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Alpheus Felch Papers, 1817-1896

6 linear feet — 6 oversize volumes — 1 oversize folder

Lawyer, Member of Michigan Supreme Court, 1842-1846, Democratic Governor of Michigan, 1846-1847, and holder of numerous other public offices; papers include correspondence and other papers documenting his career in public service.

The Alpheus Felch papers details the active life of this nineteenth century Michigan public servant. Not only are public issues discussed in the correspondence files but the researcher will also gain an understanding of some of the personal problems associated with public service. The collection also includes several files of other family members.


Buchanan family papers, 1847-1927

0.6 linear feet (2 boxes)


Correspondence and miscellaneous business papers including Civil War letters exchanged between John C. Buchanan and his wife, Sophia Bingham Buchanan, while he was serving as first lieutenant in Co. D. of the 8th Michigan Infantry. Many of the letters are almost sermons and philosophical essays about his home and family, religion, his country and the war and its leaders. Others are detailed descriptions of camps and camp life, such as Seabrook plantation in South Carolina and its Negroes, James Island and its reptiles; his quarters and food; sea transports; marches, skirmishes and battles with the Army of the Potomac in the Maryland campaign and around Fredericksburg. The collection also includes letters from Claude Buchanan while he was a student at the University of Michigan; letters (1847-1858) of J. Irwin Beaumont of Mississippi and Minnesota to Angie Bingham (Gilbert); notebooks, speeches, business papers, and a diary of a trip to the South in 1884 made by Claude Buchanan.


Gilchrist Family Papers, 1867-1945

7 linear feet

Alpena, Michigan, family; correspondence, letterpress books, financial papers, and other material largely relating to the family's business enterprises in lumbering, sugar manufacturing, ferry and excursion lines, mining, and banking; contain record of business affairs in Alpena, Michigan, and other areas of northern Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, Oregon, and Mississippi; family members represented in the collection include Frank W. Gilchrist and two of his sons, Frank R. and Ralph Gilchrist, also members of a related Fletcher and Potter families.

The Gilchrist Family Papers, which date from 1867 to 1945, reflect the business life of four generations of a prominent Alpena, Michigan family. The lives of four generations of Gilchrists are documented by the collection, but the bulk pertains primarily to Frank W. Gilchrist and his son, Ralph. Included in the collection is an assortment of correspondence, financial statements, inventories, reports, and cost estimates, pertaining to the lumbering, sugar beet, shipping, and mining industries.

The collection contains a considerable amount of material pertaining to Michigan business history, especially in the areas of lumbering, shipping, cement, and mining industries. Among the papers are financial statements, profit and loss records, invoices, lists of timber prices, salary records, blueprints of milling operations, and correspondence. They provide a documentary record of a family-owned business, which, when faced with declining lumber sales in northern Michigan, attempted to diversify its holdings in the real estate, mining, shipping, and sugar beet industries. Some of these endeavors proved successful for the Gilchrists; others did not. The papers record both the family's successes and failures.

Particularly useful for this study are the correspondence and financial statements of Frank W. Gilchrist and the early papers of his son, Ralph. The collection includes records of the Huron Sugar Company, the Alpena Portland Cement Company, and the Gilchrist Transportation Company, all of which failed to produce sufficient profit for the Gilchrists. The lumber and land companies were more successful.

The collection also serves to document the manner in which Ralph Gilchrist, Frank's son, carried the family industries into the 1920s and 1930s, managing to survive the effects of the Great Depression. The collection contains year by year, and in some cases month by month, financial statements, showing Gilchrist assets before, during. and after the stock market crash of October, 1929. The records of Gilchrist & Company Limited, the Detroit Trust Company; and Commonwealth Securities Incorporated are especially valuable for this study.

The Gilchrist Papers are not particularly useful for social history or for information on the family's private life. The collection does contain a travel diary of William H. Potter, dated 1883, in which a journey from Alpena to Detroit is described, but the bulk of the material reflects only the Gilchrists' official business functions. Correspondence usually relates information on stock acquisition, land purchases, lumber sales, and estate liquidation. The Potter papers are perhaps more personal in nature, containing some correspondence between the elder Albert Gilchrist and his daughter Ella, but these letters are few.

The researcher interested in Michigan business history, however, will find the collection useful for the above-named industries. Moreover, the collection also provides evidence for changes that took place from the 19th to 20th centuries within the office itself and the manner in which business was conducted. To some extent the papers reflect how the family reacted to early forms of office automation, as for example complaints that secretaries make too many typographical errors and that it is often easier to write letters by hand.

The collection remains in excellent condition, for the most part, although the letterpress books from the 19th century are faded and nearly illegible.


James and Sybil Irwin family papers, 1815-1987 (majority within 1832-1946)

6.3 linear feet (in 8 boxes)

James and Sybil (Hunter) Irwin were early setters of Washtenaw County, Michigan. Their two sons, John E. and (James) Leman Irwin, fought in the Civil War as volunteer members of the 20th Michigan Infantry. Correspondence, diaries, and ledgers from these and other branches of the family are preserved in the Irwin family papers.

The James and Sybil Irwin family papers feature letters written from various Civil War battlefields and encampments by the brothers John E. and (James) Leman Irwin. There are four additional Civil War letters from cousins Samuel H. Row, James H. Irwin, S. Baker, and S.H. Loveland, as well as a transcription of William B. Irwin's journal. The collection also provides insight into the lives of Michigan farmers in the second half of the 19th Century and early 20th Century by way of letters, ledgers, photographs, and diaries. In addition, the correspondence record details the experience of prospectors on the Minnesota Iron Range and life on a Great Lakes freighter. Also extant are sketches by Harriet (Hattie) Irwin, poetry by Harriet and Civil War veterans John E. Irwin and Samuel H. Row, and some early documents pertaining to the North Sharon Methodist Episcopal Church.

The James and Sybil Irwin family papers are divided into the following series largely as maintained by the donor: Civil War Materials; the Baker-Rice and Irwin Families; the individuals Amy (Rice) Irwin, Fred C. Irwin, Harriet S. Irwin, Isaac Irwin, James and Sybil (Hunter) Irwin, John E. Irwin, Max H. Irwin, (James) Leman Irwin, and Max H. Irwin; the North Sharon Methodist Episcopal Church; Miscellaneous items; and Postcards.


John C. Patterson papers, 1843-1910

18.5 linear feet — 1 oversize folder

Marshall, Calhoun County, attorney, Republican state senator, 1878-1882; contain correspondence, legal files, diaries and financial records concerning business and family affairs and the history of Marshall; also family papers, including Civil War letters of brother, Philo D. Patterson, student letters from the University of Michigan of son, Frank D. Patterson, 1892-1894, and records of business partner William H. Brown.

The John C. Patterson collection is divided into the following series: Correspondence; Letterpress books; Legal files; Diaries; Miscellaneous business records; John C. Patterson personal; and Other family members and miscellaneous. Much of the correspondence is addressed either to Patterson or to William H. Brown and pertains to their law practice. Other correspondence relates to family matters, politics, and Hillsdale College. Included in the correspondence are nine letters of Philo D. Patterson written while he was serving in Company H, Ninth Michigan Infantry, February-September 1865. Two of the letters reflect on the assassination of President Lincoln. There are also letters from Frank Dean Patterson, 1892-1894, when he was a student at the University of Michigan.


Mitchell and McClure Lumber Company records, 1866-1928

11 linear feet — 10 microfilms

Records of the Mitchell and McClure Lumber Company of Saginaw, Michigan and Duluth, Minnesota. Correspondence and financial papers concerning company land and lumbering enterprises, and later activities in home building, silo construction, and silage production; records of A.J. Stevens & Co. and McClure-Stevens Land Company of Gladwin, Michigan also business files and diaries of company co-founder, William C. McClure.

The record group is divided into the following series: Mitchell and McClure Lumber Company; William C. McClure materials; Other Business Enterprises; and Financial records. In addition to the records of the company, the record group includes documentation of other enterprises, such as home building and silo construction and silage production. There are also some records of the A.J. Stevens Land Company of Gladwin, Michigan. The William C. McClure series is important for the run of personal diaries maintained by McClure in the period of 1872-1903.


Native American collection, 1688-1921

0.25 linear feet

The Native American collection contains miscellaneous letters and documents concerning Native American Indians in the United States, Canada, and the West Indies, and their interactions with British and American settlers.

The Native American collection is comprised of approximately 125 miscellaneous letters and documents concerning Native American Indians in the United States, Canada, and the West Indies, and their interactions with British and American settlers (1689-1921). Topics range from land agreements, legal issues, treaties, descriptions of travel through Indian Territory, Indian uprisings and conflicts, Indian captivities, prisoners of war, Indian enslavement, and interactions with Quaker and Moravian missionaries. Tribes include the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cree, Iroquois, Ojibwa, Oneida, Ottawa, Kickapoo, Seneca, Shawnee, Sioux, among others, and concern activities in Canada, New England, the Midwest, the South, and the western frontier. Also present are items written in Cherokee, Mohawk, and Ojibwa.


Snap Shots on Ranch & Gold-Claim in Colorado and Idaho in September 1895 and Kodak Peeps at Colorado in October, 1893, 1893-1895, 1903

1 volume

This album contains two titled groups of photographs: Snap Shots on Ranch and Gold-Claim in Colorado and Idaho in September 1895 and Kodak Peeps at Colorado in October, 1893. The photographs of ranches, cowboys, prospectors, and scenery in Idaho and Colorado are often accompanied by lengthy captions. A small group of photographs shows land near Pike Lake in Minnesota.

This album (24cm x 37cm) contains two titled groups of photographs: Snap Shots on Ranch and Gold-Claim in Colorado and Idaho in September 1895 (28 items, pp. 1-105) and Kodak Peeps at Colorado in October, 1893 (19 items, pp. 111-187). Additional items include five pictures of land near Pike Lake in Minnesota (pp. 159, 161) and a picture of a home in Poughkeepsie, New York (pp. 186-187). The volume has hard green covers, with the words "Colorado '93 & '95" stamped in gold the black spine. C. S. Green signed the first page, and each section opens with a title page, the text in stylized letters. The photographs of Colorado and Idaho are early Kodak prints.

In both 1893 and 1895, the photographer took pictures of settlers and scenery in Idaho and Colorado, particularly in and around Market Lake, Idaho; Menan, Idaho; Manitou Springs, Colorado; and Powderhorn, Colorado. Pictured buildings include homes, a small hotel, the signal station and cog railroad on Pikes Peak, and railroad stations; railroad tracks and trains are featured in a few items. Portraits of prospectors, cowboys, and ranchers are included. Captions, often lengthy, describe numerous aspects of life in the West, such as the crops and geography of Idaho and gold mining, ranching, and mineral resources in Colorado. The author also commented on less-visited areas of Colorado and prominent features such as the Continental Divide. Laid into the volume are brief essays on a dog named Bobby (1 page) and the Snake and Yellowstone Rivers (3 pages). These appear on the letterhead of Charles S. Green of Roaring Branch, Pennsylvania.


Tom Downs papers, 1947-2007

19 linear feet — 1 oversize volume — 1 oversize folder

Legal advisor to the Michigan A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the Democratic State Central Committee; vice chairman of the Michigan Constitutional Convention, 1961-1962; and member of the Michigan Employment Security Commission, 1949-1965. Correspondence, minutes, reports and newspaper clippings concerning the administrations of Michigan governors G. Mennen Williams and John B. Swainson, the problems of employment and unemployment, and the recount of the 1962 gubernatorial election in Minnesota won by Karl Rolvaag.

The Tom Downs collection includes correspondence, minutes, reports and newspaper clippings concerning the administrations of Michigan governors G. Mennen Williams and John B. Swainson, the problems of employment and unemployment, and the recount of the 1962 gubernatorial election in Minnesota won by Karl Rolvaag. The collection is organized in the following series: Political and other activities, 1949-1965; Michigan Employment Security Commission; Michigan Constitutional Convention and related; Miscellaneous; Sound Recordings; Visual Materials; Oral history project, 1995; and Writings, research, and later activities.


Tourist photograph album, 1880s-1900s

1 volume

This photograph album contains pictures taken during trips to Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, and Michigan around the turn of the 20th century. Subjects include Native American homes, dress, and customs; western scenery; and Midwestern waterfronts and steamships.

The Tourist photograph album (15 x 21 cm) contains approximately 245 pictures from around the Southwest and Midwest United States taken by an unknown photographer around the turn of the 20th century. Southwest photographs include mission churches in California and New Mexico, rock formations, cliff dwellings at Canyon de Chelly and Mesa Verde, Balanced Rock in the Garden of the Gods, and a pueblo. Several photographs feature Native Americans, including: women with traditional squash blossom hair styles; a man carrying a small child in a sling on his back; a woman in a shop with baskets, wool and dry goods; a woman seated in front of a loom with partially finished cloth; a man sitting in a white-washed interior with skeins of wool, holding a spindle with a hand carder at his feet. One photograph shows mummified human remains posed next to a bottle of whiskey and skull, indicating likely tomb desecration. Also included are unidentified Southwestern streets, beach scenes, and the storefront of J.M. Archuleta in Colorado. Midwest photos include images of the Palace of Fine Arts (Museum of Science and Industry) in Chicago, Mackinac Island, the Marquette Monument in St. Ignace, Soo Locks, and the Great Lakes steamer North Land, and a lake and cottage. The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and the SS Chief Wawatam are also pictured. Many photographs are significantly faded. Some manuscript captions are included.

The album includes two cyanotypes and a postcard with a cartoon satirizing the Brigham Young's polygamy.

The album has a half bound pebbled leather cover and is stored in a three-part wrap with brown cloth spine.