, Roosevelt Refinery, Mount Pleasant, 1940, 1943, 1947, undated; Saginaw, 1937, 1941, 1975, undated; Shell Oil Co., 1970-1974; Sun Oil Co., 1940-1941, 1965-1966; Tekonsha, Michigan,1966-1967, 1969; and Wise Township (Isabella County), 1940-1941, undated.

Other oil business subjects well documented by negatives include Derricks, both identified and dated, 1930s-1970s, and those neither identified nor dated, including rigs blown down, destroyed, off-shore, and tilting. Fires are also well documented, particularly the Roosevelt fire, 1933, Six Lakes fire, 1974, Struble Well fire, 1934, and the Woods Well fire, circa 1930s. Gas and Gas Plants, Gushers, and Land Leases, Sales, and Landsmen are fairly well documented. The Oil Expos[itions] of 1935-1937 are well documented, showing various exhibiters, their equipment, signs, salesmen, and attendees. Oil Scouts, Pipes, Pumps, and Storage Tanks are also documented. Negatives of refineries, mostly undated, which are well documented included McClanahan Refinery, Toledo Pipe Refinery (Ohio), 1935-1936, and Total Refinery (probably located in Alma. Well sites are well documented in Buckeye, 1936-1938, Durbin, 1935, and Sherman Rocks, 1937.

Brine and gas exploration, laying of lines or pipes, plants and gas stations are also documented, mostly by negatives.

The oil business is also documented in photographs, which mostly dated from the 1960s. Buildings and Plants documented here include Bay Refining Co., and Belle River Gas, 1967, Simrall Pipeline Corp., and Durbin Station. Other topics covered include: Core Samples; Derricks, including Hilliard and McCloud for 1961; Fires, 1961-1963, Florida (Orange County), 1965; Gushers; McClure Drilling Co., Equipment on a Ferryboat, 1961, Pumps; Sinkholes, Storage Tanks; and Wells Sites, including Off-Shore sites.

The Transparencies also document the oil business in Michigan. The Slides nearly all document the oil business in the early 1970s, including the Crawford Well Fire, 1976; Derricks; Kalkaska; seismology, rigs, equipment, fires, core samples, pumps, storage tanks, various people, McClure, equipment, etc.

The partial reels of 35 mm film all are labeled in some form. One partial reel found in Box 11 appears to be personal. Otherwise, all the partial reels in Box 12 document an oil hearing, 1971-1973, McClure, Natural Resource Commission, etc.

The Oversized Folders include photographs (2 folders) and paste-ups (1 folder), all related to Norm’s publishing work with the oil industry.

The Papers are a small part of the collection. Found here are articles and reprints of articles about the Michigan oil business; an oil drilling notebook reports, maps, and other oil related materials. Pigeon River, and the blowout at Williamsburg, 1973-1974 are specifically documented here. The rest of the Papers documents Norm Lyons in biographical information, including correspondence, obituaries notices (of Norm and Phyllis), newspaper clippings, notes, and speeches, and information about the Mount Pleasant Kiwanis Club, particularly their 50th Anniversary in 1983. Other people, probably his friends or oil associates are documented briefly in correspondence and newspaper clippings.

Processing Note: This was a challenging collection to process for several reasons. First, it arrived in a state of complete disorder. Many of the images, negatives and positives, were without any form of identification. Secondly, a number of negatives were often in one wax-paper sleeve with either little or no identifying information or a lot of information that did not always seem to apply to the contents. For example one sleeve might have 15 negatives of different men and the names of only two men on it. Norm’s writing was often difficult to read, particularly when he used his own style of abbreviations. Students and Marian tried mightily to identify and read his notations. Also, some of the photographs were identified by Norm as belonging to various years. As we could, we maintained that grouping. That is why there are photographs in a folder 1965-1967 (we do not know which individual photographs date from which year) and other photographs in a folder strictly labeled 1967 only. Simply sleeving the collection took nearly three months while sorting it took longer. Some items were identifiable only using a lightbox and loupe.