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Collections A p u b l i c at i o n o f t h e B e n t l e y H i s t o r i c a l L i b r a r y at t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f M i c h i g a n

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Contents D IRECTOR’S NOTES 1 – The Union that Should Be A BRID G EM ENTS 2 – Sound Bites from the Stacks 1 0 5 0 BEA L 16 – Saving the Internet 17 – Computing Campaign REFERENCES 18 – The Man in the Middle of the American Century 20 – Segregated Service

Please Forgive Me.–Jerry

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B ENTLEY UN BOU N D 22 – Frauds in the Field 24 – Sketch Show

Take three magazines filled with jokes, innuendo, and provocation, add a dash of Detroit history, stir in a journalist with a penchant for the past, and voilá—you’ve got Orbit, Fun, and White Noise magazines and a peek inside the bizarre brain of artist Jerry Vile.

The Dissenter

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Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy objected strongly to what he called the “legalization of racism” in the 1944 Korematsu v. United States case. His Bentley papers reveal what made him willing to take a stand.

Sarah Van Hoosen pulled on her mudcrusted work boots and never looked back when she chose to live the farming life. A scientist, philanthropist, and businesswoman, she ran her thriving farm and general store her own way.

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D i r ec to r ’s not es

FEATURES

Bet the Farm

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At the beginning of the 20th century, Michigan was gripped by a rush to find artifacts like the arrowhead above, which were alleged remnants from an ancient civilization. Find out how the fake news spread, and how this archaeological mystery was solved, on page 22.

On the Cover Covers on covers! We used the cover of Fun magazine from April 1987 to showcase the unconventional spirit of the Jerry Vile collection. Read all about Jerry—and his magazines— on page 4.

The Union that Should Be

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his has been a busy summer for historians. Outbreaks of neo-Nazi and white supremacist ideologies and organizations—most prominently seen in Charlottesville, Virginia—have put the question of how we appropriately remember and commemorate the American past squarely on the table. The neoNazis and white supremacists were marching together in Charlottesville to “protect” the monuments to the Confederacy there. There are no monuments to the Confederacy in Michigan. It’s worth remembering why not. The birth certificate of the state of Michigan, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, banned slavery in the “old” Northwest, the territory that would become the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The founding fathers who voted on this Ordinance—Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft—failed to eliminate slavery from where it existed, but they voted to prevent it where they could because they knew it was antithetical to the egalitarian society they hoped to build further west. It was this ordinance that called for free public education at all levels and, therefore, led to the founding of the University of Michigan, too. While the states of the old Northwest were not racial paradises by any means, they were born free from slavery. They contributed around one million members of the Union army, who fought to put

down the Confederacy, which they correctly believed was the “slave power.” Ninety thousand of these troops were from Michigan; 85,000 of the Michigan troops were volunteers. Because we have the Buck family archives at the Bentley, we know two of them. Andrew Newton Buck fought his way through the Civil War as a member of the Union cavalry. He served under Custer at the Battle of Gettysburg, where his horse was shot out from under him. His brother Curtis served in the Union artillery. They were raised in Englishville, in Kent County, and both survived the war. Curtis would graduate from the U-M Law School in 1872. In 1864, 25-year-old Andrew Newton Buck wrote home from the battlefield near Stevensburg, Virginia, assuring his father and sister that “the rebellion is dying for the very simple reason that it cannot live.” With the death of slavery, he wrote, “we shall have the ‘should be’ not the ‘was’ Union.” What a wonderful sentiment on which to reflect today, when there are those who seem to want to take us back to the “was” Union. The “should be” Union requires that we forget nothing about our past. But it also requires due deliberation about what we as a society commemorate. At the Bentley, our judgment about which archives to collect is based strictly on historical value. In order that we remember everything, our archives hold the remaining hard copies of the Michigan Ku Klux Klan newspaper from the 1920s and every issue of the decidedly left-of-center Detroit newspaper, the Michigan Citizen.

We are proud to hold the papers of Frank Murphy, Detroit judge and Mayor, Governor of Michigan and the Philippines, and author of the heroic Supreme Court dissent in the Korematsu v. United States case in which he denounced the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II (see our story on page eight). But we also have the archives of Gerald L. K. Smith, notorious anti-Semite and “America First” party founder. The Union that “should be” and Union that “was.” Our archives help us all tell the difference. n Terrence J. McDonald Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Professor of History and Director Andrew Newton Buck

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Abridgements Lucky 13 The University of Michigan’s founding documents have been digitized and are now available online through the Charles I. Walker collection. This image is Augustus Woodward’s proposed structure of the University of Michigan: 13 professorships in 13 subjects.

The reading room at the Bentley looks out on a courtyard that features modern art and the occasional woodland creature.

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G ener o s i t y

$998,000 $5,200,000

raised from generous donors in the past year raised to date in the Victors for Michigan campaign

Ginger root, bruised 2 tsp. cayenne pepper Loaf sugar

This past spring, the Bentley received a donation of several binders of sports cards and autographs featuring these athletes and many, many more.

Groundhog Day

With help from Bentley materials, author Paul Dimond weaves together poetry and prose in his new novel. The story follows the life of Belle, who becomes lifelong friends with poets Robert Frost, Theodore Roethke, and W.H. Auden. The book features original poetry by Martha Buhr Grimes.

R e c i pr o c i t y

Ford Sports nerd Harmon nostalgia attack! Woodson Brady Jeter Wheatley Harbaugh H.H. Ripper A new five-part show on the History channel asks whether notorious American serial killer H.H. Holmes was also Jack the Ripper. If you watch all the way to the credits, you can see the Bentley Historical Library listed. Producers used the archives to learn more about Holmes, a.k.a. Herman Mudgett, who attended medical school at the University of Michigan, and is pictured here in 1884, the year he graduated.

These proposed plans for a new golf course are from the “E.F. Hutton Estate,” known today as Mar-a-Lago and owned by President Donald Trump. The palatial Palm Beach residence was built by Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the Post cereal fortune. The Bentley has Marjorie Merriweather Post’s papers and three boxes of Mar-a-Lago material.

Boil everything in one quart water

An Egyptian cure for cholera, according to Dr. Chase’s Receipt Book, which was printed in Ann Arbor by Alvin Wood beginning in 1864. The folk remedies and advice on everything from bee keeping to colds to pregnancy made it the Martha Stewart Living of its day—for immigrants and homesteaders. For a time, its sales were second only to the Bible.

File under D for Delicious! Zingerman’s has begun donating its materials to the Bentley for archiving. Our stomachs are already rumbling!

D i e t r i c h Th e at r i c s Actress Marlene Dietrich poses with Michiganensian editor Buck Dawson during the 1948 Rose Bowl game. The Wolverines shut out the USC Trojans 49-0. No word on which team Dietrich was rooting for.

@UmichBentley Just arrived at the Bentley: the biggest scrapbooks we’ve ever seen! These monstrous tomes are official Martha Cook Building scrapbooks.


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Please Forgive Me. By Dan Shine

Provocative, offensive, and often hilarious, the Detroit-based magazines Orbit, Fun, and White Noise recently found a home at the Bentley. Their creator never intended for the publications to be taken seriously. But as it turns out, there’s a lot more going on in those pages than raunchy jokes.

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mong the 70,000 linear feet of letters, photos, and books at the Bentley are copies of creepy artwork by right-to-die advocate Jack Kevorkian, the signature of serial killer H.H. Holmes, and photos from an uncanny, long-haired religious baseball team. So the papers of Jerry Peterson, better known in Detroit art and music circles by his nom de punk Jerry Vile, should feel right at home. After all, this is a man who said he likes upsetting people because, “I believe that’s my art.”

He published two, often antisocial, culture and humor magazines that once ran articles on how to be a better stalker and a guide to suicide, featured an advice column written by the office cat (sample question: I’m dating a Siamese twin. How do I get her alone?), included a Detroit board game (Forgot to Hide Money in Sock, Go Back ), was full of risqué lingerie ads, and featured a Peanuts cartoon spoof that prompted a “cease and desist” letter from Charles Schulz. It’s all now stored in eight boxes, sharing climate-controlled quarters with the papers of former Michigan governors and politicians, letters from past University of Michigan presidents and scholars, and some of the edgier pieces in the Bentley collection. “Sound of hand smacking forehead,” Vile says about having his work archived at the Bentley. “If I had known things I was going to do in my life would end up [there], I would’ve done a better job.” In fairness, two of Vile’s magazines, Fun and Orbit, covered Detroit’s underground cultural scene far better than the mainstream press and lampooned life in the city with such intelligent (and at times, juvenile) humor that they attracted a cult following. Vile’s publications were the first to write about music up-and-comers such as The White Stripes, Kid Rock, and Derrick May and the burgeoning techno music scene in Detroit. Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino was such a fan of Orbit that he wore the magazine’s T-shirt in a scene from his film Pulp Fiction. Vile said he was influenced by National Lampoon, MAD magazine, and underground comics. He was inspired by Punk magazine, which showed you could self-publish. Magazines such as Search & Destroy and Slash demonstrated that production could be cheap.

Bored, Bored, Bored Vile’s first foray into magazine publishing was White Noise, which covered Detroit’s punk rock music scene from 1978 to 1980. Vile was the lead singer of a punk band called The Boners around the same time. In 1986, he came back with Fun: The Magazine for Swinging Intelectuals (yes, “intellectuals” is misspelled on purpose). An editor’s note in the first issue answered why: “The only reason Fun was

started because we were bored, bored, bored!!! We are sick to death of living in a city that celebrates mediocrity. The uninitiated stay afraid, and the underground complains. Unlike the established papers, we are aware of what’s going on. Unlike the ‘alternative’ papers, we will write about what’s going on. ...All we ask is that you don’t take us seriously. We promise never to take you seriously.” It ended with a plea for readers to ask store owners to advertise in Fun. “If they tell you no, steal something.” Although Vile’s magazines were sometimes accused of picking on Detroit, other communities were often caught in its crosshairs. One Fun magazine feature was a mock catalog for fictitious Melvindale Community College. Under “College of Engineering” was the course Applied Petroleum Sciences 101. “You will learn the skills needed to supply internal combustion engines with hi-octane petroleum and lubricants,” the course description read. For the Business School, there was Dress for Success 220: “Clothes are an essential part of an executive wardrobe. Materials fee $2.00 for hair-net.” Fun was published until 1990, when Vile launched Orbit. That magazine, like Fun, mostly featured original artwork on its cover, but had a more sophisticated layout and design. Orbit covered music and the Detroit-area nightlife, and featured interviews with artists and musicians. And it retained its screwball humor, sending a reporter to a nudist colony covered in fake sores to see how others would react. Editors touted a great advertising opportunity in the magazine and intentionally left out the phone number to call. Orbit’s final issue was in fall 1999. Vile signed off with one last message to a special reader: “I’m sorry God. I don’t know why I said those horrible things. I guess I was just showing off, for the readers. I don’t want to be a wretch. And I don’t wanna go to hell. Please forgive me. Jerry.”

A Digital Memory Hole Vile’s work might have ended up in attics, basements, or recycling bins—certainly not at the Bentley— if it weren’t for Rob St. Mary, a fan of Orbit who wrote The Orbit Magazine Anthology: Re-Entry, about all three of Vile’s magazines. Vile says St. Mary did a “bang-up job” on the book, which was published in 2015.


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“If you come in and sugarcoat it, whitewash it, the people who know me won’t believe it. You’ll be laughed out of the room. Whatever you find out, whatever negative stuff, put it in. It’s fine.”

“It is a ton of work to put something like that together,” he says. “He knows more about the magazines than I do.” When he was done with the project, St. Mary tried to return the old issues and research materials back to Vile, who is now an artist best known for organizing the Dirty Show, an annual erotic art exhibition. Vile told St. Mary to keep it, but the author didn’t want 170-plus issues of Fun and Orbit sitting on the floor of his closet. He remembered a conversation with an Oak Park, Michigan, bookstore owner who said the Bentley had a great collection of media from the state, including the Detroit dailies, defunct newspapers, and the underground press of the 1960s. St. Mary contacted the Bentley and was told the Library would love to have the Vile materials. St. Mary says handing off the past issues, interviews, and other material in July 2016 felt like the final piece of the book project. “Things get lost, things get destroyed,” St. Mary says. “So for me, let’s get it to a place where it deserves to be and where it will be treated with the respect it deserves.” Researching and preserving history comes naturally to St. Mary. Growing up, his father was interested in genealogy so the young boy would tag along to libraries in Michigan and Canada to go through microfilm and microfiche looking for wedding announcements and death notices. They also would go to graveyards and do headstone rubbings. Additionally, St. Mary, who works for the civic crowdfunding agency Patronicity, spent a portion of his career as a journalist, including 15 years as a commercial and public radio reporter, and an arts and culture podcaster for the Detroit Free Press. “Working in radio, one of the things that I realized is that a lot of our stuff wasn’t saved,” he says. St. Mary worries that important things will be lost down a “digital memory hole.” “Hard copies of things have always been important,” he says. “We need a place where that stuff can be saved and it can be lovingly cared for.”

The Absurdity of Things For St. Mary, the book represented a lifelong interest in Orbit, which he would read for free as a high schooler. The magazine influenced him enough that he quit his high school newspaper when he realized it was simply a mouthpiece for the administration, and started his own publication with friends writing about what interested them. He “borrowed” a few Orbit graphics along the way and printed five issues in all. But in 1998, St. Mary had his “never meet your heroes” moment when he visited the Orbit offices hoping they would write a review of a film he made. The reception from Vile was less than enthusiastic and St. Mary fumed, telling people, “I don’t understand why this guy is important. Why do people like him?”

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everal years passed before he saw Vile again, at a 2010 art competition where Vile was one of the judges. He was talking to a friend of Vile and mentioned that he wanted to go back and re-read Orbit to see if it stood the test of time. He also suggested that someone ought to write a history of Vile’s three publications. A year later, St. Mary was still thinking about the book. Now, he had time and motivation to write it, never mind that he and Vile didn’t hit it off the first time they met. “I knew his magazine was important to me, and that was what mattered most,” St. Mary says. St. Mary met with Vile, who told him the book had to tell the unvarnished truth. “I upset a lot of people over the years, either willingly or just me being me,” Vile told St. Mary. “If you come in and sugarcoat it, whitewash it, the people who know me won’t believe it. You’ll be laughed out of the room. Whatever you find out, whatever negative stuff, put it in. It’s fine.” It took St. Mary about three and a half years to write the book, working mainly nights and weekends while holding down a nine-to-five job. It was named one of 20 Michigan Notable Books in 2016.

St. Mary says Vile’s work shouldn’t be dismissed just because it was profane or juvenile at times. “Vile’s magazines looked at the absurdity of things,” he says. “Satire and humor can sometimes tell a more profound truth than just the truth.” In other words, honesty might come more easily if you don’t care about angering or upsetting people. “To me, there’s a value to looking at this stuff because it really is part of the cultural evolution of the area,” St. Mary says. “If you really want to understand the cultural evolution of metro Detroit, I think you really have to understand the place alt weeklies and the underground press sit, because they’re often closer to the ground than the dailies. “I think if you put it all in totality, then you’re going to get a broader sense of what was going on at the time.” n (opposite page) A smattering of magazine covers from the Vile collection at the Bentley Historical Library. (this page) Jerry Vile (above) and Rob St. Mary (below) photographed at last year's Dirty Show, an annual erotic art exhibit in Detroit that Vile started more than a decade ago. Photos

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acial discrimination in any form and in any degree has no justifiable part whatever in our democratic way of life. It is unattractive in any setting, but it is utterly revolting among a free people who have embraced the principles set forth in the Constitution of the United States. All residents of this nation are kin in some way by blood or culture to a foreign land.” When the Supreme Court ruled in 1944 that Japanese imprisonment during WWII was legal, Justice Frank Murphy’s dissent was a ringing voice amid a hostile cacophony. Through his archived papers at the Bentley, we take a look at the ways in which Murphy was a man ahead of his time—and what made him willing to take a stand against legalized prejudice. By Robert Havey


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red Korematsu was arrested on May 30, 1942, on the streets of San Leandro, California, for the crime of being of Japanese descent. Korematsu, born in Oakland, California, was in violation of Civilian Exclusion Order No. 34, which demanded every person of Japanese ancestry in “Military Area No. 1” (essentially all of California within 100 miles of the Pacific Ocean) report to “assembly centers” where they would be relocated to internment camps for the duration of the war. While he was imprisoned, lawyers from the ACLU asked Korematsu if he would be willing to be the test case in their legal fight against Japanese internment. Korematsu agreed. The case found its way to the Supreme Court in 1944 where, in a 6-3 decision, it was ruled that Korematsu’s imprisonment was constitutional. The majority opinion written by Justice Hugo Black emphasized it was “military urgency” that justified internment, not racial prejudice. The nation was at war with the Japanese Empire and the forced removal of Japanese Americans was “a military imperative.” The decision in Korematsu v. United States has been a stain on the reputation of the Supreme Court ever since. It’s considered by many contemporary justices as part of the court’s “anticanon” decisions like Dred Scott v. Sandford (former slaves could not be citizens), and Plessy v. Ferguson (separate but equal), where the court emphatically ruled on the wrong side of history. Forty-four years after the Korematsu case, President Reagan signed into law the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, formally apologizing to Japanese Americans for their treatment in WWII and paying restitution to each person held in an internment camp. Perhaps the only redeeming aspect to the legacy of Korematsu was the fiery dissent written by Justice Frank Murphy. Murphy rejected Justice Black’s rational of military necessity, saying internment of Japanese citizens “falls into the ugly abyss of racism.” Murphy points out that in the report given to the court by Lt. General John L. DeWitt in support of the internment program, DeWitt refers to those of Japanese descent as “subversive” and says they belong to an “enemy race.” Murphy’s argument concludes: “I dissent, therefore, from this legalization of racism. Racial discrimination in any form and in any degree has no justifiable part whatever in our democratic way of life. It is unattractive in any setting, but it is utterly revolting among a free people who have embraced the principles set forth in the Constitution of the United States. All residents of this nation are kin in some way by blood or culture to a foreign land. Yet they are primarily and necessarily a part of the new and distinct civilization of the United States. They must, accordingly, be treated at all times as the heirs of the American experiment, and as entitled to all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.” Murphy’s dissent was a principled stand for individual rights at a time when the United States was panicked at the idea of a Japanese invasion in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. His blunt condemnation of racism was unheard of at the Photo n Russell Lee/Library of Congress 38735

time. In fact, Murphy was the first to use the word “racism” in a Supreme Court decision—a word that wouldn’t be used by another Justice until 1966. While Murphy’s Korematsu opinion now seems singularly ahead of its time, many of Murphy’s contemporaries saw it as another zealous stand by the court’s “crusader.” To them, according to biographer Sidney Fine, Murphy was a “humanitarian” rather than a principled jurist, who put “heart over head” when rendering verdicts, having “little respect for the traditional role of the court.” Was Murphy a judicial visionary or a soft-hearted dilettante? The Frank Murphy papers at the Bentley chronicle each part of his life as a lawyer, soldier, politician, and judge, all of which led to his historic Korematsu dissent.

Help and Relief to the Troubled

Frank Murphy was born and raised in Harbor Beach, Michigan, within a close-knit Irish American family. The Murphy household was religious, but Frank’s father, John Murphy, told his son at an early age to “stay close to the church, but away from the organization.” A few years after graduating from the University of Michigan (B.A. 1912, LL.B. 1914), Murphy enlisted in the Army. He joined too late to see any combat in World War I, but he did discover what he thought could be his true calling. As an officer with a law degree, he was often called upon to represent fellow soldiers in court martial proceedings. He wrote to his mother in 1918: “To me there is deep satisfaction in giving help and relief to the troubled and depressed. I would rather do that than any other task I know.” Returning home to Michigan, Murphy spent three years as an assistant district attorney until he won a seat on the Detroit Recorder’s Court, the highest criminal court for the city. Murphy was judge for only two years before he presided over possibly the most important case in the history of the Recorder’s Court. Ossian Sweet, a black physician, was charged with the murder of a white man. Sweet had purchased a house on the fringe of a “white neighborhood” in Detroit. An angry mob formed outside his house with the intention of intimidating Sweet and his family into moving. It was a tactic that had worked before. On the second night, a rock thrown by someone

in the mob shattered a window. A volley of gunfire came from the second story of the house, killing one in the crowd and injuring another. The police entered the house and arrested everyone inside, including Sweet. He was charged with murder. The ACLU, recognizing the significance of the case, recruited legendary defense lawyer Clarence Darrow to defend Sweet. Murphy assigned himself to the case as presiding judge, both because other judges were hesitant to take such a politically volatile case and for admittedly self-serving reasons. He saw the opportunity to demonstrate “sincere liberalism and judicial integrity.” The first Sweet trial ended with a hung jury. Three holdouts in the all-white jury prevented conviction. The prosecutor brought charges against Sweet again later in 1926, but thanks to an eight-hour closing argument from Darrow, Sweet was acquitted. Murphy’s main contribution to the case was to allow Darrow and the defense to present Sweet’s previous encounters with racism to the jury. Sweet’s fear for his life in the face of racial hatred was a key part of Sweet’s contention that the shots had been fired in self-defense. Murphy was amazed by Darrow, especially in the second trial. He described watching Darrow’s closing arguments as “the greatest experience of my life.” He said Darrow was “the most Christ-like man I have ever known.”

Michigan in Hard Times

Murphy’s work on the Recorder Court launched his career in politics. He was elected Mayor of Detroit in 1930, ousting KKK-supported Charles Bowles. Detroit had been hit hard by the Great Depression, and Murphy did his best to help the masses of unemployed workers, distributing welfare funds to provide for basic needs. He insisted that no Detroiter would go hungry just because they were out of a job. Murphy’s work as Mayor and judge caught the attention of President Franklin Roosevelt. Murphy had been a big supporter of Roosevelt’s New Deal policies and was promised a place in the administration. Murphy was hoping to be appointed Attorney General, but was instead made Governor-General of the Philippines. After three years in Manila, Roosevelt asked Murphy to run for Governor of Michigan. Murphy’s first days as Governor started in crisis. Auto workers in Flint were staging a sit-down strike, taking over a key General Motors plant and halting production. Because the Photo n HS9506

workers were in the factory, not picketing outside, the GMfriendly local police couldn’t disperse the strikers without breaking in and potentially damaging valuable equipment. Murphy started to mediate between the then-fledgling UAW and GM. After a few days of negotiation, talks were abruptly halted when local police attempted to charge the plant with tear gas. Blasts from fire hoses and a rain of metal auto parts repelled the invasion. The police fired their pistols as they retreated, injuring 14 workers. Murphy called in the National Guard, not to break the strike as many were expecting, but to keep the peace. After many long days of negotiation, Murphy brokered a deal. GM recognized UAW as its collective bargaining partner. UAW’s membership skyrocketed after the strike, starting a new era of labor relations. After narrowly losing his reelection bid, Murphy was appointed Attorney General of the United States. He didn’t stay long. Murphy was selected for a spot on the Supreme Court just a year later.

An Instinctive Sense of Justice

Murphy was the fifth Supreme Court Justice appointed by Roosevelt, making him part of a “New Deal” majority. Roosevelt had clashed many times with the court and Congress about the implementation of his New Deal programs, and many feared Murphy represented the destruction of a check on the president’s power. Murphy, who hadn’t been a judge for over a decade, was seen—as one legal journal put it—as a “legal illiterate” and a “New Deal political hack” in the service of the president. Murphy ruled against Roosevelt’s agenda many times, including in Korematsu, acquitting him of the charge of being in the president’s pocket. Murphy himself admitted that he was no legal scholar, and his ambivalence to legal theory frustrated many of his contemporaries. Fine wrote that Murphy expended no “effort to fill the gaps in his legal knowledge.” Fine hypothesized that “a Supreme Court made up of nine Frank Murphys” would be “a disaster.” Murphy’s lack of legal guile might have been the reason he was able to write such an iconoclastic opinion in Korematsu. According to Fine, Murphy didn’t make a complex legal argument against Japanese internment, rather he relied on his “instinctive sense of justice” and his “rich and varied experience in dealing with persons of different races and creeds.” It’s likely that Murphy would have seen the critiques of his career as no great insult. He was an unabashed idealist. In one of his 199 Supreme Court opinions, Murphy wrote, “The law knows no finer hour than when it cuts through formal concepts and transitory emotions to protect unpopular citizens against discrimination and persecution.” Murphy remained on the Supreme Court until his death from coronary thrombosis on July 17, 1949, at age 59. He is buried in his hometown of Harbor Beach. n (opposite page) Japanese Americans forcefully evacuated from their homes gather at a Santa Anita assembly point with armed guards nearby. (this page) Frank Murphy delivering a speech circa 1936.


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By Davi Napoleon

Bet the Farm W ith Grit and

Determination,

Sarah Van Hoosen Jones carved out a space for herself in the early 1920s as the first female “master farmer” in the country. She managed a successful dairy farm that supplied most of Detroit’s milk in the 1930s and ’40s, and she opened a thriving general store as well. Her collection at the Bentley throws the barn doors open wide, shining light on an extraordinary life.

n 1909, 17-year-old Sarah Van Hoosen Jones contributed a piece to Midway, a slim magazine published by the University of Chicago-affiliated high school she attended. “The hills and villages were brilliant as the bluegreen of the oats, and the tender green of the sprouting corn. …The town lay in peaceful quiet, unlike that bustling Chicago, where I could not tell that spring had come except by the fashions.” While other Chicago students wrote stories and essays set in big cities, she expressed a yearning for farm life she had once known, which filled her fantasies and would not quit. Sarah would become a farmer, a scientist, a business woman, and a philanthropist. At a time when women rarely did graduate work in any field, she would be the first to earn a doctorate in animal genetics. She would run her farm so efficiently and progressively, producing prize-winning cattle, that in

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1933, she was the first woman Michigan Farmer named “master farmer.” In 1942, she served as the only woman on the Michigan State Board of Agriculture, the governing board of Michigan State University, and in 1944, she was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. Documents and letters archived at the Bentley Historical Library reveal how Sarah was inspired by farming and refused to limit herself because of her gender. The letters are so vivid that the reader often feels they are in the room— or the barn—with her. Mostly handwritten, the letters begin in 1898 and are often are addressed to her grandmother, also named Sarah, whom she called Sally, or her Aunt Bertha, who sometimes wrote to her from the viewpoints of the family cat and dog. After Fritz the dog confessed that he sleeps on the bed when nobody notices, Sarah remembered a pillow for him when she next visited. Photos n (Top to bottom) Don Hammond; the archives of Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm

A Difficult Beginning

The elder Van Hoosens, Sarah’s grandparents, had two daughters, Alice and Bertha. Alice taught high school Greek and Latin, then began studying medicine before marrying Joseph Jones and moving to Montclair, New Jersey. Bertha, one of the first women to study medicine at the University of Michigan, was doing post-residency work in Boston when the family came together at the their 400-acre farm in Stony Creek, Michigan, to await the arrival of Alice and Joseph’s first child. Sarah was born on June 23, 1892, in her grandparents’ spare bedroom. She almost didn’t make it, arriving waxen and limp, and reviving only after Bertha gave her artificial respiration. Sarah continued to have health problems, almost dying at six months of double pneumonia. Shortly after Joseph’s premature death in 1897, Sarah fell ill again, this

time with a malarial infection and diabetes insipidus. In spite of her health issues, Sarah spent her summers on the Stony Creek farm, and nothing made her happier. She loved riding horses down dirt roads. She loved the animals. She even loved farm chores. When Sarah enrolled at the University of Chicago, she became more certain city life was not for her. On learning her credits would transfer to Stetson University in Florida, she headed there the winter of her sophomore year. Sarah liked Stetson so much, she returned the next two winters. Sarah hints at the subject of romance only once, in a 1912 letter to her mother from Florida. “I sat for two whole blessed hours Tuesday evening on the front porch in a corner and talked to a fellow.” She would never marry. She graduated with a degree in French and German. Her family expected


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milk from the cows on the Stoney Creek farm, providing an annual income nearly twice that. After finishing her doctorate, she returned to Chicago, where her grandmother, Sally, was ill. As she approached death, Sally gave Sarah the deed to the farm.

A Master Farmer

Sarah to follow her Aunt Bertha into medicine. But when she asked, “How many years do I need to be a surgeon before I can buy a farm?” she found support for her dream. “You must always think your way is best no matter what others think,” Alice wrote to her daughter. “So many times I have given up only to find that after all my way was best. …It’s out of the ordinary to take up farming after one has a college degree, but you are not ordinary.” Bertha, who would write Petticoat Surgeon, a book detailing her struggles to perform the medical and public health work she was so passionate about, understood, too. Although Sarah would not pursue medicine, she would follow in Bertha’s footsteps as a pioneer breaking new ground for women.

An Independent Spirit

Sarah went to the University of Wisconsin to study animal husbandry in the fall of 1914. “At last,” she wrote to Alice, “I

am learning things I have always wanted to know.” When she completed her master’s degree in June 1916, encouragement came from outside the family, too: The head of the genetics department convinced her to pursue a Ph.D. in animal genetics. At UW, she learned how to handle men as well as cattle. “Boerner has been causing trouble by feeding the calves extra at night and not telling me. Fred found out, and I made him confess. You know, I am getting experience in handling men which does not go along with a Ph.D. but is beautifully good experience considering my plans,” she wrote to Alice. “But our last man expects to go into the army at the end of summer, which may mean I will have to do all the cattle.” World War I didn’t interrupt her studies as much as it prolonged them and afforded her exceptional opportunities. As the male students went off to war, one by one they asked her to maintain their research, and Sarah

found herself managing several studies, including cross-breeding of cows and the inheritance of black markings in the domestic pigeon. In 1918, movie houses, churches, and schools closed across Wisconsin as a virulent flu circulated. Fruit and staples had become expensive. “What kind of bread are you baking?” Sarah wrote wistfully to Alice. But Alice was baking less and protesting more, marching with suffragettes from the Art Institute of Chicago to the Coliseum. Alice would stay involved until women got the vote in 1920.

As preliminary exams approached in 1921, Sarah wrote to Alice, “To say I am nervous is putting it mildly.” A Western Union telegram dated May 28, 1921, may have reached her mother in Chicago the same day: “Examination passed creditably. Dr. Sarah Van Hoosen Jones.” The University of Wisconsin offered her an assistant professorship, running the school farm and teaching, with a fiveyear contract. But Sarah felt that postponing her return to Michigan until she was 33 years old was out of the question. “I had done so much with the cattle and for the department that [my professor] was in hopes I would stay here,” Sarah wrote to Alice. “He says women were more reliable for steady work because men were always looking forward to higher positions. I told him that was the very trouble with staying here.” There were other issues. The job came with an annual salary of $15,000. Sarah did the math: She could make $75 a day by getting 1,500 quarts of

Sarah began her tenure on her Michigan farm by assuming care of 1,000 chickens in 1924. She devised a brooding system, took them feed, gathered eggs, and marketed some as broilers. The family had been renting the farm to local farmers who handled the cattle. In 1926, their lease ran out, and Sarah took over. After working out a five-year program on paper, she established a budget and stuck to it. In June 1938, Sarah opened The Sign of the Black & White Cow, a store that carried anything farmproduced or homemade. She divided the farm into departments with various heads and employed upwards of 15 men and one woman, and a bookkeeper who referred to herself as “secretary to 200 cows.” She hired someone to take care of poultry while she devoted herself to cattle, shifting from Guernsey cows to Holstein-Friesians; she supplied most of Detroit’s milk in the 1930s and 1940s. Life was full on the farm, but Sarah found time to write technical articles about farming and a book about the farm’s history, Chronicle of the Van Hoosen Centenary Farm; she served on the Stony Creek School and the Rochester, Michigan, School Boards. She was the first woman president of the Association of Governing Boards of State Universities and Allied Institutions, where she started committees to evaluate the effects of increased enrollment. She advocated for Congressional scholarships and loans, tax credits for tuition,

and limits on out-of-state tuition. “I trust I will not be considered too personal when I refer to the fact that I am very conscious of my position as a woman. …Our organization has proven itself very broad minded in many matters,” Sarah said in her first board speech. When Alice broke her hip in 1950, Bertha returned from Chicago to care for her and stayed at the farm. Alice died in 1951, at age 96. Bertha suffered a stroke and died 11 months later, at age 89. Sarah retired from farming in 1952. By 1955, she had closed the store, sold the cattle, and traveled to Europe with a friend. On her return, she pursued an interest in genealogy, did some lecturing, and continued to play an active role in higher education associations. She contributed 350 acres to Michigan State University for a new university, MSU Oakland, which opened in 1959, and she made significant contributions to the University of Michigan. Farms were disappearing, replaced by homes for an expanding suburban population, when Sarah Van Hoosen Jones died on August 27, 1972, at the Avondale Nursing Home in Rochester. She was 80 years old. MSU inherited the rest of the estate, and seven years later, the university donated the house and three acres to the City of Rochester Hills for the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm. n (opening spread, page 12) Sarah in front of her farm store, called At the Sign of the Black and White Cow, circa 1940. She opened the store in 1938 to sell Van Hoosen Farm dairy products and goods handmade by local women. (opposite page, clockwise) Sarah, far left, circa 1912; Sarah in the milking barn circa 1930; cow sculpture on the grounds of Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm.

Photos n (Top to bottom) The archives of Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm; Don Hammond


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Saving the Internet Since the early 2000s, the Bentley Historical Library has collected 2,255 websites comprising more than 15 million individual web pages. Dallas Pillen, the Bentley Archivist for Metadata and Digital Projects, explains this important aspect of archiving in the modern world.

A: Many of the things we have traditionally collected are just no longer produced in paper form. We do get electronic materials from network transfers or people giving us hard drives, CDs, and DVDs, but a lot of content is only published on the web. We’re also able to supplement the things we have traditionally collected by archiving websites and to fill in some gaps in our collecting; the work of student organizations, for example, is more readily documented on the web. Q: Can you explain more about what web archiving is?

A: Web archiving is collecting, preserving, and providing access to data that is/was on the web. The web archiving process involves saving embedded images, files, style sheets, JavaScript, and other things that make up the look and feel and functionality of a page, then providing a way for people to view the saved website as it was when we captured it. Q: How does the Bentley pick websites to archive?

A: That’s the job of our Field Archivists, the ones that make the decisions about the material the Bentley collects. They identify websites that are important to preserve, that fit into the Bentley’s collection development

Photo n Lon Horwedel

Honoring the legacy of a man ahead of his time By Lara Zielin

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By Robert Havey

Q: The Bentley is mostly known for its photos, letters, and the pieces of history you can touch. Why is the Library now archiving websites?

Computing Campaign

priorities. A University of Michigan student organization website or a Michigan congressional campaign page are good examples of what they look for. Once they decide that we should preserve the site, they send it over to me. Q: What do you do after the Field Archivists hand you the site?

A: First I add what is called a “seed URL” into Archive-It, the program we use to do web archiving. The seed URL is normally the homepage of a website (www.umich.edu, for example) and from there a web crawler will traverse the web of interrelated content that makes up the site. The goal is to capture and display the archived version of the site that’s as true to the original as possible. After this is done, I write the metadata for the collection, which might include a description of the website, what group it was for, when we archived the site, etc. Q: What is something that’s surprised you doing this job?

A: When you do web archiving you learn the internet isn’t very “neat.” There are a lot of messy things behind the scenes that makes it all work. It’s impressive that the internet functions so well every day. Impressive and a bit terrifying. n To see all of the sites the Bentley has archived, please visit https://archive-it.org/organizations/934

Dallas Pillen hard at work archiving the internet.

BM started mass-producing computers in the mid-1950s, at the same time U-M was trying to determine its technological future and the role these new machines could play on campus. In 1958, the University decided to move its small computer operation off campus and discontinue general computer access to students and faculty—until Robert Bartels, a professor of mathematics, embarked on a successful campaign to reverse this decision and to establish a viable central computing facility to support teaching and research. In 1959, the Board of Regents established the campus’s first Computing Center and placed Bartels in charge of its promising technology. For the next 19 years until his retirement in 1978, Bartels would expertly steer the Computing Center through technological and cultural changes that would transform the way that faculty, students, and staff accessed and used computers. Bartels would fight tirelessly to make computing available across campus, to upgrade the technology, and to give his staff the freedom to innovate and problem solve as computers evolved.

“At the time, computing was controversial on campus,” says Jeff Ogden, a retired senior associate director at the U-M Computing Center, who worked under Bartels for 12 years. “Not everyone knew what it was about. It wasn’t very widespread. [Bartels] worked hard to keep a computing presence on campus available to everyone. He also assembled a remarkable pool of talented staff members. I was very fortunate to be able to work with those people, and many of them are still my close friends.” Today, Ogden is part of a committee working with the Bentley Historical Library to honor Bartels’ leadership and legacy in computing technology at U-M by creating the Robert Bartels Endowment for the Study and Curation of Digital Technologies and New Media. The Bentley has held the Computing Center’s papers since 1996. Digital records were added in 2011, and a working version of the software for the Michigan Terminal System (MTS) from 1988, including source code and related documentation, was added in January 2012. These materials have been the fourth most downloaded records among all the digital collections at the Bentley.

Robert Bartels (left) and John Schaefer (right) in the Computing Center in this undated photo.

The endowment is more than halfway to its $250,000 goal. The funds can be used for a variety of purposes, including research into emerging tools and techniques to support digital curation, the expansion of the Bentley’s digital infrastructure, the digitization of collections related to computing and new media, and more. “It’s good for the University as a whole to remember and acknowledge the contributions that were made many years ago by Bob Bartels,” Ogden says. “He put Michigan on a path to making computing more widespread. That was an important development that didn’t happen until much later at many other universities.” n

Reaching the Goal Please consider helping honor the legacy of Bob Bartels by contributing to the endowment in his name. To give, use the enclosed envelope or visit myumi.ch/6pDgd.

Photos n (Top to bottom) HS4057; HS17464


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The Man in the Middle of the American Century Michigan Senator Arthur Vandenberg moves from footnote to spotlight in a new, first-of-its-kind biography by Hank Meijer By Leslie Stainton

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his past summer, Hank Meijer stopped by the Bentley Library for a visit. It was a homecoming, of sorts. Between 1990 and 1994, Meijer guesses he came to the Bentley as many as a hundred times—possibly 200—to research his biography of U.S. Senator Arthur Vandenberg, out this fall from the University of Chicago Press and titled Arthur Vandenberg: The Man in the Middle of the American Century. So the visit in June was something of a valedictory lap coupled with a trip down memory lane. But there was also business to do. Meijer, 65, is casting about for a topic for his next book, and he wanted to pick a few brains. Photos n (Top to bottom) Lon Horwedel; University of Chicago Press

For a man who’s used to seeing his name emblazoned on bright red grocery trucks throughout the Midwest, Meijer, the executive chair of Meijer Inc., is decidedly humble when it comes to talking about himself. But ask him about Arthur Vandenberg, U.S. Senator from Michigan from 1928 to 1951, and Meijer can’t stop telling stories. He’s been interested in Vandenberg ever since he was a kid growing up in Grand Rapids, their shared hometown, and he first learned about “this local boy who had risen to great prominence but was now largely forgotten.” The Republican Vandenberg is best known for his dramatic shift from isolationist to internationalist in the

aftermath of World War II—and his fierce leadership in the bipartisan postwar push to create the Marshall Plan, the United Nations, and NATO. Edward R. Murrow called Vandenberg “the central pivot of the entire era.” Meijer had long been curious about the senator—with whom he shares not only a hometown but also a name (Vandenberg is Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg, while Meijer is Hendrik Meijer, nicknamed Hank). It wasn’t until 1989, though, that Meijer got serious about the man he likes to call “Van.” That year, the Michigan Historical Society was seeking a speaker for its annual convention, and a colleague, knowing of Meijer’s interest in Vandenberg, asked if he’d be willing to say a few words on the “Big Michigander,” as Time magazine once called the state’s senior senator. Meijer accepted. Two months after giving the talk, he got a phone call. It was the daughter of C. David Tompkins, a Chicago historian who’d published the first of a projected two-volume life of Vandenberg in 1970 but died before he could write the second volume. His daughter was wondering if Meijer would like to have her father’s notes. Meijer felt a tug, and the following month had a vanload of Tompkins’s

files shipped to his Grand Rapids office. When the notes arrived, Meijer recalls, “I was suddenly imbued with a sense of purpose.” Like Vandenberg, a past editor and publisher of the Grand Rapids Herald, Meijer is a former editor who worked for a weekly newspaper in Plymouth, Michigan, after graduating from U-M in 1973 with an English degree. He briefly pursued graduate work in history at Western Michigan University before returning to Grand Rapids to help run the grocery business his grandfather had founded in 1934. In 1984, Hank published a biography of his grandfather, Thrifty Years: The Life of Hendrik Meijer. Now he was embarking on a bigger book, about a public figure—a man Meijer says “is arguably the most important political figure of the 20th century about whom no biography existed.” Meijer made his first visit to the Bentley in the spring of 1990. The library has eight linear feet of Vandenberg papers, including correspondence, diaries, and scrapbooks. Although the collection was smaller than he’d expected—“you’re aware of a dearth”—it also seemed “manageable,” and Meijer plunged in. “And once you do that,” he grins, “you’re hooked.” Over the next three years, he drove to Ann Arbor every other week to spend a full day at the Bentley. As he worked through the files, he experienced “wonderful, magical moments” that took him “deeper and deeper” into his subject. Of special note were Vandenberg’s drawings—he was a compulsive and gifted doodler, often sketching in the midst of Senate debates—and the scrapbooks the senator and his wife, Hazel, had painstakingly assembled, working side by side on the sofa in their Washington apartment. At the same time, Meijer began writing the biography. “I’m part of that school where you start writing in tandem with your research,” he explains. By 1993, he had a “messy giant manuscript” Photo n HS15248

more than 900 pages long—with more research to do. In addition to the Vandenberg papers, the Bentley held lucrative complementary collections, among them Hazel Vandenberg’s diaries and the papers of Michigan Republican Frank Knox. There were also records of the Grand Rapids Herald, holdings in the Library of Congress, and interviews to conduct with people like former President Gerald Ford, author Gore Vidal (who crossed paths with Vandenberg

when he was a child in Washington), and Vandenberg’s daughter Betsy, whose stories and insights drew Meijer into the Vandenberg family story. Throughout his years of work on Vandenberg, Meijer was repeatedly struck by the relevance of the senator’s story to contemporary American politics. (In her endorsement of Meijer’s book, journalist Cokie Roberts writes, “Every member of Congress should read this book for a lesson in leadership.”) A firm believer in bipartisan cooperation and an artful compromiser, Vandenberg was “a man who is willing to admit he’s changed his mind about

things,” Meijer says. “He was the bridge between the isolationists who said we should mind our own business—we should ‘build a wall, America first’—and the internationalists who said, ‘No, we can’t do that, we need the structures of things like the UN—and for that matter NATO—for our own interests.’” Once a fierce opponent of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, Vandenberg later worked closely with Democratic administrations to combat Soviet expansion and forge peace in the post-war era. In multiple ways, as the subtitle of Meijer’s book suggests, Vandenberg is “the man in the middle of the American Century.” If his biography achieves anything, Meijer hopes it will “add to the recognition that we need people like Vandenberg today, who are willing to step out of the comfort zone of their party to try to figure out how to get things done in the country.” He hopes, too, the book will become part of the body of scholarship of mid-century American politics and policy, so that Vandenberg is no longer regarded as a “footnote” to the era, but as a vital player. Meijer will be reading from his biography at the Gerald Ford Library at U-M on November 15. Meanwhile, he’s actively looking for his next topic. He’d like it to be connected to Michigan. With luck, it’ll bring him back to the Bentley for another hundred or so visits. n (opposite page, top to bottom) Hank Meijer at the Bentley; the cover of Meijer’s new book about Senator Arthur Vandenberg. (this page) A 1948 cartoon titled “Something More Vital” showing Vandenberg’s bipartisan leadership.


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Segregated Service

A rare set of photographs captures the working life of two African American Civilian Conservation Corps camps during the Great Depression. But who are these men and what was life in the camps like?

by Lara Zielin

ust storms swirled on America’s Great Plains, and crops withered. Banks failed and unemployment rates soared. By 1933, 25 percent of working Americans lacked jobs, and the Great Depression in the United States was in full effect. African American men were some of the most adversely affected workers during the Depression. Discriminatory hiring was common, and demand for African American labor plummeted in the tight job market, according to a 2009 Congressional report. To cope with massive unemployment, President Franklin Roosevelt launched New Deal initiatives in 1933, creating the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which gave jobs to men ages 18 to 25 whose families were in need. This included African American men, whose membership was capped at 10 percent of overall CCC membership. Of the 2.5 million men who enrolled in the CCC, almost 200,000 were African American. Initially, CCC camps were integrated, but by 1935, CCC Director Robert Fechner had segregated them. In Michigan, for example, out of more than 150 camps, around five were designated C or “Colored.” Precious little is known about the men who served in these Michigan camps—including most of their names, or how the camp leadership, which was likely white, treated them. A recent opportunity for the Bentley Historical Library to add 30 photos from two African American CCC camps in Michigan—the Bitely and Free Soil camps—was a one-of-a-kind acquisition that helped fill in some details, but not nearly enough. “This history has been overlooked, and I immediately understood this collection was significant,” says Mike Smith, the Johanna Meijer Magoon Principal Archivist at the Bentley, who acquired the collection on behalf of the Library. The 30 photos include an unidentified man holding a shovel, two men standing in a field dressed for work, a portrait of a young man in his CCC uniform, and many more. Some photos have dates associated with them ranging between 1933 and 1939; others have snippets of names such as “Big Jim” and a scrawl that might read “Garfield.” But who these men are and what, specifically, their work was at camp largely remains a mystery. “These are the only known photos of all-African American CCC camps in Michigan,” says Smith, “but we need help filling in the details.” By 1942, Congress had disbanded the CCC as men and resources left the camps to focus on World War II. But their legacy, which includes planting more than three billion trees, upgrading parks, building roads, and more, is still alive and benefitting Americans today. n

Help Us Solve the Mystery All 30 photos of Michigan’s African American CCC camps are digitized and available online at http://myumi.ch/ J9NQR. Do you know anyone in these photos? Do you have any history or connection to the Bitely and Free Soil camps? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact mosmith@umich.edu with your story.


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Frauds in the Field By Deb Thompson

The papers of U-M Professor Francis Kelsey reveal his efforts to unmask a hoax involving “ancient” artifacts and a state-wide scam.

of others whom they were able to interest were not to be balked by an obstacle so inmomentous as expert testimony.” One such “promoter” was former Michigan Secretary of State, Daniel Soper, who was forced to resign as Secretary due to accusations of embezzlement. Together, Soper and Scotford began inviting prominent community members—including sheriffs, doctors, and religious leaders—to join them on archaeological digs. A laborer would dig in an area specified by Scotford until they struck upon something. Then the guest of honor would unearth the item and become part of the discovery. The emotional excitement of being involved in a find often blinded the guest to the idea that the object was fake.

In 1911, Scotford’s stepdaughter came forward to say she had seen her stepfather making the relics. Scotford moved to Detroit, but no record of him can be found after 1912. Examples of the forgeries are on display this fall at the University of Michigan Kelsey Museum of Archaeology as part of the exhibit Excavating Archaeology at the University of Michigan, 1817-2017. (The objects are on loan from U-M’s Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, which houses the forgeries permanently.) The exhibit runs from October 2017 to May 2018 and is free and open to the public. n

James Savage (L) and Daniel Soper (R) digging up fake artifacts previously placed in the ground by James Scotford. Alpheus Scoby (L) and Daniel Soper (R) at a dig site in 1907.

(L to R) James Savage, Reverend Laurentuis, Daniel Soper, Charles Allen, and Dennis Hays in 1911.

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n a fall day in 1890, James Scotford left the warmth and comfort of his Wyman, Michigan, home to begin the arduous task of digging post holes. The work was difficult and mundane until a turn of the spade unearthed the discovery of what he described as a “large earthen casket” inscribed with religious writing. He immediately rushed to the nearby town to share his find. As news of the ancient artifact spread, a different kind of gold rush hit the state as people hurried to find their own piece of history hidden in the dirt. Over the next 30 years, 3,000 more artifacts would be discovered across Michigan. The found items included cups, amulets, tools, pipes, and tablets made from clay, copper, and slate. All the objects had religious-looking symbols and characters carved onto their surfaces. But critical observers quickly noted that the artifacts were usually discovered only when Scotford was present.

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A handful of local residents, thrilled by the idea of an “ancient race” having once lived on their land, formed a small society to study the material and learn more. The society asked professors from area colleges and universities to authenticate the artifacts. According to papers at the Bentley Historical Library, U-M Latin professor and archaeologist Francis Kelsey closely examined the objects and wrote that the workmanship was so crude “that an archaeologist of training in any field could hardly fail to recognize at a glance their true character.” Professor Morris Jastrow from the University of Pennsylvania agreed, concluding that the marks were “a horrible mixture of Phoenician, Egyptian, and ancient Greek characters taken at random.” The fledgling archaeological society quietly disbanded. But not everyone could be persuaded that the objects were fake. In a 1908 article in American Anthropologist, Kelsey wrote that “the persistence of the promoters and the misguided enthusiasm

Images of individual objects courtesy of U-M’s Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. Images of field digs courtesy of the Michigan History Center. All other imagery is from the Francis Kelsey collection at the Bentley.

The most avid collector of these objects was Father James Savage, a Catholic priest at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Detroit, who attended hundreds of digs with Soper. While some people believe Savage was in on the scam, others think he was a mark used by Soper and Scotford to give the relics credibility. Savage once claimed, “If I doubted for a moment Mr. Soper’s integrity, I would have nothing more to do with him.” Savage wasn’t the only religious figure interested in the objects. Leaders at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believed there might be a connection between the church and a Near Eastern culture in ancient America, to which the relics could give credence. The church kept a large collection of the Michigan finds at their Salt Lake City museum, but never officially claimed they were authentic. Eventually, after an anthropological expert determined the objects were fakes (see sidebar), the church decided to donate its entire collection to the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing.

Reality Bites Here are a few of the clues that prove the Michigan relics weren’t real:

> Some clay objects were molded,

then left to air dry. When subjected to water over time, they dissolved and thus couldn’t have survived in the ground for 10 years, much less hundreds or even thousands of years.

> Other clay objects were imprinted

with the marks of a wooden board, which bore the signs of a modern saw cut.

> The copper was smelted—a

modern technique that requires a temperature of 2,200 degrees F˚.

> There are no signs of wear or use on any of the tools discovered, and many are nonfunctional.

> The slate used to make tablets

was commercially cut and milled, as evidenced by modern saw marks.

Source: Tools Leave Marks: Material Analysis of the Scotford-Soper-Savage Michigan Relics by Richard B. Stamps.

Many of the forgeries pictured here were found near Wyman, Michigan (southwest of Mount Pleasant), and are referred to as the “Wyman forgeries.” Other forgeries were found near the Shiawassee River in Owosso, Michigan. In terms of scale, many of the objects are quite small, for example the tablets measure approximately seven inches in height.


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Sketch Show Treasures unearthed from a Brooklyn garage reveal a designer’s early genius By Robert Havey

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ony Award-winning designer Martin Pakledinaz sketched this design for a 1975 U-M theatre production of The Tempest. Pakledinaz left U-M in 1977 to pursue his dream of being a designer on Broadway. During his 35-year career, Pakledinaz was nominated for 15 Tony Awards, winning for the 1999 revival of Kiss Me, Kate and for Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2002. He was elected to the American Theater Hall of Fame shortly after his death in 2012. Boxes of Pakledinaz’s sketches from his U-M undergraduate days were recently found in a garage in Brooklyn, New York. They have been restored and now make up the Martin Pakledinaz collection here at the Bentley. n

Photo n HS17469

Collections, the magazine of the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, is published twice each year. Terrence J. McDonald Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Professor of History and Director Nancy Bartlett Associate Director Lara Zielin Editorial Director Robert Havey Communications Specialist Hammond Design Art Direction/Design Copyright ©2017 Regents of the University of Michigan Articles may be reprinted by obtaining permission from: Editor, Bentley Historical Library 1150 Beal Avenue Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113 Please direct correspondence to: laram@umich.edu 734-764-3482 Regents of the University of Michigan Michael J. Behm, Grand Blanc Mark J. Bernstein, Ann Arbor Shauna Ryder Diggs, Grosse Pointe Denise Ilitch, Bingham Farms Andrea Fischer Newman, Ann Arbor Andrew C. Richner, Grosse Pointe Park Ron Weiser, Ann Arbor Katherine E. White, Ann Arbor Mark S. Schlissel, ex officio The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office for Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-6471388, institutional.equity@umich.edu. For other University of Michigan information call 734-764-1817.

This guy loves new technology. Be like this guy. With your help, we can bring more of the Bentley into the digital age. History is made 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The materials for understanding history should be available around the clock, too. Help us keep U-M history online by giving to support digitizing our collections.

Make Michigan history. Give today. Use the enclosed envelope to make a gift to the Bentley Historical Library.

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ANN ARBOR, MI PERMIT NO. 144

A Michigan Mystery Do this man look familiar to you? This photo is part of a new Bentley collection containing 30 images of Civilian Conservation Corps workers in Michigan camps during the Great Depression. The only problem? We know precious little about what—and who—we’re looking at. Read our story on page 20 to help us solve the mystery of who these men were and to fill in the blanks about the vital contributions they made to America during the Depression.

Photo n BL019901

Collections Magazine Fall 2017  

This issue of Collections magazine at the Bentley Historical Library features stories about artist and magazine publisher Jerry Vile, the fi...