The collection, 1917, 2011 and undated, includes materials created by Hughes documenting his life and radio career, as well as material he collected on topics of interest to him, such as radio and aspects of Michigan history. Of particular note are materials documenting his correspondence and subsequent citations in newspaper articles about his SQL with Jonestown, Guyana.
The collection, 1917, 2011 and undated, includes materials created by Hughes documenting his life and radio career, as well as material he collected on topics of interest to him, such as radio and aspects of Michigan history. Of particular note are materials documenting his correspondence and subsequent citations in newspaper articles about his SQL with Jonestown, Guyana, in August-September 1978.
Materials documenting Hughes’ life include biographical materials (obituaries), his communication with Michigan radio stations, his funeral visitors book, honors, correspondence and some (not general tourism) materials of the Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island, Mich.), communications with his niece, Pat Potter, photographs, plaques, radio scripts, reports (his on cassette), and his World War II service medals and photograph. Oversized materials include biographical and legal materials, and honors (certificates).
Michigan historical materials include: general Michigan history materials, placemats, and postcards, a compilation of police badges, and photographs of Mount Pleasant Schools. The photographs include: Old Kinney School, second grade, 1917-1918, Miss Carey, teacher; Mount Pleasant High School, 6th grade, 1921-1922, Miss May O’Hara, teacher; and the Mount Pleasant High School Golf Team, 1950. Some of the people in these photographs are identified. Also included is his official letter donating centennial newspaper editions to the Clarke in 1975.
In August 1978 Hughes and some other radio enthusiasts were at the Isabella County Fair when they contacted Guyana and talked to a man named Wes in the medical unit of an agricultural project. Soon afterwards, Hughes received a postcard stamped Peoples Temple Agricultural/Medical Project noting "Thanks for the QSL. This is a very beautiful country. The people are very friendly to the USA. They are doing a great job and appreciate whatever encouragement offered. Best wishes to you and yours." Albert Touchette, Jonestown, Guyana, WB6 M1D/8R3. Tochette noted "letter follows."
The follow-up letter, on Peoples Temple letterhead, dated September 11, 1978, was sent to Hughes by Richard D. Tropp, Staff Assistant. In the letter, Tropp hoped the QSL was received. He enclosed some brochures (no longer with the collection, which Hughes photocopied) and hoped they provide good reading. Tropp noted their founder was the Rev. Jim Jones. Tropp thanked Hughes for his interest in their work and noted amateur radio operators had saved lives there and contributed to their success. Tropp closed by wishing Hughes good luck.
On November 18, 1978, 918 people including 304 children under the age of eighteen, died in or near Jonestown. Jones' staff killed U.S. Congressman Leo J. Ryan, three news people and a disenchanted member of the Temple who had sought, with others, to leave with the help of the Ryan. Then, Jones and over 900 of his followers killed themselves.
After the mass suicide/murder, Hughes realized the significance of his connection and was interviewed for an article published in the Morning Sun, November 21, 1978. The story was picked up by the Associated Press on November 20th and CMLife on December 4th. Copies of the articles are in the collection.
For more information and primary and secondary sources about the tragic event, the aftermath, see Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple, a website compiled by San Diego State University at http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/ According to the site, Tropp, a teacher age 36, and his sister, and Albert, age 24, who was in charge of the radio room, Albert's mother, siblings and part of his maternal extended family all died at Jonestown.
Processing Note: During processing 2.5 cubic feet of material was withdrawn including duplicates, mass produced and out-of-state or out-of-scope radio station materials and publications. A lot of this material was correspondence noting someone had turned in and communicated with or information about non-Michigan radio stations. Duplicates of the Mount Pleasant High School yearbooks were donated to Mount Pleasant High School. Five items were separately cataloged.